Be Ye Love Driven by Janet Ljutich
Friday we had an incredible Bible study. Pastor Don let Janet share her testimony of what God is doing in certain issues of her life. It is incredible to see how God works in people’s lives. Listening to how God reaches into a life and changes us can be very helpful in our own personal walks with God. God is awesome! The testimony was beautiful, heartfelt, and impacting. We all came away with a greater understanding of God’s love, peace, and how we can use the Scriptures to let God guide us in doing what He knows we need to be doing in our lives. (At the end Janet told us that she did not use a concordance to look up scriptures, that these scriptures God showed her over time – this testimony covers many months of God working in her life.) I thank her for being open and transparent and sharing her journey with us. I know that I did not perfectly get down all of her testimony, I got down as much as I could. When I show it to her, if she says I have made any mistakes I will correct them.
Janet began by sharing a song by Katherine Troccoli: I Call Him Love
(c) 2007 By Sigitas Lyrics
After we worshipped with this song, Janet told us that He wants to touch all of us with His love. She brought us to Daniel 4:1-3 Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
Janet told us that we are all captive by different things. Captive people identify with other captives. She grew up in a house that had lots of anger, not so much love. So she could not understand love or receive love in her life. She sought a deeper peace of the Lord and met with hurdles and obstacles to that peace. She would get more trust in the Lord, but then obstacles would come her way.
God told her she had to love her family more deeply. It can be a struggle to love someone you perceive as undeserving. She pointed out that at times she has been critical of her husband and daughter, and realized that that was not loving them with the love of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:20-26 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
She said that she realized that you had to PURSUE peace and righteousness. You can be held captive by the devil, and you would stay bound to him if you kept doing things on your own. If we seek God and pursue righteousness, then we will be sanctified. We will come to our senses. All our answers are right here: Janet pointed to the Bible.
We can be loving the wrong things, For example we can love being negative and critical. But love is unconditional like the agape love of Jesus.
Psalm 4:1-5 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, Will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
God was dealing with Janet’s anger, reminding her to be angry and not sin. Having a pre-teenage daughter, there were times when angry words were said and the situation would escalate. (Heather’s note, having three teenagers I fully understand that, and these lessons spoke very strongly to me.) She wrote Psalm 4:1-5 (see above) on a piece of paper and kept it on her refrigerator. When the situation would escalate, she gave the paper to her daughter, sent her to her room to read the verses two times and pray, then they would talk. Inevitably their talk later, after the time with the Word and Prayer was more peaceful. We want to give Him the glory and when we are not kind we are not giving God the glory.
She pointed out that she wanted to be, as verse three states, set apart for God as godly. And in order to do this, the next verse, verse 4 was crucial, to not be angry, to not lash out.
She told the story about the boy who spoke words in anger and his father sent him outside to nail a nail into a fence post every time he had an angry word. When he finally had mastered his anger, then his father had him pull out the nails from the fence post and he saw the destruction that the nails made in the wood. Janet pointed out that angry and mean words put holes in people’s hearts.
In this Psalm the secret is to seek God out and He will answer. When we are angry we are to meditate on God, and let Him be the one who speaks through you. Lord, you are my righteousness, and I trust you. If we are faithful, God will be faithful to us.
BE YE LOVE DRIVEN
Mature faith is love driven. Love is a strong liking for someone, passionate affection, loving, well intended, kind. We are called to love one another. Love is not dependant upon whether or not we FEEL like loving someone. But we CHOOSE to love someone regardless of our feelings.
When we realize the love that our abba father has for us, we are inspired to share that love with others. God’s love for us was manifested while we were still sinners, He sent His son as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
We want to strive for excellence in our lives.
Psalm 91 talks about abiding in the presence of God. If we abide in Him, we rest.
Psalm 92:1-4 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High: to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night; On an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumph in the works of Your hands.
What is good is that the Lord gives us the desires of our heart. So when we desire what He wills, He fulfills it.
