No Greater Love

You have redeemed us from death to eternal life. Use us Your way. We are Yours.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro    www.holyspiritpress.org   www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

How many of us would be willing to give up our life so that someone else could live?  Perhaps for our child, but what about a stranger (or even an enemy)?

This is the way of Jesus.  Meant here is not necessarily physical death, but death to self.

Would we die so others could live?  Would we die to our own desires and dreams?

We live in a culture which to some extent teaches the opposite.  The sacrifice of military servicemembers in battle or other persons who give their lives for another in a disaster is honored and even considered with a degree of awe.  However, the focus of our culture has shifted away from self-sacrifice and an attitude of giving to others the past fifty years.  It has turned to an emphasis on self.  We can easily get caught up in thinking about how to protect self, elevate self and make sure self’s needs are met no matter what the cost instead of looking to the needs of others.  “You are not giving me what I need and deserve” is often more the heart’s cry in the face of those around us rather than, “What do you need?”

This attitude is not Christ and has nothing to do with His Way.  He poured Himself out 100 percent for us.

Now that said, it does need to be recognized that though we are the beneficiaries of His full offering of self for us, He did not do it specifically to please us, but to please His Father.  He would never have gained inner satisfaction or fulfillment by working to please us.  We are all so utterly human and fickle.  If He had looked to do only what pleased us, He never would have gone to the cross and probably wouldn’t have spoken the life-transforming Truth, which was His message.  Jesus succeeded in His mission for the Father because He did only exactly what the Father asked of Him and because it is the essence of true love (and He is love.)

Jesus is our model.  Our goal is to be more like Him.  This being the case, we need to look to please the Father as well, understanding His focus will be serving and loving on others, whether they respond in kind or not.  (He is love and operates in love regardless of whether it is reciprocated.)  Pre-requisite to being part of His kingdom is embracing His way.  It is the way of death to self for life in Him and that life will be about serving others, specifically where and as His Spirit leads.

If we do not believe in God, then our self focus can remain.  For if He is not real, then this life may well be all there is.  If God does not exist, this would mean there is no omnipotent, all-good, supernatural, Supreme Being looking out for us and beckoning us home.  Without God we would need to look after ourselves and get all we can no matter the cost.

What an empty, purposeless life it would be where all meaning beyond ourselves has been vacuumed away and we live in a void consumed by self… But we are blessed.  We know God IS.

As we finally understand God is real, promises to protect and provide for us perfectly and invites us to partner with Him to show others His Kingdom so they can find their way to their eternal home, and we begin to sense the incomprehensible, infinite love of God which is not bound by human weakness and fallability, our lives should experience extreme change.  We will never be the same.  Our focus becomes an aching to become His drink poured out for others as He was for us regardless of the personal cost.

Holy Spirit, guide us.  Holy Spirit, teach us.  Holy Spirit, help us to be Your love and forgive us each time we fail and drop back into old habits.  You are our hope.  You are our purpose.  In You we have life.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen

(Note: for those living in abusive relationships, it is not okay to simply “grin and bear it”.  This is not dying to self, it is not valuing self and you have value because you are a child of God.  To remain in an abusive situation is not being in the will of God, for God would never want this for one of His children.  If this is the case, He will show you the way out step by step, just as He will strengthen you to do it without bitterness and with forgiveness – if you will let Him. ~ Elizabeth)

JOHN 15:9-13  (Amplified)

9I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [[a]continue in His love with Me].

     10If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

     11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

     12This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.

     13No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.

Selah! [Pause and calmly think of that!]

END

PLEASE view the music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL     (Made by upcoming, Holy Spirit-filled film director, Olivia Mowry.) 

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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