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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

“You never loved me,”  His words laid open my heart.

It is hard to discern truth when someone tells you lies about yourself, even harder when it is someone you should be able to trust like a spouse.

I searched my heart. I searched my actions. I found no evidence to support his accusation. I had been doing all to love someone very difficult to love. I had asked God to help me to love–to give me the love. He had. This was a terrible lie.

It was even more terrible that he believed the lie.

After I cried a river, I let the voice of truth speak over me, of what I had done and not done. I was fully restored to confidence that I had loved and did still love.

My hurt was replaced with sadness. How sad for him–a person seeking to be loved so desperately–to be totally blind to the love being poured out–the love of  the One who loves him most.

But we were and often still are like that. We live oblivious to the love of the Father–thinking that no one loves us when in reality, He so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believed would have everlasting life with Him.

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It is wonderful to study and meditate on the love of God.  It is a subject that never grows old and is found on every page of the Bible and in every encounter with the living God.  As we walk with God, we find evidences of His love in our own lives, like those in the Bible.

But one might ask, “What is the take away?”

Here are some of the many things that we learn and “take away” from meditating on and living in the knowledge of God’s love:

  • We gain personal relationship with God.  When we understand the offer (John 3:16) and accept it (Romans 10:13), we become sons of God.
  • We gain eternal life.  God promises eternal life to those who believe. (Romans 6:23)
  • We gain factual knowledge to draw us toward God as we consider what He has done.
  • We gain experiential knowledge by our time spent with God, by watching how He changes us and moves in our lives.
  • We receive love, so we are able to be better givers of love.
  • We receive strength to accept difficult things from God’s hand when we know and understand and receive as truth the love of God for us.

Beloved, take time to consider, to meditate, to live in the knowledge of the love of God for you.  He loved, loves and will love you for eternity.  That should transform your life.

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Hosea, a prophet of the Lord, was told by God to marry a prostitute.  The exact words are (in the New King James version), “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry.”  It is the weirdest thing.  Here is a man who is in God’s service, held to follow God’s law and speaking with God’s voice, but God wants him to marry a woman who would have been seen as “unclean” and certainly not what his mother and father were hoping for.  It must have caused quite a stir, a nice Jewish boy raised in the temple, marrying a whore.

Nevertheless, desiring to please God more than men, Hosea marries a harlot and his wife has children that the Bible says are not Hosea’s.  She even leaves him at one point and returns to prostitution.  It seemingly turns from bad to worse when God sends Hosea after his unfaithful wife, after she betrays him and returns to a life of prostitution.  Hosea, at God’s command, goes to find his wife who is “loved by a lover and is committing adultery”.  Hosea buys her back for fifteen shekels of silver.  He purchases the woman who betrayed him at a slave auction.

What is God saying in this story?   God said that He so loved the world that He gave His son that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.  Hosea tells the story of what God means by “whoever”.  “Whoever” is not limited to those who read their Bible or who make it to church on Sunday.  “Whoever” is not limited to those who have managed to stay out of trouble or  . . . insert what you like.  “Whoever” is Gomer, Hosea’s wife, the harlot who marries a Godly man, leaves him and commits adultery and ends up a slave, sold on the block for fifteen shekels.  This is a picture of God’s heart:  He comes after us to where we are lost in sin and bondage, even sin and bondage of our own choosing.  He seeks us out as we are being sold on the block as slaves.  He will pay the price for us and take us home with Him and make us His children, His heirs.

In fact, He has paid the price.  That is His amazing love!

No matter where you are, no matter what you have done, no matter how low you feel, Your heavenly Father is nearby.  He is looking for you.  His arms are open.

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A wonderful picture of God’s amazing love is seen in the life of Queen Esther.  She, a Jewish girl orphaned at a young age, is raised by her uncle in Shushan, the capital city of the Medo-Persian empire.  She ends up in a nationwide beauty contest for which the first prize is to become queen.  She becomes the queen of the country.

But the evidence of God’s love in the story of Esther is not about her becoming Queen.  This is no Cinderella story.  Rather, this is the story of a God who sees everything, the beginning from the end.  He knows what lies ahead for His people, and He makes provision for them, even provision in the form of a young, scared Jewish girl.  He keeps all the promises to them no matter how long ago He made them.

When the wicked Haman, an important man in the King’s court, came on the scene and convinced the King of Medo-Persia to pass a law whereby the Jews would be slaughtered and their possessions taken by their neighbors, God had a plan already in place.  That plan was carried forward by Queen Esther.  God had hidden Esther in the pavilions of the palace of the King of Medo-Persia.  She would, in due time, be the vehicle by which God saved His people, the people from which the Messiah would come forth in the fulfillment of time.

