Monday, August 30, 2004

How Does God Love You?

How Does God Love You?

I pray that you being rooted and established in LOVE may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE of Christ. And to know this LOVE that surpasses knowledge--That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

These are the words that Paul the apostle used to try to get us to realize how wonderful the God's love is, and how great it is to have it in our lives. He is saying that we can have the very essence of GOD poured into our lives! In order for us to understand what the apostle is talking about here let us note that the LOVE we are considering is a divine love that is unconditional and undeserved. It originates with God but is imparted to men as they respond to it. His prayer is therefore, that we, each of us, might be completely filled with it and fully understand it. He calls it the fullness of God. Wouldn't you like to understand it and find out how to obtain it?

God's love is the central fact and theme of the Bible, and in all of history. Love is God's unchanging nature or essence. "God is love" John says in his first epistle. In Jer 31:3 God says he loves with an everlasting love. Paul says: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Rom 8:38-39]

The nature of God's love is such that He is reaching out to us with an intense longing and a divine purpose to bring us into a friendly relationship with him. He says: "Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." [Rev 3:20] Jesus said: "I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me he will bear much fruit." [John 15:5] "As the father has loved me so have I loved you. Now remain in my love". [John 5:9] "God so loved---that whosoever---should not perish but have everlasting life." [John 3:16] "I go to prepare a place for you--- that where I am you may be also." [John 4:2-3]

God's love is impartial and unconditional. It makes no difference who we are, or what our condition, his love extends to us. God loves men because he has chosen to love them. He loves them in spite of their sin, filthiness, pride, arrogance, and rebellion. No reason for his love can be given. But the love of God is free, spontaneous, unevoked, uncaused. His love for us is such that he cannot be happy, satisfied and fulfilled until we his beloved are out of trouble and danger. His purpose and delight is to comfort, inspire provide for, educate, guide and love us so that we may be fulfilled in doing the same to others. There is joy (God's own joy) in the presence of the angels when a person recieves this Jesus and his love. "For there is no respect of persons with God." [Rom 2:11]; "God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right" [Acts 10:34-35]; "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us." [Rom 5:8]; "But because of his great love for us, God---made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." [Eph 2:4]

In his crucifixion Jesus willingly suffered intense pain, thirst, mockery, injustice, cruelty, shame, and abandonment. In spite of the fact that he knows the very core of who we are and our rebellion and our selfishness, and our sin. He poured out his lifeblood as an atonement for us. He took the punishment that should have been ours.. He himself said, "Greater love hath no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." [John 15:13] But he did it even for us who were his enemies. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ lay down his life for us." [1 John 3:16a] "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities." [Isa 53:3-5]

God is motivated by his love to accomplish certain things in his kingdom. By his word we can discern what some of them are. First to establish a human race who would have the ability and choice to love, serve him and glorify him. Be enough like him to be able to be friends with him.

From what I can understand from the scripture, it appears that God has an intense longing and an urgent desire to establish a deep mutual relationship with you and me, his created ones. This can be seen as we read the creation narrative in Genesis. 2:7 (NIV) "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Then after they had disobeyed God's specific command he still tried to re-establish the relationship. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" God knew that it was not their physical nakedness that caused them to hide but that it was their guilt resulting from their disobedience which he could see in spite of their clothes. He loved them and promised that a time would come when the damage inflicted on them by Satan would be reversed.

The friendship that he desires would be restored in those persons who would put their faith in him. You are one of those persons. He created you for that specific purpose. He created you "In the image of God". You are singled out as the one that God is dealing with now. God's purpose is focused on you.

It was for you that the earth was created so that a suitable habitat could be established for you. For the earth to exist, the sun and the solar system was created. The solar system could not exist or be created by itself so our galaxy, the milky way, was created. And that is related to the whole universe which was created to support it. We have not yet discovered the extent or boundaries of the universe in either time or space. God also created with precision and infinitesimal detail the very building blocks of matter, electrons and such.

The details of creation are so complex and intricate that in all the centuries the genius of man has not been able to sort out but few of these mysteries, but God has in control everything from the infinitesimal building blocks of matter to the galaxies hurtling through space, all obeying every law he has laid down by his infinite wisdom.

