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Learning how to overflow with Love

May 4, 2010

Philippians 1:9-11  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Just over a week ago I was being interviewed for an international CEO role and in my preparation for that interview God gave me a calling, a strong sense of what I was to do.  And it was:

To provide leadership to the reformation of society, one person at a time.

(To read more about this: click here)

And when I reflect on the above passage, Paul’s prayer to the people of Philippi, I see some amazing direction in how I can fulfil my calling!  At the very heart of my faith should be love, a love of God and towards others.  There are number of versions of the word love used in the Bible and this one is agape, which means to be generous, to show concern and support for others.  So it is how I relate to others, not just those I know but to all.  And I know my agape love, my concern and generosity towards others does need to abound, to overflow! Right now it is contained rather than overflowing.  And I won’t be able to fully complete my calling until I am overflowing, God is preparing me!

But Paul is clear that agape love isn’t about randomly walking down the street giving money out, following every whim that grabs me, but comes out of my careful study of the Word, from my learning as to what God’s will is.  I learn God’s will through conversations with others, through direct inspiration as the Holy Spirit guides me, but mostly I learn God’s will through careful and disciplined study of the Holy Bible.

And the more I study, the more I learn, the better choices I can make in my life.  I can be more able to discern what is best. That amongst the many choices I can make in life, through studying the Word the right choice is more obvious.

So I want to love others way more!!  To be more generous and show greater concern for others, I want my love to be overflowing!  But I can now see this needs to be informed by knowledge and depth of insight, from the Bible, from learning from others and direct inspiration.  And wow this is amazing timing!  In a few hours I am meeting with someone who is going to invite me to be a part-time pastor of a small church, a church that needs agape. Is it God’s will that I take this?  My time in the Word recently has shown me that I need to reduce the number of things I focus on, so I can do a few things really well, and taking on a pastoral role is an extra thing at this point, so I will turn the offer down.  And yet when I first heard about it I jumped at it, I got very excited!  But now, armed with knowledge, with a better sense of God’s will through reading His Word, I know this isn’t for me right now.

And doing God’s will equates to being be pure and blameless, to massively reducing the frequency and influence of sin, which is something I yearn for!  And I seek God’s will as I truly want to glorify and praise God!  May He shine through my decisions and actions!!

Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for the today is: 2 Samuel 1-4

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

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45 Comments
  1. sheryl permalink

    Thanks Mark for this blog & website, I’ve been doing what you’re saying………………..getting more into GOd/Jesus…………and its working!!! Today I was very Happy, I believe I found Gods will for my life today! Gods plan that is…………..not my plan. His is totally better!!!

  2. I had a day off from work today and no hot water in my condo. So I was forced to hibernate and take time to really study. I am not very disciplined and sometimes I find it hard. But what an awesome time it is when I just get to it, I am so ashamed of not taking more time with Him. I am in an in depth study of Isaiah with a small group of women which really keeps me accountable. What an awesome study, oh to learn the heart of the Father and the intercession of Moses.

  3. Steve Gill permalink

    Hey Mark…. Last time I looked you already are a Pastor. Our Pastor. Not that you don’t need to take on this small church… but you really have opened a new church and you help us and encourage us everyday. If it’s in your heart to help this Small Church, let it overflow. I completely disagree that “agape love” is discerned. Jesus loved till it hurt. Till it took His life on a cross. And even those who laughed at him got overflowing Agape Love from him. Don’t use your HEAD when it comes to AGAPE LOVE because you are to wield this sword of truth at a moments notice. We need to Get Uncomfortable with our Overflowing Agape Love because people need that to realize that the only way we have that is through the Holy Spirit. And then they will say “Hey, what’s different with Mark today. He seems so FULL of Agape Love.” One time a person in my church said to me “Steve, we already know how you feel…. but some people don’t always want a hug”. Hmmmmmm….. it’s not like I was throwing a rock at there head. I just always feel like loving people and I won’t let anyone take that away from me anymore. It comes straight from the Holy Spirit and that’s all that matters. I say to all of you…. PRAY TODAY to LOVE like there is no tomorrow. You may not have it in you but if you empty yourself to receive this AMAZING GRACE. God will use you with it. Love to all. Peace to all. Mark….. you have a church and I’m glad to say that each day I’m showing up to service now. Thanks for being my Shepherd. I learn something worthwhile every day.

