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God’s love

Miss Burrell was my second-grade teacher and next door neighbor. It seemed as though I could never get beyond her “watchful” eye. When she called on me in class, I would “shrivel” up inside and have difficulty getting any words out of my mouth. And when I was out in our yard playing, I imagined that she was “peeking” at my friends and me from the corner of a window. Perhaps it was feelings of guilt for not being a better student or more gracious when she came to visit my mother.
But in spite of those feelings I remember the many evenings she would knock on our front door and ask me to join her in the front yard and study the stars and constellations. She would bring her flashlight and point out “The Big Dipper” and “The Little Dipper” and all of the constellations that God formed in the sky. She would also point out different stars - some that shined brightly and some that we could barely see. I remember asking her often how many miles they were from where we were standing.
“No one will ever be able to measure the most-distant star because we will always be finding new ones that are even farther away.” So, “we’ll never know” was her answer every time I asked that question.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who stand in awe of Him,” said the Psalmist. What a marvelous statement about the love of God. It is so immense, as are His heavens, that we will never be able to measure it.
Prayer: Lord, we will never understand why You love us, nor how very much You love us. But we do thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
“You know how much I love you, Josie - more than anyone or anything in the world!” began his text message. “Can’t wait until I see you this evening. Will be there if I don’t go to the ball game with Rob. Love, Steve.”
It didn’t take Josie long to erase the message and text her friend Ruth asking if they could get together for dinner. She had trouble understanding that kind of love. And so does God. We say one thing to Him and then live a life that is entirely inconsistent with His understanding of love and what He expects us to do if we love Him.
“You who love the Lord,” said the Psalmist, “hate evil!” That is a very straight forward, simple statement. It is one of Scriptures If/Then challenges that God puts in our pathway. Put another way we might ask, “If we don’t hate evil can we truly love God? And, if we hate evil, how will our lives show those around us that we do?
Loving God means that we will do whatever is necessary to align ourselves with His plan and purpose for His world. We will work with Him to reach out to those around us with a heart full of His love to show them His grace and mercy. We will be uncomfortable if we know of someone, somewhere who needs something that we have that we can share with them that will bring hope and healing to their lives.
People who lie abandoned in convalescent homes and children who are abused through no fault of their own and individuals who crave a smile and a hug need to know that “we love the Lord.” They will if we reach out.
Prayer: Trouble our hearts and minds, Father, and give us no peace if we know someone in need and do nothing! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 97:10a You who love the Lord, hate evil!
A young man, who grew up in a housing project, having little hope and few goods, heard an evangelist preaching “love” on a street corner. After listening for a few moments he shouted to the preacher, “I’m sick and tired of you people talking about love. I want to see love. I want to feel love. I want to see love with some skin on it!”
That’s Christmas: “God’s love with skin on it.”
Paul wrote, “For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body!”
In Jesus, we see Someone bringing love to life – but a very special type of love. It is God’s love. We see this love coming to life when Jesus fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, offering water to a thirsty soul, calming the waves to relieve the fears of experienced fishermen, washing dirty feet, spending time with little children, teaching people the truth that brought meaning and purpose to their lives and finally hanging lifeless from a cross – abandoned and alone.
Jesus is God loving through a human heart, healing with a human hand, walking on errands of mercy with human feet, showing love, grace and mercy to those who would do Him harm.
Jesus is God loving the least, the last and the lost. In Jesus, God showed His love with “skin on it.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to put Your “love in our skin” and take Your love to those in need. May we be as faithful in caring for others as You are in caring for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Forgiveness, above everything else, is a sign of love. The more we love and value another person, the quicker we are to forgive that one if they have hurt or harmed us, injured or insulted us. Love, especially deep love, will forgive quickly and completely.
On the other hand, when someone does something to us that is on purpose, knowing that it will offend us deeply or cause us great pain, that’s another matter completely. We may replace forgiveness with grudges and wait for an appropriate opportunity to get even or settle the score.
David was threatened by his guilt and needed God’s forgiveness. It is obvious in the opening verses of Psalm 51. His guilt was destroying and overwhelming him. And, he could find nothing within himself that provided him any assurance that God would forgive him. He knew that he did not deserve God’s forgiveness. So, he appealed to God’s “lovingkindness, his steadfast love, his great compassion, his eternal compassion” – all words that are included in the translation of God’s hesed – God’s love. Why did he find it necessary to ask God to “blot out my transgressions, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin?” He feared God’s wrath.
David realized the significance and seriousness of his sins. According to the laws that governed the children of Israel at that time, God would not forgive him for what he had done. He was frightened! Where could he go? What could he do?
Appeal to God for His mercy, faithfulness and love. And that mercy, forgiveness and love have always been and always will be available. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse of all unrighteousness.”
Prayer: How thankful we are, Father, for Your never-ending, always-available love, mercy, grace, presence and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Most of us are rather strange. We want to live long lives, but develop habits that shorten them. We want to be free, yet we make ourselves slaves to sin. We could be saints, but we choose to be sinners. We desire immortality but refuse it because we reject Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord - the only path to eternal life.
Long ago, David the Psalmist asked, “O Lord, what is man that You care for him, the son of man that You think of him?”
Often we neglect to think about the fact that we were created by God in His image. We did not evolve from nor ascend from some lower life. We are different from all animals in many ways - physically, mentally, socially - but most of all we have a spiritual nature that no living animal has.
