Isn’t It Odd?

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Isn’t it odd, that a Being like God,
Who sees the façade,
still loves the clod
He made out of sod;
now isn’t that odd?

–Author unknown

Living Confidently

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From The Message Bible:

With God on our side . . . how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

“They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Romans 8:31-39
The Message Bible

Seeking The Source

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Only when your heart
experiences love from a new source
beyond anything it’s ever known before
will your heart start to move
toward that source, and begin
to be deeply changed.

– Tim Keller

Published in: on 08/16/2019 at 6:30  Leave a Comment  
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This Is Grace

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Grace is more than mercy and love. It super-adds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendent Superior. One that may do what He will. That may wholly choose whether He will love or no. Now God, who is an infinite Sovereign, who might have chosen whether ever He would love us or no; for Him to love us, this is Grace.

– Thomas Goodwin
(1600 – 1680)

Published in: on 06/23/2019 at 18:37  Leave a Comment  
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Longing To Forgive

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Love, not anger,
brought Jesus
to the cross.
Golgotha came
as a result of God’s
great desire to forgive,
not his reluctance.

— Richard Foster

What does God want from me?

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Our thinking about life with God inevitably confronts us with this crucial question: What does God want from me? When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he answered clearly: love God with all you have. If we asked Jesus, What does God want from me? I believe he would answer, God wants you to know and to love him. This narrative tells of a God who is loving and merciful, whose desire is to love and to be loved. This in no way negates the fact that God is unflinchingly against sin. God hates sin because it hurts his children. But God is crazy about his children.

The Westminster Larger Catechism, written in 1648, opens with a question and an answer:

Question: What is the chief and highest end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.

I love the concept of fully enjoying God forever. Do you think that God wants you to enjoy him? Though many people do not believe this, I think it is what God most wants. Julian of Norwich once wrote: “The greatest honor we can give God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” That statement shocked me when I first read it. The greatest honor we can give God? Isn’t it to die for him on the mission field? Julian offers another narrative: “What God most wants is to see you smile because you know how much God loves you.” My mission-field narrative does not describe a God I would naturally love. Julian’s narrative tells me of a God I cannot help but love. The God Julian knew is a God who delights in us.

—James Bryan Smith,
The Good and Beautiful God

The God Who Comes Running

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God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, and begs and urges them to come home.

It might sound strange, but God wants to find us as much, if not more, than we want to find God.

– Henri Nouwen

Artist – Jorge Cocco

Love Made Manifest

ARTWORK FOR EASTER SEASONIf you reject him,
he answers you with tears;
if you wound him,
he bleeds out cleansing;
if you kill him,
he dies to redeem;
if you bury him,
he rises again to bring resurrection.
Jesus is love made manifest.

– Charles Spurgeon

Holy Amazement

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We are never nearer Christ
than when we find ourselves 
lost in a holy amazement 
at his unspeakable love.

–John Owen,
(1616 – 1683)

Awaiting The King

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Jesus is the greatest Lover of all. He loved and pursued a bride, and laid down his life so that she could be His. He was fully aware of all the undesirable things about her, but loved her deeply and faithfully. She was not faithful to him. She turned her heart to other lovers. She did not wait for him but gave herself to those who only took advantage of her.

The Heavenly Lover went so far as to suffer all the consequences of her waywardness. He paid with his own blood to rescue her out of her adulterous enslavement. He purchased for her a pure white wedding dress which covers her sin and shame. It was made of the finest material—His own righteousness. He loves a bride with a sordid past and purposes to make her pure. He loves a bride who had lost her attractiveness and He purposes to make her beautiful.

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He went to prepare a place for her and one day will return for His beloved and take her to dwell with him forever. More than two thousand years have transpired as he patiently awaits the day when he will consummate the marriage at the greatest wedding celebration of the universe.

Never has there been a Lover whose love is as deep, as strong, as faithful, and as true, and no privilege can compare with being the object of his affection. This bride has a destiny marked out for her that is glorious beyond words. She has been swept up into a high and holy calling. She lives with a heavenward gaze in a world that does not know her King, as she awaits His glad return.

–J. O. Schulz

 

Artwork credit: James Nesbitt

The Potency of Heaven’s Love

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God’s love is not
mild-mannered and limp;
it is livid, potent, and committed.
And therein lies our hope.

— Mike Reeves

Published in: on 07/14/2018 at 10:14  Leave a Comment  
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Unshakable Love

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There is a love
that blazes up
and is forgotten;
then there is love
until death.
–Soren Kierkegaard

Published in: on 03/30/2018 at 3:12  Leave a Comment  
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Limitless Goodness

CS Lewis

Faith Is Rest

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Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of His own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to Him on such a footing, casting away his own poor performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly upon the free love of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.

–Horatius Bonar,
The Everlasting Righteousness

A Powerful Secret

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Failures that Flourish

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Published in: on 10/16/2017 at 10:58  Leave a Comment  
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Unlikely Love

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The more unlikely it is
that He could love us,
the more His love is commended.
The less we could do,
the more He did for us.

