God’s Persistent Love

God’s love is one of the great truths of the Bible. The fact that the God of the universe; the omnipotent God; the eternal God; the God who is greater than all, is the same God who loves you as His child is a truth that should stagger your mind and overwhelm you like a giant tidal wave.

It’s also a truth that we need to be reminded of from time to time. Life is difficult at its best. We face issues and situations in life that seem to have no answers or explanations. People struggle with life-threatening illnesses, broken relationships, financial crises, rebellious children, loss of jobs, and natural disasters. It’s easy to become discouraged with life and wonder if it is all worthwhile. That’s exactly when we need to be reminded of the persistence of God’s love.

Listen to how the Apostle Paul describes God’s love in Romans eight:

Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You may not feel like a conqueror today but through Jesus Christ you not only can be – you are! The reality is that you are a conqueror over anything that tries to come between you and God’s love for you. That’s because the victory has already been won through Jesus. It is through Jesus that we know and experience God’s love. It is through Jesus that we conquer whatever life throws at us.

This week you will undoubtedly experience some of life’s more difficult moments. When you do, remind yourself that the God who created you also loves you with a Persistent Love. And there is nothing that you or anyone else (or anything else) can do to change that love.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve

When is an Act of Love not Loving?

Christmas is the time Christians around the world remember the birth of Christ – God sending His Son as the Savior. Without question, this was one of His greatest acts of love to the human race. It’s a time to reflect, not only on God’s love to us, but on our love for Him and for those He has put around us. God’s desire for us is to love Him and to love other people (Matthew 22:36-39). In fact nothing is greater in life than for us to love. All of the other teachings of the Bible rise and fall on this one issue (Matthew 22:40). That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding of love.

Recently a minister from the United Methodist church (who happens to live near us), Rev. Frank Schaefer, was defrocked for performing the same-sex marriage of his son. This was a clear and intentional violation of the denomination’s Book of Discipline which classifies homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching” and bans its ministers from performing same-sex marriages (http://www.usatoday.com). Rev. Schaefer’s explanation for his refusal to follow the teaching of the Methodist church was that it was “an act of love for my son” (http://abcnews.go.com). He equated his actions to that of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) saying “I couldn’t pass on the other side of the road like a Levite to preserve a rule. All I saw was love for my son” (http://www.religionnews.com).

I applaud Rev. Schaefer’s effort to be guided by the Christian law of love. There is, however, more to this issue. What we call an act of love is not always an act of love. The problem is that in our humanness we see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). That is, we don’t see the same way God sees. That means that our view of love can easily be distorted and, as in this case, completely wrong. We cannot replace God’s definition of love with our own definition simply because it sounds better to us. It is not our right to define what love is or what love looks like. That is God’s right

Humanly we say love accepts all choices equally. God says that love is accepting His choice as the final choice (John 14:15). Humanly we say that love accepts marriage between any two committed people regardless of their sexual orientation. God says that love is a marriage between one man and one woman who are committed to each other (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31). Humanly we say that love approves of all relationships. God says that there are some relationships that are outside the parameters of love (Romans 1:26-27). Love outside of God’s definition is not love. It may look like love to us but it’s not love. It’s never a loving thing to approve of what God condemns.

Rev. Schaefer has not acted in love towards his own son. He has done just the opposite. He has pointed him away from God’s love to a man-made imitation. The most loving thing he could have done was to share with his son what God says about love and encouraged him to pursue it. Would it be difficult? Certainly. But it would also be right.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve

What the World Needs Now . . .

Valentine’s Day seems a perfect time to reflect on love. So much has been written on the subject that it borders on pretentious to think that anything can be added. However, many have tried. It was that homespun philosopher Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip with its lovable Charlie Brown (and my little league coach – I had to add that because he’s the only famous person I ever knew) who said all you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. I’m good with that.

The song What the World Needs Now is Love puts it into perspective:

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone
.

Any objective person will agree – the world would be a better place if there was more love to go around. The basic premise of the song hits the mark. Where the song misses truth is that love is already here, there’s enough of it and it’s available to anyone who wants it.

The gospel writer John records the words of Jesus: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16). Later in his first epistle John wrote: In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son (1 John 4:10). The problem isn’t that there’s too little love in our world, it’s that we’re not looking in the right places. God has provided all of the love that the human race needs. It’s enough to satisfy every longing heart – every searching soul – every life aching for more.

We were created with a desire – perhaps even a need for love. We come into the world craving the love of our mother. We grow up seeking the love of those around us. What we often miss is that our greatest desire (and need) is for God’s love. It is His love that makes all other loves not only possible but of value. It is His love that gives meaning to human loves.

Again the words of the Apostle John are worth reading – he expressed it so simply yet so powerfully: God is love (1 John 4:8). He is the source of love, the essence of love, the example of love. He is all the love we need. It is now for us to bask in His love – to be enraptured in His love – to be overjoyed in His love. Let it overwhelm your life, perplex your mind and comfort your soul.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve

Someone Loves You

God’s love is one of the great truths of the Bible. The fact that the God of the universe; the omnipotent God; the eternal God; the God who is greater than all, is the same God who loves us as His children is a truth that should stagger our minds and overwhelm us with an almost incomprehensible reality.

It’s also a truth that we need to be reminded of from time to time. Life is difficult at its best. We face issues and situations in life that seem to have no answers or explanations. People struggle with life-threatening illnesses, broken relationships, financial crises, rebellious children, loss of jobs, and natural disasters. It’s easy to become discouraged with life and wonder if it is all worthwhile. That’s exactly when we need to be reminded of the persistence of God’s love.

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter eight:

Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You may not feel like a conqueror today but through Jesus Christ you not only can be – you are! The reality is that you are a conqueror over anything that tries to come between you and God’s love for you. That’s because the victory has already been won through Jesus. It is through Jesus that we know and experience God’s love. It is through Jesus that we conquer whatever life throws at us.

This week you will undoubtedly experience some of life’s more difficult moments. When you do, remind yourself that the God who created you also loves you with an everlasting, persistent love. And there is nothing that you or anyone else (or anything else) can do to change that love.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve