January 24

Jesus Loves Me

Bible Reading: 1 John 3:16-18; 1 John 4:7-12

I can recall a visit to my Uncle Frank’s house, almost fifty years ago, when I was first introduced to the thought of God’s love.  My Uncle Frank was an Associate Pastor at the nearby Bible church.  I was an unsaved teen, with my whole life ahead of me.  I had no idea where I was going.  My cousin Amy, just 5 years young, asked a question which planted a seed in my mind. “Do you know Jesus loves you?” she asked.  I didn’t know Jesus at the time and had no idea Who she was talking about.  I’d find out years later.  

I was thinking the other day about the various things I’ve learned about God’s love since then.  Not so much in a theological sense, but in a personal way.  What difference has it made in my life knowing there is a God who loves me?  And though it’d be impossible for any of us to recount (or even know) all the ways in which we’ve personally experienced God’s love, it is nonetheless profitable for us to reflect on such matters.  So here’s some of what comes to mind:

Unbeknownst to me, God in His love, had led people to pray for my salvation.  Simultaneously to that, the Spirit was at work, burdening my heart with a sense of need.  I began to ask myself if there was a God and if so, how could I ever be forgiven for my sins?  In His love, God sent someone to share the gospel with me and I trusted in Jesus for salvation!  Later God, in His loving provision, brought some wonderful men into my life who discipled me, helping me to grow in Christ.  About that same time, I prayed asking God to give me a wife.  I trusted God–putting the matter completely into His hands.  In His love, God gifted me with an amazing woman who has been my companion now for almost 39 years.  She’s been an incredible inspiration to me in her faith in Jesus and in her capacity to love and serve others. God in His love later gifted us with four wonderful children and two grandchildren. 

In His love, God burdened me with a desire to prepare myself for pastoral ministry and provided everything needed to accomplish this calling. Then God miraculously directed me to pastor the church where the first member of my extended family had been saved! In His love, God privileged me to serve in that church for 27 and ½ years. During the course of my pastoral ministry, I observed the working of God’s love in too many ways to recount. But let me just summarize by saying I’ve seen God’s love in action as He worked to save souls, transform people’s lives, restore broken relationships, revive churches, impart comfort and hope and otherwise spiritually prosper the lives of countless folks. In nine trips to Africa I witnessed God’s hand as he brought spiritual growth and transformation to an entire region!

In recent months I’ve been working as a part-time hospice chaplain.  I’ve been on lots of visits to the homes of folks who are dying.  I’ve witnessed God’s love in action through the compassionate care provided by caregivers for their loved ones.  I’ve had opportunities to share with patients about God’s love revealed to us in Jesus, and in some cases I’ve seen folks respond to the gospel!  

My sweet wife Laura has cancer.  It’s been a five-year battle in which she suffers with chronic pain and is sometimes quite ill.  “Where’s God’s love in all of that,” someone might ask.  I look at her amidst it all and marvel at the love of God!  He’s provided for all our financial and medical needs in amazing fashion.  Her undiminished faith amidst her adversities is miraculous.  By God’s grace He’s made her strong and is using her as a witness to the love of God. 

The God who loves me has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He is not only with me, but in the person of the Holy Spirit He indwells me. God knows all about me, but loves me anyway. In fact, nothing can separate me from His love. I’ve failed Him on numerous occasions, but He’s never failed me! In my times of deepest need, when I’ve felt all alone and helpless, I’ve cried out to Him and He’s never failed to respond. He has made promises and has been faithful to keep them all. He began a work in me and will complete what He started. In His love, He gifted me and has privileged me to serve Him, until the appointed time when He shall safely deliver me to the home He has made ready for me. In His love, He’s prepared a place where there is no more death, or mourning, or crying, or tears. One day I’ll depart this place for the glory of heaven and I will marvel at the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me!

So the answer to Amy’s question is yes, I KNOW Jesus loves me!!!.  It’s an amazing thing!  A precious treasure!  A life-changing reality!  Praise God for His love!  Take time to thank Him for His hand in your life.  There is hope for everyone, because there is a God who has a big heart full of eternal love!  Do you know that Jesus loves you?

Abba! Father!  How incredibly blessed we are in the Beloved!  In Him we’ve become the focus of Your affection, indeed You’ve shed abroad Your love in our hearts and lavished us with Your grace.  Forgive us when we take You and Your love for granted.  May the Spirit empower us to better know this love which surpasses knowledge.  Oh, that we might know You better.  That we might be better equipped to make You known.  Amen.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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