Uncategorized

What Does the Bible Say about God’s Love?

Is it possible for us as human beings to comprehend God’s love for us? God’s love is so huge that as the song says “If we with ink the ocean filled or were the skies of parchment made…to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry…” (“O Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman). If we caught a good glimpse, we would be absolutely overwhelmed by it.

But everyone longs for that love. I often think about a quote by Joyce Meyer that helps me picture God’s love. “Love is not something God does, it is who He is.” I know God loves me unconditionally, and yes, I realize that God is love according to I John 4:8. But still, I sometimes wonder how God can love me in his pure unconditional manner, and that love seems illusive.

It seems contradictory–God loves us without reservation but He does not love everything we do. He doesn’t. Some of you may remember the movie “Dirty Dancing” in which Frances (Baby) tells her father (and I don’t remember the exact quote) “If you love me, you’ve got to love everything about me.” Sounds good, but as with many things that sound good, Baby was wrong. Yep. You read that right. If a friend says they love everything about me, that is not unconditional love. If that same friend gently helps me see when I have done wrong—for example I might have been dishonest with that friend or they saw me take advantage of someone—that to me, is love. It is not judgment; it is loving me enough to help me correct the wrongs in my life. (Now, there is a big difference between lovingly and prayerfully correcting a person and continually nagging, constantly criticizing, or trying to “fix” someone. But that is a topic in itself.)

God loves us in spite of what we may do, in spite of our anger, disbelief, rebelliousness, bad habits, addictions, and you name it. (Something in your life probably came to mind as you read this.) But does that mean we continue in those behaviors because, after all, God will still love us, right? Yes, God will still love us, BUT because of what our sin (wrong behavior) does to us and to others, He wants us to turn from those sins. Can you see that? God loves us so much, He wants us to turn from behaviors that are not good for us. 

When we turn to him, the things controlling us will start to fade away. It may be very gradual. We might not even notice the changes, but they are occurring. I admit I have heard of people who immediately had victory over smoking or drinking alcohol. One lady’s negative attitude changed to an amazing ability to find joy in life, and her very countenance reflected this. But for most of us, change is a process. 

A Moment to Reflect

Love is who God is.

In His love God sent His son, Jesus, who died to pay the price for your sins and mine.

In repentance, we turn away from the sin and to God. That is the only way to defeat sin. We can’t just “try our best” to behave better. While we still have a decision to make regarding sin, the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us make good decisions.

Don’t beat ourselves up when we have sinned. Turn from that particular sin. Know Jesus’ arms are waiting, and He will forgive. He may not love the behavior, but He loves you.

Don’t equate mistakes with sin.  A sin is not necessarily what angers others or even what makes us feel guilty. Get that straight. If we have a difficult time distinguishing between sin and guilt feelings, we can ask for God’s guidance, and read what God’s word says is sin. God will relieve the guilt and shame as we look to Him. 

Prayer

God, I know You are here with me, and You love me as no other can. Help me be aware of that always, and help me to know that You do forgive. You are so crazy about me that it is hard to imagine the depth of Your love. Help me to turn to You for guidance and to find godly Christians who can help me in my walk with You.  

Scriptures to read:  I John 4:8; John 3:16; Acts 20:21; I Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:1

Standard
Christ's Love

Messed Up by Sin, but the Good News is….

I have entitled my blog “Find His Love” for a very specific reason—my desire to help women better understand the tremendous love God has for them as individuals. (And as I have said before men, you are welcome to read along.) I know what it is like to doubt God’s love. I know what it is like to hear over and over that He is love, yet to feel unloved and ashamed before Him and the world. Even after I became a Christ-follower, I struggled with these feelings. And I am one of those who believe that feelings are important. God created emotions. He understands our emotions. Furthermore, God wants us to love Him with all our:

  • heart
  • soul
  • strength
  • mind

(Luke 10:27)

Seems like “emotions” or “feelings” are included in that list somewhere.

So I developed a mission to help followers understand and yes, feel(!) God’s love more deeply by studying the way Christ demonstrated that love. What a powerful force we would be for His kingdom if we could but begin to grasp the concepts of that magnificent love.

