Love Divine, All Loves Excelling: My Reflections on the Sure Love of God on Valentine’s Day. Ephesians 5:22-32

Ephesians 5:22-32 Amplified Bible

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 Wives, be subject [a]to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].

25 Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. 28  Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become [b]one flesh. 32 This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

My Reflections on Saint Valentine’s Day

You are all probably acutely aware of all the pink and red an whites decorating many of our stores in the month of February.

I have been thinking a lot about what it represents, and what we can learn.

It occurred to me that many of us Christians will preach lovely messages on Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, and even Christmas.

Yet, I find when it come to Valentine’s Day, we usually pass that one over.

I had to ask myself the question, “why?”

I can’t speak for others, but I think the answer for myself is that this seems too worldly to merit preaching a message related to it.

But is God completely silent on the themes this day brings to us?

You can’t avoid it.

The commercials, the decorations in the stores, the parties in school, the gifts at the office, and many other things confront us all whether we like it or not.

We are talking about romantic love.

Why do we Christians avoid that topic so much at church and in religious settings?

Is it completely worldly?

Is it ungodly?

Does the Bible condemn it?

Maybe the Bible ignores it?

I think what we will find it that it is far from worldly.

In fact, it is a reflection of our God.

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
[Charles Wesley, 1707-1788]

My Reflections on the Sure Love of God

God is love.

When I say love, I am not talking about the little miniature fat guy Cupid that goes around shooting people with arrows.

That is almost too cute for my taste.

In fact, it can make romantic love seem almost silly or frivolous.

What I am talking about is the special love a man and a woman have for each other.

The love a man and woman have for each other is part of God’s design from the very beginning when he saw that it was not good for man to be alone.

If you never read the Song of Solomon, which is really titled the “Song of Songs” in the first chapter, which means “The Best of Songs,” then you are definitely and decisively missing out on the best love poetry ever written.

Key Words throughout the Book are: “Love” and “Marriage.”

The Song of Solomon beautifully portrays the qualities of a pure “love” and the ingredients for a “successful marriage.”

To develop this kind of a relationship requires total honesty, unselfishness and unconditional an unconventional support.

The whole book is a love poem between a betrothed couple, who later appear to have gotten married.

It is romantic, sensual and is part of the word of God.

The couple refers to each other as the “one whom my soul loves.”

It speaks of being faint with love.

It describes the admiration for and the delight they have in each other.

In poetically describes the precious beauty that they see in each other.

Some people have had a real problem with taking this book literally, as if romantic love poetry is not worthy of scripture.

As a result, they interpret it as an allegory of God’s love for his bride Israel or as an allegory of Christ’s love for the church.

But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that it is still romantic love poetry.

If it were merely figurative of God’s love for us, the conclusion is still the same.

Romantic love is not worldly but comes from God. In fact, if it were figurative, then the case is even stronger that romantic love is godly, good, and beautiful.

It is a reflection of the love that God has for us.

Imagine that!

God describing is love for his people in romantic love poetry!

However, I think we should take it as what it is. It is simply beautiful and romantic love poetry.

Romantic love does not originate from the world.

It comes from the God of love.

In fact, all throughout the Bible, God presents himself as the greatest lover of all.

God fondly recalls the early days of his marriage to his bride, Israel.

Look at this passage of scripture:

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD.

Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you, anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 16:8-14)

God loves his bride passionately.

He showered all of the symbols of his love on her.

Nothing was too good for her.

God is the lover of lovers.

When God loves, He loves very passionately, and with passionate love can come intense anger and fury, jealousy and pain when the one whom your soul loves is unfaithful to you. 

Notice what happens next in this passage:

“But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing. You took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen. You also took your beautiful jewels {made} of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them…” (Ezekiel 16:15-17).

And God continues for many more verses describing how his perfect bride was unfaithful to him using the very jewels, clothes, other things God gave to her.

It was as if his “perfect bride committed adultery in their own bed! After going into more details about how he beloved was unfaithful to him, He concludes:

“Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy. I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare. They will incite a crowd against you and they will stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women. Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers” (Ezekiel 16:38-41).

Do you think God is angry?

Of course!

Wouldn’t you be angry and hurt if the one your soul loves cheated on you?

In fact, many of us would divorce our spouse in a heartbeat.

But God does no such thing.

In his passionate, relentless, undying love, God does not close the book on his beloved bride.

His love never dies.


“Therefore, behold, I will allure her (or “woo” her), Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali” (Hosea 2:14-16).