You know the story . . . Esther convinces the King through a series of meals and events to pass another law which allows the Jews to survive, thereby preserving the Messianic line for the time hundreds of years later when a baby would be born to a descendant of David, of the tribe of Judah, in the town of Bethlehem as it was promised.

This is God’s love for us.  He makes a promise and never allows it to be broken, so that in the fullness of time, He can keep His promise.   God cannot lie.   Study to know what God has promised for you.

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One of the most beautiful pictures of the love of God and the foreshadowing of Jesus is found in the Tabernacle at the Mercy Seat.  When you visit the Tabernacle in your mind’s eye, you must first enter the gate, then cross the court yard, pass the bronze altar, make your way past the laver and then enter the first partition separating the outer courts from the holy place.

Once inside the holy place, you will find only the light of the golden candlesticks.  By its light, you will see the table of show bread and the altar of incense which is right outside of the Most Holy Place.  As you push aside the last veil separating you from the presence of God which occupies the Most Holy Place, you will look in and see there is only one piece of furniture – the Ark.

The Ark was a box covered with gold and on top of which were two cherubim with their wings touching.  Inside of the Ark was found the law (the tablets from Moses with the 10 Commandments).  The top, the covering over the law was known as the mercy seat.  It was here that God promised to meet with His people.  It was here that the High Priest was to sprinkle blood.

The picture is one of mercy.  God would bring mercy and cover the law.  God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of Christ in Him.  It is the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat (covering the law), that speaks of Jesus, of Calvary where Jesus’ blood would be shed once and for all to pay for the sins of all men so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.

That is amazing love.  O, what a savior!

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on knowing God through looking at the attribute of His great love for us, we discussed how the scriptures of the Old and New Testament describe the love of God.  In this post and those following, we will consider some of the pictures that God has used to illustrate His love.

Abraham and Isaac

One of the pictures of God’s love, actually a foreshadowing of the coming of Messiah, was the story of Abraham and Isaac.  You may recall the story recounted in Genesis 22 where God tests Abraham asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah.  Abraham takes his son, goes up with him to the mountain, binds his son to the altar that he built and proceeds to prepare to sacrifice his only son as God asked.  As he is lowering the knife to slay his son, God stops him.  God provides a substitute sacrifice (a ram caught in the thicket) instead of Isaac.  This picture of God’s love is the picture of the substitutionary sacrifice.  God had every right to require the first born child of his marriage to Sarah from Abraham.  Nevertheless, because of His great mercy and His promises to Abraham, God provided a sacrifice to satisfy the blood requirement.  This substitutionary sacrifice is seen again on Calvary, years later when Jesus died, once for all.  He who knew no sin, died for those who were under sin’s curse.

Deliverance of Isarael

Another great picture of the love of God and His heart for Israel (and us for whom the wall of separation was removed by the blood of Jesus) is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.  You may recall this story from Exodus.  The people of God are in captivity in Egypt.  They have been reduced to slavery.  Their oppressors fear them and make their life difficult.  They are even forced to kill their children.  God hears their cries from their bondage, and from within the their own ranks, God raises up a deliverer, Moses.  By the hand of God on Moses, the people of God are delivered from their oppressors and allowed to follow their God and worship Him.  This picture of God the deliverer is emphasized again and again by God in the Old Testament.

By these pictures, we begin to see God’s love.  You may want to go back and read the stories in their entirety and ask God to speak to you of His great love.

In our next post, we will look at some more pictures that God provides to illustrate His gr eat and amazing love.

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In part 1 of this series, we looked at the amazing love of God as we see it in the New Testament.  In this post, we will consider how God speaks of His love for us in the Old Testament.

  • God’s love for us is individual and designed to help me – – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  • God’s love for us is protective –  For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5   The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
  • God’s love for us is comforting – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
  • God’s love for us is sympathetic and compassionate – You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8
  • God’s love for us is one of abundant provision – They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. Psalm 36:8-9
  • God’s love for us gives us hope – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
  • God’s love for us is everlasting (eternal) – The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  Jeremiah 31:3

So much remains to be said about God’s love.  It is truly amazing.  It is His love for us that draws us to Him.  Read of Him in the pages of your Bible, the One who loved you, loves you and will love you!

In our next post, we will consider some of the word pictures and stories that the Bible provides of God’s love.

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