Some verses in the Bible have so much packed into them that you just have to stop and chew on them for a while. Zephaniah 3:17 is one of those verses. It says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (NLT). Think about that verse for a minute. Some versions say, “God is present with you” (MSG) or “God is with you” (GNT). No matter what version, it’s important to know that wherever you go, whatever you do, God is there, present with you in each situation. We just need to learn to be more aware of His presence in our day.
From John 3:16, we know that God loves us. We’re taught that as a kid, but do you ever stop to think that more than that, God likes you too? He really does. He takes delight in us with gladness it says. He sees the deep, dark places of our heart that we keep hidden, and He still likes us and wants to be around us. So many of us keep those parts hidden from others because we think, “If they knew this about me, they wouldn’t like me.” God knows you and I are broken and have sin nature lurking inside. He wants to bring healing to those places, and calm our fears about them. Fear does not come from Him. It comes from not understanding who we are in Him and who He wants to be in our lives.
This verse then ends with a bang! God rejoices over you and sings joyful songs over you. Psalm 32:7 says that the songs God sings are to deliver us and to bring us victory. Just like a parent sings songs to their kids, God sings to us. He knows that wherever we go or whatever we do, we need His comfort, His protection and His victory. Today, God is present with you, He is might enough to save you from whatever you’re facing, He wants to be around you, He will calm your fears and be singing over you. To me, that means today, and every day has the potential to be a great day. We just need to keep this verse in mind so we can understand how God sees us and know who we are to Him.
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“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)
The most famous of all scriptures is John 3:16. If there was one verse that summed up the whole Bible, that would have to be it. The whole story of the Bible is a one sided love story. One side gives and gives in order to show how much they love the other. That love is mostly not reciprocated. When it’s not, the gifts of love become greater and greater until the Father gives the best gift He can possibly give. He gives up the one thing that is everything to Him in order to show how much He loves us. He gave His son to us.
We are the ones being wooed by the Father. We are the ones who have rejected His gifts of love towards us. We know that He has out best interest at heart, but for some reason we run from it. We turn to temporary things looking to fill the need for an eternal love. Only the One who is eternal can give us that kind of love. Only the One who uses the earth as His footstool can fill the whole in our lives. That’s why He gave us His son.
The second half of that verse says that whoever believes in, trusts in, clings to and relies on His son, will not perish or be lost. We have to receive that gift that He sent us. We have to be the ones who no longer reject the love He is trying to show us. In turn, we need to embrace that gift. Jesus said that God loves each person so much that He doesn’t want any of us to be lost or perish. His goal is that we would all accept His gift.
When we do, we will have eternal life. That what God gives. Life. He breathed man’s first breath into his nostrils to give him life and has been trying to do the same thing spiritually since. Until we accept God son Jesus, we are like Adam was before God breathed in him. We need that breath in order to receive eternal life. The life we live is but a vapor in comparison to eternity. What we do in the short time determines how we spend eternity. Do we accept His gift which brings life or do we reject it and suffer the alternative?
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (NLT)” That how each one of receives the gift that God gave us. That how we accept a love that is unconditional. This love story doesn’t have to end in tragedy. It doesn’t have to end with only one side giving unreturned love. We can love Him because He first loved us.
I’m broken this morning by the goodness of God. I’m overwhelmed at how much He loves us. The more I think about it, the more broken I become. The David Crowder song “How He Loves Us” is playing in my mind and I keep breaking down as the lyrics sink in. “He is jealous for me, loves likes a hurricane. I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” Today, I’m that tree that is bent over because I’m blown away at how much He loves us. We’ve not given Him any reason to. We’ve done everything that we can to push Him away, but He loves us anyway.
That kind of love is hard for me to grasp. How can He still love us when we treat Him like a genie, hurt others that He loves dearly and live our lives for ourselves? Just about everything we do should give Him a reason not to love us. Yet He shows His mercy in each sunrise. He offers His grace with each new dawn. How many mornings have I just taken His love, grace and mercy for granted? How many times has He painted the sky with His love for me and I missed it because I was too busy looking for other things besides Him? But He loves me anyway.
The song “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe comes to mind. “This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming.” I’m experiencing those feelings today, yet I believe it should be an every day thing. I should be overwhelmed day by day at just how good God is to me. I should be overflowing with thankfulness at the blessings He’s given me. I should be thankful for breath and life each morning. I should be honored that He spends time with me each day and walks with me. Instead, I treat those things like an all too familiar routine of motions that I go through each day. Even then, He loves me anyway.
When is the last time you stopped and just rested in God’s love? When is the last time you went swimming in His grace? Have you stood still long enough for Him to give you the embrace He wants to give you? His arms are open wide and He’s looking right at you today. His eyes are filled with love for you. He’s calling out your name. Can you hear it? He wants so little from us and yet offers unending love so freely. He’s patient when we’re too busy to stop and let Him love us. He’s good to us when we’ve done nothing to deserve it. He doesn’t care how many times we’ve brushed Him off or pushed Him aside. He loves you more than you are capable of understanding. No matter what you’ve done, He loves you anyway.