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THE NATURE OF GOD'S GREAT LOVE

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Ever wonder why you were created?
The number one reason why each of us are born is because God loves us. That's right, you were created by God to love and to be loved. His love for us is probably the greatest thing in the entire universe. The very essence of God's being, his personality, his very nature - is love. The motivation for God sending Jesus into this world was love. The most famous verse in all the Bible tells us this. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." (John 3:16)

The sad truth is that even though many people today have heard that God loves them, they simply don't believe it. They just cannot understand or comprehend the reality of God's love in their lives. They can't grasp something they cannot see. They haven't learned how to recognize it and experience it and therefore they don't know how to embrace it, nurture it, grow in it, or truly enjoy it. And with out knowing and realizing that God loves us we cannot possibly have hope in our lives. We will not be aware of the purpose or the meaning that God wants us to have concerning our lives. God wants us to know alot about him, but the most important thing that he wants us to know about him is the tremendous and awesome love that he has for each and every one of us. That is why the apostle John could write at 1 John 4:8 "The one who does not love, does not know God, for God is love".

OUR FIRST BIG MISTAKE

One of the greatest mistakes that we make is that we measure God's love for us by our present circumstances. We reason that if things are going bad for us, then God must really hate us. But if the birds are singing, and the sun is shining, and we are happy, then God must really love us. We also usually assume that God works only through the successes we have, and not through our weaknesses. The truth is that our circumstances are constantly changing but God's love is always with us. His love for you does not ride the waves of your feelings. We also bring many unwanted circumstances on ourselves, and because of pride and sinfulness, we are the ones usually responsible for many of those terrible problems that we often find ourselves in.

At the same time it is hard for us to understand that if God really loved us, then what exactly is his purpose for allowing so many bad things to come into our lives. But faith in God does not mean trusting God to stop the bad storms in our life. Faith and trust in God are things which enable us to walk through those periods of hurt and sorrow and come out victorious. We must trust God and believe that when trouble occurs, he is going to give us the ability to cope with it. We are wrong if we expect belief and faith to be an exemption from suffering. If anyone should doubt this then just look at what the world did to Jesus. Instead, the storms of life should become workshops where we can practice our faith in God's greatness.

We also wonder why if God loved us then why doesn't he answer our prayers immediately. But please remember that only God is able to see the total picture. We can only see a small fraction of what is happening right now. We have no idea what effect the things happening today will have on our lives and the lives of others in 10, 20, even 50 years from now.

THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME ATTRIBUTES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD'S GREAT LOVE.

God's love is absolutely unconditional
His love is not based on what we have, what we do, or what we achieve. God's love is not determined by our behavior or our conduct. It is not dependent on our background or our birth or status in society. God's love is not influenced by anything that we do. When we are good he loves us and when we are bad he loves us. When we work hard for him he loves us and when we don't work hard for him he loves us. This unconditional love is given to us because we are his creation. We are his children. If a person has never known genuine unconditional love, then he knows the rules only for conditional love. And the foremost rule for conditional love is, "You must earn the right to be loved." You must measure up to my standards before I will love you. And of course the other horrible aspect of conditional love is that it can be taken back at any time. In other words if you do something to displease me I will stop loving you.

You can't earn unconditional love. God says you are worthy of his love solely because it is his desire to love you. There is nothing you can do to win more of God's love. In fact there is absolutely no way that you can get God to love you anymore than he does right this very second. It is God's nature and character to love each and everyone of us. All through the Word of God it says, "God is love." It says this over and over again. Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross he asked his Father to forgive those that were in the process of murdering him. So because God's love is unconditional and not based upon your performance, you should accept it, receive it, and delight in it.

God's love is perfect
There is nothing that can be added to or taken away from God's love. It is complete. He cannot love you anymore than he does right now and his love for you yesterday was the same as it is today, and it will be the same tomorrow. And there is absolutely nothing that you can do to cause God to love you any less.

God's love is eternal
God's love for us will never cease nor will it ever end. It is unchanging and unalterable, and it will never run out. There is no way that you can use up, exhaust, or consume God's love.

God's love is personal
God loves each and every one of us. We are not just a number amongst millions and billions of others. He desires a personal and intimate loving relationship with you. He longs for the time when you simply talk to him, when you think about him, when you ask for his help or guidance, when you ask him to speak to your heart about some matter. His love for you is so great that you walk surrounded and bathed in his love. He wants you to know that he is concerned about every single aspect of your life.

God's love reaches across every boundary that man can erect, and you cannot possibly know what boundaries God had to cross to save you. Many ignore him their entire lives, never think about him, never try to find out what he is like, never take the time to get to know him, never talk to him, never ask for his guidance. That has no effect at all on his love for you. He will still wait for that day when you begin to accept him and realize that he wants to rain down upon you that awesome perfect unconditional love. That love is there and it will always be there, just waiting for you. And the person who understands this incredible love and who has put their faith and trust in the hands of Jesus, knows beyond a doubt, that Jesus will never ever give up on anyone.

