Our lesson is called "Call to Love," which is the second part of the previous lesson. In the previous lesson, we talked about becoming vessels of God's anointing and releasing His grace. Today, you need to receive the message that in order to release God's anointing, you must have today's message, which is the Call to Love.
The most important thing about the Call to Love is establishing an intimate relationship. Remember the story of Paul encountering the Lord in Damascus. Paul experienced God's presence and power, and both he and the donkey were knocked to the ground. At that time, Paul asked the Lord two questions: "Who are you, Lord?" and "What do you want me to do?" These two questions are also fundamental questions for Christians. If the church, which is us, wants to operate in the order of the Kingdom of God, these two questions cannot be reversed. Modern churches often reverse this order.
Paul first asked, "Who are you, Lord?" and then asked, "What do you want me to do?" This is a very specific order. Paul placed knowing and recognizing the Lord before serving Him. But in our culture, the order is often reversed, especially in Asian cultures where there is a driving force to make individuals perform. When we lead others, we often urge them to do things in the hope that they will do the same, and then come to know God. If we do not make knowing God the foundation and start serving Him, we cannot operate in the anointing that comes from relationship. Serving in talents and gifts, for example, I have the gift and ability to heal and cast out demons. Wherever I go, I can operate this gift, but it is not because of my relationship with God that this anointing works; it is because I have this gift and can operate this ability. These are different things. So today, our focus is on using gifts and anointing through relationships to expand our service. Because the power of God comes through relationships, and the power that comes from having gifts is not the same thing, do you understand?
Gifts are things that God has already given us, and gifts are like presents. For example, if I give you this iPad, I wouldn't ask for it back the next day because I've already given it to you. This is a gift. God has given everyone gifts and talents, which are distributed by the Holy Spirit according to His will. Whatever the Holy Spirit wants to give to someone, He will give it to them. However, because of our gifts, we can use them to serve the church. For instance, if I have the talent of accounting, it's natural for me to use it to serve the church. This is different from operating in this relationship because of my relationship with God. These are two completely different things. Having something to use and being a daughter in a family where I can use family resources are different, do you understand?
Our service will only become easy through the use of gifts and anointing by building relationships. There is a verse in Ephesians 1:4 that says, "He chose us in him before the creation of the world." God, before the creation of the world, chose us. God loves us so much that He chooses us and calls us. Before the creation of the world, God expressed that He wants to establish a relationship with us. Many people may say that God has chosen me, but in our culture, we may think that we are not worthy to do what God has asked us to do. This kind of thought often arises during our service. For example, during this service, I laid hands on someone and I felt nothing. I have laid hands on people in both Toronto and mainland China, and to me, there was no difference. I even had no reaction, but the person being touched had a completely different reaction. Some people share that they feel a huge electric current or energy coming in, while an elderly mother with a heart disease testified that when I touched her, her heart started beating rapidly and later found that her heart disease was cured. For me personally, there was no difference and no external feeling. When someone with a major illness comes to me, like someone whose hand bones cannot bend, they will have a huge reaction when I touch them, but as a servant, I have no reaction. In such a situation, we may think that we are not worthy when we see miracles happen. We may feel that we cannot do anything, but God can use any vessel, and God will use those who are obedient to Him. No matter what mistakes or failures we have experienced, by God's grace, He can turn our mistakes into miracles.
Once while serving on a journey, I made a mistake. The Holy Spirit reminded me that one person had a problem with their foot that could be healed. However, when I spoke, I mistakenly said that her shoulder needed healing. This was my mistake, but God healed both her foot and her shoulder. This shows that God can turn our mistakes into miracles through His grace, and our past does not define us. Our worth is defined by God's perspective, not by how much we have done or how hard we work, as is often the case in Asian culture. This can lead to a desperate pursuit of education and career advancement, as society defines our worth based on our position. However, God defines our worth differently. He chose us to be His children from the beginning of creation, and our value is inherent in us. When we go out, we are already valuable in God's eyes. What can God do? The answer is that God can do all things. This means that God can do everything, even create the heavens and the earth and all things. We should also be able to do all things when we go out, meaning we can stop everything and command natural disasters to stop. We can also change seasons and times, which is our original image.
