5.18.2016

Love, the Main Thing

"Love is the Main Thing"
by Rick Joyner, Fort Mill, SC

"To the angel of the Church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
'and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.
'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.
'Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God'" (Revelation 2:1-7).
Some scholars believe the word "Ephesus" to mean "desirable," but its origin and meaning are difficult to trace. Others consider it to be "discoverer," "the first," or "beginning," all of which could relate to the early church.
This Church is also commended because they "put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and are they not, and you found them to be false." After the first century, apostles were not recognized by the Church, so this would not have applied after this period.

The Ephesian Church is also commended for its perseverance and endurance. The Lord also rebuked the Ephesian Church for losing its "first love" (see Revelation 2:4). As Christians, we must guard against this first—getting so caught up in what we're doing that we forget the One we've been called to grow up into. This is one of the greatest challenges every Christian, church, and movement will face. At first, the "first love" is so intoxicating that it is easy to be continually captivated by the Lord. Then, we slowly become familiar with Him, gradually loosing the passion we knew at first.

All who experienced this passion of "falling in love" and then maintaining the relationship through the maturing stages would wonder if it was possible to keep the extreme passion they had at first. We know scientifically that the release of endorphins causes this exceptional passion people feel when first attracted to each other, resulting in a drug-like euphoria. However, our bodies have a limited number of these endorphins, and they get used up in a few months. Once we use them up, we tend to crash, similar to an experience of coming off drugs. This can cause them to think "the honeymoon is over" or that they have "fallen out of love." They haven't, but their endorphins have run out and they need to move on to a more mature, deeper relationship. Those who get through this transition agree that the mature love is better.

This is true in human relationships, but the Lord rebukes the Ephesian Church for losing the love they had at first. In Him, we can actually keep the same kind of passion for Him that we had in the beginning. When we meet the Lord, or are born again, we may not have endorphins firing off, but we have something much better—the Holy Spirit. The euphoria we feel when baptized in the Spirit is far greater than anything we could feel from a drug. The best part is that it is not an illusion. Instead, we begin to touch, or be touched by, the infinite reality of the power of the Lord and His goodness. As we are told by Isaiah, there is "no end to the increase of His Kingdom" (see Isaiah 9:7). The Lord said that we would have a well of living water springing up from within that would never run dry. This is something that does not ever have to end, or even ebb, but can actually continue to increase in our life.

Even though most Christians probably experience times of drifting from the River of Life, we don't have to. When we do, we need to recognize it and return in haste to the passion we had for Him in the beginning. In Christ, this river does not run dry. To get back, we need to do the things we did at first—read, study, and seek to know Him and His ways. Tell others about Him, and don't forsake the bonding together with other Believers that we are called to and that I John 1:7 tells us is essential for those who "dwell in the light."

Human passionate love is intended as a type or model of our relationship to the Lord. In Scripture, such models are called "types" or "shadows" (see Hebrews 8:5), implying they only have the substance that our shadow has compared to us. The love we have with God can be more substantial than what we experience with any other human. So, how could we have this kind of passionate, virtually all-consuming love for the Lord and still function in life?

I inquired of the Lord about this several years ago and was given a brief experience of this love. It was so all-consuming that it was even dangerous in some ways. I was so consumed with God and His love that anything or anyone I looked at, I loved like I had never felt love before. I could look at a telephone pole and be utterly captivated by how wonderful it was. Despite having used many types of drugs in my BC ("before Christ") days, I never experienced any kind of high that came close to the love I felt in this experience. However, I could also hardly function, just as if I had been on some drug-induced high. When this lifted, I asked the Lord how we could walk in something like this and still function. I was shown how I had to mature in this gradually, along with self-control and wisdom, to turn my feelings into action.

I am a goal-oriented person who can feel really bad if I don't think I accomplished something each day. However, what we become is more important to Him than what we do. Our highest purpose as human beings is to love God. We only attain our higher purpose, and what we are called to do, by love. As I Corinthians 13 tells us, without love, all of our works do not count. It is good to turn our love into action, but we must never forget that the love itself is the main thing.

Rick Joyner
MorningStar Ministries

Email: info@morningstarministries.org
Website: www.morningstarministries.org

Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church. He is the author of more than forty books, including The Final QuestA Prophetic History, and Church History. He is also the president of The OAK Initiative, an interdenominational movement that is mobilizing thousands of Christians to be engaged in the great issues of our times, being the salt and light that they are called to be. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.
Rick Joyner's Itinerary:

May 20-21, 2016
Frontline Worship Centre Canada Trip
Southside Victory Church
Contact: (403) 887-3313

June 5-8, 2016
MFM Retreat
375 Star Light Dr. Fort Mill, SC 29715
June 10-11, 2016
Mantle of Power
Harvest Training Center
69 Myrtle Street, Cranford, NJ
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5.17.2016

Believe and Hold On

All things are possible to him who believes.
Mark 9:23

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we 
profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrew 10:23


5.08.2016

A Mother

Happy Mother's Day!

Naturally, Mother's Day turns a person's thoughts towards their mother. I am no exception to this. As I thought of what to give my mom this year, I couldn't help but think of various things I remember about my mom growing up. If I were to take those memories and compile them into a list, this is what it would read like. Enjoy the stroll down memory lane with me, and please forgive any grammatical errors; I just wrote it as it came to mind.

Beginning as far back as I can recall, mom was cups of cold coffee sitting on the end table, lessons on bed making, trying to play with a rather non-imaginative me, church meetings with other ladies, pretty dishes, and special occasions with the "fancy" olive green tablecloth trimmed with tiny pompoms, only in the early 1970s. Walks to the end of the drive for mail, hanging clothes on the clothesline, a tornado spent in the storm cellar, and feeding a baby duck in an old metal Miracle Whip lid.

As the years went by, the following memories gathered together, though not necessarily shared in chronological order. Teaching me to hold and feed a baby brother, Charlie perfume, a pretty container containing solid perfume, reading the Pentecostal Evangel every Sunday afternoon while still in church clothes and pantyhose. There seemed something so beautiful about mom barefoot with her pantyhose on. I couldn't wait to be grown so I could do the same on my Sunday afternoons.

Ladies' meetings and Bible studies, preparing for Sunday school and Missionette lessons, sewing my
Christmas and Easter dresses, sewing her own skirts and clothes, new shoes from Cinderella of Boston, anticipation of Christmas, birthday surprises, decorated birthday cakes, a love of new books, pairs of shoes scattered here and there wherever they were removed, extra special coffee cups with daisies on them, hot tea, vicks on the throat with clean old pantyhose tied around the neck during a cold, new coloring books, and runny eggs.

Other memories that say mom to me are the making of Christmas wreaths with her best friend, phone conversations with her best friend on the phone. These conversations usually included laughing and often snorting occurred too. No tattling. No whining. No talking back. Finding ways to keep a bored child occupies. This didn't happen often; it only took once to know you didn't want to be bored. Hamburger gravy on bread and macaroni and tomatoes when dad was working. Fish sticks, goulash, and tuna sandwiches sometimes got to be eaten on TV trays.

Special gatherings for adults, children, and youth through the years. Faithfulness to study God's Word and spend time with Him each day. Love for details, researcher at heart, and a teacher extraordinaire. Shut in the bathroom when a prayer chain call came through and the imparting of such a call's importance to her children. Always participating in church work day and any other activity going on there, even if you have to bring your children along with you. Children can be trained to behave themselves and accompany a mother to almost any activity without causing trouble. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Somewhere along the way I also remember a 3D diet that introduced at least two new recipes I fix for my family to this day. I also learned that meatloaf, baked potatoes, and green beans go together as do fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. Bierocks taste best when accompanied by home-canned tomatoes and chocolate cake is best eaten with home-canned peaches. Chili must have dill pickles beside it and milk to drink with it. Ham and Beans are delicious with corn bread slathered in butter and honey.