–Thomas Goodwin
(1600 – 1680)

Published in: on 09/29/2017 at 15:18  Leave a Comment  
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The Good News about Wrath

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It is no mistake to say that the love of God and the wrath of God amount to the same thing, described from different points of view. Both constitute an emphatic “No!” to that which endangers His creation. God’s evil-eradicating, death-destroying wrath is indispensable to the well-being of the universe. It is not a counterpoint to His love but a vital expression of it.

Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf comments: “Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”

“To be truly good one has to be
outraged by evil and implacably
hostile to injustice.”
–Rebecca M. Pippert

The wrath of God is His firm opposition to all that is crooked, broken, oppressive, unjust, and evil. He loves people too much to allow them to be destroyed by sin. His deep hatred of sin is a reflection of the greatness of His love. He will go to any length, pay any price, and make any sacrifice to free people from this toxic poison of the soul.

This is the unmistakable message of the cross. The horrific death of Christ at Calvary reveals the intensity of God’s purpose to annihilate sin and rescue sinners. The Biblical record says that Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).

In his article “Prayer: Rebellion against the Status Quo,” David Wells contends that we have sadly lost our anger, but fortunately God has not lost His. “The wrath of God is His opposition to what is wrong … [it] seeks the triumph of truth and the banishment of Evil.” It is God declaring: “No, not in my universe!”

It would be appalling if the Divine Lord flew into a rage without warning. But it would be equally appalling if He never got angry. The evil of this world is damnable, sickening, horrendous. Someone needs to put a stop to it.

Someone will.

The wrath of God turns out to be very good news. This love-inspired hostility to all things hateful and harmful gives hope to a world afflicted by the curse of sin.

“It is not evil that will have the last word,
but good; not sorrow, but joy;
not hate, but love.”
–R. J. Campbell

This is cause indeed for celebration.

–Jurgen O. Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

Not Loved for Being Good

Love of God:Lewis

Published in: on 04/03/2017 at 3:06  Leave a Comment  
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The Most Profound Idea

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Karl Barth was asked once what was the most profound theological idea he’d ever thought or heard. This is a man who wrote eight thick volumes of systematic theology and many other books besides. What was the most profound thing he’d ever thought or heard?

“Jesus loves me, this I know,” he said, “for the Bible tells me so.”

Those simple words can be the crown of a lifetime of insight, because this love came down, rose up, never stopped, and runs to embrace even you, even me.

–Mark Buchanan,
The Holy Wild

It Changes Everything

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“God loves you”—isn’t that the most well-worn of clichés? It’s just standard filler for the laziest, most obvious and repetitive homilies. Smile. Yawn. Everybody knows that by now, at least everybody who has ever been in a church or read a Bible.

No. Exactly the opposite. It is not familiar. It is shattering. It changes everything. And most Christians do not realize it.

–Peter Kreeft,
The God Who Loves You

Reckless Raging Fury

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There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God
        –Rich Mullins

The Gift of Chosenness

lynnfecteaau-painting-bThe great spiritual battle begins—and never ends—with the reclaiming of our chosenness. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love. Our preciousness, uniqueness, and individuality are not given to us by those who meet us in clock-time—our brief chronological existence—but by One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity.

–Henri J. Nouwen

The Sun Always Shines

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Measure not God’s love
and favor by your own feeling.
The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day
as it does in the brightest.
The difference is not in the sun,
but in some clouds which hinder
the manifestation of the light thereof.

–Richard Sibbes

Majoring on Minors

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We must certainly be in a novel;
What I like about this novelist
is that he takes such trouble
about his minor characters.

–G. K. Chesterton

Sin and the Love of God

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When we believe
that God is something
other than a lover,
it is inevitable that
we will sin.

–Peter Kreeft

Published in: on 05/09/2016 at 10:08  Leave a Comment  
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Love seeks our wholeness

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To ask that God’s love
should be content with us
as we are is to ask that God
should cease to be God.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 03/02/2016 at 7:19  Leave a Comment  
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Love is not like that

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No man, whether good or bad, can lay claim in strict justice to the love of God, because love is not like that at all. It has to be given as a free gift, or not at all. The sinner who is ready to accept love as a gift from God is far closer to God than the “just” man who insists on being loved for his own merits. For the former will soon stop sinning (since he will be loved by God), and the latter has probably already begun to sin.

–Thomas Merton,
The New Man

Published in: on 02/20/2016 at 4:52  Leave a Comment  
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Beyond Comprehension

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The slender capacity
of man’s heart
cannot comprehend
the unfathomable depth
and burning zeal of
God’s love toward us.

–Martin Luther

Published in: on 02/18/2016 at 6:48  Leave a Comment  
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God’s eternal thought

The Beauty of Mount Bromo Sunset in Java Island

Our sonship rests on a love that never began as well as a love that will never end. In eternity before the beginning of time and obviously before the beginning of us, God chose to make us His children. The gospel was not God’s afterthought or even His forethought; it was His eternal thought.

–Michael P. V. Barrett,
Complete in Him

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