I was particularly touched during this trip. Have you ever heard of a testimony in Guiyang? Before we went there, some things happened. The Religious Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Bureau went to the church to monitor it. The pastor was worried and asked for prayer about where to hold the gathering. A month before we went there, I prayed about it and said that I would only be responsible for telling you what I saw, and I didn't care about anything else. What I received was that the place where you gathered must have mountains, water, a bridge, and a half-fence in front of the meeting place, and there must be a red carpet inside the building. The pastor was stunned after hearing this and was in a difficult position to find such a location. With the meeting approaching, I had already flown to China, and I told the pastor that I had shared what I saw, and the rest was up to him. However, no matter what, if the vision comes from God, God will make it happen. Just be patient and wait. The pastor said he couldn't find it and was leaving for Taiwan soon. When he came back from Taiwan, something amazing happened. A sister said to the pastor, "I'll take you to a place." It was a resort with mountains, water, a bridge, and a fence, but no red carpet. The pastor was in a hurry and decided to book it first and then figure out the rest later. He ended up booking the entire resort. When I arrived on the day of the gathering, the red carpet was there at the meeting place. God is truly amazing! God made this happen in a special way. Later, when I shared it with the congregation, their eyes widened. They saw that this was the place God had chosen, and wondered why. It turned out that God had specially chosen the owner of the resort to believe in Jesus. The next day, I saw people outside the venue listening but not coming in. I let them in, but they refused to come in. It turned out that they were the resort owner and staff. We saw that they had booked the entire resort, attracting everyone to come and listen to God's word. On the last day, I led them to believe in Jesus. Therefore, I am very grateful. I saw that God's work and definition of our value are not based on people, but on where God sees our value.
In his letters, Paul mentions that the eyes of our heart need to be opened, do you remember? It is only when the eyes of our heart are opened that we can receive wisdom and revelation. God called Paul not only to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, but also to understand that there are eyes in our heart. This situation often occurs in intercessors, who can understand the eyes of their heart, and these eyes must be able to see what God is doing, with revelation and wisdom.
In Luke 15, there are three examples: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. We find that all three stories in this chapter are talking about the same thing - what was lost in the past is now being found. With an enlightened perspective, we can see that the church, nation, society, and family are all experiencing the same spiritual thing - what was lost in the past must now be found. What is lost in the church? We can see that there is a lot of damage in the church. Do we acknowledge that there is a lot of damage in the church? Yes, we do. This includes many wounded parts in our own lives, many of which are scars brought by the enemy. But the example that God gave us in Luke 15 is to tell us that what was lost in the past needs to be restored, and what needs to be restored in the church is life, healing, and recovery. God comes to the church with such enthusiasm to restore His children, and the first priority is to bind up the wounded and set the captives free. What makes healing complete? Just as Paul said, when the eyes of our heart are illuminated, like a person who is injured but whose eyes are not bright, they do not know that they are injured. Like a divorced person, he does not know how much harm the divorce has caused him. He thinks it is just a social pattern. In the next marriage, he will repeat the same injury. But he will feel that the definition of seeking is different from his previous spouse. However, why does he feel that she is similar to his previous spouse after a period of time? It is because the eyes of his heart are not illuminated, and he does not know that this pattern is a kind of harm. When he cannot see the harm, he cannot deal with it. This is why healing must reach a complete stage - the eyes of the heart must be illuminated.
When we begin to receive God's love, the revelation of love is opened, and love becomes real. The first lesson teaches us what love is - God - and the revelation of love is a verb that must be demonstrated in our relationships with others. Love cannot be expressed while hiding in the mountains, as in the mountains we can only love ourselves and not allow others to feel our love. When the revelation of love is opened, firstly, it brings us freedom and healing, and secondly, it empowers us to help others find release. All of these things are not achieved by effort, but by grace, which means they are given freely. Following Paul's order of asking the Lord, he first emphasizes "Who are you?", placing the knowledge of God and establishing a relationship with Him first, and then asking the Lord "What can I do for you?" and putting service second. Only when you truly understand the revelation of love can you find rest in love. When you find rest in love, you no longer need to demonstrate it, and instead, this rest can bring anointing. This teaches me deeply, and every time before I serve, I tell my colleagues, including this time going to the mainland, that I need time to rest before the Lord. Your schedule should give me some time, and don't arrange my schedule too tightly. However, I found that time was still arranged very tightly this time. I found that when the schedule is too tight, the things poured out are easily dried up because what is needed to pour out during service is not physical exhaustion but spiritual exhaustion. Every time I serve, I feel that my spirit and body are separated, clearly as if my body is walking while my spirit is hanging in the air. It is difficult to describe, but the spirit is easily exhausted because serving people requires the power of the spirit, not the power of the body. The power of the body is only necessary when you are sitting or standing, but serving requires pouring out from the spirit. Because you never know what will suddenly happen during service.