He made the world of the relationships of life, personalities, mind and spirit, and interrelationships that allow us to be aware of and practice the principles of love or hate. He created the world of the spiritual in which the forces of evil and righteousness exist, the domain of spirits, angels and demons. This realm is beyond human comprehension and understanding. The Bible shows us that this is all but for one purpose: That God could have you personally enjoy his friendship and share his love, being rescued from your evil ways, cleansed from your wickedness, and restored to the likeness of God as you were created so that you could live a life of loving service. Then live with Him forever in a paradise and bliss that is way beyond anything that you can imagine. It is the gift of God's amazing grace!

He allowed man to be deceived by Satan or Luicifer, who invented sin and rebellion against God, and be ruined morally and become evil. And so that if a man chose to he could be restored. This was not an experiment to test his theories. He knew the answers. He wanted to show us the truth: Law is insufficient, we cannot and will not live by a set of rules. Wisdom or ceremony or works cannot reconcile man to God. Man can't redeem himself. A loving saviour is needed.

Adam (and his descendants) were created for one divine and eternal purpose: To love and fellowship with God. Eve was given to Adam as a helper. They had a choice. They blew it. No doubt God knew they would, but he had to give them the choice. Love cannot be coerced it must be freely chosen. By choice then Adam and all who were born after him were born in sin and strayed from God, going their own way and doing their own thing.

We find as we study the bible, God is holy and cannot overlook sin. Sin means breaking God's law, that is, doing what we know is wrong because we don't love God and others as we should. Since God's law was lovingly designed to protect and enhance your life, you are at risk if you ignore, or disobey it. When you disobey it you show contempt for God's love and care, saying, in effect, that you know better than he does what is best for you. It appears, then, that you have no respect for his wisdom or the fact that he created you and the world in which you live. Even though he loves you dearly your attitude is repugnant to him. Fellowship between he and you therefore is broken. He can no longer comfort you with his presence nor protect you by his power

. You are made in the image of God but Satan has deceived you and you have made some bad decisions because your mind and spirit are disoriented because of the conflict within. Your conscience requires truth and justice but you balk at these when your personal gain, comfort or pleasure are at stake. The guilt you carry damages your mind as well as your body. You are unable to love as you ought. You show utter disregard for your neighbors who are influenced by you and have a right to a good example from you. The whole fabric of society is poisoned by your lack of principle and loyalty to God

Because he loves you so much he is deeply hurt because you push him away and then pretend everything is all right and sometimes even claim you love him. The Father has created you in his own image, the very greatest product of his creative genius, and Jesus, in love, has purchased your salvation by death on the cross to provide forgiveness for your sin. How do you think he feels when you reject all this so that you can sin as you please.

God knows that a sinful life will bring you no peace nor joy, only disillusionment and frustration. Satan only adds to your trouble and pain by leading you deeper into sin. Then you resent any effort that is made to help you. He is disappointed that your potential as one of his children is being wasted and your influence is working against him

Sin is a horrible master. It is only by grace and the prayers of the saints that it has not led you farther in to the depths of wickedness than it has. When sin takes hold you cannot escape without God's help. He still loves you, longs for you. It makes no difference how far you have gone or what you have done. He is ready to help you."

She Went To Be With Her Lord !

She Went To Be With Her Lord !

That is what was published about a dear lady in our town when she died. I suppose if He really was her Lord,she loved and worshiped Him and served him and obeyed his commandments.

What about you and me? Is he OUR Lord? Is our love, worship and obedience to Him a testimony to His glory?

Are there any good reasons why our loyalty to Him is sporadic or partial? Why is it so hard to yield our complete allegience to The Lord Jesus Christ? Is not His love for us unconditionial and totally generous and faithful? Do we not gain great reward and benefits by following Him? Our service to Him is not to His advantage but to ours! He is The Way, The Truth, and The Source of Eternal Life. How can we get by without full committment to Him?

Do we deserve His Grace? Were we not sinners and rebels? But he loved us and gave His life for us. We have His promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. His promise is for eternity, while our interest seems earthly and temporary. His way is the better way!

I am going to take the better road. How about you?

Love, Howard