Seek and Ye Shall Find: Discerning God’s Presence in Everyday Life
Luke 10:27: And the man replied, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
Before I start sharing with you about the upward climb and our ascent into God, I want to first share with you about the Lord, because it is all about Him. In this life we have one call, and one call only, and that call is to return to our Creator. The world in which we live beckons us in many ways, expects many things and demands many things of our soul and flesh. Although the world excites us in numerous ways there is only one call for which we are responsible, and that is the call to return to the Father.
The Call to Return
Many years ago, on three different occasions the Lord asked me a singular question over a period of eighteen months. The question was: Nita, would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did while He was here on this earth? When He would ask me this question it was not a message that was etched into my heart, rather, I heard it with an audible voice. This question He asked was so incomprehensible to me that I responded: Lord, it’s not possible. That is not possible! Then He repeated His question again and said: Nita, would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did while He was here on this earth? Again I said: Lord, that’s not possible. It is just not possible! So, He asked me a third time: Nita, would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did while He walked on this earth? Once again I let Him know that was impossible. It seemed like something so far beyond the stretch of my faith, my reasoning and even a stretch of my imagination, that I could not comprehend it.
Six months later I was walking alongside a river in Oregon praying when the Lord once again broke into my prayer and He asked me the same question: Nita, would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did when He was here on this earth? I responded to Him just like I had before and said: Lord, that is not possible. Jesus was all man, but He was also all God. It is not possible! He asked me the question again and then a third time. On the third time I said to Him: Lord, You are asking me if I would like to have that unearthly fellowship with You that is in the Godhead and that is not possible! With that He left.
Another six months passed and this time I was sitting in my room in prayer and worship. This was the third time He came and asked: Nita, would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did when He was here on this earth? By this time I had thought about this question for a whole year but in my mind and heart I still could not believe it was a possibility. I said to Him again: It is not possible Lord. It is just not possible! He proceeded to ask me the question a second time and a third time. After He asked me the third time it hit me! I realized: Lord, You have taken all the trouble of asking me this question three times on three separate occasions, and each time you asked me three times bringing it to a total of nine times, so it must be possible! O, Lord, if You are saying that such a love is possible, You know me, I would pay any price to have it! I would do anything that You would require of me to have that place in You. Whatever You would demand or require of me, I will give it, if I can have that place in You, in this life! He said to me: Alright then, you shall have it.
The quest in this life is to know the Father the way Jesus knew Him and to love the Father the way Jesus loved Him. The devil has cheated the Church, making the Church think that a person cannot love the Father in this way. It is a lie and a deception that is over the face of the Church worldwide. The truth is anyone who will, can love the Father this way! Anyone!
What does it mean to love Him like this? What does it mean to know Him like this? I asked the Lord one time: How is it that Jesus was able to so swiftly and perfectly stand against the temptations of Satan when He was tempted those three times in the desert? The Lord said: Because He knew the things about Me that are reflected in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. He knew those things about Me, not only with His intellect, but He lived in the very life of those truths. Jesus knew the nature and the character of the Father. Because He walked in the love of God, the fear of God and the faith of God, He was able to withstand the enemy’s temptations. Once again, I want to tell everyone reading this article, Anyone who will, can have this place in God.
The Love of God
What is the love of the Father? In our limited human experience it is very difficult to explain. However let me try. As an example think of the way a man loves his wife at the peak of his love for her. He thinks back to when he fell in love with her and would do anything for her. It was a young, vibrant love, full of energy, adventure, hopes and dreams. Now they have gone through a lifetime together and have journeyed through the good times and the bad. He looks over at her and says in his heart: I am so glad that we are together today. Their love has matured through both the good times and bad and much wisdom has come into the relationship. He wants to reach over and hold her hand because he is so glad she is with him. She is more beautiful to him in their ripe age than she was the day he asked her to marry him. She has born his children. Together, they have raised their children through mistakes and successes. They have crossed good paths and bad paths and have learned to seek God together. They have learned to be better grandparents than they were parents. When they look back at all the good and painful times, even perhaps times when they fought for their child’s life — at the end of it all, he wants to hold her and say: I am so glad that we are one. This can be likened to one aspect of the love of God. He too feels the thankfulness of walking through life’s experiences with us helping us to mature and find our rest in Him. In the end, He is so glad to have you close.
Then you have a father or mother’s love for their children. From the time that little baby is wrapped in their arms they say: This is why I was born; to give birth to this baby. This baby is why I was created. Everything of the parent, all their hopes, dreams and visions, are wrapped up in the love of their little infant. They think, I am going to hold this baby and love this baby like no mother or father has ever loved a child in this whole world! As time passes and the child turns forty years old they see the things that they have gone through in life for that child. They see the mistakes they made as parents as well as the mistakes the child made growing up. They remember the things they cherished about being parents and all the ways they enjoyed watching their child grow up and have children of their own. Now they wonder if they weren’t really created to be a grandparent because they love their grandchildren as much as their own children. They cherish every look and every moment they can hold their grandchild. Being at school recitals and watching their advancements are cherished, partly because they love the personalities of their grandchildren but also because they are part of their own adult child. They just know that no matter what happens in life, the love that they had for their child the day they were born is no greater than the love they feel for them now, forty years later. This also is an aspect of the love of God. The love is not based on the child’s perfections but the love is based on the fact that the child is bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh. The parent has wept for them, laughed with them, carried them and fought for them. Their love is secure!
