The Cost of Love:


      Real love costs.  There is a high price!

     The kind of Love you are to minister requires the putting aside of what has been done to you, the refusing to value the hostility of others, and the putting aside of how you feel about it all.

     There is a price.  That price is Self.

     Soldier, Loving others is about doing things that often don't feel sweet.  Love is not a feeling.  It is what we do and how we act.  How we treat people completely apart from how they treat us.

     Do you know someone who is against you and has actively tried to hurt you?  Do something for that person.  If he or she has need, meet that need.  Stretch.

     Maybe it will be anonymous, but does not need to be. 

     We are to be affirmatively available to the flow of supernatural Love that reaches out to woo others into an eternal relationship with Him.

     Be available.  When you get the idea, more than likely it is the Indwelling Holy Spirit.

    Tell Him you are available and will do what He wants to do through you.
    And please tell Him aloud.  


The Past:


     I have often wondered how the enemy went after the Apostle Paul about his past.

     It so often comes at us in the night.  And it is the reliving of what we would never do again or of something that was out of our control.   So often daylight dispels the whole thing until the next assault.

     And, it is an assault.    Most of the time there is nothing to be done about the past but a great deal to do now and until the last breath.

     A few years ago, I met with someone who had worked closely with a missionary family who had a successful ministry overseas and had been there for over 15 years.  Lots of fruit.  But someone in the mission discovered something that had happened before the father was a missionary.   Then somehow in spite of the calling, the fruit and the long term of service, he lost his missionary pedigree points and was summarily dismissed from that mission.

       "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,"
                                Philippians 3:13   (Amplified Bible)

     This verse says to me that Paul had to work at refusing to listen to the attacks.

     Soldier, time is something I doubt we will find in eternity.  It is a dimension created for us - for choice.   We must learn to know what we are thinking and immediately replace those thought with God's Word.

     You are needed and you have a tremendous impact on those around you.  

     Bend into your current assignment.  Learn to recognize when you are being beaten up about the past.  

     When you wake up at night and are reviewing past wounds or mistakes, you think those are your own thoughts?  Really?

     Learn to resist the enemy.

     Tell the Lord again He is your all and you want to learn as Paul says, " forgetting what lies behind."

     Tell Him Aloud.
     Then find someone to love.


Because He Is Real:

      His reality changes everything.

     It means your money is not your money.
     It means He is listening to every word that comes out of your mouth and that is formed in your head.
     It means your days must be committed to Him and your hours guarded whether that means wisely working or wisely resting.
     It means learning to forgive.

     It means loving the unlovely.

     And, because there is nothing else worth pursuing, it means taking up the Cross, the place of the death of the flesh, and following hard after Him.  That is process different for you than anyone else.  It is intensely personal and the Indwelling Holy Spirit has a custom-made journey for you.

     We can all learn about truths and agree with them.  Being transformed is a whole different matter and requires experience with God.

     How incredible it is that He is real.  

     It means more than I can take in.

     It changes everything.

     Tell Him how wonderful it is that He is real.


The Ministry:

     If you have decided to serve the Lord with all you are, whatever that means to Him, you are in full-time ministry.  Every Christian should be in full-time ministry.     

     Are you in prison?
     In a nursing home?
     At home with children?
     Digging ditches?

     Years ago, I knew a young man who was movie-star handsome.  He was working on a PhD and was well-funded, having come from a wealthy family.  He needed something to do, so he got a job caring for a man who was quadriplegic.  One day I saw him looking quite miserable and when I asked him what was wrong, he said "I had to quit.  The guy was just so happy.  How can he be happy when he can’t even feed himself?    Jesus this and Jesus that"

     I have not seen that fellow for about 45 years, but I can guarantee that the handicapped man's life had a lasting impact on my friend.

     Before I came to the Lord I was doing music studies in Rochester, New York and had to mail a package.  In the basement of a nearby department store, there was a tiny room where packages would be wrapped for mailing.  There was one worker there.  He was probably in his late 60's and his hands were so badly gnarled, it wasn't possible to see all his fingers.   He was spilling over with real joy.   It made no sense, except having been raised in The Word, I recognized immediately it had to be the Lord.

     Here's a big one:  my father was married to a wretched woman.  My mother was an angry, serious personality disordered, and abusive wife.  If she had had her way, there would have never been a moment of peace.    I'm sure it was never easy but he was always joyful and sang and whistled.  He was always talking about the wonderful things God did in the lives of those he knew and he never missed an opportunity to minister to someone.  At his funeral, a number of people in the line greeted me saying, " Your father led me to the Lord at work".  Or " I am a Christian because of your father."

    When I first came to the Lord I got excited when I heard a certain fine musician was a Believer.  I couldn't wait to meet him and when I finally got a job in Boston where he also was playing, I sought him out and was excited to let him know God had touched me.  He said "Let me be clear:  I am not a Christian who is a musician.  I am a musician who is a Christian."


     Soldier, stand before Him and declare each day you will serve Him and that you are not your own.  Make room for Him.  Do it aloud.

     Then look for someone to love.



Silken Self:

     Oh Soldier!  Watch for the preferences that want to replace principles.

     Obedience is not restrictive; rather it is the key to freedom.   Oh, how the flesh fights obedience.  

     I have preferences.  I want to eat ice cream and watch mysteries all the time!.  But there is work to be done.  How can I wiggle out of a portion of the work so that I can have this indulgent time?

     I would much rather avoid difficult people and just walk on the other side of the street.  I want what I want and I want it the way I want it.

     So much that tugs at me is about what I want.  My preferences.  But, I am called.  Chosen.

     I am committed to following Him.  Committed to taking up the Cross and following hard after Him.

     What are the things that are beautiful to you?  Those are what you must pursue.

     Break free.  Into The Place.  He has appointed a large and free space for you and you will access it by obedience.