Your heavenly Father extends to you the full and complete privilege of being his child the moment that you turn to him and receive his forgiveness. And remember, the person who accepted Christ sixty seconds ago is as much a Christian as the person who has loved and faithfully served Christ for the last sixty years.

God's love is beyond our understanding
Not one of us knows why God loves us and has saved us. Yes, we know that God is love, and that we are his creation, that we are his children, but it is still mysterious to realize that even as we continue to sin, as we continue to fail him, as we continue to break the promises that we make to him, as we continue to be disobedient to him, he still loves us as much as he ever did. God never says, "That's it, no more love! I've had it with you!" You can't do anything to get God to stop loving you. God's unconditional love is far beyond our understanding.

God hates the sin but even as we are sinning he still loves us with that perfect unconditional love. It is a love that is simply beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Man's inability to understand God's great love is probably best described by Paul at Ephesians 3:19 , where in describing God's love he uses the term, "a love which surpasses all knowledge".

God's love is measureless and limitless
There is no way that we can exhaust the love of God. There are no limitations or boundaries on God's capacity to love, and that is why God deeply loves the most unrepentant sinner and waits anxiously for the day that he asks to be forgiven.

God's love has no favorites
God does not have favorites and he loves the sinner as much as he loves the saint. God doesn't have favorites but he does have intimates, and these intimates are the people who spend time with him, who talk to him, who listen to him, who obey him, who seek his guidance, who love his word, who want to learn how to love him. These intimates are the ones who want to find God's best for their lives. And God makes this intimacy available to each and every one of us. So this all powerful, all mighty God of love wants you as one of his close personal intimates.

God's love is a very generous love
He pours out his love on each one of us every second of the day. Think of all the wonderful, happy, and amazing things that have happened in your life. How great his gifts have been. You have no idea how many times he has saved you from catastrophe, or how many times he has instilled in you that innovative and creative idea at just that right time. Or those times that he enhanced your ability to communicate with another person in just that perfect way. The times that he gave you that added abundance of strength, energy or physical vitality when you so desperately needed it. If you look closely at all those many very wonderful and unexpected things that have occured in your life, you will see the very hand of God written on many of them.

Think of all the times that he brought joy and happiness and contentment into your life. Think of the long periods of time when you experienced excellent health, or all those times when others came into your life to help and aid you when you so needed it. Think of all the times that the Almighty Father prevented problems and obstacles, accidents and mishaps, interruptions and delays, from entering into your life. We will never know in this life all the times that he has shown his great love to us.

Below are some other ways which show how God expresses his love to us. Although they are less noticeable then the ones mentioned above they are just as important.

The Cross
The greatest sign of love that God showed to us is when he sent his Son down to earth to suffer and die for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could achieve eternal life. Just think of it. God himself gave up all his glory and power to take the human form of Jesus Christ and come down to earth to become a mere mortal; all for the privilege of someday welcoming you into heaven.
1 John 4:10 "This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us in that he sent his Son to be the way to take away our sins."

You must also remember that what Jesus did on the cross for you, he also did for your worst enemy. Because God's love for your enemy is as perfect and as great as his love for you, it shows that you can count on God's great love being there for you at all times.

Even the design of the cross points to God's love. One beam is horizontal, while the other is vertical. One reaches out - like God's loving arms. The other reaches up - like God's holiness. One represents the width of his love, the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection. The cross is where God forgave all of his children, and the cross is where God tells each of us that he loves us.

Daily forgiveness
His love allows us to continually walk in the stream of constant forgiveness. God has allowed us to be forgiven for all those sins that we commit on a daily basis.

The gift of the Holy Spirit
Romans 5:5 says that God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the helper and the teacher who guides us, teaches us, comforts us and strengthens us.

A personal relationship with God
He allows us to have a warm loving relationship with him. We can talk to him and listen to him at anytime of the day or night. He is always there. All we need to do is be aware of him and ask him to come to us. He patiently awaits us.

Answers prayers
We can go to the Father at any time and pray to him for any reason. Whether it is to ask for forgiveness, to seek guidance, to ask for something that we want or need, to thank and praise him, or for any other purpose. He is always there waiting for us. Always ready and willing to come to our assistance. All we have to do is be aware of him, turn to him, and ask him.

Heals us
He is always there to heal our bodies and our minds. This of course includes both our physical as well as our spiritual needs. Nothing is beyond his power. No disease, no situation, no circumstance, no tragedy is beyond his ability to heal, restore, or resolve.