    • Steve thanks for your comment for numerous reasons: for showing me that yes I am a pastor already, and for disagreeing with me. Keep this right! God bless you, Mark

      • Steve Gill permalink

        This is the line that struck me brother…

        But Paul is clear that agape love isn’t about randomly walking down the street giving money out,

        Paul never says that. He says to discern… but he doesn’t say to Not Go and Just Help Someone without thinking. I love you brother and if you needed something, I would give it to you without hesitation and I would give it to you without you knowing I did it.

        If someone is walking down the street with a sign that reads “Need money for food”, I would give that person some money and I wouldn’t need to take time out of my day to read scripture to know that that was the right thing to do.

        That person needs money more than you. Grace. Charity. God.

        I know that you did not mean to hinder anyone’s walk with this statement. But last year I met a homeless man and I spent weeks “ministering to him” only to hear a Pastor say he was going to Beat that man with his shoe. I know that God is in your heart. That’s all that matters. But other people have already written replies to your post saying they give “charitable” haircuts and now they are going to reconsider doing that. That’s not good.

        Love you Mark. You are my Pastor. I thank God for you everyday

      • Pam permalink

        WOW, He hit the nail on the head!!! Yes, I agree and I am new to your blog (new to all blogging – actually)
        Thanks for being here.

  4. cooper permalink

    the teaching were very helpful to me

  5. Magaidh MacKinnon permalink

    Wonderful! To share and also see how God uses others when he wants to speak to us as he is using you. Abundant blessings in your calling and thank you for your ongoing teaching and ministry here each day.

  6. Pratibha permalink

    Hi Mark!
    Its true that love-agape is the cure for everything.
    And that is what God want us to do…He wants us to overflow with His love …I’l pray that God fulfill His will through us…

  7. Alisha Crabtree permalink

    I LOVE THE FACT THAT YOU REALLY HAVE A HEART FOR GOD. AND THAT YOU ARE SO WILLING AND EAGER TO SHARE THE WORD OF GOD. IT IS ENCOURAGING , THE MORE WE LEARN THE MORE WE GROW. THANK YOU AND MAY YOU BE ENCOURAGED AND BLESSED THIS DAY. THANKS AGAIN!!!! YOUR SISTER IN CHRIST .

  8. Larissa Gilbert permalink

    Thanks for sharing your insight with us! I own a small salon, and am often giving my clients discounts or free service at random. I am a single mom of two children, and need to be careful with that. This passage really spoke to me this morning, that I need to dig into the word more, and let God’s word show me financially how to do things better. I have been praying for that! Thanks Mark! Have a great day my friend! “0)

  9. Brenda P permalink

    I realize that you have made your decision, but please listen to your inner spirit and make your discernment when you interview, rather than beforehand. My spirit within me says that you may need to minister to at least someone at this church. Remember, Andrew brought Peter. I don’t know, just that inner spirit, which I have learned to listen to.

  10. Dave Solver permalink

    Hey Mark , I so do appreciate your emails every day i don’t always get into the word ,but that helps to open up yours and learn from you.God Bless you Brother .

  11. Kathy permalink

    I agree with you totally. The fewer things we are involved with the more of us we can give. Otherwise we reach exhaustion and become overwhelmed, resentful, irritated and unable to do the job well. Good for you, Mark. I believe you hear from God. God Bless.

  12. Kathy Wiechert permalink

    Hey, I get it: If we study God’s word and FOCUS on his teachings, THEN we can STAY focused on the plan He has for us. I’ve been getting distracted and ‘flitting’ from one thing to another, simply because I haven’t been focusing on the Holy scriptures. Somewhere along the way, I’ve not gotten my priorities straight. I needed to be consulting God’s word from the beginning, so He could show me the way and keep me on His chosen path. No wonder I’ve been SO confused. OK, now I need to work on loving my neighbors unconditionally–not an easy thing to do, Lord–but if I apply what I’ve learned in the scriptures…

  13. Joy permalink

    I have always thought that doing all you can would fulfill this requirement. But now, like you I am beginning to see that I need to concentrate on a few things and do those few things to the best of my ability until God tells me that He is done with it. and I now need to move on to something else.

    Please keep sharing through this wonderful avenue. It is encouragement for me every day that I read the blog.

    Continue to remain open to the moving of God’s Spirit in your life.

