Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Son Returns
Several years ago our oldest son left the Lord he knew and went into this world. He could not be reasoned with, and we had to pray and trust the Lord to do something to bring him back. It would be impossible to put into words what a parent's heart feels in this situation, but by God's grace he came back. He is every bit imperfect as is his father, but He truly wants to serve the Lord. A few months ago he wrote this and I asked his permission to post it. His name is Jonathan.

I John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

My heart and mind are in a continual battle raging with thunder and brokenness of heart. I find myself gazing toward the precious Cross, but with demons of this world on all sides doing everything to cause a spiritual waver from serving my Master. I have a confession to make and it is one which I feel truly justified within God’s word. I hate this world in which I live. On a daily basis, I feel the sins of this world trying to tear at me with fierceness and relentless pounding. All around me, at the very moment I leave my home, I feel the vale of darkness trying to blanket my eyes with the sinful actions of others and take any march of a Christian soldier out of my steps. Yes, I do have the armor of God on my body, but my flesh has many kinks in it. I fight anger inside me which brews from my past sinful life and frustration which comes from the battering of the wake from the sins of others. Maybe I think to much or maybe I have a calling that the devil is striving to do anything to delay my course. But in any event, I hate this world and the things in it. If I were not a believer, I don’t think I would be alive today.

The past is a hard and horrible thing. I would do anything in my physical power to throw anything out of my life that resembles the past, but the human mind is a computer with a power all to itself. I know the blood has washed me white as snow and I know through Jesus I am sanctified, but the hate I have for this world consumes my heart. The way people act is a complete masterpiece of why Jesus had to come and die. From the way people carry themselves to the music they listen too…I am surrounded by wickedness. Yes, I used to be of this world. Now as a believer I want to do one thing and that is to tell people about Jesus. Not to be around the sin, but the sinner. Is that not impossible! I have no need of remembering my past, but only knowing it is just that…

My Past! I have been apart of this world and have committed sins that only Jesus knows about and because of that my heart grieves in anxious pain to be away from it. Brothers and sisters, this is a hard way to live. I find it more difficult than words can express to walk through a public place with open ears and hear the rottenness of man’s heart. It is frustrating to see with open eyes the site of peoples eyes looking toward others in a perverse way and it is even more difficult when it is directed at you or someone your with. I think now that there were probably many times, while I was of this world, I caused many a believer to hate this world we live in by my actions or even my presence. Not that they hated me, but my sins they despised.

I have given my testimony to many people, but the ones I think of most of all are the teenagers I have talked to in youth groups or Christian organizations. In my heart I know I have given them the true gospel of My Lord Jesus, but to the ones who are already saved there is one thing I have not stressed….how gruesome the past can be and how ones ungodly choices can sentence one to forever guilt. I haven’t stressed enough what sin can do to a life or what mark it can leave. Yes, Jesus saves from all sin. With him all is possible. But the one thing a Christian must deal with after a back slidden state is their past. They come out of bondage and are set free of the sins through repentance, but there human minds will always remember. Yes, they serve the master. Yes, the are now in his will. But they have done one thing that they will have to live with the rest of there lives….they have given the devil a powerful tool. I don’t believe this tool is used more harshly and viciously by the evil one than that toward a previously strayed believer in Christ. The actions of a blinded believer become more real to them than ever before when eternity sets full in their eyes. They now realize the full weight of there sin before and after they came to the saving knowledge of the risen Christ. We who know the Lord and have at one point in our lives took our eyes off him know what it is to really spit on the face of the master. We know what it is to, with full understanding, tell the Lord he is nothing to us but a fire station and when the blaze starts up….we'll call you!