This is a serving experience in Shanghai. The person being served was a girl with a larger build, about one and a half times my size. When I first started serving her, there was a sudden release, and the enemy suddenly manifested. When I touched her, she went down completely, and as I held her, she grabbed onto me and tried to throw me down with her. So, in the process of serving, you have to be very sensitive in your spirit, otherwise you really don't know what might happen, and the next thing you know, something else might happen. When I was in Shanghai, because I had an additional training session added while I was there, I was invited to go to a second venue to serve. That was an extra session, as I had already done three or four special meetings in Shanghai. Then I met a pastor there who followed me for two days and watched me serve, and afterwards she invited me to go to their venue to serve. Their venue was filled with intercessors from all over the country. When you serve in that kind of environment, the anointing of God comes very quickly. When it comes very quickly, you have to be very sensitive in your spirit. You don't even have time to call out, why? Because there are too many people, and when you lay hands on the first person, the person next to them falls down, and then there's a rapid succession of people falling down. Those who come after can't even keep up. It's because the anointing is too strong. You can see that you have to be very sensitive in your spirit, otherwise you don't know what kind of situation might arise at that time. There's no way to estimate this part.
Okay, let's take a look at Exodus 19:6, "And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel." Look at this sentence, who are you? We are. In the book of Exodus, you are all the people of Israel, right? What did God say to them? All of you Israelites shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. This was God's original plan for the Israelites. That everyone would be his priest and a holy nation. However, we later found out that only the Levites were set apart as priests for the Israelites, right? But in these scriptures, what did God clearly say? All of you Israelites shall be to me a kingdom of priests. It wasn't until Exodus 20: after that we saw the tribe of Levi designated as priests. Prior to that, because God said, "And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests," who was he referring to? All of the people of Israel. This was God's original plan and intention for Israel. But why later did only one tribe come out as priests, and not from the other tribes?
Now, let's look at Exodus 20:18-19, "Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.'" Did not all the Israelites witness God's miracles and wonders with their own eyes during the time of the Exodus? And God wanted the entire Israelite nation to be his priests. Do you know what it was like to be a priest in Israel at that time? You would tie a rope around your foot, and then enter into the innermost part, the Holy of Holies. If God was pleased, what would happen to you? You would come out alive. But if God was not pleased, what would happen to you? He would strike you dead, right? But you must understand that when a priest entered the Holy of Holies, it meant that he could speak with God face to face. This was a very intimate relationship. Otherwise, everyone would have to listen to God speak outside of the tabernacle, unable to hear, right? What does it indicate? It indicates an intimate relationship with God.
OK God, earlier we mentioned Exodus 19:6, which says that you have chosen the Israelites to be a kingdom of priests. Does this mean that God selected the entire nation of Israel to be priests? That's right, isn't it? God chose the entire nation of Israel to enter into an intimate relationship with him through being priests. However, what is recorded in Exodus 20:18-19? The Israelites were afraid and chose to distance themselves from God. So, even though they saw God's miraculous signs and experienced them not only for 40 years but also throughout their lives, what did they do at a critical moment? They drew a line in the sand and told Moses to be the intermediary between them and God, saying that they didn't want such an intimate relationship with God because it was too terrifying. Why? Because if they got too close and made a mistake, they would be killed. It was safer to keep their distance. So, what did they say? We don't want this kind of relationship, just go and be our intermediary. You go and talk to God on our behalf, and then tell us what God said. So the people stood far away while Moses approached the darkness where God was, as described in Exodus 20:21. This is a very interesting example that we see in Exodus 20:21.
