Love begins with God…Day 1 of the First comes Love series

SHENENDOAH 1

SHENENDOAH 2

God is love.
1 John 4:8

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19

Until we understand these simple, profound truths we won’t fully know the joy of love in our lives.

We can’t receive love or love others well unless we really know the Author of love.

For to know God for who He truly is, is to truly love God.

Yet how often false impressions of God create barriers between us and Him.

There was a time in my life when I thought of God as a big meanie. Shrouded in black vestments and never smiling, He was all too ready to dole out punishments in the form of multiple Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers.

God surely had some of the dysfunctional and unloving patterns I witnessed at home as my wounded dad turned to drink in an effort to ease his own pain. No warm fuzzies here. And I am not sure he ever understood how deeply he was loved by the Father.

It felt like God was a million miles away.

Up there somewhere, ranting and raving in His anger towards me, belt in hand, and me wanting to run far away and hide.

Yet God’s word speaks truth that set me free.

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 4:18

I was ashamed, too, thinking I didn’t measure up to His standards, unworthy to receive His or anyone’s love.

Wrongly assuming He wanted to restrict my fun with all those bothersome rules and regulations because He just didn’t care about what I needed or wanted.

I felt very alone.

Decades would pass before I realized that God is crazy in love with me.

Just like He is crazy in love with you.

No matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been or even when I declared there was no God as a college freshman. God’s love for me was steadfast, unchanging and forever.

And He used all of it to woo me to Himself because He wants me to share with Him a lifelong love affair that is the grandest adventure I have ever known, His heart soft and warm, oozing love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Deeply and tenderly He cared for all my needs, using the pain and darkness in my life to draw me closer to Him, and in hindsight and with a heart now open, I can see His hand always there.

Him always for me. Him always for you. Always.

He loves me and you in the most intimate way. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and everything else about us.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139: 1-5

And in knowing everything there is to know about us — past, present and future — He loves us still and will never stop.

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 8:38-39

When I was a young woman I couldn’t wait to have babies. I wanted to have children so that I could love and care for them and so that they would love me.

And this is God’s heart for us.

He created us in love so that He could love us as a good Father forever. The desire of God’s heart is that we love Him back. And then that we love others like He does.

Therefore My heart yearns for him;
    I have great compassion for him,”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:20

SHENENDOAH 4

And one of the ways that I have come to fall more deeply in love with the One that loves me best of all is by choosing to forget everything I ever learned in churches along the way or from some of the people in my life, and seek God as if I’ve just heard about Him for the very first time.

The gospel accounts of the life of Christ are where I have turned to learn about our good God and His great love for us.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 1:15

When I think of Jesus I think of His pure, sweet love for all He came in contact with like the woman at the well, and the woman who poured perfume on His feet, the man with the withered hand, the son that ran away wild, the shepherd king who killed his lover’s husband, the hungry multitudes, the terrified disciples tossing about on the sea, the woman who struggled with health issues for years and the ten lepers, the man whose daughter had died.

Love that never leaves us. Not ever.

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

He is compassion, goodness, forgiveness, and I am overwhelmed with such extravagant love.

And then He hung on that tree.

SHENENDOAH 3

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

So I urge you to open your bible to the Gospel of John asking the Holy Spirit to show your heart how much God is love and how much He loves you. More evidence of His great love for us can be found in Little John 1, 2 and 3.

Read the words of His love letter like it’s the first time, beloved, and…

May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

~sheila

Today’s post is part of a 31 day series called First comes Love…

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2 thoughts on “Love begins with God…Day 1 of the First comes Love series

  1. Dear Sheila
    Oh, I understand your fears you had about God. I also used to think He was a cruel god asking us to do things we were unable to do and then sending us straight to hell because we couldn’t! But oh boy, one He overwhelmed me with His endless, glorious love, I realized that I was deceived by the enemy of our souls. He has created us to love Him and ENJOY Him forever.
    Blessings XX
    Mia