After all these years I am still ashamed at what I did and hold my hands toward my Jesus and say, “Lord, your servant is here. I am ashamed of what I have done. What will you have me do for your sake?” Have you ever felt, in your Christian life, almost totally paralleled with a story in the Bible. I have many times and as I write this the story of the prodical son comes to mind. I came back through the working of the Holy Spirit, but I don’t deserve anything but to work in the fields. A ring on my finger…give it to a missionary who gives their life for the cause of the Cross. Sandles on my feet…give them to a God fearing evangelist who travels near and far. The fatted calf….give it to the starving believers in Africa who go days without food and still proclaim the name of Jesus. To believers old and new…Keep your eyes on the Master! Hold his words close and never let go for I tell you this with all that is in me. Never give way to your fleshly desires for when you return to his will you will feel a burden you know not of!

One of the hardest parts of a Christians life, besides dealing with a sinful past, is dealing with a persons sins that directly effects you. I think now of how hard is must have been for my parents to see me taking my eyes off of the risen one and grasping on to this disgusting world. Oh how this world can be so inviting to one who has a void not filled by the site of the Cross. After coming back to servant hood I have heard my father tell about what he felt seeing me stray. One of the hardest things I have had to endure is to hear him say, “I didn’t think he would ever come back.” My heart cried in sorrow and regret when I heard him say that. What emptiness fills the heart of a parent in which there own child walks away from the truth about Jesus? An emptiness I can only explain through the look of past heartache written on my fathers face as he told my story to a group of believers whose children were out in the world. His look was hope filled desperation. I know my father believes with Jesus all things are possible, but didn’t Mary say, “ Lord if your were here Lazarus would not have died.” The grief and sometimes doubt that consumes a believers heart for a loved ones lost or strayed condition is that of supreme desperation; Especially to ones who truly have their eyes on the eternal. The saddest by all means is when a person who claims they are saved has no desperate feelings whatsoever for a lost person let alone their loved ones. Do they really believe in eternity? My father and mother do and because of that belief their hearts were in pieces and they knew that the only thing that would revive my dead spiritual body was the voice of the holy spirit echoing through my weary ear saying, “Jonathan come forth!”

It must have been heart wrenching for Mary and the others to wait on the Lord to resurrect Lazarus. They knew him as master, but they have human minds. With eyes filled with tears and palms sweating to see what the master would do they waited with hope filled desperation. The dead was about to rise and with ultimate power the dead was raised. When Jesus raised him they must have had joy unspeakable. I feel the toughest time for my parents was to wait on the Lord to call me at the time he knew would be the second I would surrender. My parents smelled my dead filled stench in which I reaked of sin. The death clothes were my death attire. The grave , which is this world, held my body as one of its inhabitants. I was dead and every step I took around my family showed how completely lost in worldy death I was. Little did they know that for many months the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave me alone. No matter where I went he would wisper in my ear, “Jon, did I not die for you; Jon, do you know you might be the only one saved here? Jon, do you know who I am and what I did for you?” The words of the Lord were piercing my soul as to cause me to cry to him to leave me alone, but he never did. So with my parents desperately waiting and with me sick of life in this horrible world the Lord cried out to me, “Jonathan, come forth! Take those death clothes off of him and let him go!” I was freed!

My life was renewed. My eyes saw the cross and the crimson tide that rolled down. Not yet fully aware of what now to do, I knew there was a change and I would have to let go of everything. I remember a day after the Lord touched me I went to a friends house and walked in, but this time it was different. Feeling ashamed around the friends that were around me I didn’t tell them why, but I told them I couldn’t partake in any of the drugs that were laid out before me. I remember holding my shirt over my nose because I didn’t want to smell the smoke or fumes that were in the room. I was afraid I would want to do it even more if I smelt it. I left shortly after never to return again. Sometimes the memory of the people in that room comes to my mind and the hope to see them walking down the street that I might tell the about the saving blood of the resurrected Christ.

Pray for him and his wife, Bonnie.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I AM (אהיה)

In order to communicate to the people of earth God tells Moses to refer to Him as “I AM that I AM”. Thousands of years later, the man Jesus replies to a question about His knowledge of Abraham with an enlightening statement that not only intentionally misuses the verb, but applies God’s name to Himself. And in a frozen moment, God the Son reveals in stark and unveiled terminology just Who He is.

