God is Love

God shows His great love for mankind in countless ways, but the greatest proof of His love was the giving of His beloved Son for the redemption of man,  For God SO LOVED the world—sinful, fallen man—that He GAVE His only begotten Son.  We have been taught that from childhood, and we know that most quoted scripture by heart, but do we really, truly comprehend and accept the love of God?  Do we retire at night feeling His love surrounding us with protection and restful peace?  Do we wake in the morning aware that He is close enough to touch and to hear us say “Good morning, Father”?    As we go about our busy days, can we feel His hand guiding us around present dangers and in directions which will benefit us in His Kingdom?

Great men of old recognized the love of God.  They were mere men, yet some had such a relationship with God that they communed with Him as with another man.  Abraham, from whom God built the great nation of Israel, was called the Friend of God by the Apostle James (James 2:23).  The great worshiper, David, knew the immense love of his Creator and spoke often of the love of God throughout the Psalms.  These men knew that God, in a very practical sense, consistently showed His love even more than He spoke of it.  He repeatedly forgave the Children of Israel for their rebellion against Him and delivered them out of troubles that came upon them because of their wickedness and disobedience.  The Prophet Isaiah speaks of this great love in Isaiah 63:7-9:

I will give news of the mercies of the Lord, and his great acts, even all the things the Lord has done for us, in his great grace to the house of Israel; even all he has done for us in his unnumbered mercies.  For he said, ‘Truly they are my people, children who will not be false: so he was their savior out of all their trouble.   It was no sent one or angel, but he himself who was their savior: in his love and in his pity he took up their cause, and he took them in his arms, caring for them all through the years.

Often the perception we have of our Heavenly Father is based on the character and nature of our earthly fathers.  If we grew up in a home of judgment and criticism, likely we will struggle with the idea that God cannot be pleased.  Or, if we grew up with an angry dad, we may believe that God is always angry with us and quick to punish us.  If our dad was unemotional and/or unaffectionate, then we may have trouble accepting the love of God and allowing Him to express His love through us to others.  But we must look into the scriptures to learn about eh character and personality of God so we can see Him as He really is.  We find that He is a God of immeasurable love.

Countless love songs have been written both concerning God’s love and romantic love.  Countless stories, fact and fiction, have been written and told throughout the ages. It seems that man is in a desperate search constantly for love.  We look for love in many things, including success, romance, friendship, and religion.  So, where do we find love, and how do we recognize it when we do find it:  In light of the percentage of marriages that begin with vows of eternal love and end in divorce, what, exactly, is love?  The answer is simple.  God is love.  Love is not an emotion, it is a decision—a choice.  When we recognize and accept that the God who created us is love and can only love us, then we have found true love.

First of all, we know that God loves us because He forgives us.  We were born in sin because our father Adam sinned and brought sin upon the world, separating us from our holy Creator.  To remove the separation and to allow mankind a way to regain fellowship with Him, God permitted His son to come to the earth in form of a man and to take upon Himself all the sin of the world, thus becoming a ransom for mankind.  His great love for his creation motivated Him to freely give His own son to be a substitute in death for mankind, even after man had chosen to disobey Him, bringing sin upon all creation.  So, even while we were living in sin, God gave His son to die for us.  He wants us to live a sin-free life because He knows that sin steals, kills, and destroys.  Is that not love?  John 10:10 says it best:  “The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.”

It is the heart of God for mankind to have and lived an abundant life.  Scriptures are full of the promises of God for His people.  All He asks is that we trust and obey Him.  In exchange for the redemptive blood of His son, all God requires is the total commitment of our lives to Him.  “But that’s asking too much!  I can’t do that!” you may say.  Yes, it is your choice—God will not force anyone to give Him his or her life.  But why would anyone choose to live apart from the God of the universe—the One who has all power, all knowledge, and all wisdom and who desires to give pleasure to those who follow Him?

Another way God shows His great love for us is found in Zephaniah 3:17.  Here it says, “The Lord your God is among you, as a strong savior: he will be glad over you with joy, he will make his love new again, he will make a song of joy over you as in the time of a holy feast.”  Have you ever found yourself singing because you felt such an enormous feeling of love for someone?  Just think about God, the Creator of the universe, singing because of His love for His children!  That is an astounding thought!

It is a wonderful thing to be loved by parents, family, friends, and companions.  Those who love us may do so with a great, sacrificial love, but no one has the capacity to love as God loves.  After all, He is GOD!  He can move mountains for us.  He can defeat all our enemies!  He can do anything!

The Psalmist David knew this great love.  He says in Psalms 91:15-16, “When his cry comes up to me, I will give him an answer: I will be with him in trouble; I will make him free from danger and give him honor.  With long life will he be rewarded; and I will let him see my salvation.”   God tells Jeremiah of His love: “my love for you is an eternal love” (Jeremiah 31:3).  New Testament writer John speaks of this love: “See what great love the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1).  But perhaps Paul says it best in Romans 8:35-39:

Who will come between us and the love of Christ? Will trouble, or pain, or cruel acts, or the need of food or of clothing, or danger, or the sword? As it is said in the holy Writings, Because of you we are put to death every day; we are like sheep ready for destruction.  But we are able to overcome all these things and more through his love. For I am certain that not death, or life, or angels, or rulers, or things present, or things to come, or powers, Or things on high, or things under the earth, or anything which is made, will be able to come between us and the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God has many attributes, but He is truly the epitome of love.  Without Him, there is no such thing as love.

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