“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
In this Old Testament scripture, God speaks to the Nation of Israel about his plan to redeem them from their captivity in the future. Inspirationally speaking, God’s love for humans extends to everyone, and it’s why he sent his Son to die for our sins.
Our misunderstanding of God’s love leads us to question all the wickedness we see in the world. Why the death? Why the abuses against human life? Why doesn’t he make everything perfect like him? According to the scriptures:
God is longsuffering with people (Numbers 14:18; 2 Peter 3:9)
God is extending his mercy upon the lost (Ephesians 2:2-4; Titus 3:3)
He’s giving people time to accept his Son (John 6:44-45)
God is allowing the righteous (in Christ) and the wicked to coexist on earth (Matthew 13:29-30)
God has an appointed time for reaping the harvest of saved souls (Revelation 14:14-16)
Some have experienced hurt; others fear the possibility of heartache. But we must realize that God is the only person able to provide us everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) that is so perfect it casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we place this level of expectation on another to love us, we miss the reality that they are only human – not perfect.
Shift your world view on what love is and seek God’s perspective. Pray for those who love you the best way they know how (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and other Christians) and are trying to overcome their shortfalls. Ask God for his wisdom to know those who have no desire to learn or try and maintain a safe distance until they want to know God’s way to love.
Remember the kindnesses of the Lord. Failure is not on his resume. When he moves, it’s in his own timing; when he answers prayers, it’s according to what he purposes for us in the situation. Although we fail each other regularly-the Lord our God never does.
Sometimes we have to be reminded of the history found in God’s Word on his faithfulness toward those who are HIS, before we are able to remember his care for us during our lifetime. The best way to prick your memory is to read the challenges faced by the many children of God in the Bible who came before us. These His-stories unleash our temporary blindness and work to bring to the forefront our own historical memory stones of the works God has done in our life in the past. Just as he forgives us repeatedly for our shortcomings, he will deliver us from the snares we get ourselves into … if we REMEMBER…
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
Genesis 30:23 KJV
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
Joshua 1:13 KJV
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Psalm 63:5-6 KJV
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:11-13 KJV
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:7-8 KJV
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
Ephesians 4:1-3 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In 1787, walking out of Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked the question as to whether or not we had a republic or a monarchy? Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our nation has struggled to keep a republic ever since.
In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul challenged the church at Ephesus to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The challenge is “if you can keep it.” UNITY and PEACE in the body of Christ are two things that every member of the body must strive to KEEP. Satan knows how difficult this can be, so what he does is work to sow discord and division through doctrinal, political, and racial strife.
While the world will always struggle with these things, the body of Christ was established to demonstrate what a UNIFIED and PEACEFUL BODY looks like to a lost world. When we allow the things of this world to infiltrate Christ’s body, then we have become a friend of the world, and the scripture says:
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Paul gave a solution to our delima:
Ephesians 4:14-16 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
It’s time for us all to GROW UP!
Ray Stewart is Senior Pastor of Grace and Truth Baptist Church in Independence, MO. Devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, he sees the church as a place … “Where the People are the Church”
The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
This morning as I walked the five blocks from my parking spot to my job, I was captivated by the skyline view of downtown Kansas City. It provoked thoughts of sitting on a balcony with coffee and toast, a cool breeze blowing across my skin, making me feel alive and refreshed. At that moment, I wished I was not on my way to work. I would much rather have been on a Hawaiian beach watching a vibrant sunrise dismantle the rain clouds with a bright and striking sun moving across the sky.
And what would I be doing at 6:30 in the morning under the conditions described above? I would be sitting in the early morning splendor ruminating about how life imitated nature. I would be thinking of the dark times in my life and remembering how the power of the Son evaporated my cloudy days. The beauty of the sentiment would, without doubt, cause tears to flow as I lifted my voice in praise for the rising of the Son in my heart.
Jesus does that, you know? He sees through our cloudy days, and just at the right moment, He illuminates His love to let us know He is with us in the dark. The Psalms give a divine image of this. David, the man after God’s own heart, records his emotions in the struggles he faces. Taking his complaints to God, he questions and accepts the sovereignty of the Creator. And through every up and down scenario, we see the mind of God toward David demonstrated in his faithfulness to help David. We are afforded a glimpse into the prophecies of the life and struggles the Son of God would endure on earth and his forthcoming emergence as the victorious, reigning King on earth.
Like David, we should bear our very heart and soul to God. No matter what the emotion, talk to him about it. Because of who he is, he will always bring us full circle to praise Him.
And therein lies the beauty of the Rising of the Son!
I am so glad that you awakened out of your slumber (Proverbs 6:9-11). The Father was so happy when you realized that you had fallen into the conversation of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-17). Even now, you never cease to be amazed at how liberating it is to die daily and empty yourself of that old man – self. You never imagined the magnitude of the plans God wanted to work through you. Thank you for learning to set your affection on things above (Colossians 3:1-2) every day. Thank you for allowing the Father to transform you into the New Creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) He created at your spiritual birth. Stay humble as you continue to put on the New Man and put off that old dead flesh. Continue to pray daily, unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17) so your walk in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23) grows stronger as your Love for God grows more intimate.
I Love you, but I praise God for maturing you in the knowledge that no one can ever love us as much as God Loves Us, a fact demonstrated in Christ – His Son!!
It is my belief that in mankind’s pursuits lays the desire for a connection to others beyond customary. Hidden beneath society’s downward spiral into moral madness, and disguised as human rights, politics, justice and the rights of the people, lies very basic needs. Every man, woman, and child has a need to be loved, a need to belong, and a need for true intimacy.
Mention the word intimacy and many things may come to mind, so let me clarify what I’m not talking about. I’m not talking about that physical imitator passed off through verbal graphics of bodies intertwined while the heart remains tucked away untouched and unaffected. I’m nottalking about sharing space or pleasantries or moments of time with another. And, I’m not talking about a surface driven state of euphoria that incites our emotions.
Nope — I’m talking about i-n-t-i-m-a-c-y …
I’m talking … a longing for; an ardent (warm, affectionate, passionate) desire
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
I’m talking … a very eager or urgent or fervent desire for
“O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
I’m talking … a deep, almost painful craving
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2
This desire occurs in the deepest, most remote part of our being. It’s seated in our mind and in our heart. It has been covered, concealed and is often replaced with temporary idols in a vain attempt to escape the pain produced when it is unmet in its most genuine, sincere form.
Who on earth doesn’t crave a kindred relationship that makes your eyes light up, your heart warm over with deep appreciation, and your smile spread big and bright across your face? Who hasn’t searched out the kind of intimacy that causes you to voluntarily and unconditionally open your arms to receive, to embrace, to take comfort in, and to bask under the protective coveringof another!
As much as we crave this intimacy, we’ll continue to fall short of experiencing such depth of heart as long as we skirt entering the portal of God, where true intimacy begins. As long as we are willing to run along the edge or remain on the border of detailed knowledge and close association with God, the mind, heart, and soul will continue to have a great thirst for intimacy.
I love the way “Till I Found You” by Phil Wickham paints a picture worth a thousand heartbeats! DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT LISTENING to the video below. In it you will find two beautiful pictures for all of us:
An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of Salvation where our hunger to be known is met with the confession of our mouth, and the heart belief of God’s all-knowing, all-seeing sovereignty; and
Never lose sight of the fact that Christ came from his heavenly home specifically to create an opportunity to have intimacy with you by the redemptive power of his blood. The Plan of Salvation is available to YOU!