Takes the fear out of death
For the believer he has taken the sting out of death. The child of God soon learns that death is merely a way of entering into the arms of God.

Protection
Our Father protects us from harm and injury, from both the things that we are aware of and from things we are not aware of.

Prepares heaven for us
One of God's greatest acts of love toward mankind is his creation of heaven for us as our eternal home. God doesn't merely love us enough to create us and give us a few decades of life on this earth, but instead his love for us is for all of eternity. He intends to spend forever with us. Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus is preparing a place for you. And if Jesus is preparing it, it is bound to be fantastic. Just think for a minute of the incredible possibilities, the wonder and mystery that lie within one little verse.
1 Corinthians 2:9, "The eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, nor has there even been conceived in the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him."

Disciplines us
He corrects us when it is needed so that we become the person that God wants us to become. The very word of God says that those who God loves, he disciplines. Deuteronomy 8:5 tells us, "So you should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you". So since our Heavenly Father wants only the best for us he is going to act like any good father does when his child misbehaves. If you have children and you have to discipline them, don't you really do it because you love them. Think for a moment of the child who never receives any discipline and what a terror he is to society. God's arms are always open wide and extended even to all those who have turned from him. He is committed to loving every single one of us regardless of how we act or behave.

So that leaves us with the question, How can you start to experience God's great love?
First you need to place your life in God's hands. You need to ask forgiveness of your sins and then ask God to come into your life. If you truly ask God to come into your life and give you guidance he will. Ask him to show you the path that he wants you to take and ask him to help you get started. Tell him that you want to trust him completely with your life and that you want him to take the lead in living your life. As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "It is no longer I that live, but it is Christ that is living within me. The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God."

What will happen is that the Holy Spirit enters your life and immediately puts life into your spirit. You begin to feel and sense God's great love entering your heart and you begin to relate to God. You will also realize that God's love has been there the whole time.

God loves you and he loves you infinitely and unconditionally. His love and grace are imparted to you in an ongoing flow, by the second, by the minute, by the hour, by the day. Most of us would love to have someone in our lives who loves us like this. Someone who is always patient with us, who isn't envious of us; who thinks of us first, who believes in us, who hopes for the very best for us, who endures hard times with us. What a wonderful thing to be loved like that. The truth is that God loves us just like that. God is the one who brings us through periods of struggle, hardship, and sorrow. God has a master plan for all of creation, and you are a part of it. That plan is unfolding bit by bit even this very day.

God has a very detailed blueprint for your life which is also unfolding according to his timetable and his schedule. God has much more that he desires to communicate to you about himself, about yourself, and about your purpose here on earth. He has something new to teach you today. God has needs for you to meet in the lives of other people, needs that only you are qualified and capable of meeting. He will bring specific people with specific needs across your path today. He has a mission for you to accomplish between sunrise and sunset this very day.

And finally you may ask that now that you are aware of the tremendous love that God pours down on you, how can you show love back to God. The right way to show God our love is to obey him. Simply follow and obey his commandments and his rules. The Bible tells us over and over how to love God. 1 John 5:3 is a good example. "For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments".

Other ways to show God that you love him is to lead a life that would be righteous and pleasing to him. Read material about God and try and learn as much as possible about the creator who brought you and everything else into existence; and of course read his word, the Bible.

And as you begin to do these things the Holy Spirit is going to enter your life, and he will begin to guide and lead you in a Godly lifestyle. It is the Holy Spirit that is going to begin to grow you in spiritual maturity. It is his guidance that is going to produce in you ever greater knowledge in Almighty God, and with this increasing knowledge will come ever greater degrees of love for God.

We also show God our love when we spend time with him in prayer, and when we thank him for not only the blessings that he bestows upon us but also thankful to him when he has to correct and chastise us when we sin so that we stay on a righteous path. Also just talking to God and asking him to show you what to do in certain situations shows a great deal of love, respect, and trust in God. Also ask God to send the Holy Spirit into your life to teach and instruct you about him and his ways. Soon you will find that a truly wonderful love is flowing back and forth between you and your God.

Please remember that true love for God requires an investment in things of eternal value. God will never force you to love him because that would not be true love. Forced love would make you simply a loving robot. True love requires a true conviction and a desire to know and experience his love above and beyond all that this world has to offer. The following list is evidence of a growing love for God.

And lastly, what would you say if I asked you what the greatest miracle was?
The one miracle that sits at the very top of all other miracles that have taken place throughout all of history? That one single miracle which allows everything to, oh so neatly fall into place? That one single miracle that allows everything else to make sense? That without this miracle then nothing would matter? That most important miracle is that God loves us! And he loves us with that tremendous and awesome never ending unconditional love. If you think about it, his love for us is the answer to everything.


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bob wells

dayton4925@aol.com
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