Well another weekend has passed and it was a beautiful one weather wise. I looked out the window, early last week, and the buds were just starting to form on the trees. As I look out this morning, the trees are in full bloom. What a difference a few days make! I know many of you are busy gardening. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
As we start out another week, I would like to focus on a subject that is precious to all of us: God’s love. Whether we are having a “mountain top experience” or we are in “the valley”, reflecting on God’s love sustains us, encourages us, lifts us and motivates us as we walk with the Lord and each other. Please remember, as you start each day, that the God who is love, and shows us how to love, is with you. Keep the following truths within your heart this day.
John says, “God is love." (1 John 4:16b NIV) It is simply who He is. He is a pure love that we cannot totally fathom but we best understand that love in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In 1 John we read, “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.” (4:9 NIV) Love starts and ends with Jesus. As we “live through him’, we experience what Paul calls “agape love” or God’s unconditional and abounding love. We experience what true love is all about. What a wonderful experience to take in each and every new day!
God’s love is sacrificial. Someone has said, “The measure of our love is the measure of our sacrifice.” No one has shown that more than God through Christ. Again, John, the student of love, reminds us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16 a NIV) I am reminded of another John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) God gave us His all. God gave us His best because He loves us. No greater gift could be given. My friends, remember this day how much God loves you!
God’s love is unchanging. C.S. Lewis wisely said, “Though our feelings come and go God’s love does not.” Psalm 118:1 states it clearly and precisely, “God’s love endures forever.” His covenant of love He will never break! What assurance. What liberty.
God’s love brings true peace “…perfect love (God’s love) drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18 NIV) “There is no fear in love.” Paul reminds us “…that nothing, nothing can separate us from the love God has for us in Jesus Christ,” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV) The world can throw its best and worst at us but nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever break the bond of love we have in Jesus Christ. Rest in Him my friends. He will never stop loving you. His love extends throughout eternity!
And finally, God’s love transforms. To the church in Corinth that had it all messed up, Paul says, “Guys, gals you are doing it wrong, let me show you a more excellent way” - God’s way of love. (1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:4-7 NIV) God’s love is the greatest power on earth. Paul says: live it, share it, treasure it. Let it be “…shed abroad in our hearts.” (Romans 5:5 KJV)
Kate Hankey was a woman transformed by God’s love. She was part of the evangelical Anglican movement that William Wilberforce spearheaded in the middle to late nineteenth century. She dedicated her life to ministering to others. One of her contributions was the beautiful hymn she wrote that we still sing today, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story.” I love the chorus and close with its words,
“Tell me the old, old story;
tell me the old, old story,
tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.”
My friends, we will never get tired of hearing and telling the story of how much Jesus loves us and how he has impacted our lives. May God’s love empower you and encourage you this day. Rest in it my friends!
God bless you – Pastor Ralph