Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Love Beyond Measure

Crossroads Rescue Mission had their annual jubilee a couple weeks ago.  During one of the meetings my Pastor's wife approached me to say a church in Polkville asked if I would speak at their ladies meeting.  I told her yes and then kind of panicked.  I had a busy week with jubilee every night, photo shoots during the days, and lots of editing!  My study time was limited, with only a week from that Saturday.  So I cancelled photo shoots and went off facebook the next week while I studied my lesson. 
Monday was great and then Tuesday showed up.  It was one thing after another.  It started off with a phone call that morning, followed by news from my son that sent my blood pressure through the roof, followed by my husband doing something really crazy that did not help the situation, followed by my youngest son doing something crazy too.  I felt like my head would explode.  It suddenly occurred to me that it was the devil working against me over this meeting.  So I went to my room, sat on the bed and took a deep breath.  I prayed, Lord, I really need something from you right now.  And He told me exactly what to do.  By this time, Bruce was sitting quietly in the living room.  After all, he knew I was upset.  Pretty sure the slamming of kitchen cabinets, mumbling and throwing dish towels gave my bad attitude away.  Anyway, I walked up to him and said, "I'm gettin' outta here.  You wanna go?"  He said, "YES!"  So he put his shoes on and met me in the car.  We drove quietly, him never asking me where we were going.  He was just along for the ride.  No doubt, in hopes, to make me happy.  I pulled into Ruby Tuesday and he said, "We already had supper.  Are you still hungry?"  "Nope," I replied, "God said eat cheesecake."  So we did!  And it was wonderful.  We sat across from each other laughing and talking and enjoying the best cheesecake I've ever had.  It seemed like all the worries and anger just melted away.  I suppose the moral of the story is, when you're having a really bad day and you know the devil is attacking you, God will help you through it and help you to see what's going on and He will tell you what to do.  And if you're as fortunate as me, He'll tell you to go eat cheesecake.  :)

As I was studying for the ladies meeting I tried to focus on the theme of "Love Beyond Measure."  When I think of love beyond measure, I only think of God.  As humans, our love is very much measureable.  God's love, however, is eternal.  Non-ending.  It can not be measured!  I John 4:8 tells us, "...for God is love."  God IS love.  He loves us when we're obedient.  He loves us when we're living right and doing right.  But when else does He loves us?  Is this the only time He loves us?  When else does God love us?  I ran across a quote online and I couldn't get away from it so I drew my outline from it. 

God's Love Beyond Measure:
  1. God loves the Flawed.  Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  That word "commendeth" means to entrust with care of preservation.  At the time of Christ's death, I had not committed one, single sin.  I wasn't born yet!  But He looked ahead in time and saw me in my sinful state and He preserved that love for me by shedding his blood for me anyway.  That's love.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it's not about our works.  Are you kidding me?  We are flawed to the very core of this flesh.  Of COURSE it's not about our works!  It's about HIM and what HE has done because of His love for us!  And He still loves us today, just as much as He did yesterday and the days before that, and the day He gave His very life for us.
  2. God loves the Rejected.  Romans 8:35 says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"  Jump down to verses 38 & 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  You may feel that God cannot or will not forgive you of something.  You may feel rejected because of past sins in your life.  But these verses tell me there is nothing, not one thing, that can separate us from the love of Christ!  There is no sin so great, the grace of God cannot cover.  He will take us just like we are and loves us too much to leave us as we were.  He can and will make something great out of us, if we let Him.  The world may reject us and throw us to the side, but GOD will never do that.  You may even be rejected for what you stand for. Luke 6:22 says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."  Hey, when we are rejected for His name's sake, we are BLESSED!  Because He is on OUR side!  Romans 8:31 says, "...If God be for us, who can be against us?"  Being rejected isn't so bad, really, because we KNOW we're on the winning side!  And He NEVER rejects His children!
  3. God loves the Awkward.  You may feel awkward because you can't speak your thought clearly to others.  Or maybe you have a disability that holds you back from serving in a capacity that others without your disability have no problem.  You know Moses had a speech impediment.  Most scholars believe he stuttered.  But God used him as the most influential person to go up against Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel through the desert to their promised land.  One of the greatest men of God I know stutters.  But yet he is doing a work for the Lord that amazes me on a weekly basis.  Don't allow your awkwardness or fear of what people think of you keep you from serving the Lord.  Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"  The Lord loves you and wants you to tell others about His love.  You may seem awkward to others, maybe even to yourself.  But God loves you just the way you are and He wants you to share His love with others.
  4. God loves the Sorrowful.  Sorrow is a more intense feeling than sadness.  We can feel sad over many things, but sorrow is felt down deep in our soul.  It is said that sorrow lies somewhere between sadness of accepting a circumstance and distress of not accepting that circumstance.  Maybe you are sorrowing over something or someone in your life.  A death of a spouse or a parent.  Maybe you are sorrowing over a wayward child or friend.  The Bible says in II Corinthians 1:3-5 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."  We sorrow, but GOD can and will bring our comfort and then we can turn around and help those who are going through their own sorrow, because of what Christ did in us through our own sorrow.
  5. God loves the Broken.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 147:3, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."  I have felt broken and in pieces and like I would never overcome the hurt caused by friends who said they loved me and would always be there for me.  I have been broken over having to cut people out of my life who had turned their backs on God or were going in the opposite direction of where I was going toward God.  And sometimes that happens.  Sometimes you'll have that.  I have been broken over circumstances beyond my control that may have caused hurt and pain to someone else besides myself.  But by leaning on Christ and His love, I have experienced His healing power and experienced Him taking those broken pieces of my heart and mending them back together.  It was not an overnight experience.  It took a lot of time.  A lot of prayer.  And a lot of hiding myself in God's Word.  You might feel broken and lost and like you'll never be the same, but God will heal your broken heart and He will bind up your wounds, the way only He can. 
"Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely.  Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly.  Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely...He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken."