God’s overwhelming, loyal love.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39 (MSG)
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.
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“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -AMPLIFIED

Oh that amazing, tenacious love of the Father extended to His children. His love for us cannot be detoured, cannot be swayed, and cannot be lost, not by anything. Because of this amazing, immutable, changeless love we can be more than conquerors in this present world. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? “-Romans 8:31 (NIV) NOTHING!

God is for us! That statement in and of itself should move us to a state of wonder and humility. God is on our side! God cares overwhelmingly for us. God wants us to succeed; He wants the very best for us. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” -Romans 8:32 (NIV)

God’s love for us is simply put, amazing. Agape love, God’s love, is an unconditional, sacrificial love; undeserved and unmerited favor. Case in point: “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8 (AMP)

The fact is; God loved us from the very start. He knew about us before we were even born and He wanted us as His very own. He knew that we would be sinful and reject His ways. Yet, He chose to love us just the same. That is some pretty loyal love; faithful and true, even when we were not faithful and true to Him.

“We strangely misjudge the love of God. We think that our distresses and sufferings, our sins and failures, may make Him love us less, whereas they will draw Him nearer, and make his love exert itself more evidently and tenderly. In the home, it is not the troop of sturdy children that so engross the mother’s care, as the puny withered life that has lain in the cot for the last eleven years, unable to help itself and reciprocate her love. And in the world, death and pain, disease and sorrow, failure and sin, only draw God nearer, if that be possible. So far from separating from his love, they bind us closer.” -F.B. Meyer ( Paul A Servant of Jesus Christ)

Lest we give up and despair in the battle of our life; let us always remember that Our God is for us and nothing can ever separate us from His love!

My Prayer:
Father, your love is marvelous and out of this World; like nothing else in my life. You are loyal, faithful and true; never changing. No matter what I do, your love remains constant and true. To know this truth is humbling and comforting at the same time. Nothing at all will ever be able to separate me from that overwhelming, wondrous love that you have for me. All I can say is thank you! All I can do is weep for joy! All I can do is humbly praise your name; for you are magnificent and overwhelmingly loving to me.

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Our God is perfect in every way and He is a good, good Father!

Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NIV)
I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (MSG)
For it’s God’s Name I’m preaching – respond to the greatness of our God! The Rock: His works are perfect, and the way he works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God.
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“For I proclaim the name [and presence] of the Lord; Ascribe greatness and honor to our God! “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness without iniquity (injustice), Just and upright is He.” -AMPLIFIED

Moses declared that he would proclaim, publish, preach or advertise the Name of the Lord. Why; because He is a Rock, His works are perfect and all His ways are just. Notice that Moses is speaking in present-tense and not past-tense. God is; not God was. Our God is there for us!

Throughout Scripture we find that He is a good God; who takes care of His own. In fact, there are many, many verses that speak of God as our Father, our Daddy, our Papa. Further down in this passage we find Moses referring to God as Father and speaking of how He found Jacob. “He (God) found him (Jacob) out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland. He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him, guarding him as the apple of his eye.” -Deuteronomy 32:10 (MSG)

David points out the fact that God will be a Father to the fatherless. “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” -Psalms 68:4-6 (NIV)

David reminds us in Psalm 103 that God is perfect and just. David says, “O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.” -Psalms 103:1-5 (MSG)

Isaiah spoke these words, “Still, God, you are our Father. We’re the clay and you’re our potter: All of us are what you made us.” -Isaiah 64:8 (MSG)

He is a good, good God! He is a loving, gentle, and kind Father; tenderly watching out for the needs of His wayward, often rebellious children. Yet, even though we tend to push against His ways at times He still loves us! How amazing and wonderful is this fact; nothing that we could ever do would ever change the Father’s love for us. INCREDIBLE!

He is a good, good Father! The apostle John said, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1a (NIV) See, look, and understand the amazing, wondrous love that has been “lavished” on us. Be careful not to take that love for granted. Let us proclaim the Name of the Lord!

My Prayer:
Papa, you are a good, good God; there is no one like you. Your love fills me with hope, peace and joy. To be counted as one of your children humbles me, but also fills me with a sense of belonging, protection and pride. I am Yours and You are mine! Your ways are always just and your works are perfect. Even when I may not understand why things happen in my life, I know I can trust you to work all things out for good. You are perfect in all of your ways and I love You!

Papa, keep me as the apple of your eye!

Psalm 17:8 (NIV)
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 17:8 (MSG)
Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers…
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“Keep me [in Your affectionate care, protect me] as the apple of Your eye; Hide me in the [protective] shadow of Your wings…” -AMPLIFIED

This simple plea of David’s falls in a passage entitled “Prayer for Protection against Oppressors” in the Amplified Version. It is not a long prayer, but it is a prayer of desperation; for David was in dire danger and need.

In the plea for his life David reminds God of a few things:
1.) I call on you, my God, for you will answer me… (vs. 6)
2.) Show me the wonders of your great love…(vs. 7)
3.) God can save by His right hand…(vs. 7)
4.) God is our refuge…(vs. 7)
5.) God is our proctor…(vs. 8)

The phrase that David uses in verse 8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye” shows the affection and love that David knows God has for him. David understands that he is near and dear to the heart of Adonai. In fact, some people render this phrase to mean, “favorite”; so David could be saying, “God, I know I am your favorite”.

Yes, I know God does not show partiality to anyone; He loves us all the same. I once encountered an elderly woman who told everyone she held dear they were her favorite. When asked how could that be she said, she loved them all the same; so they were all her favorites. I don’t know about you, but I want to be one of God’s favorites!

