Archives For God’s Love

Jesus Loves You!

Alyson Kieda —  February 12, 2014 — 4 Comments

God’s Amazing Love/flickr/Creative Commons/Paul Dallgas-Frey

Some of the finest and dearest people I know struggle with believing that God loves them. They believe that they are far too sinful, too unlovable, or too unworthy to be loved by God. They have received Jesus as their Savior but still doubt that His love extends to them. They have no trouble believing that He loves everyone else, but they just can’t fathom the idea that God could possibly love someone like them—someone so undeserving.

Once upon a time, I was one of them. I struggled with my sinfulness, with the ugly words I spoke and with the ugliness inside me. How could God love me, I reasoned, when I failed to live up the standards of what a Christian should be?! I was such a lowly worm.

Thankfully, I now have complete assurance that God loves me—even me! Why? Is it because I’m sinning less and growing more like Him? Nope. Is it because I’m serving in my church? No, not even that. Have I done something to deserve His love? No and no again.

Even though I’m a Christian, I continue to sin. I am totally undeserving of God’s love. Yet I know that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8). That’s the key. God loves us because He chose to love us—not because of how lovable we are but because He is the God of love. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, to pay the debt for our sins (past, present, and future) that we could never pay. Because of what He did, I am considered righteous in His eyes.

It’s a simple yet profound truth that so many fail to grasp—or believe. But I know it’s true. The Bible tells me so, and the Spirit inside me confirms that truth: Jesus loves me. And if you have received Him as your Savior, He loves you too!

Show & Tell

Tim Jackson —  April 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

Having just come through the Easter holiday, I spent some time rereading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last days on earth (Matt. 26–28). I started in chapter 26 with the religious leadership plotting to kill Him, and then read about His anointing at Bethany; His betrayal by Judas; His last Passover celebration with His disciples; His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; and His betrayal, trial, death, burial, resurrection, and appearances after His resurrection. I ended with His Great Commission and ascension into heaven.

As I reflected on what I’d read, what was deeply impressed on my heart was how God didn’t just tell us that He loved us, He showed us.

Words can be cheap if they aren’t backed up with actions. “I love yous” carry little weight when there’s no tangible demonstration of loving actions that support the words.

As I read Matthew’s words on Easter Sunday morning, it became even more apparent just how far God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were willing to go to back up their words with the actions that proved it.

The most commonly known Bible verse, John 3:16, tells us that because “God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son.” Those words would mean nothing without Jesus invading our planet, living among us, and then sacrificing Himself in our place. That’s love in action; and that’s what matters.

How much does God really love us? He went all the way and left no doubt!

The hope of mankind—in a world in desperate need and that can feel hopeless at times—is best contained in this simple but profound reminder from Paul: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NIV).

That’s our only hope this Easter: That God not only cared so deeply that He was willing to tell us how much He loved us, but that He also was willing to show us His lavish love (1 John 3:1) in His Son’s willingness to die and be raised to life so that we could be rescued from sin and death and be given a new life as adopted sons and daughters of the King of kings.

More than just a good book

Jeff Olson —  November 10, 2011 — 2 Comments

“Is that a good book?” the lady asked the young boy sitting near her on the bus.

“This,” the boy replied holding up the book on his lap , “It’s more than just a good book.”

The young boy is, Henry, a main character from the new, popular television series Once Upon a Time. The book he was referring to was a large book of fairy tales that the series is based on.

I read a lot books, and people sometimes ask me if what I’m reading is good. Usually it is, but not always.

Henry’s response got me to thinking about what I would say if a stranger asked me the same question if they noticed me reading the Bible.

I’ve often heard people refer to the Bible as the “good book,” but after hearing Henry’s response, I would prefer to use his line—“It’s more than just a good book”. But then I would hope to add:

“Actually, it’s really not a book, but a library of books that tell an epic story of God’s love, that if you let it in, it will change your life forever.”

I could say more, but hopefully a short, thoughtful response would stir up enough curiosity in the person to look into reading the Bible for him or herself.

If you only had a sentence or two, what might you tell a stranger if they asked you the same question?

