Chaplain’s Desk – The Love of God
During my quiet time recently, I was asking God what I was to speak on. I was in need of something for the nursing home as well as the two blogs I post. That morning God gave this to me. It’s a reminder of just how great His love for us is, how much He cares for His people, and about His promise never to desert us nor leave us unprotected by His mighty hand.
Do you really, deep down believe that promise? Most of us give lip service to it, but when things go haywire, we cry, we moan, we look to others around us for help, or, a very few just dig deeper into their own psyche, their own abilities, to look for an answer. Human beings always try to look for some rational answer when often there isn’t one. That’s what faith is all about.
So, where’s your faith? Is it in money? Is it in friends or relatives? Is it in government? Is it your own power? Or, like many today, you don’t have faith in anything or anyone? That’s a pretty sad commentary on life today, especially when there is One who is always ready to comfort and guide.
The Apostle Paul wrote a great letter to the Roman believers. In chapter 8 he writes: (35-39). Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul starts with quote from King David in Psalm 44 verse 22. Then he asks the pertinent question, what can separate us from the love of God? Paul was persuaded that there was no created thing that could separate him from God because God is the Great Creator and every created thing, no matter if it’s visible or invisible, is in His power and control. Nothing in heaven, on the earth, or under the earth has the power to separate us from God. Yes, our physical lives can be abused, or even killed, but he is talking about our spirit, the everlasting part of our self that will be saved. That spirit will be either saved or doomed.
For God to love us, we who were, and in some cases still are His enemies, seems impossible to humans, but that’s a love we look for. The Apostle John wrote probably the most well- known Bible verse when he wrote, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Paul took that verses’ meaning and wrote, 32. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Jews believe Messiah is coming soon. We Christians believe He has already been here but is coming back soon. We are actually looking for the same Person, the same Redeemer, so why is there such a rift? There should be love between all of God’s people, love because that is one of His main attributes. We believe in the same God as we read in Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. This is the same God that told Moses, (Exodus 3:14. And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.‘ ”
The name “Christian” means “Christ follower.” Too many people today claim to be Christian, but they do not follow what they should be doing. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Those commandments include “loving others.” That’s a love from God that guides and comforts His people.
The Great I AM sent Moses to His people. The Great I AM loves His people. Christians believe the Great I AM sent his Son Yeshua to earth 2,000 years ago, and He will soon send Him back again to reclaim this sinful world and oust the current master. Hamashiach will reign on earth, making His home in Jerusalem as He promised many years ago. Israel, the apple of God’s eye, will be foremost in nations again. God promised that, and in His holiness, in His love and purity, He will do what He promised.
It’s because of what God has done that we can turn to Him and His love. It’s because of what He has done for us already, that we should be lovingly doing something for Him, in service to our God, our Master.
As long as we are living and breathing, God has some type of ministry for us to do. Most people think of ministry as only done in a church building by only certain people. Each one of us has their own ministry that has been declared by God. I have found it interesting that my ministry has changed over the years. That often happens to those who follow Him.
In our lives we go through many good times but we also go through many bad times, times of real struggle. Some of us are at that point again in our lives, struggling in some way. God allows us to go through these situations so that He can show us how He can bring us through. When we come to realize that fact, we then glorify, we thank and praise Him for helping us through the trial. It’s better we go through the trial here rather than when we face Him directly in heaven. That’s going to be a terrifying thing for most people.
Most of our trials, our miseries, come from feeling unloved. In the midst of adverse circumstances, in our feelings of inadequacy, of pain, of loss, we also tend to feel that all love has been taken away from us. We feel all alone in life, even with many people around us. God has promised He will never leave nor forsake us. Never. That’s love without end. Have we, or do we act as if that were the truth?
Your entire life is meant to be an act of service to God. If you only live for your own happiness and wellbeing, then you will face disappointment in the end. But, when you walk in God’s will, do the things He has asked you to do, you will have the satisfaction of doing exactly what you were crated to do.
I love these word from Isaiah (49). While he was talking about the city of Jerusalem, they are also meant for all of God’s people. 13-16.. Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.
Can you imagine the love God has for us when He says He has inscribed, you, your name on His hand? That means your name is always close to Him, always where He can see you and think about you. What a great and wonderful love!
Too often, in fact almost all the time, people feel humiliated that they have to come to God for their every need. We are all a stiff-necked people. We are so stubborn, so prideful, so into our own ideas that we don’t feel we need God. Jews are told to come and hear what the Torah says about following God. Christians are told to come to Jesus to hear what He wants from us. If you want to find out how real you are, test yourself by these words – “Come to Me.” I find those words from God in both parts of my Bible. I find that request in my daily life. I need to come to God. When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen within you, within your heart and mind.
Am I willing to accept that great love of God and let Him deal with me in the here and now, no matter what I’m going through? That’s where most of us fail. It seems our faith isn’t big enough to allow God to carry us through. We haven’t totally given ourselves to Him. There’s that one little closet, that one drawer of old habits that we want to keep, to hang on to. Just as God told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and every other person we read about in the scriptures, He wants us to follow His ways, to honor Him, to keep ALL of His commands.
In the old days, God said basically, “If you will do this, then I will do this. If you don’t do these things, then this is what I will do to you.” Old Israel found out God meant what He said. Today, we see many people testing God in these same areas. Come to God. Try Him, test Him and see if He isn’t as faithful today as He has been in the past. He is waiting. The adage, “If you take one toward Him, He’ll take two steps toward you,” is still good advice. But, I would believe that if you take one step toward Him, He’ll come running toward you. God loves to have His people come and worship Him. That includes our service toward and for Him.
But I’m too old, I’m in prison, I’m too weak, I’m lame. Can you pray? You can pray for strength, you can pray for others who need help, you can pray for your country, you can pray for those who are teaching and preaching. You can pray for first responders and the military. You can pray for yourself.
That shows love and that’s one way God loves people, through what we do for others. God loved us so much; how can you show a bit of love for Him? James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote: (1:22-25). But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
God wanted ancient Israel to be different than their neighbors, to be His light to the world. They were told to give tithes and offerings and to worship in several festivals. Christians are supposed to also be the light of God in a dark world by showing their love and doing works for Him. Unfortunately, too many in both groups fail in their work. Think about it and let God have His way in your life through His great love.