Motivated Only by His Love

A Heart after God.jpg

Please forgive me, but as many of you have discovered, I only tend to write when the Spirit wind is blowing in my neck of the woods. Thus you get my blog articles in short bursts and then I must be still and listen for a while in silence. So here is number three in about as many days. You might call this a “book report” on a YouTube video that came to my attention out of a time of fellowship, so the format is a bit different than my usual missive.

I was having coffee with an old friend of mine who has been in the wilderness of God for many years. We had often bumped into one another as we tried to find a local church that felt like home, without much success. I had also met much of his family over the years. Like many of us, he has struggled with discerning the difference between the flesh and spirit in him and struggle with being set out to dry in Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones. But this time he spoke to me about being encouraged by listening to a YouTube message by Paul Keith Davis, who in some circles has been regarded as a prophet. This alone made me skeptical of his message at first, but I went home at the Spirit’s urging and listened to it. You can hear it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBsg0J-ZILk).

Listening to it was a rough start for me, because he spoke with some religious overtones and traditions of today’s “prophetic movement” that God brought me out of, but the Lord told me to keep listening because there was a word for God’s called-out one, Ekklesia, in this video. As he told the story of his own wilderness period, I realized there were some life similarities we share, but mind you I no way endorse all of the messages on his YouTube site.

In 1980 the Lord showed me in a vision of how I looked to Him after I prayed that he would show me as He saw me–not as I thought He saw me–in my “glorious ministry.” What I saw was not pretty. I was filled with pride and ministered with the gifts of the Spirit so that I could draw people to myself and become somebody of notoriety in their eyes. I was stealing His praises and glory to myself. After that I prayed, “God this is ugly! You do not share your glory with any man. If this is what I am doing, just kill it! Show it no mercy.” That was the beginning of my 14 years in His wilderness, a time of being stripped of everything I once was and knew so He could build His house on the foundation of Christ in me and nothing else.

Brother Paul Davis also spoke of a time of stripping where God forced him into seclusion and inactivity with a back injury (another thing we shared). I found there was still a bit of a ministry fixation about him in this message, but the further I listened, the more his focus was not on ministry and ruling and reigning with Christ, but on a love relationship with Jesus and the Father. He had an encounter with the Father and His great love during that time that touched him deeply, even though it lasted only a few minutes.

One thing I disagreed with was when he said in effect, “Because of this love, the bride of Christ wants to lay there with her head on His breast, but the Lord wants to push her out to do ministry….” Not quite. In the final battle Jesus leads His army of saints forth to do battle and they follow the Lamb wherever He goes because of their love for Him. There is no “pushing us out ahead to do battle or ministry” for that matter. Jesus made it clear that apart from Him we can do nothing! The taking of the Promised Land by the sword became necessary because the Children of Israel sinned. He had planned at first to go before them and fight their battles, but since they failed to enter in because of their fear and unbelief, they had to fight when they went in forty years later (see Exodus 23). This is the difference between the Old and the New Covenants. In the Old Covenant, where they sinned, they strived and fought to gain the land, but in the New Covenant all things are ours as we abide in Christ. When He cried out from the cross, “It is finished,” it was!

We must get out of Martha’s kitchen and join Mary, who was madly in love with Jesus and sat at His feet with the other disciples because she chose the better part. Without our first love for Him abiding in us (the great flaw of those seven churches of Asia in Revelation), we will miss the will of God because we’ll lack the spiritual closeness of those who lay their heads on His heart. It is there that we discern His needs, desires and purposes and are motivated by His love. Ministry cannot be our first love. Until Jesus is once again our First Love, we have nothing to give of any eternal value, and most all of what we do will be out of our own flesh instead of from Him. The last god to go in the lives of men and women who want to be somebody in the church is the god called, my ministry. Sooner or later, God demands that all such things be laid on the altar of sacrifice where His fire burns up everything that is of the flesh. Apostle Paul wrote:

For no other foundation can a man lay than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1Cor 3:11-15, KJ2000)

I get a check in my spirit when I hear a person focusing on ruling and reigning “with Christ” instead of being a servant with Christ. Jesus’ whole example was that of a lowly and loving servant, not a king who came to be served. When John heard the angels of heaven call out, “Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” he turned and was shown “a Lamb as though it had been slain.” There will be a final battle at the end of the age, but those who go forth behind Christ will be there out of love for Him and He has already conquered Satan on the cross.

Jesus was always and will always be the abject Servant and His message for His bride was that she should do likewise.

And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” [ruling and reigning with Jesus] But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” [the cup of suffering] They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:21-28, NRS, emphasis added)

There is no ruling and reigning with our beloved Slain Lamb until we drink our own cup of suffering that kills our fleshly desires and urges and enables us to hear His voice instead of the din of our own untamed thought processses. Right up until the end when Jesus was about to go to the cross, the disciples were still believing in an earthly kingdom with Jesus on the throne and them ruling and reigning with Him as His executive administrators just like the kings of the Gentiles and their governments. We are no different today. For all too many of us, our focus is on the kingdoms of this world–what the Russians are doing, what the Democrats or Republicans are doing, what Trump or Obama are saying and doing, etc. As a result, we have a worldly kingdom mindset of top down over-lording when we hear “The Kingdom of God.” As Jesus stood before Pilate at His sentencing, He said clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom was of this world my armies would come and fight.” His final lesson to them, as it still is today to us, was about the necessity of being a lowly servant motivated only by love.

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was seated again, he said unto them, Know you what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord: and you say rightly; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. (John 13:12-17, KJ2000, emphasis added)

In this video brother Davis said, “I wanted to stay home until this (wilderness) process is done,” but he went out and did some ministry meetings before it was finished. I also had prayed about half way through mine that He would not release me until He had fully accomplished what He set out to do and to please forgive me for my whimpering to the contrary. During our wilderness testing, there is a great temptation for us to escape it and go “do something for God.” At one point in the wilderness, Israel plotted to kill Moses and appoint a new ruler who would lead them back into Egypt and its slavery rather than let the wilderness kill them. It is the same for us. I ministered at a couple of meetings before my flesh was bleached white by the sun in the wilderness (see Ezekiel ch. 37) and what I did had no anointing upon it and it stank!

About half way through this YouTube recording, Davis started to teach about the metamorphosis of a butterfly and how that applies to our death to the old self and rising again newness of life in Christ during this lifetime. A butterfly has no similarity to its former caterpillar self.  Peter spoke of this process.

“[you have an] inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In which you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold trials: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1Pet 1:4-7, KJ2000)

Like Jesus said, if we are to reign with Him we must first drink His cup of suffering, but it releases in us an unbarred relationship of love with the Father and the Son (see John 17:21-26).

Paul Davis also went on to teach about the process of starting out as spiritual infants and going on to become adopted sons of the Father. It’s important that we see the need for this and pray that God does all that it takes in our lives to come into full maturity. George Davis and I wrote about it here, “A Child or a Son?”

Paul said in the video that because of what the church has become in these days, the Spirit of adoption is driving us into the secret place of the Most High, into the heart of the Father and out of the limelight of  “doing church” as usual. So true! This is why many of us do not take in church meetings anymore and if we do, we usually go away feeling empty. As it was with the Shulamite woman in Song of Songs, no one or anything in Solomon’s kingdom could take the place of her lover who said, “Arise my love, my fair one, come away.” Second-hand love never works. There is no comparison in these crowded church meetings to being alone in the arms of the One who loves us.