We are what we are because God made us the way that we are. If God wanted us to be different from the way we are, we would be. What we do matters to God. What happens to each of us matters to God. We are created in His image and that of itself makes us uniquely different and special - especially to God.
This puzzled the Psalmist. So he decided to ask God, “Why bother at all with the human race?”
Years later the question was answered: because He loves us. Remember what Jesus said? “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Man: different by design. Different because of God’s love.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for a love that is eternal and the opportunity to enjoy a life that is eternal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 144:3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?
Little Nancy had kept every doll that her family and friends had given her. Over the years they had become tattered and worn. Some had missing eyes and ears and a few had lost some or most of their hair.
One day a friend of her mother came for a visit. With pride Little Nancy invited the guest to visit her bedroom and meet her dolls. All of her dolls were carefully displayed on her bed. “I love these dolls,” she said to the guest.
Picking up a doll with a button missing from an eye, part of the thread missing from its lips and a face that had become worn from being held so very much, she said, “I love this one the most,” she said with a charming smile.
“Why?” asked the friend.
“Well,” she replied, “if I didn’t, probably nobody would.”
How like our Heavenly Father. When we read John 3:16, we are confronted with a love that includes everyone – no exceptions or preconditions. When Jesus said whosoever He included everyone.
Often when we see those who are marred by sin and self-destructive behaviors or catch a glimpse of those who are dirty and grimy and homeless, we look away in disgust. Not Jesus. He sees a life He died for.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to see those for whom You died as You do. May we realize the great price You paid for their salvation and do what we can to win them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 3:16 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.
A little girl went to church for the first time. She was full of questions.
When a baby was presented for baptism she became more interested than ever. Noticing her attentiveness, her father said, “The parents are giving her to God.”
After the baptism, the minister gave the baby back to the parents.
Not understanding, she whispered to her father, “I guess God didn’t want that one.”
Not so! God wants every one of us.
On one occasion He said, “Come to Me, all of you…” On another occasion He said, “If you come to Me I will not reject you.”
We have all experienced the pain of rejection. We know what it is like to feel alone. Family members leave us. Friends turn their backs on us. But Jesus? Never!
Someone said, “With Jesus, the welcome mat is out and the door is always open.” Paul said, “…nothing…will ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is nothing that we have done or ever will do that can separate us from Him, His love or His salvation.
Prayer: Father, we are so grateful for Your love that reaches out to all of us. We are thankful that Your arms are always open to each of us. We rejoice in Your salvation that can save and keep us: in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture: Romans 8:38, 39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the 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.
A receptionist walked to her desk one morning and saw a bouquet of twelve beautiful roses. Anxiously, she opened the card and read, “From somebody who loves you!”
Her mind began to go through a list of individuals whom she thought might have sent her the flowers. It could have been her boyfriend, her mom or dad, co-workers – or any number of different people. She made many phone calls to everyone who she thought might have sent the flowers.
Finally, she thought of her sister and called her. “Janet,” she asked, “did you send me the roses?”
“Yes,” was the reply. “You seemed discouraged and I wanted you to spend some time thinking about people who love you.”
“Well, I did,” she said, “and the list went on and on. I never thought that I was important to anyone.”
But there is Someone who loves us more that anyone on earth – our Heavenly Father. Long ago Jeremiah wrote about God’s love: “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With an unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.” It is almost unbelievable!
God, in His grace, mercy and kindness, has offered His unfailing and everlasting love to anyone who will accept it. How blest we are: God loves each of us.
Prayer: Lord, we are undeserving and unworthy of the love that You offer us through Christ our Savior who died that we may live with You eternally. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Hattie Hollowell, at eighty-three, became known as, “The Forgotten Woman.” She spent three years and four months in a New York City jail, overlooked by the prison system and never brought to trial. Her lawyer ignored her. Her family abandoned her. Her friends forgot her. However, when this tragedy was discovered, the legal machinery moved rapidly and she was released.
Perhaps there are days when we feel alone, deserted, unimportant, and ignored. It seems as though we make no difference to anyone. We are convinced that we are doomed to be forsaken by everyone forever.
God’s Word tells of the time when the Israelites felt forsaken by God. It was then that Isaiah reminded them that God could no more forget them than a loving mother could forget her little child. What a wonderful thought and marvelous truth: God Himself promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Whenever we feel forgotten or forsaken by God, we need to stop and correct our thinking. Remember, He knows the number of hairs on our head, the hurts of our hearts, and each little bird that falls from a tree. Perhaps it is us who have forgotten or forsaken Him.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to take You at Your Word when You promise never to leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 49:14-15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
A shopper once said to a sales associate, “I want the most beautiful gold heart that you have in your store on the finest gold chain available for my fiancé.”
After considering many different choices, he made his decision, and said, “I’ll take that one.”
“Shall I inscribe her name on it?” asked the sales associate.
“Oh no!” came the instant reply. “If we break up, I would like to use it again.”
How different is God’s love. We hear it in the words of Jesus when He said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” How comforting it is to know that God’s love is permanent. How fortunate we are to know that God’s love is guaranteed by His Word. How wonderful it is to know that God’s love is for everyone. And finally, how grateful we are to know that His love makes our salvation through Jesus Christ possible.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to understand how much You love us. May those who read this “Seed” come to know You and accept Your Son as their Savior and love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:11-12 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
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