Take a deep and sacred breath, there is a God, and the Lord Jesus, born of the peasant girl Mary, is He. Masquerading as just a human, or a prophet, or the son of man, Jesus not only unveils His pre-existence, He simultaneously uses the same verbiage the Father had used about Himself to Moses. Now it is more than an inference, more than a maybe, it is a statement of factual revelation that demands more than a passing thought, this truth demands faith. Many of the names that were used for God were descriptive about His attributes. Shepherd, Rose of Sharon, Strong Tower, and many others told the hearers about the nature of the eternal God. But the Lord Jesus uses probably the most sacred name ever given to man about the God of the Universe.

I AM (אהיה)
It is a trans-generational name that indicates a presence that never had a beginning and will never have an end. A presence that is everywhere at the same time and yet can be manifested to whatever degree the Divine will desires. Over and over again the Lord Jesus uses this term in referring to Himself in descriptive terms that minister to a lost and needy world that searches for the answer.

I AM the bread of life.
Bread was such a staple to the people of God and it was believed to be the manna of Moses. Jesus was that bread, that which gives nourishment to the flesh and bones. Earthly bread gives strength to the body, Jesus parlays that to teach that He gives life to the Spirit. The Table of Shewbread represented God Himself and more specifically the coming God man, Yeshua.
I AM the door.
Here the Lord Jesus reveals Himself as the portal to eternal life. He alone is God’s door. This is not a door of achievement, not a way to be learned, and certainly not a course to be taken. This is Jesus, the sacrificial door, the only entrance into God’s eternal presence.
I AM the light of the world.
The whole world was in darkness, and even the Jews had so changed the commandments that they too were in darkness. Jesus says that He is the light of the world, not just the Jews, but the entire world.
I AM the Good Shepherd
People like sheep need a shepherd and Jesus names Himself as the Good Shepherd. His motives are pure and His skills are without rival.
I AM the resurrection and the life.
He is the substance about which all the prophets provided a shadow. He not only provides for us a resurrection, He is the resurrection that brings eternal life.
I AM the true vine.
Grapes were such a staple of the Hebrew people, and the vine from which come life was of greatest importance. No grapes could live without the vine, and no one could live without Christ
I AM the way, the truth, and the life.
Everyone was searching for the life that lasts forever, and the Jews were sure the way was the law itself. Jesus substitutes Himself for the way of the law.
I AM the Alpha and the Omega
What else could be said? From the A to the Z and everything in between is Christ. He is all in all, and all things were by Him and for Him.
I AM the first and the last.
The first born among many brethren and the last One to close the door of salvation’s Ark.
I AM the root and offspring of David.
David, the most beloved of all the kings and one with a heart for God. Jesus is referred to as David’s offspring more than any other reference in the New Testament.
I AM the bright and morning star
Looking into the heavens declare the glory of God. And the mystery and majesty were all found in Jesus Himself.
Could they not see? Jesus was speaking openly, prophetically, and with a Name all of Israel should have recognized.
I AM (אהיה)
Do we recognize Him today?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I know I've been blog lazy but I have been quite busy including preparing for surgery. Pray for me, it is foot fusion but I have a heart condition. The other heart I received in 1975, it runs great!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Dangerous Love

Lk.7:36 - 50

36And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Many weeks ago I heard a voice. It wasn’t an audible voice, it did not vibrate the air born molecules, but it did vibrate inside my heart. I first understood it as a reminder of something that we all know, that we should love each other. But those of you who have ever had the relentless prodding of God’s Spirit will identify with what was happening to me. After giving a perfunctory acknowledgment, the Spirit kept ringing my doorbell. What in the world could He want, I know and I get it, we need to love one another.

But the bell kept ringing. OK, so I opened the door and instead of coming into my place, the Spirit bade me follow Him. Alright, something was going on here. Now what I am about to share is a metaphorical way that can be used to communicate that which happened to me, I wasn’t “carried away” in the Spirit as was Paul, but I was led by the Spirit into a deeper realm personally.