In Exodus 20:18, the Israelite nation had originally been called by God to be a priesthood for the whole nation, because being a priest meant having an intimate relationship with God and entering into the Holy of Holies. But what did they do? Instead of accepting the call to be priests and having such an intimate relationship with God, they rejected it. They chose to obey God, which was not wrong, and later on, they were very obedient to God, weren't they? They also witnessed God's miracles and even experienced them, but they didn't want such a close relationship with God. That was the situation of the Israelites at that time. For them, it was enough to see God's miracles and to choose to obey. When there is no intimate relationship, can we still see God at work? Yes, we can, because the Israelites also saw God's miracles and wonders, and God could also use them as vessels to perform miracles, couldn't He? However, it quickly became a matter of relying only on gifts to do things. If we don't rely on an intimate relationship, what will be the consequence? The consequence is that as we see more and more miracles, we will lose interest in God. Has this ever happened? Yes.
When we first saw the gold dust, I realized that our ministry had a characteristic. When we first saw the gold dust falling, what happened? We were very excited, right? Many people were excited, right? After seeing it a few times, we no longer feel anything. Is that so? The reason is the same as what I just talked about. We are like the Israelites. We only value what? We just obey God and that God works through us better. Seeing the miracles of God is actually great, but we are not willing to walk in an intimate relationship with Him. Because without a relationship, you cannot sustain passion and enthusiasm. Is it because there is no relationship? I just saw it too many times! It's like watching exorcism and healing. The first time is very exciting, right? You see how the demon was expelled, many people are very excited, and I see everyone rushing forward and don't know why. They even refuse to step back. But the second and third times are indifferent, and gradually it becomes nothing. What is the reason? It is because of what I just shared. So we see that it is not just about obeying God or being able to perform miracles. The key is what? An intimate relationship with God. This is the anointing that can flip the kingdom of God through service. Otherwise, you are just serving superficially with gifts and cannot last. You will also get tired of seeing it too many times.
But in Exodus 33, Moses was different. He had a different desire from the Israelites, which was to establish an intimate relationship with God. Therefore, he actively asked God to bring him into a deeper intimate relationship. In Exodus 33:11, and all the way to verses 32-33, we see that he asked God for one thing: to show him His glory. So you see, Moses had a great desire in his heart, which was to see God. The Israelites knew that if they saw God carelessly, what would happen? They would be killed in the Most Holy Place, right? If you committed a small sin on that day and forgot to confess, you would be killed. It was a dangerous thing. But Moses was different. What was inside Moses? He was very brave and not afraid of death. Even if I die, I still want to see You. So there was a great longing for God inside him, which was that I want to see Your face, and I want to establish an intimate relationship with You. Therefore, God showed him grace to the extent that he could see God's back. Because at that time, he saw God's back, not His face. Seeing the Father's face was impossible, as one would be killed if they did so.
Do you see why God desires the entire nation, the whole country, to become his priests? He longs for his people to enter into an intimate relationship with him, like in the beginning in the Garden of Eden. Do you remember what the relationship between God and Adam and Eve was like in the Garden of Eden? They talked and discussed what to eat, like the fruit trees and birds. It was a give-and-take relationship, which was the initial relationship God created for humans. If we can't live out this kind of relationship now, there is a problem with our lives. I'm sorry to say that I've challenged many people in many venues about their relationship with God. Many people say they are friends of God, or they have a bridegroom-bride relationship with God. I ask them, "Do you really know what a friend is?" A friend is someone who has give-and-take. If you say something, they'll immediately respond with how to do it. If you don't like a piece of clothing, they'll tell you, "Let's go to another store and look." This is a true friendship. So I challenge them to examine their conscience and ask themselves, "Is this how I interact with God every day?" If not, they should stand up and repent. Many people stood up, and I thank God for that.
So what is the key point that can be seen? It is that God wants to restore the relationship he had with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That is why he called the entire Israelite nation, saying that they should all become priests. However, the Israelites were afraid because they knew the consequences of being priests, which was something that Moses himself could not achieve as well. But Jesus achieved this when he was crucified. When Jesus said, "It is finished" on the cross, something important happened. The curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn, which means what? The curtain was actually separating the intimate relationship between people and God, and it was forever torn. The curtain that separated the intimate relationship between people and God was torn, so when Moses asked for it back then, it was very difficult for him to achieve, but today we can easily achieve it. So we can think about how significant this is for us, right? Moses spent a lot of effort just to do what? To establish an intimate relationship with God. But today, because Jesus died on the cross, we can easily enter the Holy of Holies and then freely communicate with God and the Holy Spirit. We see that the Israelites, like Moses, saw God and saw the miracles, but chose to stop there. They chose not to enter into the miracles of God, so they quickly lost interest in them.
