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A Thought for the Week—Receiving the Love of God
November 8, 2007
"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5 NKJ)
Hope has been defined as having a favorable and confident expectation. We can have hope in our future, if we know the love of God in all of our heart. We can have hope in the future of our country if we know the love of God. We know the Bible says that God is love. Some know that God is a God of love, but they find it difficult to have a confident expectation for their future. We need not just to know that God is a God of love, but we need to have received the love of God into all areas of our hearts.
God has always loved us. Sometimes because of difficult times, or rejection by people, or our own inadequacies, we lose sight of the reality that God loves us. We base our feelings and emotions, which are stored in our hearts, on what we see. We need to see and meditate on the truth that regardless of what is happening to us or what we are doing, God loves us. God loves us enough to let us experience difficulties so that we learn to rely on His grace and power to handle every event of our life. God loves us enough to let people disappoint us in their treatment of us or in their response to our actions, so that we put our trust in Him and learn to live in continually receiving His presence and grace. God loves us enough to let us fail so that we realize His love is not based on our actions or our own perfection, but rather that His love is unconditional.
God loves us enough to show us our sinful behavior and desires. Then we can confess them and ask Him to remove them from us so we can be partakers of His divine nature and character. God loves us and wants us to live in His presence. He will remove all sin from us, and will even remove from this world those who seek to live in evil, by sending them into the place of darkness prepared for the devil and his followers.
God loves those who do not yet know and live in His love. He wants us to show them His love so they can know His unconditional love as we have received it and abide in it. He knows that we will often suffer in this life because of those who are not living in His love, but He wants us to know that He will eventually remove them from our presence as He brings about the new earth under the new heavens He will establish. Our God is a God of love who will impart His love into us so we can know, understand, and live in His life, through Christ living in us.
Father, we rejoice in Your love. We rejoice that we can receive Your love into us so that we love others with Your love, and so that we can love You with a love that is pure, through Christ in us. Amen.
A Thought for the Week--God’s Love in Action
November 9, 2007
"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. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I John 4:9-10 NKJ)
God is love. He wants us to know His love. He wants us to live in His love so we can receive it and manifest it to others. God manifested His love by sending Jesus into the world. Jesus came to suffer the punishment for our sin and to take our sin from us, so that we can be filled with His life.
The feasts of the nation of Israel portray these truths. The first feast was that of Passover, in which God covered the sins of His people with a sacrifice so that He could protect them while He punished those who were holding them in bondage. We must have our sins covered for God to come and act for us, lest He have to punish our sins when He comes. The second Feast was that of removing the leaven (sin) from the home. We must confess our sins, and not hide them. Then there is the Feast of Firstfruits when God brings life from what was put into the ground; this speaks of resurrection. Then there is the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, when God imparts His Spirit in a new measure into His people so they can do signs and wonders and help others to know His miracle- working power for them. Then there is the Feast of Trumpets when God calls His people to war against our spiritual enemies, giving us victory over them so that we reign over sin and its power in this life. Then there is the Day of Atonement, when the sins of His people are removed from them as the scapegoat carries them into the darkness of hell. The last Feast is that of Tabernacles when God dwells in the heart of His people, and they become totally united with Him. This is what Jesus prayed for in John 17.
Then, when we have experienced all God has for us, we can reign with Him in the ages to come, having been emptied of sin, cleansed, and filled with His Spirit, able to bring His ways, will and presence through us into the kingdoms He is preparing for us to rule in.
Today's passage says that love is not in our trying to love God, but rather in our receiving the truth of His love for us and of His imparting His life into us so that we can love Him. Only the love of God in us can give us a hatred of evil, which is the beginning of wisdom. Only the love of God in us can free us from our love of the temporal things of this world, and free us from letting them occupy our desires, motives and time. God brings His love into us through Christ so we can be united with Him, loving what He loves, with His love. In Christ in us is the love of God perfected.
Father, we rejoice in Your perfect love and eternal plan for us. Help us to know, live in, and manifest Your love by continually receiving Your Spirit into all of our being and life. Amen.
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