So as we came to a door that said “Love”, the door opened and the Spirit now ushered me into this extremely large room that seemed to have no walls. It was packed with furniture, some I recognized and most I had never seen before. As I looked around I began to feel as if I had never been in this particular room before. The furniture was so varied and yet they all matched. The carpet was red with a large cross design. I was feeling very uncomfortable in this room because I had gotten used to another room in which there was a lot less furniture and four walls. I wished I could go back to my old room with my favorite orthodox couch upon which I reclined with self satisfying delight.

This new room felt very dangerous and the implications of it all were staggering. There were many pieces of furniture that were very unappealing to me, and I thought that I would never have furnished my house with these pieces. As a matter of fact, there were some pieces in that room that some had said were not in this room. Some seemed to have honor and some were dishonored, but they all were there. I rushed over to the orthodox couch again and found safe refuge, very familiar and comfortable. The Holy Spirit came and sat next to me and told me that He desired for me to try other couches.

“Which ones?", I asked.

“Those”, He said as He pointed.

Oh no, I thought, I cannot go to those couches, they look so uncomfortable and many will think I like them. Some of them only had three legs and others seemed disheveled and ragged. Some had began to remove the upholstery they had been given by their Maker and were replacing it with some they had preferred, certainly I should not go sit on them. But the Spirit would not take no for an answer, and I slowly and reluctantly rose from my couch and waded into the unknown.


Well that room was the love of God in Christ, and the furniture was the different parts of the body of Christ. The good, bad, and the ugly. How do I show, demonstrably, the love of God to someone who I believe is being deceived into compromising the truth of God? And when I go to sit on their couch in love, what will those on the couch I just left think?

I wonder what the angels thought as Jesus the Word became flesh, in the likeness of a disgusting, sinful man? Did they wonder why a holy and separate God would not only love those who were his rebellious enemies, but condescend into going to them and without His glorious reputation? Was the Lord concerned that His incarnate show of love would be misunderstood and tarnish His reputation? Well the Word tells us He refused to hold tight to His reputation and became love’s servant, and in that He became obedient to redemption’s plan which was empowered by God’s love.

Let me share that when I began to digest some of that I often would regurgitate what I was learning because it was much too dangerous, much too risky. I mean I could love everyone in the safe house of my own heart, away from the ever prying eyes of my peers, but to show God’s love demonstrably to those with whom I strongly disagreed? That would be too vulnerable for my reputation. If I showed God’s love to Rick Warren, many would think I agreed with him on theological and methodological issue. Man, that is way too dangerous. And besides, how can I confront some of his teachings and still show him love? You see, that part of being a disciple has long since vanished and to resurrect it would surely mean criticism. And since there are not any classes teaching it, would I have to learn it directly from the Spirit with hardly any examples?

I desire a safe love, one that shows love to those who are like me, those who are members of my own doctrinal gang. But how can anyone who has met, believed on, and fallen in love with Jesus deny that His love is very disconcerting and dangerous? Listen, I did not want or seek this, it was brought to me by God’s Spirit. There are many layers that must be removed and I still have much fear about compromise. God’s love can be shown without compromise, it is that expansive. And if God’s love necessitates compromise, then He would have been the greatest compromiser of all. Yet He was never touched by sin, never indulged in the sin of others, and was accused of being a sinner and a winebibber. His sacrificial love overcame it all, and as He walked among all the deceivers and compromisers He received all them that heard His voice and was uncaring about His own reputation. And if we are open and transparent with ourselves, haven't we completely dismantled the definition and power of God’s love in order to make it comfortable and safe?

