Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Religion • The Strength And POWER Of Love

Love is the glue that holds together the Majesty of the Bible coupled with the power of Christ. It can produce phenomenal results if we dare to love fully. Indeed, love is a vital part of our lives and service. It is THE element that brings success if deeply implanted, or, failure if we neglect it. As clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 13, without love, we are nothing. Without love, we really can give nothing or have power over anything.

Love gives life, encouragment and assurance. It is the power to salvation, healing, and it can even affect one’s looks. The application of love should be in the realm of duty for every one who is called a Christian.

People die due to lack of love. Now read that again. This has proven to be true. In the days of Soviet Communist Russia, it was noted that babies in State Orphanages were dying at an alarming rate, which made little sense. The babies were well cared for, given the food needed, had clearn warm beds to sleep in, and lively play rooms. After careful investigation a startling conclusion was reached. While these babies were provided all creature comforts and necessities, there was one thing missing, the thing that was the deciding factor between life and death.

Nobody on staff ever picked up a baby, held it, hugged it, spoke loving words or even made eye contact with any of the babies. That finding proved to be THE factor in the deaths. The absence of love, cuddling and eye contact proved to be deadly. And it’s not just babies that are affected. A newspaper article told of a prominent business man who was found slumped over his desk with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. A note found next to him stated, “Nobody ever said, thank you.”  Even money could not overcome the deficit of love, acceptance or appreciation.

Animals are affected by love or the lack of love. An experiment was carried out with two poodles. One was given every comfort that any poodle could hope for. A nice bed, toys of every kind to play with, and more than enough to eat. However that was it. The keepers would come in, leave the food and depart, never petting the dog, cuddling with it, playing with it or even talking to it.

The second poodle was kept in a cage, too small to really be comfortable, given barely enough to eat. However, the owner came in several times a day, took the poodle out of the cage, held it, hugged it, petted it and said, “My you are so PRETTY. Your’e the best dog in the world.” That little poodle even though deprived of a lot, was a happy dog.

The first poodle who had everything (except contact love) died in a very short time. The second poodle lived to a ripe old age with a wagging tail.

Love propels people to greatness, it opens one’s being so that The Holy Spirit, without restriction can pour in full power for spectacular answers to prayer and the right words to say at the right time as well as an anointing of perfect peace and joy, the two things that all people desire most.

This means we not only must be endowed with love, but that love must extend to those who have misused us or attacked us like on 9/11. To harbor any resentment or dislike for anybody or group of people is to absolutely restrict any power Jesus may want to give. But, how do you love people like that who attacked us? It is the ability to bypass the evil and have an overpowering desire to see them saved and spared from the horrors of hell. And once they are saved, they can no longer be an enemy.

The Apostle Paul, exhibited this divine love every day of his life. I can’t think of any one in history who experienced more mistreatment, ridicule, physical violence (that put permenant scars over his entire body), false accusations and slander than the Apostle Paul. Despite such conditions, he was always the gentleman, respectful to all.

One example is how he shuffled out into the armphitheatre to face King Agrippa snd Queen Bernice along with 20,000 specators there to mock him. Coming out to the center amidst jeers, Paul managed to scan the crowd with his deep set eyes. Along with those eyes, Paul in his heart had genuine love for those who heckled him, wanting nothing more than to see them grasp the truth about Jesus Christ whom he served. Gradually, the crowd began to quiet down and leaned forward respectfully to hear everything Paul had to say. (Acts 26.)

He showed total respect for Agrippa as he spoke. I believe that many in that crowd gave their hearts to Jesus as a result and no doubt many churches were build after that event, which was usual wherever Paul addressed people.

This writer has been in awe of Paul from an early age and strives to be more like him. Learning the lesson of the Power of Love from the great Apostle is having a positive effect on this ministry, and my personal life. It is a daily determination and committment to come as close to that divine love as possible, not only for the sake of the Gospel, but for me personally, and my family.
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Rev. Austin Miles is a staff pastor at Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley, California, teaches an elective class (Speech/Communications) in the Trinity Christian School and is Dean of Students at the accredited School of Theology. He has been certified by The State of California as a college instructor.


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