by Susan Sampson

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  I sing it, but do I believe it?  Laurie said in a recent Falling in Love Again with Your Lord lecture: “Our understanding of God’s love for us and our ability to receive that love according to His Word is absolutely pivotal to our ability to love others.”  This is an incredibly profound statement isn’t it?  Nothing matters more than believing God’s love for us!  I want to scream this to my soul!  I do believe.  Lord, help my unbelief.

God’s lovingkindness is real!  It is true!  It is for each one of us!  We can believe it in spite of our feelings that scream, “There’s no way,” or, “You’re not good enough,” or, “You’re not even a Christian”!  We must believe it.  For it is the truth that sets us free.  Jesus Himself tells us in His Word, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  Yes, He spoke these words to those living over 2000 years ago, but they are for us as well.  In another place, Jesus said that He wasn’t just praying for His disciples, but for us too: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20).  Jesus prayed that we would know that God the Father sent Him and that the Father loves us even as He loved Christ (John 17:23).  John says that the purpose of writing his gospel was so that we would believe: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).

How else can we know God’s love for us in Christ apart from His Word?  God Almighty recorded His Word for His people.  It is His voice.  It is in His Word that we hear His voice.  In His Word we hear Him say, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).  I have prayed for years that I would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God (cf. Eph. 3:19).  I want to know this Love!  But what do my actions say?  I want to know the love of Christ but do I run to Him in His Word?  The Lord continues to show me that more than I want to know the love of Christ, I want to feel good about myself.  So I run.  I run to my iphone, email, to-do list, my bed.  Laurie was so right when she pointed out that we run every which way when standing right before us is the Prince of Peace.  Love Himself.  She said, “He has given us His Word and promised us He would meet us in His Word to speak to our hearts, and yet we run.”

Oh my soul, stop it!  Lord, give us grace to stop it.  Stop running to every earthly thing — to the phone, t.v., mall, exercise, refrigerator, magazine, movie theater, car, radio, Instagram, Facebook, bed.  Give us grace to run to you as you ran to us.  Give us grace to believe for real the great love with which you loved us.  Enable us to meditate on the visible demonstration of your love, the undeniable proof of your love — the cross“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). 

The Father ran.  It is a poignant picture of the amazing depths of the love of God.  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  It was considered highly undignified for a middle eastern man to run.  But the father of the prodigal son didn’t care what others thought.  He loved His son and so he threw propriety out the window!  He ran.  And He continues to run to us.

God’s love is real.  He loves each one of us personally and perfectly.  And nothing can ever separate us from this love.  Not our sin nor our circumstances.

Precious sisters, let us, by grace, through faith, put our doubts and unbelief to death.  Let’s work to believe. “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29).  Let’s stop running to earthly things and run to Christ in His Word.  Let’s meditate and soak in the lovingkindness of God our Savior — His steadfast, unfailing love, a love that is never ending, without condition, with fullness of mercy and compassion.  As Peter came to know, only Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68-69).  Only Jesus is the true bread of life.  Let us feast on His Word and believe His great love for us.  And may His eternal Word help us understand, believe, and receive the love of God.  There is nothing more important.

by Angie Thomas

May we say no to our flesh and walk forward in obedience. I know this can be so difficult!  I loved this quote from A.W. Tozer that I heard at church this morning, “The world is not a playground but a battlefield. We are not here to frolic but to fight.” There is so much more at stake than we realize.

I know I have been battling feelings of being overwhelmed and worried all day today and have had to seriously confess that worry and anxiety to the Lord. It has been so hard. I want to settle into my default mode of trying to accomplish all the things I think I need to do in my flesh and justify my grumpy mood and lack of patience with my family.  It is so wrong. Lord, help us to see our sin as you see it.  Let us do battle against the enemy who desires for us to be lazy and distracted. May we seek after Jesus and fight to walk forward in obedience. As we do, those closest to us will see Jesus and the fragrance of Christ will spread! 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”