The Paul Davis quoted Jesus, “To him that overcomes I will grant to sit down with me in my throne, WE must overcome!” Excellent! We must overcome the flesh that desires preeminence, to be in control at all times, to be a somebody, or have our own way. The first enemy we must conquer is the one within! Our hearts must come to the place where they are totally focused on a love relationship with Jesus and the Father, not in love with ourselves. The earmark of the Laodicean church is not that she doesn’t work, but that she does! Jesus said, “I know your works!” But because she has lost her red hot first love for Jesus, she does all her works out of duty and lukewarm religious tradition. There is a smug, self-centered completeness about her that does not need Jesus as well, “I am rich, I am increased with goods, I have need of nothing.”

Paul Davis went on to say, “I was granted to stand for a few minutes in the perfect love of the Father and I have groaned to be there ever since. I groan to get back into that place of perfect love… Jesus is coming back for a bride that has perfect love for the Bridegroom.” The Christian walk is all about love for God is love. We must be motivated by His love for and in us, not ministry, not ruling and reigning, not what’s in it for us. All that is of the flesh. It takes being touched by His love in our innermost being for us to get our priorities straight and have true Kingdom vision. Just before the going to the cross Jesus prayed His final will and testament,

Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:24-26, KJ2000)

Oh,  Jesus, please draw us into the fullness of the love of the Father and the Son that we might become spiritually whole and one. Amen.

13 comments on “Motivated Only by His Love

  1. You have such a profound understanding of the Gospel, Michael. I realize that this was hard won, that you made mistakes and suffered greatly for them. But your faith radiates from your writing. When I read your work, I thirst for more. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Aw, my dear sister. What a beautiful thing to say.

      Years ago, before God put me in that long wilderness, I had prayed something that was dear to His heart. I said, “Father, make me like your Son, that I would only do the works I see you doing and would only speak the words I hear you saying.”

      I had just enough time to think to myself, “Hmmm, that sure was a righteous prayer,” when He replied, “No, my son, this is only the starting point.”

      Little did I know that I would also as Jesus, have to learn this kind of obedience through the things that I would suffer. I thank my Father that He keeps the cross close at hand in my life lest I get puffed up beyond the measure He has blessed me with.

      May God bless you richly IN Christ my dear friend as you thirst for Him,

      Michael ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Renee says:

    Brother, amen. This one came from Above once again. It is very encouraging! I will be forever thankful for the Spirit of Truth flowing through you. Around a year ago He caused you to send one of your (His) messages by mentioning brother Grubb. My husband and I began to read some of his writings and this past year our Abba has delighted to reveal to us, over and over again, the freedom of being mere “cups” for His use. All my life, the father of Lies has demanded that I “DO” something, and all my life our Abba has said to my spirit, “Rest IN Christ.”

    Until we truly understand that we are cups (branches, vessels, etc) we aren’t ready to come out of the kiln. But oh the JOY when we know that WE aren’t required to do anything but be His cups. The battle is the Lord’s, not ours. The glory is His because the work is His. It’s all about Him. 🙂

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (Thank God!!!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Well said, Renee. The hardest test of all for the un-crucified flesh is to do nothing and trust in God. I remember when I was a young church Christian I felt driven to “pay Jesus back” for my salvation. I felt that I HAD to do something religious. Pastors love to tap into this fleshly desire, too. To the natural soulish man grace is an insult.

      There are three passages in the Old Testament that bring out the contrast between Satan’s mode of operation and God’s Eternal plan of salvation. First Satan’s nature and his deception that he uses on the religious minds of men:

      How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations! For YOU HAVE SAID IN YOUR HEART, I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God: I WILL sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the farthest sides of the north: I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to sheol, to the sides of the pit. (Isa 14:12-15, KJ2000)

      Here we see he is very religious and that it is all about HIM and HIS self-centered will. Now let us look at the will of God and His plan for us.

      Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I WILL make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband unto them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I WILL make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I WILL put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and WILL be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I WILL forgive their iniquity, and I WILL remember their sin no more. (Jer 31:31-34, KJ2000)

      A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezek 36:26-27, KJ2000)

      The will of Satan is all about HIS agenda for himself; self-exultation, lording over the congregation of God and ever seeking higher places in God’s kingdom until he challenges God Himself for His throne! Sound familiar? This is the anti-christ spirit that is alive and well in the churches today.

