I am loved

Reblog: Loved with Joy

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, he will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

I wondered what that meant–“He will be quiet in His love”. Does it mean that because He loves me He will cease rebuking? No, I don’t think that’s right. The proverbs tell us that The Lord rebukes the son that He loves. I needed to do some digging.

I’m so glad I did.

It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word used here was commonly used to denote the love between a man and a woman. Love like what we think of in human terms. Love that is deeply felt and pursued by choice.

Have you ever been told that you’re difficult to love? Ouch. I mean, really, ouch. That sting doesn’t quit.

Maybe sometimes we read of God’s agape– his unique, divine love–and we think in the secret, wounded places of our hearts “I like that, but He loves me because He must. . . Because He is love.” Something in that robs a bit of the sheen from that truth.

Listen, oh my tender heart, to what Matthew Henry writes of this verse:

“I know not where there is the like expression of Christ’s love to his church. . . The great God not only loves his saints, but he loves to love them, is pleased that he has pitched upon these objects of his love.”

This is the kind of love a bridegroom lavishes upon his bride as he stares into her eyes with wonder and joy and LOVE.

And my God looks at me like that? My heart just melted. He loves me with a joyful love!

I am loved

Reblog: I am Loved by God, I Must Love Others

“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off him compassion from him–how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, me must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth.”  1 John 3:16

God loved me in deed.  He didn’t just sit and heaven and spout pretty words at me.  Nor did he just hang out on his throne and feel tender toward me.  He did something.  He stepped out of the splendor of heaven, strapped on some first-century sandals, and chose a torturous death to become the sacrifice for my sin – just so I’d have a way to him, a way to receive his love.

And he asks me to love those around me the same way.

It’s pretty easy to think about acting out my love to my children or my husband.  I cook, clean, comfort, help with homework, drive to endless basketball practices.  I love them in deed.  Why?  Because I have oceans of loving feelings for them.  I enjoy them.  They love me back.

Ditto for my fun, giving friends.  Easy to feel love.  Easy to act on it.

But what of the people I don’t feel warm and fuzzy about?  Take, for example, women who are struggling in poverty’s clutches or chained by addictions.  They’ve got emotional issues springing from abuses I can’t even imagine.  They’re overly needy.  Clingy.  I am to love them in deed.  I am to do something about it.  Take them to lunch.  Give them a ride. Listen to their hearts.  Love them, when I receive nothing from them in return. Love them when it doesn’t feel fun.

Or … my enemies?  I’m supposed to love them the same way.  I may not be able to muster a single happy feeling toward them, but I am to act out love.  Patience.  Kindness.  Not holding a grudge.  These things are not feelings.  They are deeds.

God passionately loves me, and believing that gives me wholeness.  It gives me peace.  But my emotional well-being isn’t God’s only goal in loving me.  He commands me to take my full cup and pass it on to the people around me, lovely or not.

I am loved

Reblog: Pursued by Love

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found [it], he lays [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together [his] friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” Luke 15:4-6 NKJV

These verses did not come up when I ran a topical search on Gods love for me. But as I prayed this morning, this is where the Spirit lead. Reading over the familiar passage, I could hear the wonderful, slight brogue of Alistair Begg as he animated these verses in a sermon I listened to over a year ago.

“You see, I love that wee lamb, and I’m going after her . . .”

Love in action. That’s what this passage is. Though I am but a small lamb in a large flock, insignificant on the surface, ordinary and easily passed over, Jesus says, “I love you, and I’ll seek you out when you lose your way. I’ll find you, and when I do, I will lift your trembling frame to my shoulders, because I know that you’re tired and afraid, and I will carry you back to safety. And I will rejoice, for I have found my lost lamb.”

Wow. That kind of love goes beyond a proclamation . . . A love that pursues is true love indeed. And I am the object of His pursuit.

I am loved

Reblog: Knowing I am Loved

“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width and height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19, HCS

My grandmother lived in Illinois, and she reached age 70 without ever once seeing the ocean. She’d read about the sea, seen pictures of its waves, could even point at a map and show you the Atlantic. My grandmother knew there was an ocean.

But then, my parents moved to Florida. When my grandmother came to visit, they took her to the beach. She stepped out on the sand, took in a gulp of salty air and listened to the roar. The sky curved down to meet the water, arching in a planet-sized semi-circle around her. She stumbled, nearly toppling. My parents both scrambled to catch her. They had to stand on either side of her, holding her arms, so that she could take in the dizzying sight before her. “It is bigger than anything I have ever – ever – seen.”