The Problem of Sin

And yet lately, I’ve been thinking more about the world in general, and of those who have no clue about who Jesus is or what He did. I have also been burdened by the horrors that seem to increase in our world every day. Atrocities haunt us when we turn on the news or get on the internet. Hatred. Starvation. Desperate refugees. Beheadings. Sex trafficking of women and children.

Here in the United States, we still see hunger, homelessness, a plague of adultery, and yes, human trafficking. Why do we see so much suffering and chaos in this world? Why do I suffer? Why are children hurt and scarred for life? Every problem—from the violence of ISIS to our educational woes to the aggravations at work and at home—can be summed up in one word: sin.

I know we don’t like that word. But sin is the problem—throughout the world as well as in our individual lives. When sin entered into the world, death also entered, along with sickness, the violence we see in nature; the whole world became skewed from God’s perfect plan.

And believe it or not—that is the good news. Because sin can be redeemed. Sin and the damage to our lives can be healed and even used by God.

Was Jesus really the Christ? 

Jesus, the Son of God came to redeem sinners as the Messiah. But perhaps you think He was just a man, a good man, a good teacher. You may believe Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. But I promise, Jesus knew who He was, and I’d like you to see a few of the ways in which He proclaimed Himself:

Jesus called God His Father, and the Jewish leaders understood what He was saying.                      “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.  In his defense Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’ For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:16-18 (emphasis mine)

“I Am the Bread of Life”
“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'” John 6:35

Jesus Said He Could Forgive Sins
While healing He declared: “‘…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—’Rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God…” Matthew 9:8

“I am the Light of the world”
“‘…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…'”  John 8:12

I have come that they may have life, abundantly”
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd….My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  John 10:10, 27-2

I am with you always”
“‘…behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”   Matthew 28:20

“I am the way, the truth, the life”
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

If you believe the Bible has any historical value, you see that Jesus made some pretty amazing claims about Himself and His Father.

But How Could He Die for my Sin? He was a Human Being and He Sinned, Didn’t He? 

The direct answer is a simple “no”. Since Jesus made Himself equal with God, and God does not sin, He could not either. But other Scriptures support this concept as well. In Hebrews 4:15, the author states: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (NASB)

I’ve provided a link to one site listing the Scriptures that deal with His sinlessness. http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jesus-Christ,-Sinlessness

So How do I Respond?

Perhaps you think you have lived a good life, and have never done anything so bad that you need a Savior. “Surely I can make my own way in this life, and come out all right.” That seems reasonable. But take a look again at John 14:6 (above). Jesus claims He is the way. And according to Romans 3:23 we have all sinned. Yes, Jesus loves us and He forgives. But He only forgives when we become willing to turn from our wrongful deeds. While Jesus declares “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, we must also realize that He died to save us from sin, not so that we keep on sinning. So believing He is the Son of God and that He died for us must be accompanied by a heartfelt repentance (turning from sin and to God).

Or you may be thinking you must get my life right first. Notice what Jesus says though, God wants to give us eternal life. And Romans 6:23 says that the gift of God is eternal life. A gift that is given out of love is not something we must earn. And it is only by believing that God can make us right with Him. Jesus is the One who makes your life right.

Perhaps you feel a certain emptiness in your soul. May I suggest that the filling you need is Jesus the Son of God? I know I felt that hole in my life for a long time. I needed to understand that I could never be good enough to gain God’s acceptance. His acceptance only came through a moment in time when I told Him I believed and agreed to live for Him. Praying a prayer is not necessarily what it takes as you may have been told. Believing and turning from our own ways invites Him to make our heart His home.

This video may be a little dated, but I hope you will enjoy it. It is entitled “The Hole Story”

References:

http://www.everystudent.com/wires/whodoyousay.htmlAccessed September 3, 2015

Parker, Troy. “The World’s Messed Up.” Worldview series Part 4. Sermon presented at Church at Red River. Shreveport, Louisiana, August 30, 2015  http://churchatredriver.com/media/worldview-2/

Scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

Standard