Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jesus shows us ultimate LOVE!

I am sure everyone is familiar with the well-known verse John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life".  This is love to the extreme!  Unconditional, unmatched, undeserved love!  Ultimate LOVE!

In God's sacrifice of Jesus the Son He showed us how much He loved us and how far He was willing to go to redeem us to Him.  In his example, we learn how to love others.  His word tells us that "He who began a good work in us will see it to completion" (paraphrase).  In other words, when we receive Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit enters in and works through us to make us more like Jesus.

Ultimate love, ultimate Valentine's gift!  If you have not received this love, all you have to do is ask, trust and believe.  It is that simple.  You do not have to wait until you have cleaned up your life.  You do not have to wait until you have fixed the broken pieces.  You do not have to be ashamed of your past or your current situation either.  Hand it all over to Him and watch Him love you for you.  He will bind up your wounds, restore your soul and sanity and repair the brokenness.  He will set you free to L.O.V.E.!

You will begin to love yourself and others as you have never been able to before.  Forgiveness of your sin will prompt forgiveness for others.  Shame and regret will be replaced with serenity and rest.  I will not pretend this is a quick process...while you may feel an immediate sense of relief when you welcome Jesus in, you still may have periods of doubt about His love for you and your ability to be loved by others or to love yourself.  Trust me, I understand.

I have broken places in me too.  I have been a follower of Christ for decades and I still sometimes struggle.  Remember the enemy seeks to "steal and destroy" and we are not exempt from that.  Therefore staying in God's word through Bible study and reflection time is very important.  The more we know about the One who first loved us, the more we can love and be loved.  Love is light and the enemy cannot stay in the light.  Drive him out with LOVE!

While there will always be some struggles, I can tell you from experience that the love of God is real and the change it makes in how you love others and yourself is real.  A few years ago, I experienced this in a fresh, new way.  My husband had ousted his business partner for theft and his partner went on to open a directly competing business less than 1 mile from us.  I burned with anger and bitterness towards this man for months.  It ate at me and every time I drove by his store I could feel the anger wash over me.  One day as I passed I began to pray to Jesus to please help me let go of the bitterness and rage in my heart and give me peace.  Within moments I felt such a burden lifted from me...it literally felt like a weight had been removed from around my heart.  I now pass by the store and just smile...and pray for the man inside who does not have this Ultimate LOVE!

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