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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Ultimate Tensile Strength

I have often times commented that that greatest moments of ministry for me has been when I have seen the smiles of joy, freedom and love infused peace on the faces of the youth and children that we have ministered to over the last thirty plus years.  I can remember one of the first VBS programs that we had when Piper and I knelt down to receive some hugs from a couple of sisters who had been attending the week long adventure. 
We were aware of their home situation, and let’s just say it wasn’t a very uplifting or encouraging environment.  But when they were getting ready to leave on that Thursday afternoon and rapped their arms around us in anticipation of the Parent’s Night program that evening, their faces literally glowed with the love of God.  For a moment there, I wasn’t sure if they were ever going to let us go!  Piper has always been very sensitive to kids who have special needs and had spent a lot of extra time with those two girls.  When the week was finally over, they knew the love, peace, joy and comfort of Papa God.
Then there were the times at regional Youth Camp’s or at the yearly camping retreats that we had, when we saw youth with personal needs and/or troubled backgrounds turn their lives over to Jesus.  It is at times like that when you realize that the countless hours of preparation, the lack of sleep during the actual course of the multiday events and the one-on-one times with those precious young men and women were worth every minute of our time!
The main reason we liked to go to the multiple overnight camps, and retreats, have the students put on all-church breakfasts and dinners (even though some chided us due to the lack of sizable contributions we usually received) and have the special fun activities for the youth and kids, was to teach them teamwork and as Colossians 2:7 declares, because we wanted to have them “united in love.”
The more I read the Pauline Epistles, the more I am convinced that Paul saw God’s Agape love as the cement that held EVERYTHING together in the individual and corporate lives of the members of the body of Christ.  In Colossians 2:7 the Apostle declares that Because they are united in love, they will be wonderfully blessed with complete understanding.  And they will truly know Christ…” (God’s Word © & CEV)
It seems that he feels that it is God’s love working in us as well as through us that enables us to have the power of God flow from us into the world each of us encounters on a daily basis.  I John 4:18 informs us that “No fear exists where his love is.  Rather, (his) perfect love gets rid of fear…”   Then the very next verse tells us how or why this works saying: “We love because he first loved us.” (God’s Word ©) 
You see, He set the example and then gives us the opportunity to personally fill up on His love so that we can go and share it with others… especially to those who don’t necessary do things that deserve that kind of response.  His love is what makes us Christians a unique breed!  It is what sets us apart from the world.  When the world and those who follow its dictates seem to go off the deep end, our response shouldn’t be to get angry or afraid, but to increase in His love and then let that love ooze out to others!
I could give you example after example of the lives of children and youth that I have seen radically changed simply because they got loved on through thick and thin!  God’s Agape love has a power within its actions that is equal to none other.  It has an ultimate tensile strength that overcomes and far exceeds any other authority, power or level of resistance.
Remember, 1 John 4:16 tells us that “God IS love” (KJV), therefore when you act in His Agape love you are not just employing a power that is infused with His strength… you are working directly with Him in that situation!  Think about THAT statement for a while!  It puts a whole new slant on the idea of us walking in His love!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s LOVE am I expecting to take action in today?”

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