  14. Terri Monn permalink

    Wonderful, wonderful message today, Mark. I had the same reaction as Brenda to your decision to not take on another church part time – I heard brakes screech in my head, and I tho’t, “This church needs agape love. I wonder if he said no too quickly.” Not that I don’t trust your instincts on this – my inner spirit, as Brenda says, was saying “Don’t let him get away – they need him there.”

    I too have a tendency to just randomly give and help where I can and where it seems like the spirit leads me. I haven’t thought about giving my caring more structure. You shed a totally different light on this. Thank you, and keep up the good work – we all appreciate it so much!

  15. Judy permalink

    I don’t know, Mark. Perhaps in this small church, part-time, you may exactly reach the one person at a time you look to reach.
    P.S. I do enjoy your Blog, and hopefully will even learn from it.

  16. Lauryn permalink

    This spoke to me in ways that have moved me very deeply. I am also in the midst of answering Gods call for me. He has been preparing me all my life for this.I completely trust him and love him unconditionally as well.

  17. Barb permalink

    first off, thank you Mark for your wonderful teaching, you have the gift. I dont normally speak up about things that bother me, but I need to now. I feel very strongly,God is telling me, you need to take this part-time Pastor job, they need you right now.

  18. Sister Pam OP permalink

    When I think agape, I think of forgiveness and loving those who harmed us. With agape we can demonstrate supportive concern for those who harmed us. It is the opposite of vengeance. That person does not need to be a close friend with whom we go out for coffee. Rather, it is the person we treat with loving respect even though I was harmed by that person. We wish the best for that person and pray for their welfare and salvation.

  19. Ardith permalink

    Ps. 35:9 Commentary from My Utmost from His Highest; Joy in the Lord,……Do you loe Me/ Then Feed My sheep. There is no choice of service only absolute loyalty to our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry for the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This doesn not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it doesn mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines. …Oswald Chambers

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Thanks Ardith. That is one of favorite books. I try to limit my reading because there is so much junk out there…. but Oswald Chambers certainly worked for The Lord. It couldn’t have been said any better by any comment here.

  20. Dutch Hofstetter permalink

    LOVE IS THE ANSWER! But, remember we cannot love until we take in Jesus Christ unfailing Love, He is true Love, there is no other love, there is only the Lord Jesus Christ Love! His Love conquers all sin and hate! I need to work on loving others, one of my favorite verses is:
    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16

  21. Pam permalink

    How do I get Mark’s teaching & blogging everyday? I want to keep coming back here?
    I did subscribe to this site !!

    Thanks for all the comments – God bless you all

  22. Paul permalink

    I love 2 have more of these

  23. Jackie Self permalink

    To me agape love is more. It’s a sacrificial love. It goes way beyond. My husband and I encountered an individual that to this day I have never seen anyone more hateful in my life. Only a few reasons I see why the Lord has brought this person into our lives. Other than that I still wonder why.. It’s basically over but it is a freshly healed wound. Many lessons came our way and I must admit it was and is hard to pray for this person but we do Right now I personally do it in obedience because my flesh does not want to. I do believe the Lord is slowing showing us.

  24. Lynn Sicard permalink

    I used to be a very judgemental person until God called me to do a street ministry. I knew I couldn’t do a ministry and be judgemental or else I’d do a lot more harm than good. So I shut myself in and searched the word, fasted, and prayed. Then it hit me, I needed to be able to see others as God sees them, cause God looks at everyone through pure unconditional love.So I asked God to allow me to see others through His eyes, and oh what a change. I listened as people opened up to me I began seeing and feeling their pain,their joy, I started seeing their dreams, hopes and desires, and there was no more judging on my part. God had given me the most beautiful gift, He took my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart full of love and compassion. I now talk to and help people who have faced the horrors of childhood abuse as I did, and spousal abuse, and I show them there’s hope, and healing in Jesus.

  25. Steve Gill permalink

    Amen Lynn…. Amen.

  26. Mark,that Agape Love that we talk about is Divine Love which we can only get from above from the very heart of God and are able to give it unconditionally just as the Father does.

    I totally agree with Brenda,Terri and Judy that God has called you to that little church where you are able to minister to His people one at a time.Look at yourself as Jonah,Nineveh repented only after he accepted the call of God.

    Love you lots and pray that God will continue to use you.

  27. Terry permalink

    It’s tough to stay balanced and listening to God without other things getting in the way….and that’s why we have to stay in God’s Word all the time…if we don’t we can very very easily get side tracked or not hear or listen correctly to God’s Will not ours.
    I struggle daily for that balance and staying focused on God and His Son…
    Blessings Mark to you and yours and I wanted to say how much I appreciate your teaching, leading, and sharing.

