Everything God does has the ultimate goal of bringing us into a love relationship with Himself — which is the only place — where we are kept by His power.
Nothing is more precious to me, as I consider my children and loved ones, than their being kept by God’s power. But apart from the love relationship God is working to build with us, we will not be able to find the sphere of His keeping power.
Evil battles, rages and storms . . . threatening us . . . and we hope the house will hold. But what if it doesn’t? I had just watched a secular documentary on the likelihood of a terrorist attack that could wipe out our nation’s electrical grid, and frankly, it terrified me. The real possibility of this threat penetrated my being: destabilizing me, filling me with raw fear that made me feel vulnerable and helpless. That was how I fell asleep that night.
When I awoke the next morning, I was no better, only clearer. I needed Jesus. I needed to hear Him speak to me. I needed Him to minister to my soul and take control. I desperately needed to be brought into the sphere of His keeping power.
Leaving my warm bed for time with Him, I cradled a steaming cup of coffee in cold hands as I studied my table laden with books. I noticed one devotional, which I had not opened in months. He was telling me, “My word awaits you there.”
Yearning for His input, I reached for the worn volume , my heart quickening. This is the message that awaited me:
Perfect love casteth out fear
LOVE and fear cannot dwell together. By their very natures they cannot exist side by side. Evil is powerful, and fear is one of evil’s most potent forces.
Therefore a weak vacillating love can be soon routed by fear, whereas a perfect Love, a trusting Love, is immediately the Conqueror, and fear, vanquished, flees in confusion. . . the only way to obtain this perfect Love, that dispels fear, is to have Me more and more in your lives. You can only banish fear by My Presence and My Name.
Fear of the future–Jesus will be with us.
Fear of poverty–Jesus will provide
You must not allow fear to enter. Talk to Me. Think of Me. Talk of Me. Love Me. And that sense of My Power will so possess you that no fear can possess your mind.
The Joy of Perpetual Guidance. The Joy of knowing that every detail of your lives is planned by Me, planned with a wealth of tenderness and Love.
Wait for Guidance in every step. Wait to be shown My way. The thought of this loving leading should give you great Joy. All the responsibility of Life taken off your shoulders. All its business worry taken off your shoulders. It is indeed a Joy for you to feel so free and yet so planned for.
Oh! The wonder of this — a God-guided life.
The Pleasure and the Pain
When God speaks to us, it often brings both pleasure and pain. Let’s begin with the pleasure.
As I read the devotional, my memory of the previous day flooded me. I had been under intense pressure to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, within the constraints of a three P.M. deadline. All day I moved from one thing to the next feeling nudged which way to take. Thoughts came that shortened the number of steps to complete each task. I experienced a slight pressure to move on, when the perfectionist in me wanted to linger. Driving snowy roads between multiple destinations, I found the exact items I needed. I felt no stress, but rather, the grateful awareness that I was being led, as I arrived at my three o’clock appointment precisely on time.
So, the following morning as I laid the devotional back down, the wonder of a God-guided life flooded me with fresh reality. . . having just been proven the day before. Using that experience, He wanted me to believe that no matter what comes, He will be just as present with the same guidance in the future.
Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
We think that when tough things happen, we will rouse ourselves to face them. But if we are not practicing in small things, now, then when the big challenges come, we may not be as prepared as we think we are. Practice now, believing in and listening for that word instructing you which way to take. How should you order your day today? What must be done next? Should you make that commitment or not?
Don’t move ahead of God, but instead, practice waiting and watching for His confirmation. I encourage you to take time now to learn how to hear Him, so that when a tough time comes, you will be practiced in the basics of the spirit-led life.
I am under no illusion that my making a three o’clock appointment had divine import. But God was using what was important to me — entering into the smallest matters of my life — to teach me that He cares about me. As I realized how He had been so present, leading me and tending to my cares, He cocooned me in His love. I knew how deeply and personally He loves me. This was His objective.
Remember what God is working for: an authentic love relationship with us.
If you think about this, it is overwhelming . . . the intricacy and seeming impossibility of GOD communicating His love and care for us . . . but this is what He is working for.
If we doubt this for ourself, we are making it about us, instead of realizing that it about Him.
No matter where you are the word of God is coming to find you, to bring you from where you are to where He wants you to be . . . alive to and deep in a love relationship with Him. This is not because of who you are, but because of the Love of God . . . Love, whose unquenchable desire is always to know and to be known, by the object of its desire.
The question is: are you giving Him the focus that is required
to learn what He is working to teach you?
God creates the steadfast assurance in us that we are loved and taken care of by Him. We can’t manufacture this assurance in ourselves. We can’t convince ourselves that God loves us — only He can make it a reality for us — by using the divine dialogue to build the relationship He is working for.
On our part, this takes practice . . . it takes time . . . it takes focus . . . it takes prioritization. In the parable of the ten virgins, five were wise and five were foolish. Five had oil for their lamps and five did not, the night when it mattered. The oil that gives light is always a symbol of the Spirit. On our part, the Spirit-led life takes practice, time, focus, and prioritization.
Now let’s touch on the pain of God’s word coming to find me.
The scientific, political documentary from the night before had filled me with fear; in the morning, He brought me the word “perfect love casts out fear.” Clearly, He wanted me to see that my love is imperfect.
I felt naked. I thought I loved him, I thought my passionate love of Jesus was one of my greatest spiritual strengths. But my consuming fear exposed the reality that this wasn’t so.
But what He also wanted me to see was that gut-wrenching fear had removed me from the sphere of His keeping power.
Because my love of Him and my understanding of His love is so imperfect, I fear.
And fear will take me out.
- confronted with the truth
- sobered by the revelation
- I was quick to confess what I was being shown, agreeing with God, without a shred of defense.
It was painful to see the truth. More than thirty years of loving and being loved by Him, and a documentary came along, wrenching me out of trusting Him. Deep down I doubted Him. I doubted His goodness toward me, His plan for me, His ability and His intent to care for me. It was like He was silently standing beside me, revealing what He knew all along . . . the quickness with which my deep down doubt allowed suspicion of His motives to creep into my heart.
Heartbreak is the closest word that describes my pain at seeing this. When I thought of everything He has done, continually working to make my relationship with Him possible, to communicate His love for me, seeing my quickness to betray Him with suspicion and distrust tore me apart.
It is no fluke when circumstances are orchestrated the way those were: my consuming fear from the night before and the message in the morning. But God’s word comes to find us to bring us from where we are to where we are meant-to-be. When it comes, it brings both pleasure and pain.
- The pain that drives us to confession and humility, wanting forgiveness, which He pours out freely. . .
- The pleasure . . . I cannot tell you how deeply I felt His pleasure as He drew me back into the sphere of His keeping power.
If and when your world should fall apart, will your relationship with Him be able to carry you? Even though your love is imperfect, do you recognize His words coming to find you, so that you can be kept by His power? Do you practice listening and following as He instructs you, fulfilling the admonition and promise in Scripture? Or does your take on “what is possible with God” issue from your own, bent, limited notions of what God wants?
The purpose of the message God has given me in The Divine Dialogue is to witness to you that He loves and cares for you, and that it is not only possible but crucial for you to know that — so that you will be kept by His power.
But you also need to know that no matter how much He wants this for you and for Himself, He will not make happen, apart from your wanting it too.
I ask that He would make this closing passage of Scripture not “just words” but the reality that thunders in your soul . . . that nothing will be able to separate you from the keeping power of His love, the security of knowing incontrovertibly how utterly He cares for you.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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 God Calling, by A.J. Russell, December 12, 13, 14