Janet then mentioned that God dealt with her about her caffeine addiction. (Heather’s note, God deals with us where He thinks we need to work on our lives, and it is very individual). Janet mentioned that because of going to school, her work and her family she had convinced herself that she needed coffee for energy, and she drank about two pots of coffee a day. She tried to stop the addiction on her own, but was only able to cut down on the drinking of caffeine. And when situations were tough or hectic she would justify what she was doing.
One day at church the Holy Spirit touched her very deeply and she felt a deep peace within her. She was someone who pretty much ran when she moved, and after she got up from the touch of the Holy Spirit she was walking very slowly and calmly. People noticed the change in her usual behavior.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.
Quieting with His love was a key for Janet. She prayed to receive the fullness of His love.
Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (16) that He would rant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, (17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–(19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Verse 17 is the key, being rooted and grounded in Love. LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION of what is going on. If we know the love of Christ, we can conquer for He has conquered, and we know the FULLNESS OF GOD. She realized that she needed the fullness of God.
Janet had prayed Ephesians 3 for different reasons, but had not picked up on the Key of love and fullness. We need to reach out and He will strengthen us with His Holy Spirit. (Heather’s note, that is what is so awesome about the Bible and studying the Bible with others, we get to see the same verses from different points of view, and things that we miss or gloss over another can point out, the scriptures are so alive with meaning as we keep reading and seeking Him.)
So God was dealing with her regarding fullness
Ephesians 4:13-16 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ–from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Within our flesh we are never perfect, we can only be perfect in HIM. And speaking the truth IN LOVE. There is no better way to encourage and edify than to speak in love.
Ephesians 4:29-30 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
We are all sealed by God. And we do have to watch what words come out of our mouths, that they edify and encourage.
Ephesians 5:26-27 (The Bride of Christ) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having sport or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
God was taking Janet deeper, wanting to sanctify and cleanse her with the Word of God. When we go to the deep place with God we can be used by God. We have to rise up first in love and be giving love and that gives us a peace that passes all understanding.
Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We will not be disappointed by what we see, for love is tangible. We can see it and feel it. After working things out in our lives, God puts a seal on it.
So, through her prayer and work in the Word Janet was brought to a point where she could give caffeine to the Lord. The flesh was so used to the caffeine habit, so her flesh had to die to the caffeine. But satan was tricky. Janet replaced coffee with chai tea not realizing that it also had caffeine. One girl who babysat for her was telling Janet that she started her morning with a tea called “Awake” and then went to bed after drinking a tea that caused her to rest. Janet started thinking about the Awake tea, but the Holy Spirit put it into her heart not to do that.
She kept drinking the more calming teas, which affected her moods and attitude. At one point she had a lot of papers to write, and talked herself into a cup of coffee only to be unable to drink the whole amount. The Holy Spirit had tried to intervene in that. The milk at the coffee shop was curdled, so she had to get a second cup without curdled milk. And she found it humorous that even after the coffee, when she needed to stay up and write a paper, she was tired and went to bed at 7 in the evening. The coffee did not work. She found that she had far more energy drinking the herb teas in obedience to God than she ever had with the coffee.
satan is deceptive. Janet was seeking to purify herself for the Lord, and he kept trying to get her to break this.
I mentioned to Janet that the coffee was like Daniel 1 where Daniel and the three Israelites “purposed” in their heart not to eat the rich foods from the king’s table.
GOD IS LOVE, and He loves us very much.
1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We need God, and by His Holy Spirit we are able to gain a victory over what God has put in our hearts to change. It was with the Holy Spirit’s help that Janet was able to free herself from coffee. She learned how to rest in Him, that it wasn’t by her work or effort, but with the help of God. She also mentioned that she prays first thing in the morning. You need to get into alignment with the Spirit of God.
Then God led Janet to verses about His love for us.
1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Revelation 2:4 (Jesus speaking) Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Even before I knew Him, He loved me. Even before I was born He loved me. He first loved us.
Psalm 145:20 The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins
Janet shared that she used to be hypercritical of her daughter. If she made her bed, Janet found the wrinkles in the cover. If she cleaned a room, Janet found the things that were not cleaned. She realized from the verses that God was giving her that she had to accept her daughter for who she is, just like God accepted us for who we were. He loved us before we knew Him, while we were still sinners. He loves us for who we are. That change in attitude about accepting people for who they are impacted her relationship with her daughter and husband. The changes in her were beginning to be noticed by those around her.
Then Janet told us God told her that she did not have the right to be selfish. If Jesus was selfish He may not have decided to go to the cross. That she had to give herself for others.
To illustrate her point, she said that she has a dog poem on her refrigerator. (Heather’s comment, I wonder what other gems are on her refrigerator, I suspect they are great.)
Here is the poem:
That is how God loves us, and we want to love Him to the fullest of our ability.
So Janet started treating her daughter as the beautiful girl that she is, and one day her daughter had the choice to have a sleepover with friends or to go out to dinner with her mom. She chose spending time with her mom. (Heather’s note, what a testimony about the power of love.)
Janet also mentioned that the caffeine addiction that she had was being observed by her daughter. And that we need to set examples for our kids. Whether or not the kids will say this, they really want to be like us, which means that if we have any addictive behavior the kids will begin to model it, wanting to be like us. So Janet is happy her daughter sees that caffeine is not something Janet wants in her life anymore.
Love is sacrificially giving of one’s self for other’s benefit.
One can correct another, but what is important is HOW you say what you are saying. Are you speaking out of a sacrifice of love or from a spirit of criticism? When we sacrifice our fleshly natures, the flesh wants us to return to the old ways. God helps us to do what He knows is in our best interests, we can’t do it on our own.
But what God wants for us is not just love, but also PEACE.
We started running short of time so Janet went over the other verses important to her testimony, but with less commentary.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love or Christ compels us, because we judge thus that if One died for all, then all died.
The love of Christ compels us.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Hold our tongues, watch what we say, and follow His commandments. His ways will bring us to peace.
Psalm 34:11-14 Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Actively pursue peace, not just wait.
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.
Psalm 34-17-18 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Humbling, brings love, inner peace, and it is a peace that passes all understanding.
She talked about an altar call that she went forward for to help her with her need for peace. After that someone came to hug Janet and told her that she had been praying for her by name. Sometimes people are praying for us that we aren’t aware are praying for us.
Psalm 85:8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak. For He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
We have to be careful not to turn back to our old ways, to be in God’s peace requires us to work at it, to pursue it.
Then Janet read a passage from the open Bible,
Galatians 5:22 Joy is love’s strength, peace is love’s security, patience is love’s endurance, kindness is love’s conduct, goodness is love’s character, faithfulness is love’s confidence, gentleness is love’s humility, ad self control is love’s victory.
2 Timothy 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
We have to follow His will.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-25 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.
When God begins a work in us, He will complete it. He is faithful. The Key is that we do not have to do it ourselves, God is faithful, He will do it.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
We are in HIM. He chose us IN HIM.
1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
We are to exhibit HIS peace, we have the promise from the Prince of Peace.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Become complete – that is what we do IN HIM.
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
Rest in HIM.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
In HIM we have peace.
Ezekiel 34:25-31 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.
We can sleep in His safety, the trees are ripe with fruit, The soul is at rest. Soul rest is mentioned 27 times in the Old Testament – it is the word “sabitismos”, and in the New Testament it is only mentioned once.
Psalm 107:4, 9 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in, (9) For H satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
We have the indwelling Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, and it overflows out of us.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Colossians 1:19-23 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
It pleases Him that we are full in Him.
Janet closed in prayer. I am so thankful that she shared her journey with us.
Have a blessed night, this journey sure gave me a lot of food for thought and action.
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