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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MIRACULOUS, AMAZING LOVE

"How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be:  How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me!"

This hymn, I Stand Amazed, was written many years ago and is based on a verse in Ephesians 2:4., "...because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ..."

These old hymns often come to my mind; their words have a way of bringing life to Scripture in a very simple, concise way. Most hymns are written from a specific Bible verse, or passage. Yes I know, today we have 'praise songs' rather than hymns. There may be a lot of exuberant yelling, even screaming, drums and electric guitars, but if you can get past that, you'll see that most of the time, the words come straight from Scripture. The angels sing in heaven, and believers will sing with them!

'Love' is hard to define. There are many kinds of love. I love pizza and chocolate cake, but that is different than the love I have for my family or my little dog. I love to read God's Word, babies, kittens and puppies, a warm sunny day, watching vigorous waves hit the sandy shore, a sunset, green hills and spring flowers everywhere. I bet you can make a long list of things you love.

For me, the most miraculous, amazing love is God's love for me. I've spent sixteen years volunteering in our local jail, sharing the Lord with inmates, and now helping inmate veterans learn how to express themselves and explore their feelings by writing their stories. I hope I'm able to teach them, but mostly I go there to love them. There are some, many actually, who don't have anyone who loves them. I cherish the look on their faces when I share the gospel and they begin to understand they have a Savior, can be forgiven and God's love will never forsake them.

The gospel is really quite simple. You'll find it in I Corinthians 15, verses 1-3, which says, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and he appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred..."

We know that Jesus was dead on the cross. Psalm 22 prophesied what would happen as many other Old Testament passages do. This is the meaning of the words, "according to the Scriptures";  prophesy, a foretelling of future events. We know that the Bible tells us that Jesus held out his hands so Peter could see the holes made by the nails that held Him to the cross. We know that over five hundred people saw the living Christ. We believe the gospel by faith, but we also have many hard facts to rely on.

This fact, that we have a living Savior waiting for us to join Him in heaven, is key to our faith. This is what  makes the Christian faith unique. Mohammed is not living, he died and was not resurrected. Buddha is not living, he died and was not resurrected. All the various Indian guru's died and were not resurrected. The Jewish faith, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is divine, God in the flesh. These faiths are counting on their own good works for eternal life. John 6:28 asks the one question we need to have the right answer for, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

There is a reason why Jesus Christ did not die and stay dead, Jesus is God. God doesn't die, not ever. Jesus has always been, He was with God in the beginning - John 1. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one", John 10:30. The one 'work' we are to do in order to have eternal life is stated so clearly in John 6:29 "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." When you see words that say we are to do "God's will", know this, believing in Jesus is His will.

Truly it is a miracle of Godly love that Jesus "left the splendor of heaven knowing his destiny was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there  to lie down His life for me. If that isn't love the ocean is dry, there's no star in the sky and the sparrow can't fly! If that isn't love then heaven's a myth, there's no feeling like this, if that isn't love." These words are from a hymn by Dottie Rambo based on Hebrews 9:28.

We succumb to many things - we may eat too much, drink too much, have sex with people we're not married too, harbor bad feelings, spend too much money...I'm sure you can add to this list so common to our human existence. Life isn't always pretty. When you succumb to the love of Jesus, you'll look at life through the lens of faith and hope and you will feel so secure that whatever mess you need to deal with will drown in God's love for you.

Thank you for loving us Lord; a love so pure, true and faithful that we can barely grasp its meaning.