      But the will of God is all about delivering us from our self-will that tries to appease Him by our religious activities and the desire to lord over the people of God. HE has done everything for our spiritual well being and growth HIMSELF! We have a NEW covenant that is one of rest because Christ and His Spirit HAS DONE IT ALL. He removes our sins and separates them from us as far as the East is from the West through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He takes out of us a heart of stone and puts in us a heart of flesh and writes His will on our heart. He inwardly motivates us to do His will by putting His Spirit in us instead of demanding outward conformity by by the keeping of laws and the traditions of men. He then pronounces us as His people; Jew, Gentile, slave and free, male and female… all on a level playing field before His throne with equal access to our Father. IT IS FINISHED!!! To add to this is to walk in unbelief and resist HIS grace.

      This is what Jesus was teaching in John 15 about the Vine and the branches. Apart from us abiding in HIM we can do NOTHING. All we can do is rest while He makes His sun to shine upon us and His sap to flow out from Himself, into our branches. We make HIS fruit by simply abiding IN Him. As you said at the end…

      “The glory is His because the work is His. It’s all about Him. 🙂

      2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [cups], that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (Thank God!!!)”

      Thank you, my sister. It is so good to hear from you as you abide in HIS freedom.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Pat Orr says:

    Motivated only by His love, I long for that. Thank you for the challenging word. Also, thank you for the address to listen to Paul Keith Davis.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Patricia wrote,

    Michael, this teaching broke my heart, what a beautiful teaching from my Father.

    I see in my brothers an eagerness for service, an eagerness for ministry and they only talk about the ministry and that carries my heart and precisely in these days I asked myself: why can not they just love Christ, as you say, fall madly in love with He and nothing else ?. What you said touched my heart because it is my feeling: “We must leave Martha’s kitchen and join Mary, who was madly in love with Jesus and sat at her feet with the other disciples because she chose the best part.”

    Why do we want gifts, ministries, if we have Him, He is everything, why we want nothing, when we can have the ALL. What does it matter how the final events will occur, that our occupation is Christ and He will take care of the rest. Why we simply can not lay our head on His chest and listen to His heart. He is our reward. The Gift, the ministry is Christ and nothing else. Why do we want the rest if we lose Him? If we have Him, we have EVERYTHING, if we lose it, we have nothing left.

    But we want to achieve the fame and glory of men at the cost of losing Him. May the Lord annihilate those cravings for power and detach us from everything, let the earthly lights go out in our lives so we can see the Father’s Resplendence It is Christ. May the Lord kill what he has to kill in us so that our only motivation and our only goal is Him.

    Thank you Michael.

    Michael, esta enseñanza quebrantó mi corazón, qué bella enseñanza de mi Padre.

    Veo en mi hermanos un afán por el servicio, un afán por el ministerio y solo hablan del ministerio y eso carga mi corazón y precisamente en estos días me preguntaba: ¿por qué simplemente no pueden amar a Cristo, como tú dices, enamorarse locamente de Él y nada más?. Esto que dijiste tocó mi corazón porque es mi sentir: “Debemos salir de la cocina de Martha y unirnos a María, que estaba locamente enamorada de Jesús y se sentó a sus pies con los otros discípulos porque ella eligió la mejor parte”.

    Para qué queremos dones, ministerios, si lo tenemos a Él, Él lo es TODO, por qué queremos la nada, cuando podemos tener el TODO. Que importa como se darán los acontecimientos finales, que nuestra ocupación sea Cristo y Él se encargará del resto. Porqué simplemente no podemos recostar nuestra cabeza en Su pecho y escuchar Su corazón. Él es nuestra recompensa. El Don, el ministerio es Cristo y nada más. Para qué queremos lo demás si lo perdemos a Él. Si lo tenemos a Él, lo tenemos TODO, si lo perdemos no nos queda nada.