Maybe some of the flavor of this is lost in translation.

God woos his bride back to him after a period of anger and wrath.

He puts a song in her heart again.

In that day, she will no longer call him “Ba-ali,” which translated means “my Lord.”

No longer will God be “my Lord,” but “Ishi,” which means “my husband.”

Do you see the kind of love that God has for his bride?

In fact, one of the final pictures we have in scripture of the consummation of God’s plan is that of a marriage feast.

In Revelation 19:7-9, God uses the image of a wedding to describe the time when his heart’s desire will be fulfilled.

We, God’s people, are the bride, and he is eagerly anticipating that wedding day when we will be together forever.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God'” (Revelation 19:7-9).

In the next scene is the arrival of the groom.

But it is unlike anything you have ever seen.


“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).

The groom comes riding in on a white horse.

His robe is dipped in blood, his own blood.

Jesus died and was willing to go to Hades and back for his bride.

Even though she has been unfaithful, he will come riding in, swoop her up on his steed and ride off into Heaven with her arms around his waist.

Yes, Jesus loves his bride with an undying love.

You know, love does strange things.

It makes people look past the warts and the rough edges.

Sometimes people will say, “I just don’t understand what he sees in her!”

Maybe she is a “Plain Jane” with several flaws.

Maybe she is overweight.

Maybe her hair is stringy.

Maybe her clothes are out of style.

Maybe she is mismatched.

Maybe her nose is too big.

Maybe she is nothing to look at.

Maybe she is a mess.

But to her man she is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Love causes him to look past those things to see who she really is.

Isn’t that what God does?

He looks past all of our rough edges, all of our filth, all of the ugliness in us.

He sees what we can truly become.

They say that “true love is blind.”

I disagree with this.

Oh, I know that there can be the star struck person who is no longer capable of thinking with good judgment, but that is not what I am talking about.

I am talking about true love.

True love is not unaware of the flaws, the warts, and the dirt.

Instead, true love looks beyond these things. 

Now, please turn in your bibles to our devotional text from Ephesians 5:22-32.

Ephesians 5:22-33The Message

22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

A Beautiful Bride ….

In many weddings, the moment a bride begins her walk down the aisle is very important.

Everyone stands to join the groom in watching her as she processes to meet him.

That moment is important for the groom too, of course.

He loves his bride and longs to have her with him.

Her walk down the aisle is a picture of the approach that began before they met.

And their meeting at the end of the aisle symbolizes the beginning of their new life together, which they pledge before God to continue throughout their lives.

Jesus loves his bride too.

Our text makes that clear even as it calls earthly husbands to give themselves up in loving service to their wives.

After all, for all to see, Jesus gave himself up for his bride, the church, at the cross at Calvary.

Christians are not frigid prudes that do not know what love is.

Christians are passionate people full of life that comes from the giver of life.

Remember this, the next time your anniversary comes up, or the next time your beloved’s birthday comes, or any time when you are driving on your way home.

We serve a God who is full of passionate love, and nothing is godlier when you display the same passionate love of God toward the one whom your soul loves.

Rejoice! Together we are the one for whom Christ waits at the end of the aisle.

The toughest love

Valentine’s Day, also known as the “day of love”, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays.

It’s the day when we’re supposed to tell those near and dear to us how much we cherish them.

Because everyone needs to feel loved.

Love is powerful.

So powerful, Jesus summarized the greatest Commandments using only love:

Mark 12:28-34Amplified Bible

28 Then one of the scribes [an expert in Mosaic Law] came up and listened to them arguing [with one another], and noticing that Jesus answered them well, asked Him, “Which commandment is first and most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first and most important one is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.’ 31 This is the second: ‘You shall [unselfishly] [a]love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32  The scribe said to Him, “Admirably answered, Teacher; You truthfully stated that He is One, and there is no other but Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to [unselfishly] love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered thoughtfully and intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one would dare to ask Him any more questions.

Now, when it comes to loving those closest to us, we should, of course, tell those people that we love them—and often.

However, in reality, doing so requires very little faith on our part because chances are our love will be returned to us in equal measure. (Luke 6:32–33)

Once we have experienced the true nature of God’s unending, unconditional love, the only reasonable response is to share that love with others who have not yet experienced it.

But this is where Jesus asks us to lean on our faith.

He gave another commandment that often seems quite illogical and at times, impossible.

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27).”

We are also called to love the unlovable.

This selfless love He’s describing can only be expressed with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit.