It was at that moment that my grandmother really knew the ocean.

God loves me. I know that. I’ve read it and sung it since childhood. But being able to explain it or quote verses about it or even believing it – all that is my grandmother before she boarded that train to Florida. It’s head knowledge.

I want more than that. I want to be so awed by the depth and length and width and height of God’s love that I stumble in awe—that others must hold me up while I just stand there and marvel. I want to take in great gulps of his love, to be so filled with fullness of it that peace washes over me like the warm waves of Florida’s ocean.

Lately, some circumstances in my life have been bathing me in sadness, and quite frankly, a few weeks ago, I slipped into the first kind of knowing. I believed God loved me. But I didn’t feel like it. Then one day as I folded laundry, matching socks and worrying, God whispered to my heart, “I love you.”

It was the ocean again. I sat down, right on top of the rumpled laundry, and sobbed. I got it. The God of the universe loved me. And with that heart knowledge, that experience-kind of knowing, came Atlantic–sized peace. I write this so that next time I slip, I can go back and re-read it and remind myself how fiercely God’s love for me roars.

I am loved

Remembering Who I Am: I Am Loved

As the year draws to a close, we want to remember what God has shown us throughout 2014. He is so good to continue to remind us of our identity in Christ. Please feel free to share with us what He has shown you this year.

Knowing I am Loved:

“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width and height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19, HCS

Pursued by Love

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found [it], he lays [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together [his] friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” Luke 15:4-6 NKJV

I am Loved by God, I must Love Others

“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off him compassion from him–how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, me must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth.”  1 John 3:16

Loved with Joy

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, he will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

I am loved

I Am Loved By God; I Must Love Others

“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off him compassion from him–how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, me must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth.”  1 John 3:16

God loved me in deed.  He didn’t just sit and heaven and spout pretty words at me.  Nor did he just hang out on his throne and feel tender toward me.  He did something.  He stepped out of the splendor of heaven, strapped on some first-century sandals, and chose a torturous death to become the sacrifice for my sin – just so I’d have a way to him, a way to receive his love.

And he asks me to love those around me the same way.

It’s pretty easy to think about acting out my love to my children or my husband.  I cook, clean, comfort, help with homework, drive to endless basketball practices.  I love them in deed.  Why?  Because I have oceans of loving feelings for them.  I enjoy them.  They love me back.

Ditto for my fun, giving friends.  Easy to feel love.  Easy to act on it.

But what of the people I don’t feel warm and fuzzy about?  Take, for example, women who are struggling in poverty’s clutches or chained by addictions.  They’ve got emotional issues springing from abuses I can’t even imagine.  They’re overly needy.  Clingy.  I am to love them in deed.  I am to do something about it.  Take them to lunch.  Give them a ride. Listen to their hearts.  Love them, when I receive nothing from them in return. Love them when it doesn’t feel fun.

Or … my enemies?  I’m supposed to love them the same way.  I may not be able to muster a single happy feeling toward them, but I am to act out love.  Patience.  Kindness.  Not holding a grudge.  These things are not feelings.  They are deeds.

God passionately loves me, and believing that gives me wholeness.  It gives me peace.  But my emotional well-being isn’t God’s only goal in loving me.  He commands me to take my full cup and pass it on to the people around me, lovely or not.

I am loved

I Am Loved: Loved With Joy

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, he will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

I wondered what that meant–“He will be quiet in His love”. Does it mean that because He loves me He will cease rebuking? No, I don’t think that’s right. The proverbs tell us that The Lord rebukes the son that He loves. I needed to do some digging.

I’m so glad I did.

It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word used here was commonly used to denote the love between a man and a woman. Love like what we think of in human terms. Love that is deeply felt and pursued by choice.

Have you ever been told that you’re difficult to love? Ouch. I mean, really, ouch. That sting doesn’t quit.

Maybe sometimes we read of God’s agape– his unique, divine love–and we think in the secret, wounded places of our hearts “I like that, but He loves me because He must. . . Because He is love.” Something in that robs a bit of the sheen from that truth.

Listen, oh my tender heart, to what Matthew Henry writes of this verse:

“I know not where there is the like expression of Christ’s love to his church. . . The great God not only loves his saints, but he loves to love them, is pleased that he has pitched upon these objects of his love.”

This is the kind of love a bridegroom lavishes upon his bride as he stares into her eyes with wonder and joy and LOVE.

And my God looks at me like that? My heart just melted. He loves me with a joyful love!