Monday, August 25, 2014

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God!” ~ 1 John 3:1

It's incredible how much God loves us. He knows us, inside and out, and He loves us. He knows every good and bad thing we've ever done or thought of doing and yet He still loves us. He sees our brokenness, our selfishness, our anger, our fear, our sorrow and grief, our questions and accusations our joy and our vulnerability and through it all - all day, all night...forever and always - He loves us. He loves me. He loves YOU! Isn't that incredible?!?!?

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” ~ St. Augustine

“The truest measure of God’s love is that He loves us without measure!”
~ Bernard of Clairvaux

Your life - with all of its ups and downs - is important to God. Nothing else in the world is more important to Him. He is capable of knowing us intimately and being available to us at any time for any reason. Each one of us, all the time. It seems impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. He is more than we can imagine and although the world is immense, He knows every single bit of it. And He chooses to know us and love us.

“God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.”~ Psalm 36:5-6

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.”
~ Psalm 147:4

Nothing is unseen. Nothing slips through the cracks. Every tear, every laugh, every fear, everything is seen and heard by our amazing loving God. We may not always understand why He seems silent or why He seems to not answer our prayers. But we can have faith that God is always with us and whether we understand now or not, He has a purpose for everything.

“It’s a mistake to think that we have to be lovely to be loved by human beings or by God.” ~ Mister Rogers

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is.”
~ Ephesians 3:18

“God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you.”
~ Max Lucado

No matter what we've done in the past. No matter what we've been doing. If we confess our sins to God and ask for forgiveness - it's gone. Forever and always. Never to be brought up again by God - completely forgotten. He knows we aren't perfect and He doesn't expect perfection. He wants us to love Him. He wants us to listen to Him. He wants us to know Him and spend time with Him. Just like we want to spend time with the people we love - God wants to spend time with us. And if we love Him as well, that means we should want to spend time with Him. We should want to learn all we can about Him.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
~ John 3:16-17

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to earth, to be born as a baby, to live a sinless (yet tempted) life, to die on a cross and to rise again on the third day and return to His Father's side in heaven. He did this because He loved us so much. Only through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross are we able to appear blameless and holy before God - Jesus stands in our place and His holiness makes us holy. When we accept this truth, we are able to know that one day we will be with God in heaven. And when we know that truth, and see the example of Jesus, we know what we should do. Love God and love people. It is truly that simple - not always easy - but that simple.

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” ~Ephesians 5:2

“If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~ 1 John 4:11

“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.” ~ Rick Warren

I think that more than anything else I've learned in the past year, I've been amazed by how much God loves us. I knew this of course, and it's never been something I truly doubted or even questioned. But in our time at our previous church there was a lot of focus on how terrible we all are, what great sinners we are, how high the standards must be, how hard we have to work to be faithful and obedient, and much more. But there was a severe lack of love, of grace, of mercy - and while the law is truth and we are sinners - God's love is truth as well. God's grace is much more than we can imagine. His mercies never come to an end.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’” ~ Lamentations 3:22-24

What I feel now is freedom. Freedom in Christ. To be who He has made me to be. To spend my time studying and learning about Him. To feel deeply in my heart and soul how much He loves me. To obey because I love Him and not because I'm afraid. I feel confident in resting in His love and knowing that He will always, has always, and will continue to always...always...ALWAYS love me. And it's true for you too. I want my life to show His love - to show it to others so that they know how much He loves them. I know I won't always succeed, but I want to keep trying to live in this truth and I hope that you can live in this truth too.

God loves You...really, truly He does. More than you can imagine. If God had a wallet, your picture would be in it. If He needed a refrigerator, your achievements would be displayed. We are His much loved children and there is nothing we can do that will ever stop Him from loving us. His love for you far exceeds anything you can imagine or have ever experienced and it is never-ending.

“I lavish My love on those who love Me.” ~ Exodus 20:6a

“Father, teach me to love with the love of Christ that others might see Your love reflected in my care and concern for them. May Your love drive and dominate my responses to life and to others.”
~ Our Daily Bread devotional 7/30/14

Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for loving us so much. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for our sins so that when we accept You and Your sacrifice we are able to be with forever in heaven. Thank You for loving us like beloved children and thank You for loving us enough to place boundaries in our lives. Thank You for the times when we feel blessed by good things, and thank You for always being with us especially when we are drowning in difficult times. You are our amazing Father and Savior and I am so thankful for Your constant presence in my life. Help me to always be aware that You are there and to never forget to run to You with everything good and bad in my life. Thank You for always listening, for always comforting, for always wanting to spend time with me. Help me to remember to make time for You - to spend my time praising You, listening to You, reading Your Word and being with You. Thank You for loving me even when I don't succeed. Please be with those who read this blog - help them to know how deeply You love them, help them to make time to spend with You and for those who don't know You - open their eyes and their hearts to You. Help me to love others like You love me - especially those who can be difficult to love. Help my life to reflect Your love and for people to see You in me. I love you. Amen.

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