Sunday, May 15, 2016
God's Word, The Bible, is a Love Letter to YOU!
God’s Love Letter to You!
I love you! (John 3:16) I created you in my image (Genesis 1:27) and I called you “very good” (Genesis 1:31). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I know the number of the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30) and I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). My precious thoughts of you are as countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18).
I am Love (1 John 4:16) and the greatest commandment that I have for you is that you love (Matthew 22:37-40). My love is made complete in you when you receive my love, love me, and love others (1 John 4:7-21). To show you how to live this life of love I’ve given you Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), laws that honor me and are good and pleasing to you (Psalm 119).
But you were born in sin, separated from my love, (Psalm 51:5) and though you’ve tried to be good you’ve missed the mark of my holiness (1 John 1:8). You’ve hurt others and you’ve hurt yourself (Romans 2:9). Most of all, your sins are against me (Psalm 51:4). You’ve hurt me (Luke 19:41) and angered me (Romans 2:8). I am the Lord (Exodus 6:2), the King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15), and the Righteous Judge (1 Peter 4:5) and it is a terrible thing to come under my judgment (Hebrews 10:31).
So to fear me is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). But you don’t need to remain afraid of me; if you rely on me then my perfect love will remove all of your fear (1 John 4:18). I am a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).
Now, in the person of Jesus Christ, I knock on the door of your heart, waiting for you to let me in (Revelation 3:20). Open the door and I will forgive your sins (Acts 10:43) and choose not to remember them anymore (Isaiah 43:25). I will teach you how to live your daily life with me in the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 4:17). I will adopt you into my family (Ephesians 1:5) and lavish on you my fatherly love (1John 3:1). Then you will marvel that I chose you to be my child (Ephesians 1:11-12) and I drew you to myself (John 6:44).
You see I’ve loved you from the beginning, long before you loved me (1 John 4:19). I sent my son Jesus, the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3), to die on the cross in your place (Romans 5:8), to take upon Himself the punishment that you deserved (Isaiah 53:5), and to take away your sin (John 1:29). For you the mighty Lion sacrificed his life as an innocent Lamb (Revelation 5:5-6). So you can see that in Jesus I, your Lord and Master, have come to serve you! (John 13:13-14)
When you are “born again” by my Holy Spirit (John 3:3) then you become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), a new self (Ephesians 4:24), and a new life (Romans 6:4). You have my precious righteousness as a gift (Romans 5:19). Your body becomes a temple for my Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and you become a saint (Ephesians 1:18).
Indeed, I will make your righteousness to shine like the dawn (Psalm 37:6). You will be a crown of glory in my hand (Isaiah 62:3), reflecting my likeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 4:18). I am faithful to help you to be holy (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and to complete the good work I’ve started in you (Philippians 1:6).
So stand firm in my grace (Galatians 5:1) and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). When you are tempted to sin, look for the way out that I provide (1 Corinthians 10:13). Resist the devil and submit to me (James 4:7); turn away from sin and toward the good that I provide (Romans 12:21). And when you fail remember that I am waiting for you with open arms, quick to forgive you and to give you another chance (Luke 15:11-31). Satan will accuse you, but call out to Jesus and I will defend you and enable you to overcome him (Revelation 12:10-11). I will rescue your true self from sin (Romans 7:14-25) and condemnation (Romans 8:1).
Remember that the pleasures of sin are fleeting (Hebrews 11:25) and if you find your delight in me instead then you will see that I give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4) – eternal pleasures even! (Psalm 16:11) – and I do far more for you than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever you need, look to me and I will provide it (Philippians 4:19). I will give you love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of my Spirit to fill your soul and for you to share with others (Galatians 5:22-23).
Since I care so much for you don’t worry about getting your needs met and don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34). Just as I look after the little sparrow so will I look after you (Matthew 10:26-31). So give your burdens to me and let me give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Talk to me when you’re anxious and let me put you at peace (Philippians 4:6).
No matter what happens your soul will be safe in my hands (John 10:28). Like a mother bird I’ll cover you with my feathers in my nest (Psalm 91:1-4). When rivers of difficulty roar you will not be swept away. When fiery trials blaze you will not be burned (Isaiah 43:2). When war breaks out I will be your fortress, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). Even when you face death I will take you by the hand and lead you on the joyful path to eternal life (Psalm 16:9-11).