Although these are aspects of the love of God, there is still so much missing because God’s love encompasses everything that He is. He does not have love; He is love. Love has become more than an emotion, love is now a being and that being is God. It is what He is. He is love! I have love, but I am not love. I can give love and I can receive love, but I am not love. God in His very essence is love and the love with which He relates to His creation is not dependent upon our perfection. It is not dependant upon us doing things right and it does not diminish if we do things wrong because love is what He is. His love is not just a commitment or an emotion; it is what and who He is. God is love and the essence and character of His love is so high that the higher you go in it, the less tangible it seems. He has to bring the tangible expression of His love way down in degrees, to enable us to relate to it. The further you get out of the temporal and into the Spirit where you are touching the higher degrees of God’s love, the more you realize how pure His love is. This pure love is so different from ours that He has to bring His love down to our level so we can relate to the love He has for us.
His love is also holy. I love to experience being carried up in His love because of His holiness. His holiness fills every particle, every bit of His love. The entire essence of His love is holy and because of that holiness, it is so clean and so pure. The all consuming essence of His love is that part of Him that lifts us up out of everything we have ever thought, everything we have ever been or could hope to be, and lets us touch eternity. This is the love of God. It is holy, yet it is tender. It is filled with compassion, mercy and care. It is filled with carefulness, gentleness and kindness. His love does not fret because it is filled with faith. Remember, His eyes are eternal. He sees everything from beginning to end and no matter how bad things get, He knows how good they are going to get before it is over. Because His love is so humble and unassuming, it is not demanding, pressing, sharp or hard. Although His love can be very strong and firm, it is still filled with love. He can chastise us like a father, but you know in this case it is coming from a Father who loves you.
It is a most amazing thing when He says: Would you like to come to know and love Me as My Son did while He was here on this earth? To know and love Him in this way is wonderful. To walk in the center of this love and be cocooned and fashioned by it would be worth anything you would have to go through on this earth to get it and live there. There is no storm too great to endure to walk in this kind of love. There is no trial or demand that He could make of us, nothing that we could suffer, which would not be worth the way He prepares us to walk in this place of His love. There is just simply nothing like it and it is worth anything to have.
His Ways Are Not Our Ways
We can love Him with a love like Christ loved Him and know Him the way Christ knew Him. Not only that which is found in Matthew chapters 5 through 7, but also to know the multifaceted faces of God, like Paul said. We can know the panorama of His many characters and His complicated nature. We can know how He thinks and why He thinks the way He does, which is so opposite of anything in this world. He does things differently than the way we think because He sees things differently than we do.
It is transforming and revolutionary to know the world through the love of God. It changes every molecule of your being, every thought of your brain and every beat of your heart. Knowing Him the way Jesus knew Him can mean receiving a constant flow of revelation from the throne about heavenly things, the Kingdom and about the world as He sees it.
For example, within the last couple of years the body of Christ, who thinks they know Christ so well, is absolutely certain that America committed the greatest sin that we could ever commit when we helped Israel divide the land of Israel. Many are absolutely sure that God sent hurricane Katrina against America to discipline America for having divided the land of Israel. But, on the contrary, the Lord appeared to me multiple times and told me that the dividing of the land was God’s will. The Father also took me up into Himself and carried me back to the days of Noah when the floods covered the earth. He let me see what happened as the great fountains of the deep broke open and the flood occurred. As I was watching and hearing this event, I could feel the impact of the great floods taking place. The Father then carried me deeper into Himself and said: As in the days of Noah, so shall it be in this day. And He said: The dividing of the land of Israel is the goodness of God. It is not His anger or wrath, but the goodness of God that divides the land of Israel. He did not say that He is mad at America and Israel for dividing the land. Instead He said: It is the goodness of God! What He said is diametrically opposed to what the Church universal believes, and yet it is the truth. If God sent Katrina against America to punish us for approving the moving the people of Israel out of their homes, like so many people want to purport, He did it in terrible timing. Because of Katrina we had to renege on tens of millions of dollars that we were going to give Israel because we could not afford to help clean up the South and give those funds to Israel as well. When Israel needed the money the most to help families that were moved out of Gaza, we could not give it to them as we had planned. If God truly was punishing us for dividing the land of Israel, He sure made things a mess so that we could not even help Israel in their time of need. The truth about the dividing of the land of Israel is that God is doing it Himself. He divided the land out of His goodness.
