Tag Archives: god loves you

Emmanuel

Around Christmas time, I remember an old song we used to sing at church by Don Moen. “Emmanuel. Emmanuel. His name is called Emmanuel. Emmanuel. God with us. Revealed in us. His name is Emmanuel.” Simple, yet powerful as it reminds us of God’s plan to save the world. I thought about the meaning of it the other night when we, as a family, sat down, looked at our nativity and talked through all the people in it. By doing this activity, we each gained more insight and perspective into what has become a common Christmas symbol, but is truly the greatest display of love the world has ever seen.

Since the Garden of Eden, sin had reigned on the earth. It brought death and decay with it. Man had no ability to conquer it. When God looked on our helpless estate, He didn’t condemn us to an eternity In hell. Rather, He displayed His love by sending His one and only Son into the world, not to condemn it, but that through Him the world might be saved (John 3:16-17). He became one of us in order to reach us, to break the curse of sin and to end its rule. If you remember, while He was in the tomb, He took the keys of death, hell and the grace removing its power over our lives. He ushered in a wave of grace to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

Romans 8:3b says, “Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin”. Jesus, coming to earth as depicted in the manger scene, is God reaching out, identifying with us and ultimately sacrificing Himself so we could be together. Emmanuel is a powerful word that concisely tells the story of Christmas. You are loved immensely by your creator. He didn’t come to condemn you. He came to save you because there is no way to save yourself.

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

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The Birth Of Grace

I’ve got a friend who, when he sees people with a sour face, likes to say, “Smile! God’s in a good mood.” It usually takes them a second to hear what he said, then they laugh or smile. Many of us think of God as this angry, Old Testament figure who is sitting up in Heaven speaking in old English and is looking for someone to smite. As a result, we try to live a smite free life that makes us miserable.

If God is always angry, why did He give us the gift of His Son? I can tell you that when I’m upset or angry with someone, giving them a life changing gift is not an idea floating around in my head. In the Old Testament, we had a pact with God where we would do our part to keep the relationship open through sacrifice, but we constantly fell short. That did make God angry and upset. How do you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t do it.

Out of love, God decided to establish a New Covenant between us. One where when we fall short on our end, Jesus makes up the difference. His birth was also the birth of grace. It announced that God would make a way to reestablish the relationship between He and us. His desire has always been that we would know Him, and go to live with Him for eternity. To take the burden off of us trying to keep our part, He sent Jesus.

John 3:16-17 says, ““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. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (NLT). Smile! That’s good news. This Christmas, celebrate the birth of grace into our world. Live your life in response to God’s love for you rather than out of the fear of being smitten.

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Easy To Please

I’ve worked for some people that were easy to please, and I’ve also worked for some that were hard to please. One of my bosses said to me, “Chris, I wish I had five guys just like you working here.” I replied, “Wow! Thanks.” Sternly he looked at me and said, “It wasn’t a compliment. I have twenty of you right now.” It was funny, but I don’t know to this day if he was joking or not. I was always afraid to ask questions for fear I would get in trouble, or worse, ridiculed. I’ve had other bosses who I thought were going to be tough to please when I met them, but once I got to know them, they were a lot different than I had thought. One of those was seriously invested in my future and helped me advance all throughout my career. My preconceived notions changed once I got to know him.

One of my first preconceived notions of God was that He was this old guy in Heaven, with a long white beard, looking down ready to blast me for messing up. I often felt that His love for me was dependent on my performance, much like some of the bosses I’ve had. As long as I did things the right way, He was happy with me. If I messed up, He was ready to rain down hell fire and brimstone on me. However, the more I’ve gotten to know Him, the more I’ve found what Paul discovered in Romans 8. Nothing can stop Him from loving me. Like a parent, He loves me as His child and is not waiting for me to mess up. On the contrary, He’s there wanting me to excel, to grow and to be ho He created me to be.

David discovered this about God too. In Psalm 25:8, he wrote, “When people turn to you, they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true! Joyfully you teach them the proper path, even when they go astray” (TPT). God is not impossible to please. In fact, He’s easy to please, and He’s not ready to smite you when you mess up. Joyfully, He’s ready to help you back up and point you to the right path. He knows our weaknesses, our propensities and our failures, and He loves us still. The plan He has for us is hard at times, but He’s right there cheering us on and giving us instructions on how to complete it. You don’t have to fear losing His love over your faults. You don’t have to hide your mistakes or be afraid to ask Him for help. He loves you and is cheering you on as you go through life. Like a good father, He’s easy to please.

Photo by Peter Dlhy on Unsplash

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You’re Not BER (Video)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8 (NLT)

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Eternal Life Through Eternal Love

“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.

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He Loves Us Anyway

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.

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