What is the purpose of knowing about miracles and wonders? When we focus on the miracles and wonders themselves, we forget what the original purpose was. The original purpose was to have God to reveal His miracles. As we have shared before, God came down to earth to let us taste His kingdom and to show us how His kingdom operates on earth. This is why spiritual gifts occur in the church. The spiritual gifts occur in the church so that we, as God's children, can taste His kingdom. And what is the most important purpose of God's kingdom being revealed? It is to point to God Himself. Do you know the purpose of miracles and wonders? It is to know God. This is the most important pointer of miracles and wonders occurring on earth. It points to God. However, we often focus solely on the miracles and wonders and forget their purpose, which is to point to God. We need to go back to the beginning of knowing God. Israel spent 40 years living in miracles and wonders, right? During the day, there was a pillar of cloud, and at night, there was a pillar of fire. Sometimes quails would fall from the sky, and sometimes manna would fall from the sky. For 40 years, their shoes and clothes didn't wear out. These are all miracles and wonders. There were also various plagues, and the copper snake stopped the plague, the earth split open, and the rebellion was quelled. These kinds of miracles and wonders happened every day in their lives, but they couldn't walk on the path that God originally planned for them, right? So the original purpose of God was to lead the Israelites to know Him through miracles and wonders. However, the Israelites did not understand this, so they only stayed in the miracles and wonders and did not move forward.
Shall we continue and find out what our hearts truly need? To be loved, you may answer immediately. Anything else? Everyone yearns for love because that's how God designed us from the beginning. Anything else? To be given various benefits, to be respected, to be valued, all answered well. It's true that the deepest human need is to know that we are loved, to give love, and then we will find fulfillment. Nothing else can satisfy us. I know I am loved, and then I can give love. However, we also know that our love is accompanied by what? Selfishness, right? Selfishness, so love can only come from God, and then pour out. Only then is this love limitless, right? So when we give love to God, we receive love from God. Do you understand? When we give love to God, we receive love from God, but the premise is that God loved us first. It's not what we give Him, but God died on the cross and first gave love to us. Then we can respond, and we receive love from God when we give love to Him.
This is a positive cycle. In this positive situation, let's go back to the commandments. What is the greatest commandment in the Bible? The first one is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, right? And what is the second? To love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments are the summary of all the Law and the Prophets, as written in Matthew 22:37-40. Now, as we just discussed, serving only with our spiritual gifts can be dangerous. Why? Because eventually you will no longer be interested in God, especially if you've seen too much. If all you've seen on your journey is healing from diseases and miraculous signs, you will no longer be excited, why? It becomes ordinary, because you didn’t cultivate an intimate relationship. What do we do when we are in a relationship? Interaction. Only in an interactive relationship can you maintain long-term enthusiasm, right? If you're not in an interactive relationship, you won't have enthusiasm, and you'll become a worker, even spiritual gifts can be treated as a job. I lay my hands on you and your leg is healed, got it, and then you heal others like I did, okay, it becomes a job. But it's different when you walk in an intimate relationship. Different. Only the anointing that comes out of an intimate relationship has the power to change nations and release the power of God.
The key to releasing the great power of God to others is to first receive it yourself. If you haven't tried it, how do you know how to operate and release this power? Right? Okay, let's look back at the great commandment. Eleven of Jesus' disciples, the Jews, were later hanged, right? The eleven disciples were the ones who could overturn the kingdom, right? There are records of their achievements, right? So, what did they rely on to overturn the kingdom? They relied on their experiences of walking with Jesus at that time. Do you remember? So, if you truly receive this message from your heart today, you will know how to overturn the kingdom.