Hospitality is fun and need not be complicated. A summertime meal of grilled hamburgers, salad, and corn on the cob provides the perfect preface for games of Pitch and Pit with friends. Also, a round oak table can seat six as well as it seats four; children won't realize it was crowded until they are grown. Best friends give the best permanent waves, and freshly brewed iced tea is the perfect accessory to an afternoon visit with all friends. A glass of iced tea, Snickers bar, and a good book are all a woman needs for a relaxing time alone. Music is part of everything, and being able to sing harmony is a desirable skill.

Writing time is over, but the memories keep coming. As this Mother's Day rolls on, I pray blessings on my Mother for her faithfulness to God and family, but also on each one of you. May you discover the treasured memories of women who have mothered you through the years.

Love because of Jesus,
Abundantly Blessed






5.02.2016

What God is Looking For

 

"He is looking for godly character over gifts and anointings." 

-  Kathy Watson, God is Looking for Humility, Truth, and Integrity, Elijah List website

These are the words my eyes clung to with delight. These are the words I have felt stirring in my own spirit for weeks. These are the words I longed to share but didn't know exactly how for oh so very very long. And now...now here they are. This is what my heart has been telling me over and over again; God is looking for evidences of His character not His actions to come forth from out of His children. Miracles are marvelous, but they aren't Him. They are merely what follows along after those who believe on Him. (Mark 16:17) 

He is Love. (1 John 4:8) Miracles do not distinguish us as Christians, Christ followers; love does. Miracles will accompany us and follow us, but they are not the proof we are God's. God is love. We will be known as His by our love one for another. (John 13:35) Others will know we belong to God because He, love, comes out from us in every thing we do and every thing we say. We will think, speak, act, live, love. Love is the distinguishing, identifying trait of Jesus followers. Love. Nothing else. Love. 

May God, Love, fill you to overflowing today and every day.

Link to God is Looking for Humility, Truth, and Integrity:  http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=16005


5.01.2016

Trusting, It's a Process

Hi! You're just in time for tea! The water is hot, the tea is on the counter, and there are chocolate chip cookies, if you want some. 

Recently, one of my daughters and I had a conversation together. As the conversation flowed along it became painfully obvious that all was not well with my daughter and her opinion of God. A mama can tell these things. Very carefully I gently steered the conversation closer to matters of the heart until the moment of confrontation presented itself. "Why are you so resistant and displeased with any mention of God and His goodness?" I asked. A pregnant silence hung like a suffocating blanket in the room. My dear girl knows her mama's heart and didn't really want to come right out and confess to a lifelong God-lover, that she didn't think God was good. Nor did she want to admit that due to Him not answering a prayer the way she thought He had said He would in the Bible, that she now felt God didn't do what He said He would. No, my girl didn't want to go there or do that, but mama...

Mama knows that a wound left to itself will fester and eventually poison from the inside out. So mama kept on pushing with gentle, but firm, pressure that sore spot on her dear girl's hurting heart. After a few more well-placed squeezes, questions, my sweet girl broke forth with the reason she felt God was more lying enemy than trusted refuge. At times like that mamas are thankful for every moment spent listening to God Holy Spirit's voice because at times like that mamas need every bit of wisdom heaven has to give. The rest of the conversation was a final cleaning of my girl's heart wound. 

Misunderstanding and incorrect perceptions can do that, leave a person with a gaping open and wounded heart. My girl continues walking out her own salvation and getting better acquainted with the Lover of her soul every day. Step by beautiful step she is walking the truth road like a true soldier of Jesus Christ. Like her mama, she may not be all the way there yet, but Praise the Lord she is more like Jesus today than she was yesterday, and she knows mama loves always, no matter what.

The following quote is the perfect companion to our conversation. As I pondered over it's words, the thought came to me that perhaps there are others who would be encouraged by them. Many people are walking through perilous struggles and circumstances. Trust-building is definitely something a person can regularly put to use. I am honored to share it with you over tea.

"Trust-building is a process. A journey. For all of us.
We must put more faith in what we do know about God than in what we don’t know about the future."
 - Christine Caine