Thursday, February 14, 2008

The LOVE of God

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it.

We have been looking at temptation this week, how to recognize it and defeat it. Since today is VALENTINES DAY, I wanted to talk about the Love of God for a few moments.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. "1 John 4:9-10

Many things in the world seem to work against people experiencing the real and true love of God. People touched by sex addiction may have a difficult time relating to real love, because the sex industry promotes lust as love. Lust is only a cruel counterfeit of love. Lust has the nasty tendency to invade and destroy families through infidelity, incest, molestation and other abuse. A place that is designed to be a safe haven for children to be raised in righteousness becomes a den for destruction and preying on innocence. People who grew up in such environments will have difficulty believing that God loves them.

Whatever bad experiences may be in your background, I encourage you to set them aside for this moment. Please consider that people's sin has opened the door to evil in our world, which causes pain, destruction and death. Man brought sin into the world when he rebelled against God, and now all people reap the consequences of that sin. Now in His mercy and grace, God offers forgiveness and healing from the destruction of sin. He lovingly invites each of us back to Himself to experience the real love that we desperately need.

Please take a moment now and pray to God, asking Him to reveal His love for you as you read the remainder of this blog.

God loves us as a perfect father loves his children: Luke 15:11-32
provides a wonderful illustration of the fatherly character of God's love. The father in the story is generous, forgiving, merciful and joyful with his son, who returns from making major mistakes in life. The son had squandered his entire inheritance on "RECKLESS LIVING". The father welcomes his repentant son unconditionally. He even gives a feast in his son's honor to celebrate his return to the family.

God loves each of us in the same way. Though we may have made some bad mistakes in life through sin, God welcomes us back with open and loving arms. When He sees that we are truly sorry for our actions, He does not condemn us. He loves us and heals us, and empowers us to live a new life, free from the old bondage to sin. Some other verses that show the fatherly aspect of God's love for us are: I John 3:1
and Psalm 103:13.

1 John 3:1 (AMP) SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.

(MSG) What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it--we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.

Psalm 103:13 (AMP) As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].

(MSG) As parents feel for their children, GOD feels for those who fear him.

One of my favorite songs is entitled "The love of God". Please read the following lyrics, and meditate on the truth of these words:

Chorus 1
O love of God how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song

Verse 1
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Verse 2
When years of time shall pass away
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
When men who here refuse to pray
On rocks and hills and mountains call
God's love so sure shall still endure
All measureless and strong
Redeeming grace to Adam's race
The saints' and angels' song

Verse 3
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill
And ev'ry man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Tho' stretched from sky to sky

God proved His love for us through Jesus Christ: Consider what God did when He sent Jesus into the world and then allowed him to die a slow and agonizing death on the cross, without intervening to save Him. God knew that the only way people could ever be reconciled to Himself would be through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (Hebrews 10:10). If there is ever doubt in God's perfect love, we can remember how He let Jesus die because of His love for us.

God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). God has lovingly delayed the final judgment of mankind so that people will have ample opportunity to discover God and turn from their sin. There will be a final judgment, and only God knows when that will occur. Those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus' on the cross will spend life in eternity with God! Those who reject Christ, will spend eternity in destruction:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)

We encourage you to seek God and believe that you will find Him. The Bible says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). As you consider what Jesus Christ did, ask God to reveal the depth and reality of His love for you.

My prayer for you today is that you have a LOVE-filled day! Remember to express your love to your spouse, children, boy or girl friend, but while doing that…please remember to express your love and appreciation to your Heavenly Father as well! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a Year" reading: February 14, 2008 (Thursday): Joshua 5:13-8:35

This week's MEMORY VERSE: James 1:12

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12


Anonymous said...

What a great topic. When we used to travel doing crusades, one of my favorite nights was when we talked about the love of God. You could see it in the eyes and faces of children, teenagers and adults that had never heard or never thought of it like you just shared in this blog. It helps us comprehend the cross, the choice God made to send His Son, and how great a gift was given at Christmas in the birth of Christ. Thanks for a great blog.