So don’t be afraid when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death because I am your Good Shepherd and I will be with you, comforting you and protecting you on your journey (Psalm 23), and I will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
When enemies come against you I will fight for you (Psalm 44:7). Even when you do what is right people will insult you, criticize you, and mistreat you, but I will bless you (Matthew 5:11). Even when you trust your father and mother they may forsake you, but I will receive you (Psalm 27:10). So if you find yourself poor remember that I’ve blessed you with true riches (Luke 6:20). And if you find yourself last in line remember that with me those who are last will be first! (Matthew 20:16). Yes, I will raise you up and exalt you when you are humble before me (Matthew 23:12).
When you are brokenhearted I will draw close to you (Psalm 34:18) and cry with you (John 11:35). I’ll collect all your tears in my bottle and record each one in my book (Psalm 56:8). Like a shepherd holding his lamb, I’ll carry you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11). I’ll comfort you in your time of sadness (Matthew 5:4), turning your mourning into gladness (Jeremiah 31:13) and your weakness into strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I will put a happy new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:3) and give you a beautiful new name (Isaiah 62:2).
Even the difficulty and pain you experience can be to your benefit if you endure these hardships as loving discipline from me, opportunities for you to be trained in the ways of righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12: 6-11). Always remember that when you love me and seek my purposes that all things will work together for your good (Romans 8:28).
I am for you and not against you! (Romans 8:31) If I have been misrepresented to you by religious people who claim to know me but don’t, (John 8:41-44) then know that I am against those hypocrites (Matthew 23). And if your earthly father has not shown you my fatherly love, then please realize that I offer you more than he ever could (Matthew 7:9-11). I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48), the Father from whom all true fatherhood derives its name (Ephesians 3:15), and I love to give you good gifts (Matthew 7:11).
With me on your side your future is bright and full of hope! My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11), to give you abundant life (John 10:10) now and forever (John 3:36). So call to me and I will answer you (Jeremiah 33:3); listen and you will hear my voice directing you (Isaiah 30:21); tune into your heart and you will sense my instructions (Psalm 16:7). My Holy Spirit will be your Counselor (John 14:15,26; 16:7). So don’t walk alone; walk in my Spirit (Galatians 5:25), trust in me and I will direct your path (Proverbs 3:4-5) and bless you wonderfully (Ephesians 1:3).
I have gifted you to serve me in my kingdom (Matthew 25:14-23) and I want to make you great! (Psalm 18:35). So discover your gift and use it in the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8). I have important work for you to do, work that I will help you to accomplish by working alongside you (Haggai 2:4). Together we can accomplish great dreams (Mark 10:27) and move mountains! (Matthew 17:20).
You are the light of the world so shine my light to those who are lost (Matthew 5:14). Show your love for me by loving those who are in need (1 John 3:17-18). You serve me when you feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, clothe the poor, care for the sick, and visit those in prison (Matthew 25:34-40). And always be prepared to talk to the hopeless in a respectful way about the good news of my grace demonstrated in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Do these things for people from every nation and every language, training them to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus wants to embrace you!
But you’re not just my servant: you’re my friend! (John 15:15) More than that you’re my beloved child! (1 John 3:1) You’re precious and honored in my sight (Isaiah 43:4) and I rejoice over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17).
I delight in you like a bridegroom for his bride (Isaiah 62:5). I will always love you! (Jeremiah 31:3) and nothing can ever change that! (Romans 8:38-39).
One day soon in Jesus I will return to bring you and all my followers to the heavenly home that I have prepared for you (John 14:2). I will wipe away your tears and take away your pain forever (Revelation 21:3-4) and I will reward you for all the good that you’ve done in my name (Revelation 22:12). Heaven will be more beautiful and wonderful than you can imagine (Revelation 21:10-27). There we will sing to God with angels (Revelation 7:9-17), feast at banquets (Matthew 22:14), and rule over cities (Luke 19:11-26).
P.S. If it’s hard for you to trust my words and to receive my love in your heart then I urge you to work through this with one of my ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and to get involved in a caring community in the body of Christ where you can grow into my love (Romans 12:5).