When we put aside our emotions and trust the healing power of the Holy Spirit to help us and work through us for the benefit of those on the receiving end, we become a sure and certain eye witness of God’s transforming love and power.


“My beloved is mine and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies…..” Song of Solomon 2:16

In addition to telling your special someone how much they mean to you, maybe we should also reach out to those who wouldn’t normally come to mind on Valentine’s Day – Cherish Christ’s church, even when church is not so lovable.

You will be loving what Christ himself loves!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

A Valentine’s Day Prayer for True Love

Dear God, Help me today to understand what love really means.

I need a love that’s big enough to include all of us. Big enough for the dating and engaged couples, of course, with their giddy daydreams of a future together. But also big enough for the married folks, whether their passion for each other is still blazing brightly or barely more than a smoldering wick. Big enough for the singles toasting their independence, and for the singles wishing someone would come along and make that independence disappear. For the lonely and widowed and brokenhearted, I need a love that understands, a love that welcomes in hurt and sorrow instead of excluding them.

The love I need more than anything is Your love. Without Your love, no other love will ever be sufficient. And with it, every other love becomes richer and truer and more life-giving than it could have been otherwise. We have learned all our best loves from You: the love of faithful friends, of spouses and significant others, of parents and siblings and children. Love that commits. Love that sacrifices. Love that lays down its life. You authored each of these loves, taught us how to recognize them and long for them and give them away. Our best efforts at Valentine’s Day are just a fraction of the wholeness of love.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Today, let everything I see remind me of Your great love for all of God’s Children. Let today be a day for love. Real love. Big love. Your love.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

“It is truly ALL Within all our Doing!” Zachariah’s Testimony of Faith. The Story Before the Story! Luke 1:5-17

Luke 1:5-17The Message

A Childless Couple Conceives

5-7 During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old.

8-12 It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.

13-15 But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.

15-17 “He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics—he’ll get the people ready for God.”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Every story has a preface – it is what needs to be said before diving in.

It often sets the stage, the tone, for the masterpiece ready to unfold.

Sometimes it is direct author commentary, and many times it explains the story before the story –

as famed Radio Broadcaster, Commentator the late Paul Harvey might say;

“There Will Always be a Story before the Rest of the Story.”

Luke 1:1-4The Message

1-4 So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.

Narrator Luke begins his Gospel, lays the foundation for why he is writing this letter to Theophilus, he shares with us an amazing moment in history.

So that we can know “beyond the shadow of doubt” the truth of the stories we have read, been told, our whole lives, the reliability of what we were all taught.

To that much desired end, Luke introduces us to a righteous priest named Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth. We are told that they are obedient to God’s law, and have grown old, past the years they could have had any children.

Zachariah, a priest in the line of Aaron, happens to be on his regular rotation duty at the temple in Jerusalem, and is “set apart” chosen as the priest to enter and burn incense before the Lord – this is his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This would be the one and only time Zechariah would enter the Holy Place.

What a responsibility and privilege! As he enters, he brings the incense, representing the prayers of God’s people, before the presence of the Lord.

Zechariah also brings his own prayer, the desires and longings of his heart.

This is incredibly refreshing to me.

When approaching the throne room of God, Zachariah is honest.

He quietly tells God what is really on his mind and in his heart.

Too often, when we are in church and given an opportunity to share a prayer request, we first default to sharing other people’s troubles and not our own.

We don’t come right out and shriek that we struggled with reading God’s Word this week, or that we messed it up as parents or as human beings that morning, or we desperately need God to show up in the midst of a shredded relationship.

Even in our own private time, when we are supposed to be communing with God alone, we first give a glossed over report so we can make things quick and easy.

Why is that?

Why are we afraid to spend the time to be real, to be broken and raw, why are we so timid about unleashing all of ourselves before the One God we know loves us?

It’s exhausting being “all clammed up, neat-and-tidy, its all okay” Christians.

In Luke’s Narrative, Zachariah is clammed up, he offers no prayers for himself.

Maybe Zechariah was tired, long the righteous man before God, but where were the expected “abundant rewards” and “heavens open floodgate of blessings?”

Zacharias had no children to pass his priestly knowledge and experience to.

There was no hope of any coming generations to further his family lineage.

He loved and served the Lord his God with everything he had for many years.

He loved his wife Elizabeth with the same fervor he loved and served His God.

In this hushed place where few people ever enter, Zechariah cannot help but share his burdens when he has been charged with interceding for his people.

God’s answer for Zachariah’s faith – breaks the 400-year silence of heaven.

