Psalm 52:8-9 (NIV)
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.
The Love of God – its sheer vastness is too overwhelming for humanity to fully comprehend. It takes a lifetime just to get the gist of a boundless and unfailing love. We want to believe in the Love of God. We hope that it is as true as the Word hints that it may be. Life is lived in full color. God’s Love is based on faith in a God who we cannot see and a hope that is not yet realized. What a phenomenal risk for those who choose to embark on such an adventure as to wander into the unknown and seek such a One. Living in the Bible belt called the South – there are churches on every street corner, strip mall and anywhere else one can think of. We can find God as easily as getting a bite to eat or a tank of gas. He is freely offered just about anywhere you can think of. Could it be that in the surplus of opportunity that we take Him for granted? Opportunities to encounter God and His Love are so frequently offered that He is avoided altogether. I am like an olive tree thriving in the House of God. We have many churches but where are the thriving Christians? They are waiting to discover the unfailing love worthy of trust. It is there if we will seek to find it.
Our daughter and son-in-law accepted a ministry position in New Hampshire as part of a new up and coming ministry. It has been amazing to hear of the testimonies in a mission field in our own country. Less than three percent of the New England area are in church. Mind boggling at best. We were talking about the services a couple of weeks ago and she kept calling them “experiences”. Finally, I had to ask. Why don’t you call them a service? She further explained that the pastor does not want a service. He wants people to “experience” God’s Love. Well, if that didn’t fire up the engines of my mind I as I began to think about church. As if on cue, we sang a song the very next night in the Wednesday night service that included the verse, “Let us become more aware of Your Presence, Let us experience the Glory of Your Goodness.” It hit me. We have forgotten that this whole Christianity thing is about experiencing the Love of God in our life every day. We have become an organized religion rather than faith-full people who gather together to thrive in the House of God. I want to experience the Love of God today. I want to thrive in His Presence.
Psalm 36:5-9 (NIV)
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
The capacity of God’s Love for us is limitless. We can never out love God. We cannot out do Him either. We can add nothing to His Kingdom that is not already there. We were created to experience God’s Love and decide to live in it. Our sin limited us from doing anything more. By His Grace, we are saved by faith in the fact that His Love will never fail us. We are powerless other than the Presence of God that is our strength. God’s Love is as vast as the Heavens. Look at the sky, it is endless. His Faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. If you have ever been on a plane, you know behind the clouds are more sky that give way to the universe. Welcome to the parameters of God’s Faithfulness perpetuated by His Love. His Righteousness is like immovable mountains and given to us as a precious gift. His Justice is like the ocean depths reaching down to the bottom of every pit to pull us out by His Love. He cares for us. He provides for us in love. He shelters us in His Love. He feeds us not from an impoverished supply or limited source but from the abundance of His House. We are not second class citizens in the House of God but rather beloved Children who are loved without limit by their Father. He wants us to drink in delight not swallow many bitter sorrows. He is a Fountain of Life that fills us to overflowing with His Great Love if we choose to experience His Love rather than just watching from the sidelines.
John 3:16-19 (NIV)
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”
God SO loved the world. He gave His Only Son. I have two sons. I could not give their lives for another. I spent one year praying and believing that God would return our oldest son safely from serving our country in the Middle East. I have spent going on four years now walking with our younger son through his battle against cancer. I can tell you that it has not changed my heart and mind. God knows I have absolutely no desire to give up either one. I cannot imagine the thought of life without them. But God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me simply because He loved me. I forget that sometimes. If I could fully conceive that kind of love, surely I would spend all of my days seeking to experience its fullness without measure. Too often we forget why Jesus came. We do not understand or I guess believe that it was love…just love that nailed Jesus to the Cross. God’s Light came into the world, but we love the darkness more than the light. To truly accept the Love of God means to experience it. His Love is Light. It exposes that which is inside of us that prevents a closer relationship so that we can break down every barrier that keeps us from fully experiencing His Love. If we believed, truly believed that it was all about a limitless love, we would long to experience it every single day.
There’s nothing worth more that would ever come close,
No thing can compare, You’re our living Hope,
Your presence, Lord.
I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves,
When my heart becomes free and my shame is undone,
Your presence, Lord.
Holy Spirit You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for,
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.
Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV)
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
I have a horrible sweet tooth. Candy is a downfall at times. Easter is the worst season for such things as I love jelly beans. I made it through this season and bought only enough of them to fill our daughter’s blessing bags. (Spoiler Alert – we do not do the whole bunny thing.) Well, the girls have broken out the jelly beans. It started with “Hey mom, try the purple one.” Then it was a handful until finally I ate way more jelly beans than I should have which sent me to bed with a hurting stomach. I have sworn off the candy again.
There is something about sugar that will produces a craving in us. One bite won’t do it and once you get it in your system the urge becomes stronger. It’s scientific I promise. Now when you stop eating sugar in a short amount of time, you will crash. Metabolically when the sugar level that was elevated too high metabolizes it drops you like a hot potato. The Love of God is sweet. It is the sweetest of loves that I have ever known. It took me a long time to experience God’s Love like that because I was too busy trying to “do” all the right things rather than spending my time and energy getting to know His Love and living in it. God changes hearts and minds. We just have to step into His Love. The lyrics from the song, “Holy Spirit” are listed above. Have you tasted the sweetest of loves? It took a lot for me to give up on making myself right and doing all the right things to come to the Lord and ask to experience His Love firsthand. I had to hit rock bottom, run out of strength, fall on my face, and make it to the end of my rope…but when I did I discovered a love worth having in my life. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. His Love is real. He is faithful. Now I have something to tell others about that is credible.
Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.
Have you experienced God’s Love for you personally? One on one without anyone else’s involvement? Why in all His Glorious Power won’t God force us closer if He know His Will and Way are the best for us? Why won’t He come closer to us but rather waits on us to come to Him? I’ll tell you why. God’s Love is consuming. The closer we get the more we are changed. God will not force His Love on you because it would change you and your true intentions never known. So He waits for us to surrender our life to His Love. To come, taste and see that He is good. Then and only then can we accept these changes of our own free will. Anything would violate His Promise of freedom for the believer. You have the right to choose. Isn’t that what love really is all about choosing who to give it to? God chose to love you. He gave me His Love and all I must do is come to Him. God is offering you the experience of a lifetime. Those willing to set aside self and religion will thrive in the House of God living in His Unfailing and Amazing Love. I think those people in New Hampshire are up to something…and its good!
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Psalm 5:12 (NIV) For you bless the godly, O Lord; You surround them with your shield of love.