Why Love?

20130908-190311.jpg

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:3-4.

The title of my book is I Thought I Knew What Love Was. God’s love is so much better than anyone told or demonstrated for me. I yielded my heart to God because of His great love and pursuit. The longer I know Him, the more my life is transformed.

I never wanted to write a book. I don’t like public speaking. I could contently live as mostly a hermit with Jesus. I’m an introvert who often retreats after long periods of time of human interaction. So, ministry was never something I longed for. God deposited His heart for people, and He’s the reason I share with others.

Over the course of many years the conversations with God were often documented and many turned into psalms, poems, and prayers. You’ll find 7 years worth in the book. Some from me to Him and many His responses to me. This book was put together after friends and family kept telling me to publish them. I walked through a year or so of hesitation. I don’t care if people know who I am. I do want people to encounter Jesus and know who He is.

So why love? That’s what God asked me to talk about and share with the world. In 2008 on mission to Brazil I was asked to preach in a tiny village. This place was a secluded village off the Amazon River. I prayed and asked God what topic or passage to cover. He responded with, “Tell them I love them.” How simple, yet so profound. I asked why such a simple message. His reply, “People do not know how much I love them.” So the message was John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. People who you’d probably see on National Geographic were the target of God’s incredible love. God’s love is on full blast 24:7 towards every person on the planet. Every person matters.

I’ve met some opposition from people saying I must talk about the wrath of God. Or God is not only loving, He’s angry with our sin. He’s sending His punishment and wrath on evil sinners.

Here’s my take on God’s love with biblical backing.

Love is who God is, it’s not simply what He does. It’s His identity (1 John 4:8).

God’s discipline is a result of love. You cannot separate love from discipline. Discipline is a fruit of love (Hebrews 12:6).

God invites people into relationship and out of relationship transformation happens (John 15:5).

Obedience to God is a result of love for God (John 14:5).

We cannot love God without first receiving His love (1 John 4:19). We cannot give God love He has not first given us. We can only give what we possess.

God knows that we are weak (Psalm 103:14) and prone to sin so He gives us His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-21).

Out of love Jesus came to save the world. He knew we could not save ourselves, John 3:17.

The penalty for sin is death and for the unrepentant eternal separation from God. However, God longs for no person to perish (1 Tim 2:4). Out of love, He sent His Son.

So why love? Love is who God is. It’s not our human love. It’s not a we get to claim God and live as we please ( see the Unconditional Love vs. Unconditional Approval post).

God is not weak, and He is not unmerciful. His mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:3).

God is perfect in all His ways. He longs for none to perish. He is perfect in power, love, mercy, judgement, and He is holy.

I’ve seen the picket signs, “Turn or burn. God hates sinners.” I’ve seen people turned off from knowing God because those representing Him forsook love.

I’m thankful God is better than our understanding of Him. I’m thankful the Gospel is about redeeming sinful people. I’m thankful God didn’t offer me death, but an invitation to life. I respect, honor, and fear Him. However, I’m with Him not for fire insurance, but out of the great love He’s showed for me. If there were no hell, I’d still be pursuing His heart as He’s pursued mine. Out of love I serve and obey Him. There is no greater love! God’s love is beyond amazing.

The world needs to see and encounter God’s love, real love. Love that redeems, heals, tells the truth, corrects to restore, forgives, leads, helps, serves, honors, and empowers. Love that does not seek to dishonor, embarrass, or condemn people because those things are not really love.

20130908-194233.jpg

I Love You More

238127899019431789_0MzHFT6J_c

All the world seems to be looking for love. We were created to desire love, affection, affirmation, relationship, and the void in us is not easily filled. God set it up so no person on this planet has to be alone. People are born into families. Not only are we born into families, we are birthed with a great opportunity to know the Creator of the Universe.

I am often amazed that God, as perfect as He is, wants to be friends with us. He wants us to be recipients of His great love, forgiveness, and to adopt us as His children. I mean seriously, He can do whatever He wants. He could create the world’s perfect best friend or person. Yet, He chose and chooses to dwell with sinful man. God was not lonely before creating man. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all existed long before we did. God did not need us, He wanted us. 

There’s something to be said about being wanted. No matter how awful we are or have been, we are here because God loves us. We are here because He cares for us. We are here because He had and has a great plan for our lives. We are no mistake!

He created us to be recipients of His great love. We were made to be loved by Him.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding, Ephesians 1:2-7.

No matter who we meet on this journey, there will not be anyone who loves us more than God. There will not be a person who will sacrifice all that they are for our best interests. It’s not going to happen. My earthly father is wonderful. I have no doubt he would do all in his power to protect, provide, and be there for me. However, I do not believe he can or would do all that God has done for me. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me. No greater love in the entire world, than the love God has lavished on us.

We may not always feel His love. We may not always see His love. We may not always believe in His love, but the truth is, God is love. Every day He pours out His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and wisdom on a world that rejects Him, denies Him, abuses His name, and blames Him for all that goes wrong. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. I as a human, I grow tired of loving people who I know will never love me. I grow weary in turning the other cheek and responding in kindness to people who are cruel. God, however, is infinite in patience and love. Love is who God is.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, Psalm 103:8.

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you, Psalm 86:5.

I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us–yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses, Isaiah 63:7.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you, Isaiah 54:10.

God’s after relationship…with us.

Some don’t hear God’s voice; it’s challenging to be in a relationship with someone you can’t hear. I will say if you are a born again believer, you can hear from God. Pray and ask God for the ability to hear from Him. You can have a relationship with Him that is as close and intimate as you would like it be. As Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me,” John 10:27. Even if you don’t hear from God directly speaking to your spirit, you can hear from Him through His Word (which is the best place to start and He does not violate His Word. He increases our understanding, but does not violate His Word). God also speaks through dreams, visions, others, and sometimes our circumstances.

Lastly, here are the words God deposited in my heart today.

I love you more…I love you more than you can imagine. You are My workmanship, created for My glory. I chose you. I wanted you. I have never left you, and I will never leave you. You are an extension of My heart. Where you are, there I am. You are a part of Me. There is nothing that can separate you from My love. There’s nothing you can do to make Me love you less or more. My love for you extends from before the world was made into eternity. It is a love that cannot be broken. Your name is written on My heart. You name graven on My hands. I move heaven and earth to care for you. You are My beloved. You will always be My beloved.

Sweet friends, these words apply to you as well. God loves you. He is for you. His heart cries out again and again, I Love You More….Praying God blesses you richly and abundantly this year, above all you could ask or imagine. Love, Erin.