Constrained by Love (With previously missing text)

Apologies for the missing text in today's earlier email. Here it is!

On the River Tees, as it flows down the higher reaches of Teesdale in north-east England, there’s a waterfall with the wonderful name of ‘Cauldron Snout’. The small river suddenly becomes a thundering torrent as it’s forced through a narrow gully in the incredibly hard dolerite rock. What an illustration of latent power transformed into active power!

Gentle stream

Pebble-rippled in the sunlit hills

Heart-refreshing music

Limpid, liquid solace to the troubled heart.

Thunderous torrent

Latent power released in joyous foam and spray

Constrained by dolerite density


The Holy Spirit flows as the water of life through every Spirit-filled believer. But, for much of the time, His power is latent. He’s real enough, bringing encouragement, comfort, refreshment and more of God into our life. But there are times when we need the active power of the Spirit.

It’s the love of God that transforms this latent power into active power. We all know from experience how gentle God’s love can be. There’s nothing like a loving ‘hug’ from our heavenly Father who cares so deeply for us. And we often need it. But those loving arms are incredibly strong. God’s love can be immensely tender; but it’s also as hard as rock – immovable and indomitable: ‘Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away’ (Song of Songs 8:7). And when God’s Spirit is channelled through His love in our hearts, great power is released.

When Paul says, ‘the love of God compels us’, the word he uses for ‘compels’ is sometimes translated ‘constrains’. It suggests exactly what happens at Cauldron Snout: the stream is compelled – directed, forced along – by being pushed through the constraining sides of the narrow ravine.

I believe that God longs for His people to receive His love; to experience His love; to rejoice in His love; to reflect His love, and to allow His love to direct and control all their thoughts, actions and relationships. Then, and only then, will the latent power of His Spirit become active power to bring healing and transformation to all that His Spirit touches through them. Power without love can be very destructive; power with the love that God gives transforms lives.

Gentle Spirit of God

So kind, so refreshing

Murmuring trough the sunlight of contentment.

Spirit of power

Joyfully flooding through immovable love

Constrained by God’s own heart


Do I need more of the power of the Spirit today? Yes, of course I do! But not without the love of God ‘poured into my heart’ (Romans 5:5).

Prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that He provides me with all the power and resources that I will need to meet today’s challenges. But now I ask You to give me more of the love of Jesus, so that the power of the Spirit flowing through me will bring life to all that I meet today. Amen.


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"Christ’s love compels us."
2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV


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Today's Writer

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

Richard Griffiths

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