During my prayer time on one of the Monday Night Prayer Services, I felt like the Lord was impressing on me that this church, not just the Church Universal, but this specific church needs to get ready for what lies ahead. As times get tougher concerning the economy, the election, the shift in society’s morals, we at Trinityalgood need to get ready for the people who will be hurting and hungry during these coming times.
We are known in the community as the church who helps people, and we will continue to do this. In the past, we have been financially blessed and able to meet the needs of many people in different areas that we have chosen to work in along with situations that arise. As times get tougher on all of us, God will always provide for his people, and He will continue to bless us as we use our blessings by helping people.
As I was reading through Joseph’s story again the other day, something stood out to me that I had not thought of in the context of this story.
Let’s turn to GENESIS 41:1-40
As you read this instead of thinking about grain think of love in place of grain:
I believe God has told me that we as a church must prepare ourselves for the coming times. But we are to do this through love, not grain. We may be coming into a spiritual famine. We may be seeing the beginnings of it now.
So what do you mean, God? Build up our storehouses with love? How is that done?
First thing we must do is look up the Love Chapter.
I CORINTHIANS 13 (NIV) If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Now the Message Bible:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
That’s not my opinion; that is the Word of God. We can do all these wonderful things, put food in the bellies of the poor, put backpacks in the hands of the children, put clothes and shoes on lonely, hurting people, but without love, we are nothing. These are the actions of love and we will talk tonight about the fact that action is one of the languages of love. But we must make sure that our love is sincere as the Word says in Romans 12:9 (NIV)
Loving people who are difficult to love, sharing an encouraging word to someone who we may not know, going out of my way to help someone in need – these are the things that we must learn store in our storehouses for the times to come.
I believe the Lord is telling us to fill our storehouses with LOVE so that when times get tougher, we have a storehouse full of love for the hurting and hungry people who are trying to navigate the world around them, maybe a world that is falling apart.
Let’s BUST SOME MYTHS ABOUT LOVE.
LOVE MYTH BUSTERS
#1 MYTH BUSTER: From the movie “Love Story”,
LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY.”
I read an article about Alli MacGraw. She said that she was so young and not a trained actress that she just said the lines without any question. If she had stopped and thought about it, she would not have agreed.
This goes against everything that the Word teaches about love and forgiveness. We are who we are in Christ because God loved us so much. He had His one and only Son take our place to be forgiven for our sins, even though Jesus was sinless. He had nothing to be forgiven for, yet the blood-bought forgiveness was that important.
Matthew 6:15 (MSG)“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
That busts that myth wide open. We must forgive to be forgiven. My husband is quick to ask for forgiveness. That is something that I had to work at when I came into the kingdom. That goes against what the world teaches or what logic dictates. You must make the first move, whether you think you’ve done wrong or not. That’s a hard one for a lot of us.
Hebrews 9:22 (NIV)22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
It needs to hurt. You haven’t really done anything if it’s easy. No Pain, No Gain. We must cut away the things that keep us from doing His will and, in this case, forgiving when we don’t think we should have to, forgiving when you are still hurting from the situation, forgiving when it is hard.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV) 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
“Bear” here means to carry, to help carry a burden.
Remember: We are busting myths about love so that we can fill our storehouses with love, building our knowledge about love and practicing love during these times so that we will be ready when the tougher times come.
#2 MYTH BUSTER:
“YOU CAN’T HELP WHO YOU LOVE. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO.”
I know that this is a romantic love quote, but think about what it says about love in general.
What the Bible says in John 13:34 (NIV) 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
So there, plain and simple, we are commanded to love. It is a decision, not a thing we can’t control. We are commanded to love our enemies. That is a decision that we control. We either choose to or not.
Romans 13:9 (NIV) 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]
It did not say “your favorite neighbor” or “your friend the neighbor.” We decide who we love and the Bible tells us everyone. This seems like a simplistic ideal, but the Word is based on it. Our salvation is based on it. We can give the shirt off our back but if your motive is anything but love, then we gained nothing.
Developing our knowledge of what love is and how to act in love brings us to a place of giving love easily when, in any other situation, it would have been difficult.
#3 MYTH BUSTER:
“LOVE IS LIKE THE WIND, YOU CAN’T SEE IT BUT YOU CAN FEEL IT.”
Well, this sounds like a beautiful sentiment, but actually we do see love – through the actions of love.
God was the first to show us love that we can actually see.
1 John 4:9 (NIV) 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Then the Word tells us to show our love in actions and in truth. We have many examples in the Bible that we don’t have time to read, but consider Dorcas who made clothes for the poor out of her love for others. There is Jonathan’s love for David and vice versa even though it went against Jonathan’s father Saul. The disciples’ love for Jesus and then for others was shown by their travelling and ministering to spread the Gospel regardless of their safety.
1 John 3:18 (NIV) 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
And then the Word commands us to walk in love.
2 John 6 (NIV) 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Now let’s go back to the Pharaoh’s Dream in Genesis 41.
Joseph interpreted that Pharaoh needed to prepare during the 7 years of plenty for the 7 years of famine. I believe this is relevant to our situation now for we must prepare and fill our storehouses with love so that we are ready for the influx of people who will be asking questions and needing support.
It seems to be saying to me that if we are not careful, if our storehouses are not full of love, the practice and actions of love, then when the hard times come, we may fall out of the practice of love. People get weird and stingy when times get hard, when jobs are scarce, when finances start drying up. We want to make sure that we are acting out of love no matter what the situation is.