Let's look back at the Great Commandment. What is the first aspect? You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, what is "with all your heart"? In English, it's called "heart." What is "heart" in this context? Some say that the heart is life, and in Proverbs 4:23, there is a phrase that says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." The heart is not the same as the mind, which comes afterwards, but rather it is about giving your all. Where is this heart? Yes, we often say that our heart needs to be kept clean and focused. This allows us to reject all improper money, status, wrong relationships, immorality, addictions, bitterness, and criminal acts. What does the heart really mean? God speaks about it on many levels, and in this passage, you must go back and read it, or else you will have talked half a day about "loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength", but how do I love Him? What is the heart? The heart is to focus our minds on loving God, do you remember how God called David? "A man after my own heart." David became a man after God's own heart not because of his military prowess, right? His military exploits were not as impressive as Joshua's, nor was it because he was extremely obedient, when it comes to obedience, he couldn't compare to Mary, who broke the jar of perfume. And of course, it was not because of his noble character, right? If his character was noble, he wouldn't have killed someone's husband. So why was David called a man after God's own heart? Because he had a resolute determination to love God, even though he couldn't necessarily carry it out, he had made up his mind to love God and was able to continue in that direction. God valued his heart and his determination to love God, which is why God called him a man after His own heart.
So we mentioned to give our hearts wholeheartedly, someone has already answered online, and they answered very well, means to love emotionally. Emotions and feelings means our hearts, and someone has already answered here, it is our emotions and feelings. When we focus on God, it will change our hearts. When we focus on God, it is God who changes our hearts, not us. If you are determined to love God, the Holy Spirit will change our hearts and minds. We see that emotions have a very important influence in our lives. God wants to obtain this part of our lives. This is what Proverbs mentions: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." We should know that the Christian faith is a continuous experience of love with Jesus. The faith of Christians is to interact with God constantly. Unless we experience God's love, we cannot stand firm no matter how passionate, dedicated, or righteous we are. If you do not experience God's love, no matter how passionate, dedicated, or righteous you are, you cannot stand firm in the end. Because you do not have experience, you only have determination and slogans. You can only persist for a period of time. Later, you cannot hold on because there is no interaction, just like a couple's relationship. We can make vows and pledges at the beginning, but without the interaction of love in our daily lives, we will wither away and cannot persevere. Our relationship with God is the same way.
The second aspect is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, right? Let me start with loving God with all your soul, which is the second level, talking about it in reverse. What is the soul? It is comprised of thoughts, character, emotions, and willpower. Character and personality are all part of the soul. So, loving God with all your soul means using your soul to love God. What does the soul become? I have shared before that the soul has five levels. You have to work on all five levels to have a belief system that aligns with God's will. You have to resist the work of the enemy on all five levels until negative things become positive. What is the most important step in turning negative things into positive things? Humility. Why can people change or want to change? It is because they are willing to humble themselves. Negative and passive expressions are produced by non-Godly belief systems. In other words, negative and passive emotions are produced by belief systems that do not align with God's will. If all the belief systems that belong to God should be positive and proactive, then when we have negative and passive emotions, we will find that there must be a root cause within us that prevents us from having positive expressions. This is caused by non-Godly belief systems, which can be caused by many reasons, including past injuries, parental cultural backgrounds, educational backgrounds, intimate relationships, and life experiences. We have talked about the principle of the tree-of-life before. When you find that you have negative belief systems, you must go to God to find the root cause. Otherwise, you will not be able to move forward. In the future, non-Godly belief systems will cause you to stop progressing. Like I shared before, I used to have a wrong idea that being called to be a pastor or a preacher would lead to poverty. This is a non-Godly belief system that I had. The reason why I thought this way was that I believed everything I saw with my own eyes. However, what I saw with my own eyes was not necessarily true. Therefore, God corrected my belief system and later let me know that the result of being poverty when becoming a priest was because they missed the importance of cultivating an intimate relationship with God. The soul often wants to do one thing, which is to define where your identity lies and how much your worth is. This is what the soul likes to do the most, right? If I spend all day thinking about what I should do, where is my value? Okay, as we mentioned earlier, our identity is not determined by external circumstances or factors, but by God. Our value lies in how God sees us. This can lead to exhaustion when we can't correctly identify our own identity status. We work tirelessly with a wrong mindset to achieve success, leading to burnout later on. If we don't solve this problem, what will happen to our hearts? We will often feel burdened and stressed, which can feel like a heavy load on our shoulders. But what did Jesus say? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." However, if our souls cannot define our identity correctly, we will work tirelessly, and then we will have a burden, and we will not be able to release it before God. Okay, this is where understanding our nature is essential; our souls must come to love the Lord.