Restoration revisited

Tim Jackson —  October 24, 2011 — 6 Comments

So, how’s God restoring the brokenness in your life or the life of someone you love? Maybe it’s breaking free from an enslaving addiction or severing an abusive relationship that’s been sucking the life out of you for way too long. Whatever your story of brokenness, God has a restoration plan that’s custom made for you and will blow your mind.

Frank Graeff experienced just that as a pastor who went through some ve­ry dif­fi­cult tri­als.  Graeff was wrestling through a time of profound de­spond­en­cy, doubt and phys­ic­al pain. When he turned to God’s Word, 1 Peter 5:7 was the text that caught his eye and touched his heart: “casting all your anxieties on him (God), because he cares for you.”

Peter’s words provided a level of com­fort and encouragement that–while not relieving his pain–bolstered his heart with the tender reassurance of God’s loving care: “He cares for you.” Af­ter med­i­ta­ting on that truth, Graeff was inspired to write the lyri­cs to a song that reverberated from a grateful heart that knew what it meant to struggle with despair:

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth and song
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain:
O yes, He cares I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares

Does Jesus care when my way is dark With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades, Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed To resist some temptation strong
When for my deep grief I find no relief Tho my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye To the dearest on earth to me
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks Is it aught to Him? does He see?

So, if you have ever wondered like most of us have as to whether or not Jesus cares about the struggles and pain you are currently facing that seem insurmountable, Frank’s answer is a resounding “Yes!” And I agree.

If you have a story of pain and struggle where you’ve experience the restoration of the God who cares, please feel free to share your story to encourage others along the path that they are not alone and can make it too.

No Kill Shelters

Jeff Olson —  December 8, 2009 — 2 Comments

Sad dog-flickrIf you’re an animal lover, you gotta love the television show Dogtown. Aired on the National Geographic Channel, it’s about a dog shelter that is part of a massive 33,000 acre animal sanctuary in southern Utah. Dogtown is a “no kill shelter” where dogs, “who might otherwise be euthanized—find hope.”

No matter how sick or unruly, a devoted staff of trainers, veterinarians, and volunteers take in abandoned and damaged dogs with the goal of transforming each one into loving pets. Many of the canines who end up at the shelter exhibit unwanted or aggressive behavior because they are wounded and scared. The folks at Dogtown believe a dog whose has not experienced good things in life can be turned around for a greater good.

Wouldn’t it be great if our churches and Christian communities were more like Dogtown? Instead of shooting our wounded, the community of faith is meant to be like “no kill shelters” where scared, damaged, and messed up people can come and find God’s love and the hope for wholeness and purpose. Now that’s the gospel!

When the religious leaders of His day (who acted as if they were better than everyone else) bad mouthed Jesus for hanging out with sinners, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do” (Matthew 9:11, 13). His statement was bold and to the point. It reflected his primary mission to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Luke 4:18-19).

Though Jesus wasn’t light on moral failure (John 8:11), he didn’t try to fix people before getting them into the Kingdom. He met people where they were with the intention of graciously speaking truth that can transform people lives.

When people are struggling with a personal issue, one of the best places to be is among God’s people (at least that is how Jesus meant it to be).

Love Notes

Jeff Olson —  October 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

Love notesElena Desserich was nearly six years old when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. As the cancer took its toll, it stole away her ability to speak.

But little Elena would not be denied.

Wise beyond her years, she continued to communicate and express her love for her family through writing notes.

Sadly, cancer took little Elena less than a year after she was diagnosed. Before she died, however, she apparently began to hide literally hundreds of little love notes and drawings throughout the house for her family to find after she was gone. Her parents would go on to intermittently find them in places like briefcases, among Christmas decorations, and tucked between the pages of old coloring books.

This amazing little girl’s thoughtful little notes remind me of the Bible. God has left us with sixty-six letters—love notes from our Heavenly Father that ultimately tell us the story of His wild and unwavering love for those who bear His image.

Check em out. Spend some time reading them through.

Understanding and receiving God’s love into your life will change you forever.