Luke 1:13-17 The Message

13-15 But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.

15-17 “He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics—he’ll get the people ready for God.”

A son…with the spirit and power, style and strength of faith of the great Elijah the Prophet….heralding….preparing the people for the coming of the Lord…

Emmanuel, God with us, God within us, the promised Messiah, is coming soon.

And, Zechariah’s son will lead the way, pointing the Jews back to their long-awaited Savior – softening the hearts of parents to children. kindling devout understanding among even the very hardest, harshest of scorners and skeptics.

God raised up Elijah during a dark time in Israel’s history, where their most evil king prevailed to lead the people’s hearts to betray the God who loved them.

God gave Elijah the gift of fervent, powerful, intercessory prayer (James 5:17-18)

Elijah obeyed God’s plan and stood up, alone, to face those idol-worshippers on Mount Carmel. He called down fire from heaven, and God demonstrated His great power, proving He was God, and the people turned back to their Sustainer.

However, Elijah was also threatened, became fervently scared and ran away to the very deepest wilderness, to the mountain of God, seeking direction, help.

God sent His ravens to feed Elijah when Elijah had 100% given up on himself.

God Himself miraculously answered, comforted him and gave him instructions.

All of this will come to life in new ways as Zachariah’s coming John “will turn many Israelites back to the Lord their God, back to a devout understanding!”

But long years of personal doubt, of severe questioning, of God, had dulled his faith, had made Zacharias cynical and critical of himself and critical of God.

He openly questioned the angels words of prophecy – threw them back into the angels face – probably with not so much as even a respectful glance upward.

The angel responded and disciplined Zachariah for his actions towards him.

Zechariah can’t speak when he leaves the temple because he doubted God’s word, he will not be able to say a word until he sees with his own eyes the birth of his son, until he hears the baby’s cry and holds his son in his own hands.

Now, he has a little more than nine-months to quietly meditate on the angel Gabriel’s words, to “to talk and to walk back” his own behaviors and actions.

The story before the story is about to collide with the One who wrote them all.

God caught Zechariah in the fulfillment of divine promises — fulfillment that occurred with the coming of the Messiah. God had chosen Zechariah, along with his wife Elizabeth, to play crucial roles in God’s great coming story of His grace.

Zechariah experienced the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a priest to burn incense [1] at the great Temple in Jerusalem.

While performing his duties, a heavenly messenger visited him and revealed that he and his aged and barren wife Elizabeth, like Abraham and Sarah would have a son and that son would bless many, would lead many to their Messiah.

Despite being well past the age to have children!

Zacharias had a significant story to tell that would reverberate over all history!

God was answering their prayer.

The messenger told Zechariah to name their son, John. He obeyed, and God used Zechariah’s “simple” testimony of faith, obedience to bless the world.

Zacharias gets only the briefest of mentions in the pages of holy scripture.

But, his story transcends the ignominy of that very briefest of mentions ….

His lonely, quiet and much reserved story now transcends generations ….

Adds enormously, magnificently to that “great cloud of witnesses” who have come before this generation, live now in this generation, born into future ones.

Zacharias’ story becomes a great lesson for anyone of our own faith journey’s.

As but the briefest of testimonies to turn our hearts back to God’s, provide for us that great Holy Spirit opportunity to gain more understanding of God’s plan.

In this Christmas season, indeed in all coming seasons, We have a story too!

A God favored, indescribably prized and abundantly valued story to tell to our family, friends, and co-workers, our neighbors in God’s own neighborhood,

God, our Father Matters!

Immanuel, God with us and Within us Matters!

God, the Holy Spirit, our Intercessor, Matters!

We have our Doubts and those Doubts Matter to God, our Father!

We have our faith, steadfast or wavering or absent, and that Faith matters!

We have our fellowship, Koinonia, with God, our Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

That fellowship, that connection, that Koinonia, absolutely matters to God!

Our faith or absence thereof in that Koinonia, absolutely matters to our God!

Become more humble and more devout in our praise, prayers, our worship, of the One who abundantly blessed, who’s coming again to take us unto Himself.

Become more aware of, to acknowledge, to recognize, to act upon the relevance and significance, the great privilege, and greater responsibility of our humble role as the Body of Christ, God’s accountable church ministering into the world.

Faith of our fathers, living still,
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
to win all nations unto thee;
and through the truth that comes from God,
we all shall then be truly free.

3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love knows how
by kindly words and virtuous life.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 113English Standard Version

Who Is like the Lord Our God?