What did we mention in the third aspect? It's the mind, also known as the "意念" in Chinese. The mind is very powerful and can easily be associated with mental images. It represents our willpower, decision-making ability, and choices, which deeply affects our perceptions of things. If we fill our minds with love for our loved ones or things that are right, we can love Jesus. However, if our minds are filled with wrong perceptions, we cannot love God. The mind has a channel that deeply affects our ability to love. This is because many things in our lives, the things we see, are all represented by images that are collected in our minds and then processed into our thoughts. So when we see something, our brain processes it and forms a perception, which enters our mind. Our reaction to an event is reflected through our past experiences. Jesus exposed the immoral spirit that operates in the mind in the Bible, and how it affects us. He mentioned the issue of lust, which is mental images that are processed in the brain and then rooted in the mind, affecting how we respond to events. This is why God mentioned in the book of Job that we need to make a covenant with Him concerning our minds. This is the third aspect mentioned in the "盡意", which means to love the Lord your God with all your mind.
The fourth aspect mentioned is effort and strength, which is called "Strength" in English. In our society, we explain strength in many ways. Money can explain it, time can explain it, physical strength can explain it, influence can explain it, and self-protection ability can explain it. What does this mean? It means that a person's strength can be demonstrated through money, time, physical strength, influence, and self-protection ability. So in these areas, if you want to show that you are making an effort to love God, you may work hard to earn money and donate to the church. You can also spend time spreading the gospel and doing volunteer work, using your relationships to influence others and complete God's plan. This is what we humans think: I want to make every effort to love God. When you see this word, people will naturally react this way. I spend all my time, money, physical strength, and relationships for what? I want to return to rest, and you will gain strength by being quiet and at peace. Not by relying on power or talent, but by relying on my spirit, things can be accomplished. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. When God mentions strength, what does He use? Peace and tranquility. What does rest mean? It means to wait. You will gain strength by being quiet and at peace with God, which is what the Bible means by making every effort to love God. It's not what we think, "I spend all my time, I spend all my money, I spend everything I have." No! Truly making every effort to love God is reflected in the Bible and in these verses: resting in God. We may ask, "Doesn't God give people abilities?" He does. People are made in God's image, and their abilities are also given by God. But there are many things that God needs people to cooperate with before He intervenes; otherwise, He will not force His way into your domain. Oh, what does God want from people? Humility? It means giving up your own abilities and relying on God, but not to make you powerless, nor to tell you not to learn, not to understand, not to do anything, and that prayer alone can solve problems. If we are extreme, we will think what? "I just need to pray and not do anything else." No. You need to pray and work at the same time. This is clearly stated in the Book of Nehemiah, where you need to defend while working. And God's value lies in His own ability. However, God also requires people to voluntarily humble themselves and lower their abilities so that God's power can lead us. Because someone who considers themselves smart cannot humble themselves, it is difficult for them to accept help from others, let alone from God. Another objective factor is the environment. People cannot control environment, having good luck, a favorable environment, and opportunities are beyond their control. Stronger individuals are better equipped to handle the objective environment compared to weaker ones, allowing them to minimize the impact and make use of the environment. Voluntary humility towards God is the key to achieving breakthroughs. I will repeat this again, voluntary humility towards God is the key to achieving breakthroughs. When a person humbles themselves towards God, admitting that God's abilities exceed their own, only then can they achieve breakthroughs. These are the four aspects I have discussed.
The last point is also very important. I will talk about the last point now. Today, we had two lessons combined, and the last point is to love others as yourself. Loving others as yourself, just like loving God, is also a commandment we must follow. To be able to love others, we must first learn to be loved. We cannot give something we do not have to others. If we have not been loved before, it is difficult for us to love others, and love cannot flow out. Therefore, we must first learn how to accept love from others, which is something we are lacking. How do we accept the love that others give us? In Asian culture, this is something that is hard to achieve, which means that we are weak. I do not owe anyone any favors, but this kind of thinking is not in line with God's will. I am afraid of owing others, so I refuse to accept their love. It is not that I am afraid, but I am afraid that I will not be able to repay it in the future. I do not think I can give you the same amount of love that you give me. To be able to accept love from others, you must first feel that you are lovable. How many of us do not feel that we are lovable? There must be some, right? Only when we are able to be loved can we accept love. There are many ways to accept love, just like there are many ways to give love. Quality time is one way to give love. Physical touch is another way. When you hug your child and give them positive and encouraging words, or give them gifts or serve them, you are expressing love. We are often willing to give gifts, but it is difficult to express love through physical touch, words, or quality time. This is a limitation in Asian culture.