What Jesus knew about God the Father during His earthly walk was opposite of what man knew about God. This still holds true in this hour. Yet still He says: Would you like to come and know Me as My Son did while He was here on this earth? Would you like to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, with all your strength and all your mind? The closer you walk with God, the more He allows you to know Him the way He really is. When He allows you to walk in this place, 99% of the body of Christ will not understand the way you walk with God. They will not understand you because they do not understand God. How could they possibly understand someone who walks close to Him when they do not even understand Him? As different as He is from the way we think He is, He is that much more wonderful than we could ever possibly imagine! I have traveled through many storms in my Christian walk and I have said to God many times that I would travel through that much more again to know Him the way He has allowed me to know Him because He has already proven that He is worth far more than He has ever asked me to endure for His sake. Even when I do not understand, I will take His way over my own understanding.
To know Him in the way He has allowed me to know Him has been so wonderful. He is peaceable and pure. He is merciful, just and righteous. He is love, kindness, goodness and gentleness. He is humble even though He is King over all that is. The sound of His voice shakes the heavens, yet He can speak in such a manner that it brings joy even to the heart of a little child. He is power and authority but He is also meek and humble as He condescends to reveal Himself to the creatures that He has created. There are many levels of holy beings, however, not even the highest angels of Heaven adorned with the greatest levels of holiness can stand in the inner sanctums of the holiness of God. Even to these beings He must veil Himself to some degree because no created being can ever walk in the fullness of holiness that God is. Yet, His highest desire and passion is to reveal Himself at every level to all who love Him as quickly as He can.
The Bible gives us a requirement to know this illustrious God, and that is to love Him with agape love, a self-sacrificial love that is willing to die to self that it may know Christ. An individual with this kind of love is willing to die to self so that they might win Christ the way Paul sought to win Him. It is a requirement because love refines. The purer the love in which we abide, the greater the refining that is accomplished in the soul. Loving Him with all your mind, all your heart, all your soul and all your strength will refine you.
By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man–not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil. Proverbs 16:6
It refines you in holiness and enables Him to reveal more of Himself to you. Loving Him this way is a requirement. However, He does not stand back with His arms folded and say that if you get everything right, then, maybe He will reveal Himself to you. No, it is not like that. He says: Love Me in this manner that I might reveal Myself to you thereby enabling you to receive the revelation and understanding that I am able to impart as part of My very life into your being. Love Me with all your mind, that you might be able to understand Me with your mind. Love Me with all your heart so that you might be able to understand and experience Me with your heart. Love Me with all your soul so that I can possess your soul. Love Me with all your strength that there may never be a wall between us. It is all about love. He is compelled toward us by love.
God does not always require that you live very humble and minimally in this life because there is a point in your walk with God where that is not important. However, it may prove important as long as He is doing a deep refining and taking all things of the world out of your heart, so that He can put all things of God into your heart. In this journey there comes a time when you look back and realize that you have walked the same walk as Abraham. He walked away from Ur and left everything behind. He came out to nothing and had to start all over but, when He looked back over the years, He discovered that God had granted him great wealth. On the other hand, Abraham¡¯s only quest was to know God. He sought God, and God blessed Him, spiritually and materially. Moses also left it all behind. He had the wealth of Egypt, yet he considered it worthless compared to the price of knowing God, walking with God and walking with the children of God. He left Egypt behind and he feared not, because he ever saw the face of God in his journey. You can imagine what it must have been like for Moses to be on that mountain and have God come down after 40 years of living with nothing. When God came down and spoke to him face to face I can promise you that Moses thought: Nothing I left behind would have been worth keeping for what I just received! The next 40 years he saw the face of God everyday! Who could ever say it was not worth what God had asked?
God does not require extraordinary things unless He is going to give great things in return. Whatever you have in this life, hold it loosely, even hate it, for the sake of loving God. If He has given you a beautiful home, hate it for the sake of loving God. If He has given you wealth, hate it for the sake of loving God. Don not touch it with your heart. Do not own anything with your heart. Whatever He puts in your hands, hold it loosely without even cupping your hands around it. If He has given you little, enjoy the little and be glad for the sake of loving God. Even hate the little that you have. When I say…hate it for the sake of loving God… I do not mean to be disrespectful or begrudge yourself over what He has given. What I am saying is, do not let your heart touch it. If your heart touches it, then your heart will own it and whatever your heart owns outside of God will keep you from touching God. For example, if you own a nice car you must be as one who does not own a car, for the sake of loving God. Your car has got to be meaningless to you. Your house, property and wealth must be meaningless to you. Whether you have little or you have much, it must be meaningless to you for the sake of loving God. The only thing that you are given permission to love for His sake in this earth is the soul of men. But even that must be loved with divine love, not with covetous love.
When you have touched the love of God and you eventually become owned by the love of God, you are content with whatever you are, whatever you have and whatever circumstance you are in. You are content because your heart is at rest. It is a contentment that can only come in that resting place with God. This journey is not complicated, but neither is it easy. It is not easy because our flesh is so demanding. Bob Jones once said: God is going to rewire the brain of the Church. That truly is what God needs to do. He needs to rewire our brain so that we can understand Him and His ways.
Nita LaFond Johnson