So we need to cling to that which is true and be very stingy with our Scriptural commitments, and let us stay very close to Jesus Himself. And do not be surprised if while following close to the Master, He and His love takes you into dangerous neighborhoods, but do not worry, the only danger comes from our perspective, not His. You see in this atmosphere the word “dangerous” does not indicate a threat to our physical bodies, no, it defines a peril to our reputation. Can God’s love withstand a jeopardizing to our reputation ? The powerful and humble answer is yes.
Wasn’t Christ’s ministry of redemption, complete with an incorrect assumption that he was a sinful human, dangerous? Wouldn’t that path lead to many wrong conclusions about God’s holiness being tarnished by His mission? Yes, you say, but God knew ahead of time what would happen so in that it was safe. With that statement we reveal how little mystery we attribute to the Godhead and how arrogant we are in our assessments of the inter-Godhead ministry. The incarnation as the expression of God’s love to sinful man may very well turn out to be the most dangerous love of all, and one that we must model.

This woman who walked dangerously into the midst of a judgmental room, a sinner and a woman, bows at Jesus’ feet and washes them with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with ointment. Very unorthodox and dangerous, and yet as she was being judged by the men in the room, the Lord saw her loving expression and forgave her sins. And He also reproved His own, orthodox disciples, because they were measuring God’s love through their own judgmental eyes. The Lord did not condone the woman’s lifestyle, as a matter of fact He forgave her sins. But there was more than just her sins active in that same room.

Do not ask me about all the implications of this Scripture and how it completely manifests itself in the earthly body of Christ, I am still at the beginning of a very dangerous path. Sometimes the path is comfortable and sometimes the pebbles are painful. Sometimes I can see way ahead and sometimes I cannot see my own feet. But the signs are a constant reminder that I am on the correct path. They say:

Danger! God’s love straight ahead. Keep going until you reach the cross!

I hope I can pick up a couple of scarecrows, a few tin men, and a whole lot of cowardly lions along the way. But be warned, there are many obstacles both from others and your own flesh who will attempt to convince you to turn back, and some will build a side road and point you in that less painful direction. If you do not sense danger, you are not heading to Golgotha, you are heading back to your comfortable couch that has an accommodating impression of your own view from years of use.
Love Dangerously, He does.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

That Pesky Love Thing

We can understand God’s power on a limited basis because we have a very tiny amount. Of course we compare it to physical power which is only one part of God’s omnipotence. We can understand God’s eternality on a finite mental basis, but here again our understanding is greatly wanting. We comprehend God’s holiness on a “sinless” understanding, but there again we greatly underestimate that attribute. But I want to deal with one of God’s attributes that the Scriptures teach actually IS God.

The greatest of all commandments are to love God with everything, and the same to our fellow man. Sounds simple enough, right? Well let us see how this is both taught in the Scriptures and how it must be measured in our practice. Buckle your seat belts because on this issue we seem to be such pitiful spectators instead of selfless, uncomfortable, and painful lives that exhibit a love that appears very strange to our fellow earthlings. When was the last time someone remarked about us, as did the apostle John, “what manner of love is this?”. We are very good at observing and dissecting the redemptive love of the divine Love Himself, but how good or even desirous are we in being a sacrificial conduit of God... Love?

Make no mistake, love is much more than an emotion and love is many times extremely painful. Do you love someone with whom you have no horizontal reason for love, or do you love an enemy? Many of us have watched as one of our children leaves the teachings of Christ and heads to the pig pen. Did I stop loving? Did I disown them? No, but during those awful days my love was as painful as anything I’ve ever experienced and my love was more painful than any physical discomfort. And tears can not only indicate sadness, or pain, or joy, they can show forth genuine love. Jesus wept over Lazarus, and the people said "Look how He loved him". Oh yes, real love can be excruciating and the flesh begs to let it go.

Did the Father’s love cause Him pain? Gaze at a wooden crosspiece and see the agony of the ages, the infinite pain exhibited in one prepared body, and if you look close enough you will see how “God so loved the world”. Agonizing love, torturous love that is so fierce and severe that it refuses to depart even unto death. This love grits its teeth and goes forward carrying with it the pain of humility, the appearance of compromise, and the verbal barbs of both friends and detractors alike. Oh yes, do not think that you and I can get away with all these “cotton candy” definitions of love that are nothing more than conscience salves. God isn’t so impressed with how you love your wife, His test is much deeper and much more selfless than that.