There are many reasons why someone might not be able to accept love. I can give you some examples, one of which is a poor self-image. What does that mean? It means feeling insecure, among other things. Another reason could be having a distorted self-image, which stems from where? Do you know where it comes from? It comes from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When people start having standards for others, what happens? I'm sorry, I have standards for you. Once standards are established, competition, pride, insecurity, contempt, judgment, bias, and jealousy arise. What causes all of this? Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When people realize they have done something wrong, because humans have knowledge of what is good, they will use doing good to correct and make up for their mistakes. You could not have true freedom from the beginning! What about people who become proud because of applause? Do they exist? Some people become insecure and angry because of criticism, right? Some people do good to please others, right? And there are those who base their self-worth on the judgment and comments of others, right? What about people who refuse to accept failure? They exist, right? And what about those who try to please God by doing good? Do they exist? Some people expect God to reward them when they perform well, but they fear punishment when the environment is not good, right? This is one of the reasons why someone cannot accept love: their self-image is distorted.
The second reason for not being able to accept love is due to the influence of cultural background, family upbringing, life experiences, and the six root causes! Chinese culture values humility, right? Humility is not the same as being self-abasing, right? Humility and self-denial of self-worth are two different concepts, right? Humility affirms the self, and then voluntarily lowers oneself for the sake of the group and others, while denying the self is to degrade one's own image, right? This is primarily what Chinese culture is about, often saying things like "I am a worm and can't get up," which belittles oneself. There are also some family backgrounds and life experiences that contribute to this, including favoring sons over daughters, competing for the family's honor, and the idea of having children to provide for old age, which contradicts biblical concepts! These are also factors that prevent us from accepting love. When we want to love others as ourselves, we must first realize that we ourselves are lovable and capable of being loved, because what we do not have, we cannot give. You must learn to receive first, and then give. Otherwise, you cannot give. We just talked about some of the reasons why we cannot accept love. When we realize that we cannot receive love, we must also return to God's presence, heal our hearts, accept the ways that God reveals and leads us, and understand that we are loved. I'm going to end now, let's watch a video.
Video: My Child. Perhaps you do not know me yet, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you stand up. I am familiar with all your ways, even the hairs on your head are numbered. Because you are made in my image, and your life and movement depend on me. I knew you before you were born, even before you were conceived. You were not a mistake or an accident, for all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You were fearfully and wonderfully made in your mother's womb, and I have been with you since before you were born. To those who don't know me, I feel sad and disappointed, but I'm not easily angered because I am love, and my desire is to love you. The reason is simple, you are my child, and I am your father. I can provide for you more than your earthly father could ever provide because I am your perfect father, and all good and perfect gifts come from me. I am your provider, and I supply everything you need. My thoughts toward you are of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. I will always love you, and my thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore. I rejoice over you with singing, and I will never stop pouring out my grace upon you. You are my treasured possession, and I will diligently cultivate you with my whole heart. I will teach you great and profound things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. If you delight in me, I will give you the desires of your heart because it is I who work in you, both to will and to act according to my good purpose. I can do far more for you than you could ever imagine. I am your greatest encourager and your comforting father in all your trials. When you are brokenhearted, I am near to you, like a shepherd carrying a lamb. I will hold you close to my heart, and one day I will wipe away all your tears and take away all your pain in this world. I am your Father, and I love you, just as I love my son Jesus. In Jesus, my love for you is made known. He is the radiance of my glory and the exact representation of my being. Jesus came into the world to show that I am for you, not against you, and I do not count your sins against you. His death restored our relationship, and it was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I can do anything for you to have my love as your heavenly father. If you accept the gift my son Jesus Christ has given you, you are accepting me, and nothing can separate you from my love. Go home, for I will rejoice in your repentance in heaven. I have always been your father, and will always be your father. My question is whether you are willing to become my child. I am waiting for you here. Love, your heavenly Father, the Almighty God.