     We are all incredibly different.  Your choices can't duplicate anyone else's.

     Stand before Him tonight and recommit your availability to the divine principles set forth as revealed by the Indwelling Holy Spirit.

     Tell Him aloud.  And listen.


The Unlovely:

     The way we treat people is the most obvious sign of being a real Christian.

     But what about loving our enemies?   How does that actually happen?

     It certainly is not about a feeling- and that's a good thing because we now know we are not to live according to our feelings.

     “But I say to you who hear Me and pay attention to My words, Love that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for your enemies, make it a practice to do good to those who hate you,  bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
                           Luke 6: 27, 28   (Amplified Bible)

     Soldier, this is hard, especially when you decide to begin obeying this verse, The issue of course is your enemies do not deserve your love or attention.  Of course, we do not deserve anything we have.  And, but for the Grace of God, we would be just like those who  have done us ill.

     You are either going to prayerfully obey this, or you are going to miss out on powerful healing and a tsunami blessing.

     To begin, pray for the offender.  When we pray for them to be blessed, it seems to me that the first thing that will happen is for them to be able to see and hear Truth.  It might mean the realization of the deep need for the Lord's healing, forgiveness, or more.

     And if the Holy Spirit prods you further, do something, possibly anonymously for that person.  This is not about your getting mushy with anyone, it is about obedience.  It is for your healing, forgiveness and freedom.

     You are a Soldier of The Cross.  That means no baggage.  Lighten the load and obey.

     Be sure to take it to Him in prayer first.  Aloud.
     Then, go for it!

Always Something:

      Soldier, it is not just a teaching- it is actual truth.  We have an enemy.

     And he is always out to see what he can do to foil us.

     We must learn to plod on in spite of what is going on around us.  Oftentimes, not easy.

     The issue is, we must keep our eyes on eternity.  The Word of God empowers and propels us into seeing what is now unseen.  Although there are always times of respite and refreshment, those times lead into times of trials and testing.

     The good news is, there is release.  As we learn to trust God and do good to others, we are less and less impacted by the things hurled at us by the enemy.

     Your duty?  Be immersed in The Word, faithful to pray about all you can think about, and spend yourself to do all the good you can for everyone in your path.

     Soldier, your life has to be about revealing Jesus, and that happens when you step away from your self-life and reach out to others.

     The less money you have, the greater percentage you must give.
     The less time you have, the more you must pray.
     The deeper your pain, the more you must go help someone else who is hurting.

     Soldier of the Cross, you are following hard after Him.  Even though it doesn't feel like it, you can minister in this way.

     Take it to Him and tell Him you are available to be used.
     Tell Him aloud.  Today.




The Basics:

      As in any discipline, the basics must be reviewed and embraced over and over and over.

     We all need to hear again and again how critical it is to be consistent in the Word of God and in prayer.  There can be no effective prayer without the fuel of the Word, and there is no application of the Word without prayer.

     The devotional life is the number one target of the enemy.  Why is that?  Because without it, Jesus morphs into a belief instead of a present Person.

     Soldier of The Cross, you would not neglect brushing your teeth or bathing.  Why is that?  Because they are essential to health.  

     We need acute sight and hearing.  We need to be attune to the Indwelling Holy Spirit. 

     Fight for this!  Give it your all.  The requirement is not extended lingering.  It is consistency.

     Craving Him is the result of meeting with Him consistently.

     This is what your life is about.

     Bring it to Him and ask Him to be reminded.  Write down your verses and put them on your refrigerator.  Say them to the mirror.  Sing.  Sing.  Sing.

     Tell Him you’re longing to meet Him in your devotions.  Tell Him aloud.

No Matter What:

      Soldier of The Cross, remember that those in ministry must assume there will be constant hits.

     Meaning that even Jesus was insulted, scoffed at and ridiculed.  

     I love it that Mark gives us interesting details about these things.  When the woman with the blood issue touched the hem of His garment, the disciples immediately assumed he could not tell who had touched Him in a special way because the whole crown as pressing into Him.

     Then, when he went to heal the daughter of Jairus, those around laughed when He said she was only sleeping. But they certainly did not laugh when she got up and ate!

     Soldier, He called you and He appointed you.  You must learn to not react so badly when you are challenged or when someone is aggressive against your ministry.  All of heaven and hell understands what is going on.  You don't need to understand it, but you must acknowledge your calling and therefore you must acknowledge your protection.

     Are you called to be a stay at home mom?  Is that less important than any named evangelist?   

     Obviously, no.

     Soldier, we are all in the same line.  Will you move forward when called?  That is the issue.  No looking around.  Answer the call each day and each hour.  Fill yourself with the Word of God and march!

     Tell Him over and over what you love about Him and why you want to serve Him.
     Do it aloud.


Your Influence:

     You are the only Jesus most people will see.

     Right before I had a real encounter with the Lord, I remember thinking about a few of the Believers I had known and realizing for the first time that there was nothing about them I could separate from their relationship with Him.

     I was 29 before I realized that about my father.  I thought about a clarinet player I knew.  And a local pastor of a tiny church.  I was confronted.

     His Own ought not to sling back what others deserve or get them behind their backs.  A Soldier of The Cross who really wants to be a disciple has to learn to suffer misunderstanding and often just plain abuse, while turning to the Lord for not only consolation, but for wisdom in how to handle or not handle it.

     We are staggeringly wealthy.  We must learn to appropriate it and to use it.

     Soldier, in the Kingdom, nothing is learned by hearing about it.  We learn by having experiences that require waiting, prayer, restraint, the ministering love to the unlovely and launching into the frontier of faith.

     Just tell Him you are available. Like a leaf on a tree when the wind blows.

    Tell Him aloud.  You can't say it if you don't mean it.