113 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
    praise the name of the Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!

The Lord is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,

who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Father, my Creator, Perfecter of Faith and faithfulness, please accept my meek efforts at learning and living obedience, including in the little, clear, and simple things, as an offering of my love to you. Grant me such grace as I can handle in the moments of my doubts and failures, to turn back to such testimonies as Zacharias’, to become more devout, more understanding. Take that and my obedience and bring glory to your name and a blessing to your people whether others know of my part in your plan or not. In Jesus’ name, to his glory, I offer you this humble prayer and my life. Adeste Fidelis! Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Romans 5:8 | The Surprising Gospel |

Interestingly, the Bible does not ever just say that God loves us.

Instead, it says: “When we were at our very darkest moment, God demonstrated MAX his love…” “In this is MAX love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us [TO THE MAX] and gave…” “For God so MAX loved the world that he gave…”

Do we see Love is more than an emotion or intention? True love, redemptive love, God-styled love is active; it does something. For us, Jesus did more than something; he sacrificed everything. What’s more, he did it when we most needed it. He demonstrated the core of his love when we were yet sinners!

Romans 5:6-8 The Message

6-8 Christ arrives exactly right on time to make this happen. He did not, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we had not been so weak, we would not have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (AKJV)

This short verse from Paul’s letter to the Romans gives us insight into the core Gospel love of God.

What is God’s love like?

How does God love?

Who does God love, anyway?

Does he love you?

Does he love me?

Does he really love the world?

There are some verses in the Bible that hold more power than the very sun.

This is one of those verses. These 18 words are some of the most glorious in the entire Bible. If you’re wondering about the love of God, this verse explains it.

The primary goal of my devotionals is to preach the gospel wherever I can.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, said, “I preach the gospel to my people every week because they forget it every week.”

Reverend Dr. Timothy Keller, a pastor in New York City, said recently, “One of the signs you may not grasp the unique radical nature of the gospel is that you’re certain you think you do.”

The truth is: We are forgetful people. We are a proud people. But we have a God who humbles himself to remind us of his love. He is not far from any of us. Let’s say our prayers, coming to him and asking for his blessing on our time together.

What Jesus did to save us is the most loving action that has ever taken place in the universe. What took place on the cross was a once in history-type event.

It has happened but the effects of it are forever ongoing. It didn’t just change history; history was created for it. It didn’t just accomplish something in the past but has penultimate power to change the future. There is nothing like it.

But let us not lose the wonder of it. Let us not lose the vision for the beauty in the hideous death of Christ on our behalf. Let us never lose the meaning of the cross. Let it be always treasured by our hearts. We must fight against losing the truth of this verse, because the apex of all history has already happened, and we have seen the maximum love of God for us on a scale that should blow us away.

What do you genuinely believe about the maximum love of God?

Most often we think about the love of God in two categories: either we are too good for it (“Of course God loves me, he’s God! God loves all of his creation. But I’m not sure whether I actually need his love. I do just fine on my own.”)

or we are too unworthy for it (“I’ve sinned my way out of God’s love. Perhaps I could try and get it back, but my sin has overtaken me. I’m really a lost cause at this point. I want to love God but I’m just not sure he could love me.”)

But the Gospel truth is we are all actually worse than we think we are and yet we are more loved than we could ever truly imagine. That’s what the Bible says about us.

So, there is a third way to think about the love of God. It’s the gospel way, which tells us we are too bad for his goodness, but we can have him anyway through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The gospel humbles the proud and exalts, lifts up the humble. The love of God is transformative.

We do not deserve it, yet we can have it. We need it to live, and yet he gives it to us without cost. What we think about the love of God will determine everything about how we live. What kind of love does God have for us? “But God shows his [maximum] love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Your life, my life, includes the story of sacrificial death on your behalf. God died for you. and he died for me! You are loved so much, I am loved so much, we all are loved, that God was willing to nail his own Son to a cross to gain you back.

My fervent prayer for each of us today is that every single one of us walks out from reading this devotion fully convinced that God loves each and every one of us. Truly, the way to salvation is not in what we do, but in whom we trust. What do you believe about the MAX love of God? Your answer determines your fate.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow —–

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Father God, I thank you for loving me. I love you. I love you for what you have done. I love you for who you are. I love you for your promises. I love you for your faithfulness. Most of all, dear Father, help me to remember I love you because of Jesus who showed me just how much you love me. Please empower me to show my love by serving and giving to others as Jesus did. In his name I pray. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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