It was Monday morning, and I was ridiculous.
Monday morning I took my kids to VBS. They were (mostly) excited, and the sanctuary was swarming with kids. As I worked to get each one of them to their place, I was overwhelmed at my reaction to my littlest. After we met his teacher, my sweet boy gave me a hug and went and sat down on the pew. No big deal, right? He was totally fine . . . I, on the other hand, was a mess. I just looked at him and was completely struck at HOW LITTLE he looked, legs barely reaching over the edge of the pew. He was politely waiting and adorable, and my mother’s heart was filled up with so much love I thought I would burst. My eyes teared up (I know, say it), and I was ridiculous.
Crazy love that child.
Isn’t it amazing how our hearts can fill with so much love it hurts?
Whether it’s for our child, our spouse, our family or closest friends, we were created to love these people in ways that we can’t even fully express at times.
The other day my kids left a singing message on my mother-in-law’s phone that I must say was pretty stinkin’ adorable. I texted her later and said we’d heard this particular praise song on the radio and thought we’d sing it to her. Later that night, she texted me back:
I wish I could explain how much I love all of you.
So much love. And we’re only human.
How do we even begin to explain the love God has for us?
God, who doesn’t just give love, He IS love. How do we explain that, or even try to understand it?
We talked last week that our God is beyond what we know or imagine. He is untamed, indescribable, wild and wondrous. He is the creator and the true meaning of the word LOVE. And all His love is directed towards us humans, all of us, the flawed and messy.
“Jesus loves me this I know”. . . how many times have we heard this song? We hear the phrase “God loves me” throughout our lives, at church, in conversations, see it on bumper stickers.
But what does it mean to live fully aware of His love?
If you’re like me, there have been times when the words “God loves me” have only been head knowledge. I have doubted.
- I’ve felt “too guilty”
- I’ve sinned “too much”
- I’d been away for “too long”
- There was too much pain, strife, or lack, and my heart grew disappointed in who I thought God was.
We get tossed around in the middle of our circumstances and begin to question.
However, when we begin to use the circumstances of our life as the measuring stick of God’s love, we are making God into something that isn’t true.
Strong words? But can we be honest here?
When life is going great, don’t we feel like He surely loves us? When it’s upside down, haven’t we felt forgotten?
Our circumstances do not determine God’s love.
God is unchanging, and He is love. His love is never-ending. Never.
Hard to wrap your brain around? Absolutely.
But don’t we need to get this on a fresh level?
Don’t we want to know and experience His love? He so desires that.
What if we spent this next week soaking in the beauty and truth of His love?
OUR VERSE FOR WEEK TWO:
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16
Who Wrote It and Why?
If any of you did last year’s Red Letter Summer Series, we learned so much about this man, John. 1, 2 and 3 John is penned by this same apostle, written to the churches in Asia while John lived in Ephesus.
John was an eyewitness of Jesus and one of the very first to follow him. In John’s Gospel, he refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved”. He starts 1st John giving testimony of having personally heard, seen and touched the eternal Word made flesh.
John saw Jesus like no one else. As a young man, John saw Jesus as a teacher and miraculous healer. He saw Him as the Lamb, slain and crucified. He witnessed Him as the resurrected Messiah. But beyond that, also as the author of the book of Revelation, John was given a new vision of Jesus, as the coming Lord of lords, riding in triumph on a white horse, as the holy warrior and conquering King of kings (Revelation 19:11-16).
John understood the love of Jesus, His love of His Father, and His message of love for others.
He was witness to it all. What an anointed life.
How Can I Soak In This Verse?
1. Look at each phrase.
- “We know how much God loves us” . . . savor that phrase, say it out loud. Make it personal – “I know how much God loves me.” Say it and meditate on it, until His truth stirs your heart to believe it.
- “We have put our trust in His love.” Where do you put your trust? Ask the Lord if it’s in anything other than Him. Say this phrase back to Him – “God, I trust You. I put my trust in Your love.”
- “God is love.” This truth needs to be washed over any lies that may have tried to tell you the opposite. Lies such as “God could never love you after all you’ve done”, or “You must do more to earn His love”, or “If God loved you, this wouldn’t have happened”. God loves you. Period. Your circumstances do not determine His love. Ever. Ask God to reveal here, and to heal.
- “All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” His love indwells you. Really think about that for a moment. His love is not something we strive to earn or deserve. Because of the Holy Spirit, all of God’s love takes residence in our lives. Breathe in the goodness of that.
2. Write it out! Find a notecard and write this verse out. Put it up somewhere you will see it. Memorize it.
3. Look for the small and big ways God demonstrates His relentless love towards you. Take intentional moments to observe. Go for a walk, look around you, listen. Ask for the eyes to see. Find a journal and write them down.
4. Download “One Thing Remains“, from Kristian Stanfill. Or just sing it from memory. Worship Him in the truth of this song’s message.
5. Spend time in 1 John, especially Chapter 4. Because John had such a unique relationship with Jesus, his words speak volumes about the heart of our Savior.
Finally, for those of you that have extra time this week, read through this Father’s Love Letter. It’s lengthy, but it is a incredible overview of the incredible way that God loves us.
Girlfriends, He loves you. May His love overwhelm you in ridiculous ways this week . . .
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
I am familiar with all your ways.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
For you were made in my image.
In me you live and move and have your being.
For you are my offspring.
I knew you even before you were conceived.
I chose you when I planned creation.
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
For I am the perfect father.
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
And I rejoice over you with singing.
I will never stop doing good to you.
For you are my treasured possession.
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
For it is I who gave you those desires.
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
He is the exact representation of my being.
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
My question is…
Will you be my child?
I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad
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How is God moving in your life?
There is something powerful when we share our story – it brings encouragement and strengthening to so many others. Feel free to leave comments below throughout our series . . .