  28. Abiodun tolulope permalink

    Nice teachins

  29. ah… Very encouraging text. Thanks.

  30. lucy ng permalink

    I can’t help thinking of these words TO BE PURE & BLAMELESS before GOD!!!I seek always to be in this category very careful day by day not to fall into any sin….but when i see many youths are into sin of the flesh …how am I to deal with this?Can I just ignore ??and still think blameless????

  31. Stacy permalink

    Praise God! Last night I decided (for the first time in a long time) to just sit down, pray, and ask God what to read from His Word. He guided me to ! Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. I want to dwell in that passage for several days, picking it apart, meditating on certain aspects on different days, applying it to my life. But I also want to read other passages that are related. I was wondering what I would study tonight when I read this! How perfect! I will be delving deeper into this very passage tonight, Rev. Brown. Thanks for listening to God’s call. 🙂

  32. Becket permalink

    You encourage me through your challenges and real life events.
    Thanks for being a real person lining yourself up with the Word of God. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance b/c I’ve seen what going my way will get me. God speaks through visions but mostly through His Word. In the secret place I hear his gentle voice saying this is the way…go. Thats from your children’s hour… loved it. My grandbaby is 2 but I have saved it for a proper time. God speaks through you. Be blessed.

  33. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Mark ,I am joining you in prayer for the Lord’s will in your life. I come to read your post daily and it is is a real eye opener for me. [ more so a heart opener]. I feel in my heart that, as our brother, Steve Gill said. You are a pastor already for all of us here. We don’t know God’s plans, But I certainly know that you are taking the right steps . Sometimes we end up with something smaller than we thought we were going to do ,but it’s not the small but the great that God will work in you. I heard someone say one time, that working for God pays very little but the retirement benefits are out of this World. I feel in my heart that you will give that agape love where ever the Lord places you. Psalm 21:8 The Lord will guard your coming and going now and foever.

  34. PrayinPatty permalink

    Thank you for sharing the insight the Holy Spirit has graciously given you…I strive for God’s Will and yet at times within my busy life I wonder if I have made the right choice that will lead me down His path…Agapa Oh how I want that!! I want to show agapa to all. I will pray for you as you seek the Lord’s will….Narrow is the path that leads. I am new to this but it is so nice to be connected to fellow believers!!

  35. Johnnie permalink

    For months I’ve been reading a Bible verse clip on facebook. Last night I actually decided to go to your site and take a look. I really like this. I’ve read the Bible through twice and am over whelmed with how God’s opened my eyes and has changed me so much. I’m having foot surgery and will be off work for 3 to 4 months. I’m trying to compile a list of things I can do while off my feet. I will be here daily to read and study God’s word, and am thankful God led me to this site. Thanks so much.

  36. LarrytheWrightman permalink

    Mark,

    Thankful for pastors and Christain’s online. The position where the Lord has placed you has led to a world wide following. A man of God with vision–what a rarity these days. Larry

  37. Karen - Omaha, Ne permalink

    Mark, I like how you share God in your life. I like what others say about your sharing. I am in total agreement about sharing the Love of God. In everything. His agape Love. I pray for this kind of Love. I am so sinful and human and I think, how can I love that person? I shake my head. How can this be done? It is not their in my heart, BUT, I pray for God’s wonderful, healing love to fill my heart too overflowing so I can love His way. I say, ‘Lord, help me to love one another. Put Your Love in me so I can portray Your love. Help me to forgive, because it is not there for me to forgive on my own effort, but help me to forgive.’ It is funny how Loving and Forgiving are so closely connected. I am always asking for more help in loving and forgiving. I truly want to reflect the Savior’s life in my life. That is one of my greatest desires.

    In scripture it says…

    Psalm 37:3-5 (New King James Version)

    3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
    4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
    And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

    5 Commit your way to the LORD,
    Trust also in Him,
    And He shall bring it to pass.

    Oh rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him and He shall give you the desires of your heart. After all that…all I can say is Amen.

  38. Dave Jenkins permalink

    nice job !!

  39. Dana permalink

    I appreciate your Journey Deeper into God and would like to continue reading, however, the spacing is rather close, and I would appreciate it if you would adjust this as it is hard on the eyes. Thankyou, D.

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