    Pero queremos alcanzar la fama y la gloria de los hombres a costa de perderle a Él. Que el Señor aniquile esas ansias por el poder y nos desprenda de todo, que se apaguen la luces terrenales en nuestra vida para poder ver el Resplandor del Padre que es Cristo. Que el Señor mate lo que tenga que matar en nosotros para que nuestra única motivación y nuestra única meta sea Él.

    Gracias Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Patricia, you have touched my heart with your prayer that we would all return to our first love for Jesus or truly find it for the first time in some cases. Without that love bond with our Kinsman Redeemer and His love overflowing out of our hearts, all our religious activities are dung. May he bind us ever closer in the love and unity of the Father and the Son in the days ahead. Thanks for sharing your heart with us,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia wrote:

        This brings me to a well-known hymn called “Because He Lives.” And there is a phrase that makes my heart vibrate: Life is worth more and more, only for Him. “Christ is my only motivation to live and I pray that it will be so in my brothers.

        Only a life emptied of itself completely, can be filled with the life of Christ and overflowing for others.

        Amen to this you say: “Without that bond of love with our Kinsman Redeemer and His love overflowing from our hearts, all our religious activities are dung.”

        Without Him there is nothing.

        Esto me lleva a un himno conocido que se titula “Porque Él vive”. Y hay una frase que hace vibrar mi corazón: La vida vale más y más, solo por Él”. Cristo es mi única motivación de vivir y oro para que sea así en mis hermanos.

        Solo una vida vaciada de sí misma completamente, puede ser llenada de la vida de Cristo y rebosar para otros.

        Amén a esto que dices: “Sin ese vínculo de amor con nuestro Pariente Redentor y Su amor desbordando de nuestros corazones, todas nuestras actividades religiosas son estiércol”.

        Sin Él no hay nada.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kenneth Dawson says:

    Yep Mike you put it good–I go to a big bible church now and it is so over busy—They are so into the you gotta do something or else you will be a recreational christian—and Papa sent me to this group to just be an observer so I try not to say much to them but boy Dad is always pointing things out to me and for sure you got to see yourself as crucified with Christ and then available to whatever Father wants to do with you—I have only been with them now for three months and already there has been two splits and they have shrunk from 700 to 400.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Kenneth, I have often thought about doing a modern translation that fits today’s churches. Verses would now read,

      “And Jesus went out into the wilderness and 7000 people followed Him and were hungry, so He told His twelve ushers to take their twelve baskets and take up a great offering after His teaching and send them home hungry.”

      And Jesus prayed, “Father that they might be divided by doctrines into 41,000 different denominations and sects in my name that the world might know that you did send me.”

      “Behold how they loath (instead of love) one another!”

      “If any man would be my disciple let him find life filled with prosperity on this earth and take out insurance policies against every form of loss possible and live so that all men speak well of him.”

      The contrast between what calls itself “Christianity” and the ekklesia that Jesus and the Spirit founded is mind boggling, but until the Spirit opened the eyes of our hearts and stripped us and burned a lot of religion out of us through chastisement and trials, we could not see it either. It is so different being sent back in that system once the Spirit has give you eyes to see as our Daddy does. He first had to open my eyes to see ME (not pretty) as He did so I would repent, before He could begin to show me what was wrong with what the church has become. Except for the purifying grace and stripping of God in my life, there go I.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Michael says:

    Bernie, we can give all we have to the poor and give our bodies as a burnt offering, sing hymns and spout scriptures until the cows come home, but without love it means NOTHING to God. Love is not a “MUST.” His love flows out of us like a river and it is refreshing to all it touches. Glad you are loving your kids and grandkids, Bernie. Don’t forget your wife. She needs it more than anyone. Ask the Father to totally transform your relationship with His divine love.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for writing back, Bernie. Glad you are loving and serving your family, especially Pat. She is a precious daughter of God for sure. I will be praying that Pat heals up soon and that God does something with her pain. I also love Keith Green’s music.
      Michael

      Like

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