Love

I Love You, But God Loves You More

In her book, Beauty for Ashes, Joyce Meyers says her mandate from God was to tell His people He loves them. I think about her words often. My pastor has been teaching on love since I joined the church a couple of years ago. I thought I knew what love was until I learned who God is. Pastor told a story about one of the elders in the church who had recently died. The man had run with a rough crew growing up. When he got into the Word and learned about love, he realized the men he hung around had never hugged or expressed their love of each other. The elder had told the pastor that one day as he was ending a call with one of his male friends, he said, “I love you, man.” And his friend responded in kind. The elder shared with the pastor that his whole crew was transformed with that simple expression and he was the only one, at that point, in the Word.

I don’t know about you, but that story continues to pluck chords in me. The power of the word resonates. It heals. It waters. It grows. It saves. It’s life.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved. ~ John 3:16-17

I spoke to an old friend shortly after the pastor shared the elders’ story. My friend and I have known each other for ten years now. We started off as room-mates (for nearly a year) and the relationship survived. Since the birth of her first child three years ago, we’ve spoken, on average, once a week. Before that, we spoke two to five times a week. She is most certainly one of my best and closest friends. As I ended a call the other day, I said, “Love ya, girl.” She responded, “Don’t say that too loud! People aren’t going to take it right.”

I was perplexed. “Why would I care how anyone takes it?”

“Do you tell your other friends you love them?”

“Actually, I do.  And only one person has completely fallen off since I shared the sentiment.” The conversation segwayed, but I continued to think about her response. I had certainly told her I loved her before. We sign all our cards in love. I traveled to participate in her life events and make sure I acknowledge the annual celebrations. My love and appreciation of her friendship has certainly been expressed. How could she be so uncomfortable with the voicing of it on an ordinary day?

Then it hit me: she’s only familiar with the world concept of love. Our relationship has grown, but we haven’t grown together spiritually. She believes in God but He’s more of an abstract than active figure to her. Lately, she has expressed more interest in learning Him for herself. I can only hope the way I live is more encouragement than deterrent.

I would much rather speak and hear objections than to say nothing and have you wonder.

Open rebuke is better than secret love. ~ Proverbs 27:5 (KJV)

Dear Reader – My Brother, My Sister, I love you. And God, our Heavenly Father, wants you to know He loves you so much more. He’s the best lover ever! Try Him! In order for you to know and accept that, you must know who He is. God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. ~ 1 John 4:7-16 (NKJV)

Light of the World

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)

I just had my year end performance review. I’ve been working in my current position for six months. My manager, who I call Bosslady, will most likely go down in my work history as the best boss ever. But for now I’ll be modest and say she’s second only to the manager who trained me into management nearly fifteen years ago. He taught me lessons I still apply to life and work. In my performance review, Bosslady said, “You have such a wonderful attitude, you make coming to work enjoyable for me. And people enjoy dealing with you. I like that, because you’re my ambassador. You’re my representative to people who are trying to reach me. I appreciate knowing that they’re in good hands with you.”

Think about that….

Isn’t that what we’re called to do by the Boss of bosses? In 2 Corinthians 5:20, we are told we are Christ’s ambassadors, through whom God makes His appeal to the world. If God were to give you a performance review today, what would He say? I’m certain He’d want to know: Do His people know He loves them? Did you go and continue forth as sent? Is your light shining in the darkness? Do you walk about with the face of Jesus Christ? Have you walked with the people you helped to salvation? Or did you just leave them at the door?

[God] gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-21(NKJV)

A church lady was telling me the other day how she gave advice to a young lady who was experiencing difficulties. The church lady gave the young lady her email and church address. The young lady said, “But… how do I speak to you?” The church lady replied, “Email me or find me at church.”

Perhaps to you that sounds hospitable and gracious. To me it sounds cold and disconnected.  And quite honestly, I’d be surprised if the young lady ever shows up to our church. That was a God opportunity to be the face of Christ. We can repeat John 3:16 but it converts best when we live it. You’re the Son. You’re the One God gave to the world. You need to represent the Kingdom to the best of the ability God put in you. As great as church (building/service) may be, the church isn’t sent to bring people to Christ, we are. (Matt 10:5-8) The church (building) isn’t the temple of God, we are (1 Cor 6:19). Do your job, be a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2). Give your time. Give your love. Give of yourself. Let God’s glory shine through you (1Cor 10: 31-33). Know that you are loved and you are Love’s ambassador. Tell His people, their Father God loves them.

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