God isn’t interested in how you love those who appeal to you, He observes how you feel about and treat your band of men and women who have fallen on their way to Jericho. Do you pass over on the other, more unobtrusive doctrinal side and avoid any real painful interaction? As a matter of fact, have we made that type of love a badge of personal pride? I have sensed that God isn’t very impressed with my love for John Wesley, He wants to know do I love Rick Warren. Oh look out now, I told you to buckle your seat belts, there is turbulence ahead.

OK, God taught us that if we did not have love everything else was nothing. So instead of delving deeper into that abject commandment of our Master, we set a course to redefine and de-fang the very essence of the Love we are supposed to not only exhibit, but live. Here is one of the most pitiful and self serving definitions of love:

When I tell you the truth I am showing you God’s love.

God not only told us of our situation, He gave of Himself to provide a way out while continuing to provide sunshine for the just and the unjust. The Good Samaritan didn’t just stop at the street and holler, “Hey, you are in a bad way. Why in the world did you walk this way?”. No, he carried him to a place of restoration and gave of his own money to pay for it. That is unconditional and sacrificial love. How do we treat and feel about a person who refuses advice and warning and walks right into the path of thieves and robbers? What multitude of sins does love not cover? And at what point in my Spiritual walk do I become the arbiter of God’s love through me? And is it not true that the tougher the object of love the greater the revelation of the Savior’s love as opposed to my own?

How do I love Brian MacLaren? How do I love Rob Bell? Rick Warren? You know what, just the implications of those questions do despite to the depth and quality of God’s love. If God loves them and I do not, then I am no longer a conduit, I am a self righteous dam. And let me openly admit that many times I am more of a dam than a conduit, and my struggle reveals my flesh, certainly not God’s love. Man’s pride and self righteousness is a repugnant poison that so misrepresents the love of God that sinners and saints alike are placed as objects in the cage of our carnal assessments and looked upon with our own judgments to see if they are worthy of God’s love through us. This love does not need compromise in order to reach those who God has offered it, and where in God’s own communication does He say that love compromises doctrine?

What would happen if John MacArthur (for example) sent a thanksgiving gift to Brian MacLaren simply to express his profound and confounding love for him. And in this act what would have to be avoided is that it publicly represents to others that you have love. That must be a by product, and any act of love must emanate from a genuine source within us and not a manipulative attempt to convince others as well as ourselves, and actually God Himself. We either love or we don’t. And if we do not, we are either struggling or we’ve created our own pitiful safe house complete with self indulging definitions of love. We are openly afraid of showing love to those we disagree with, and in that smug lack of divine affection for our brothers we have become sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

There are some who have seared their conscious by refusing to even admit they do not really love their fellow man, to say nothing of their brothers and sisters. Go ahead, read the blog-o-meter and see if God’s love flows like a river in whatever “camp” you find yourself in. I can see people running to secure a reasonable position that will release them from Spiritual culpability in the matter of love. We’ve been sold a bill of goods that says we can “love their soul and hate their guts”.

I personally believe there is a narrow but glorious path of discipleship that can confront and love, chasten with love, and just plain love with no strings attached in moments of respite from the doctrinal road rage. I did not say I was the tour guide for that path, I said I believe it is God's will. If loving a person with God's love means you cannot be orthodox, then orthodox theology is an idol in our hearts. God's love requires us to love in conjunction with our fundamentalist views, and if love isn't a fundamentalist view, then fundamentalism isn't Christian. (I may lose my membership card for that statement) And if we seek the Lord’s face concerning His love, we may not agree on everything, even on important things, but the world will see that we love one another. And if loving someone obscures the differences we have, well, I guess we might have to rely on the Holy Spirit to open other's eyes as we obey Christ. It just might be that men will be drawn by the Spirit of Truth by the love they have observed in the hearts and lives of the followers of Love Himself.

Because without that all we have is opinions, doctrines, truths, perceptions, enthusiasm, and words, words, and more words.
Or as God has said, we have nothing.