GOD Brings POWER. No Love, No Power. Much Love, MUCH Power.

Revelation 2:4:
"But I have this complaint against you. You don't love Me or each other as you did at first!"

We have been meeting with some key leaders from around the country the past few months discussing the Kingdom of God as it relates to the Body of Christ. The consensus is we are often missing a key ingredient in our ministries today. This key ingredient is the agape love of God.

Love seems to be absent from how we engage with people in everyday life. We talk about love and yet it is often far from anything that resembles love. We talk about loving God and loving others, but in what way is this love being expressed? When we are gathered in our churches is love the main topic? Jesus said everything we have from the Word and the prophets can be summed up in two things--loving God with all that you are and loving others as yourself.

Bob Mumford said recently that "agape is the spinal cord of the Body of Christ," meaning the Church is not an institution, it is alive and a person with hands and feet. It is behavioral. It is an action. We have disregarded the commandment to love, replacing it with religion and legalism. Religion and legalism do not change hearts, but promote activities and performance. I remember that song, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" How about EVERYTHING!

First Things First…Loving God

In Isaiah 29:13, the Lord says, "These people worship Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips. But their hearts are far from Me, and their worship of Me is based on rules made by humans."

Much has been discussed in the past few years regarding the form and structure of congregating. You can find opinions and strategies on church growth, home churches, small groups, etc. Maybe it has nothing to do with the form, but has everything to do with loving the Lord with all that we are. Maybe we are so focused on experiencing God or the teachings on health and wealth in God, that we have forgotten the main thing, loving Him with our lives.

Could these distractions, rules, structures, and foundations developed by men keep us from the focus of loving Him and living a life set apart to glorify Him? We expect the benefits of His love, but because of manmade doctrine and focus, we forget the condition of loving Him and making Him Lord. I can hear the Father saying, "If I do not do anything that you hope and wish for, will you still love Me?"

We have a loving Father, who sent us His Son Jesus to make a way for us to walk with Him every moment of everyday. Jesus gave His life for us so that the Lord God, Himself, could live within us and give us the ability to supernaturally love Him in the communion of our spirit with His Spirit, and do great things upon the earth.

He gave us the keys of the Kingdom of God, so that we could live as His kings and priests and impart His Kingdom to the earth. The greatest thing we can do is love. The Word of God says that there is nothing worth doing unless it is motivated by love, and all of these things, including faith and hope, bow to LOVE. Can we embrace His love and love Him back with our lives? It is a must in following the Lord and the ways of His Kingdom.

Agenda-less Love for One Another

Here are a few verses to ponder:

I Corinthians 13:4-5:
"Love…it keeps no record of when it has been wronged." Are we guilty of keeping a record of wrongs toward one another?

I Peter 1:22:
"You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart."

John 13:34-35:
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples."

Beloved of God, those who are born of Him, for Him, and for His purposes--are we seeing this type of love among us? Love that is so supernatural, that the world will know we are His disciples? Oh, how I want His love to pour through my life--all our lives. I am so hungry and thirsty for His righteousness in the Body of Christ.

Can we get to real love? Can we really love one another? I think we can, but it begins with the "Who" in our lives. First Him, and then those we are called to walk with and serve beside.

The Journey

My wife Joyce and I have been on a journey the past few years, and this journey has intensified the last nine months. It really is "the process" in this journey that is making the difference. Here are some helpful insights we have learned along the way and continue to be challenge by daily:

Love Him with all that is within you. He is in you, so you have the ability to love like He loves. Tap into His love every moment of every day, and watch how His love will come forth to others around you, even the ones you do not like.

Give Him everything. He asks us for our lives and our possessions, so give them all to Him. He then will tell you how to steward your lives, relationships and possessions.

Trust Him completely--even when you do not understand why you had to endure or go through something. Previously, God sent us to Texas. We still may not be able to explain it all, but we know He sent us there for a season and He used it for His purpose. It was an extreme lesson from an extreme God. He is still grading us on our response, and we certainly did not pass with flying colors!

Be expectant. Watch what God does when you love and trust and give everything to Him. We have lifelong partners we have met through this journey, and people are God's greatest wealth. We are so wealthy in the relationships we encountered through Him, no gold or possessions could ever replace them.

Be able to put down the things of this world. Quit striving and do your best to live in faith and not fear. His overcoming Spirit within you is preparing you to do this in good times, as well as the tough times.

Repent quickly. I have had some sharp words at times with the Lord during this journey, but His goodness would once again overwhelm me, and I would be compelled to ask His forgiveness. He is so patient and longsuffering with us. He is always waiting with open arms to embrace us, even when we were the ones who walked away.

"All you need is love"- the Beatles got it right with this song; it may not be easy, but it is the truth. All you really need is love. We need His love first; loving Him, each other, and then the world by the Spirit of love within us.

When you love, it is the compassion of God that brings His power.

No love, no power. Much love, much power.

The key to becoming an overcomer in this world is love. The greatest of all the gifts is love. Our salvation is from love, and our ability to live in His Kingdom reality must come from the foundation of His love. May the love of Christ be abundant in each of our lives. May His love cover our wounds, may His love cover every offense against us.

"Father, we pray that You will heal us and encompass us in Your love today, tomorrow, and with every breath we take, for Your glory!"

Robert Ricciardelli
Vision Advancement Strategies