Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Love of God

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7 NKJ)

In 1917, hymnist Frederick M. Lehman penned these words: "the love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell . . ." and the chorus of Lehman's hymn is "O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure -- The saints’ and angels’ song.

For me however, the most powerful words of this hymn are contained in the third verse.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky."

Not enough words to adequately express our gratitude and worship. Not enough ink and paper to properly detail the story of God's love. The simple truth of Calvary testifies of God's love for all mankind. John wrote, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (1John 4:9 NKJ).

How undeserving we are! How abundant is his love! His love is not based on our performance. His love is not based on our merit. His love comes to us because of who he is. His love comes to us despite who we are.

Because of Calvary, we know that God loves us -- truly loves us."O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure -- The saints’ and angels’ song."

Dear Father, thank you for your love. Empower me to show my love for you by living my life to your glory. I pray this in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Does God love us? The Cross of Calvary is the answer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hungry For God

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6 NKJ)

Lifelong learning takes on a new and fresh meaning when you survey it backwards from the present. I have been a student most of my life. I'm not intimidated by professors anymore. Books no longer scare me. The search for knowledge and understanding is an adventure for me.

At some point in this lifelong journey, I decided to become a specialist in God's story. Now, don't misunderstand, I do not know everything about God or his Holy Book or his story. I am still learning; still searching for knowledge and understanding; still trying to comprehend what God has said and what he means by what he said.

And the more I discover in God's story -- the longer I live and learn -- the more I discover that I don't know what I need to know. And to cite Ebenezer Scrooge, "now I know that I don't know." This is a great epiphany for a man when he wakes up to the understanding that he doesn't know. Hopefully this epiphany takes place early in his life rather than later.

But I need regular reminders that I don't know. I need questions to arise and problems to confront me so that my limitations are evident. I need the challenge of thinking so that I am reminded of my limited ability. I need to know there's more to God and his story than I can comprehend. Therein is the challenge for lifelong learning. I can not know everything about his story but I can keep on learning.

If I am to connect with the author of the divine story, I must never be satisfied with today's meal. I must keep on searching. I must keep on exploring. I must continue the feast with a hearty appetite for more of him. He has promised that I will be filled.

Dear Father, thank you for your promise to fill us with your righteousness. Empower me with a constant hunger and thirst for more of your righteous graces. I pray this in the name of Jesus. AMEN

When we are motivated by hunger and thirst for more of God, then we are truly learning.

Monday, August 11, 2014

God's Invitation

"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1 NKJ)

The story of God is amazing! His story is full of love and mercy and grace and hope. And in his story, throughout all time, God has lovingly invited everyone to come to his table. There is grace at his table. There is mercy at his table. There is hope at his table.

When I'm spiritually dry, there's the water of life. When I'm spiritually famished, there's the bread of life. When I'm tired and weary, God leads me to calm waters and green pastures. The enemy is a thief, a murderer and a destroyer, but the Savior offers an abundant supply from his rich storehouse.

And what can I receive from the Lord's house? In his house there is the wine of joy and happiness and encouragement. In his house there is the milk of strength and health and blessings untold. In the Lord's house there are all the good things that truly satisfy life and soul.

But the big issue is this: everything on the Lord's table is free. The enemy is the piper who demands payment. The Lord is the merciful, gracious King who invites all people everywhere to freely celebrate in communion with him.

Some people think that, if God exists, he doesn't communicate with humans. Yet, he communicates both through physical elements of the universe and through his Word -- his story -- to invite us all to his table.

Some people are skeptical whether they can have his mercy and forgiveness. Yet, the Bible graphically relates that he is both just and willing to forgive anyone and everyone who asks for it. In fact, he invites everyone to ask for  mercy with the confidence that it will be given.

Some people think they are not important enough to merit his attention. Yet, God has said he loves the world so much that "he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believes in him would not perish but would have eternal life" (John 3:16). The "whosoever" clearly indicates that status is not an issue for God. He invites all people of all levels of society to come to him. He promises acceptance and mercy and salvation.

Dear Father, thank for your grace and mercy. Empower me to fully access your invitation and to share it with others. I pray this in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Exercise your faith today, trust in Christ!