John 15:13 (NIV) Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

One significant encounter of personally experiencing the love of God came through the death of my parents. I was a grown adult when both my parents transitioned from this life in the earthly realm and in my forties in age. Growing up a very strong willed young man in the projects created for me issues of abandonment and rejection and played into my performance issues. ( The need to prove myself was always in my life) The realization that both my parents were no longer here to share my good and bad days left an empty hole in my heart. This was especially realized since so much of what I endeavored to accomplish was to make them proud of me. Having their encouragment, support, and love is a hole that only God could fill either through people He puts in your life, or causing you to be the one to fill the hole in the lives of others. God just knows how to work it just right!

As I cried and prayed one day shortly after Mom passed and feeling quite empty in my heart. It was as if God made it known to me that in this moment of despair, He loved me and would be there for me like never before. In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah says V1“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.” I have slowly but surely experienced God and His love for me in transformational way. I now begin to extend myself to others with words of “I love you” and “you are special” because God is using me as an instrument and expression of His love. The Lord was revealing to me that He loved me even more than my parents could ever love me. Yes God reminded me that missing the love of my parents was quite normal, but experiencing the unconditional love of God, none could compare. God wants to shower us with His all encompassing love people of God, and this will be made known to us at the most critical times in our life.

I was in a phase of my life and discovering how truly difficult it was to love myself unconditionally and to be vulnerable enough to let God love me unconditionally. I have since slowly let go of performance activities that have been subtle traps designed to lead me towards earning God’s love and please let me not forget trying to earn the love of people. And now I am being shaped to extend God’s love and to share God’s unconditional love with my family, friends, and even my foes. I will admit there are those people that are more difficult than others to allow God’s love to touch, but its all good and a work in progress.

If you are going to be a godly kingdom leader, you must love and live from the heart, not performance. God wants to relate to us through a heart connection, not through our performance effort. Today’s message is especially for Church ministries, parents, children, those who are living or lived illicit lives, abuse victims, step children, adopted children, incest survivors, molestation victims, sexual orientation issues, people searching for love in all the wrong places and grieving folks everywhere. Our determination to know God should be rooted in our love and heart connections, and Experiencing God’s love will be undeniable in our lives.

Elder Baker

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