We see God’s tenderness and love displayed in this verse; the arms of the loving Papa protecting His dear child and keeping him safe. Barnes’ Notes explains it like this, “Keep me as the apple of the eye – Preserve me; guard me; defend me, as one defends that which is to him most precious and valuable.” God’s love toward each of His children is amazing and at the same time overwhelming. Augustine noted, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Doesn’t that make you feel extremely special in God’s eyes?

Take some time today to consider the awesome love that God the Father has extended to His children. Understand the fact that you are the apple of the Father’s eye. He loves you so much and wants only the best for you. Realize that He is always watching over you, protecting you and providing for you. Though we may be affected by the sin in this world, God will never allow anything to touch you unless it is part of His greater plan. Let Him fill you to overflowing today with His love.

My Prayer:
Papa, Heavenly Father, it moves me to tears to realize that I am the apple of your eye; your dear child, near and dear to your heart. Sometimes that love is so overwhelming and I cannot fathom the depths of it, but, oh, I am so thankful for it. As David prayed so do I, Keep me as the apple of your eye; protect me in the shadow of your wings. Today, as I go through my day, allow that love to be poured into me more and more. Let me have a double measure outpouring, dear Lord. Fill me to overflowing and allow me to pour that love into others. God, your love is amazing!

No matter what we have done God’s love for us never changes.

Luke 15:20 (NIV)
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20 (MSG)
He got right up and went home to his father. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.
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“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”-AMPLIFIED

This verse is part of the story of the Prodigal Son and it shows us the heart of our Heavenly Father. Most of us know the story; the Father had two sons. The youngest decided he wanted his part of the inheritance before his father died; so of course he asked for it. The father divided his property between his two sons and then his wayward youngest son took his and left shortly thereafter. We find he went to a far country and promptly spent everything he had on wild living and fair-weather friends. After he had spent all he had he ended up taking care of pigs and eating what they ate. Finally he came to his senses and decided to go home, to plead with his father to allow him to work for him; for even his father’s servants were living better than he was.

Most of the story is told from the son’s point of view, but from this one verse we can glean a little of what the father was experiencing. We see that while the son was still a long way off that his father saw him; which shows us that the father had never given up on the return of his son. This father’s love for his son had never swayed one iota! Though the son had been disrespectful, in asking for his inheritance before his father had died, and he had even walked away from the father’s love, still the father’s love for the son was unchanged, strong, consistent and steady.

At the sighting of his son far off we see a few responses that reveal to us what the father’s heart was truly feeling; he saw, his heart was moved to compassion, he ran, threw his arms around that wayward son and he kissed him. The father did not focus on the filthy state that the son was in, he did not focus on the fact that the son had walked away from him, nor did he focus on the fact that the son was returning penniless. He ran out to his boy, threw his arms around him, and smothered him in kisses. That is true love.

Notice, the father did not wait for the son to come and apologize and seek pardon; his love was unconditional. He had been waiting and watching for his dear child to return home; he was not going to waste any time on preliminaries. The Psalmist, David, penned these words that remind us of the love of our Heavenly Father, “For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our sins, sending them away, completely letting them go forever and ever]; And abundant in loving-kindness and overflowing in mercy to all those who call upon You.” -Psalm 86:5 (AMP)

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” -Jerry Bridges

God’s love for his children is just like the love that the father in this story showed for his headstrong, rebellious son. Though the son insisted on having his own way the father’s love for him did not change. God’s love for us too is unconditional and unchanging; no matter what we have done He is always waiting for us to come home to Him.

My Prayer:
Father, your steady, unconditional, constant love that never changes humbles me and makes me desire to do everything in my power to want to please you. I thank you that no matter what I do that your love will never change. That truth fills me with a desire to do my best for you. It also gives me a peace in knowing no matter how badly I blow it there is always forgiveness and you will always be ready to receive me with open arms. Thank you Father for that amazing love!

Perfect love has cast out all fear!

1 John 4:17-18 (NIV)
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:17-18 (MSG)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
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“In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].” -AMPLIFIED

Recently I read a church sign with these words, “Fear is the absence of trust”. Those words started a train of thought in my mind and piqued my interest. Is fear truly the absence of trust?
When do we usually fear? Usually when we are in a position or place where we have no control over the circumstances or the outcome.

The Apostle John tells us, “There is no fear in love.” So what we truly need to establish and believe as fact is that God is love and that He loves us. Throughout Scripture we find reference to God’s love for His created ones. In fact, John made note of this very same strong, personal, forever love earlier in 1 John 4. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 (NIV)

Jesus also spoke of this same love to Nicodemus, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” -John 3:16-18 (MSG)

Love implies attraction, fear aversion; the two are polar opposites to one another. “Love and fear coexist only where love is not yet perfect. Perfect love will absolutely exclude fear as surely as perfect union excludes all separation.”-Pulpit Commentary
Perfect love drives out fear. Perfect love, Agape love, drives out anxiety over punishment, failing or messing up. This kind of love removes all worry that we will let God down if we mess up; for with God’s love we know that we can ask forgiveness and He will forgive us. Our messing up will not affect our standing with Him; He will still love us exactly the same. That is amazing, exhilarating news!

Jesus reminded His followers that He did not want to add stress our difficulties to their lives, but “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] -John 16:33 (AMP)

So, the choice is ours; will we take God at His word and trust His perfect love for us? If so, than we have nothing to fear; rest in that perfect love and peace that He has extended to all of His children and do not fear.

My Prayer:
Father, you have offered your children “PERFECT” love and peace; love that drives out all fear. I do not want to live in a state of fear ever. Help me to trust that You love me beyond anything that I could ever do. Help me to realize that I can never mess up so much that there would be a point of no return. You are a merciful forgiving Father and I will trust you!