Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The very word ‘love’ activates any environment, sweeps people off their feet, touches hearts, tends to reciprocate, motivates to care for others, generates curiosity to estimate its strength and the list goes on. Let us see what the Bible says about God’s love, to start with.

The Holy Bible says:

a.God’s love never fails. Psalms 136:2 (CEV) says: 'Praise the God of all gods. God's love never fails.'

b.God’s love is great. Ephesians 2:4 (GNB) says: 'But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great,'

c.God’s love is greater than mother’s love. Isaiah 49:15 (GNB): 'So the LORD answers, "Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.'

d.God’s love draws people unto Himself. Jeremiah 31:3 (ASV) says: 'Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.' 

Please read the following incident that illustrates this point:

Several years ago an eastern paper reported this story: One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up, the truck did too. The faster she drove, the faster the truck did. Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase. Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the back seat. The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would-be rapist in the woman's car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the cost of his own safety. Likewise, many people run from God, fearing what he might do to them. But his plans are for good not evil-to rescue us from the hidden sins that endanger our lives. (Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching Editor Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 98.)

In the book of Jonah, we read about the great city called Nineveh whose inhabitants’ sin caught the attention of God that caused Him to declare that in 40 days it would be destroyed. But the ALMIGHTY God took back His words when the people of Nineveh repented of their sins. Yes, His love is immeasurable. And His love is such that He will not force His will on anyone as He respects the self-will of each and every individual, but none can escape the consequence involved.

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us. - C.S. Lewis.


Respond to God's love:

The Lord practically expresses His love directly or through His servants or through His children and it is up to the recipients as to how they respond to His love. In Acts, chapter 9, we read about Saul, who was on his way to prosecute the church with authority from the High Priest when the Lord Himself encountered him. In verse 5 (ESV), we read: 'And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.' The Almighty God revealed Himself to a mere rebel who responded with humble submission.

Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV) says: 'And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.' Here, we are commanded to reciprocate His love for us. Love Him.

In Daniel 3rd chapter, we read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to obey the king to worship an idol though the consequence involved being thrown into a furnace of fire. Such was their love for God that they resolved not to rebel against His Word. Shouldn’t we examine ourselves to see if we have at least a little bit of the love that these men had for God? Sadly, there are many who do not have a real love for God that even caused Jesus to say in John 5:42 (GW): 'But I know what kind of people you are. You don't have any love for God.'

Nehemiah 1:5 (GNB) says: “LORD God of Heaven! You are great, and we stand in fear of you. You faithfully keep your covenant with those who love you and do what you command." Doesn’t this verse clearly say that God will fulfill His promises in our lives provided we love Him?

How to love God?

John 14:15 (CEV) says: "Jesus said to his disciples: If you love me, you will do as I command.' Yes, we love Him if we obey His Word.

Those who love God will not neglect any of the following four basic ways of connecting with Him, on a regular basis:

a. Reading the Bible. Matthew 4:4 (CEV): Jesus answered, "The Scriptures say: 'No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.'

b. Praying to God. Philippians 4:6 (GNB): 'Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.'

c. Fellowshipping with God’s children. Hebrews 10:25 (GW): 'We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.'

d. Witnessing for the Lord. Acts 1:8 (CEV): 'But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world."

Remember, the more one loves God, the more loving that person will turn out to be.

Loving people:

Rom 5:5 GW says:'. . God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.' God’s love can flow through us provided we are connected to God. Those with experience of infilling of the Holy Spirit can have the flow of God’s love to be liberal and sacrificial. 1John 3:19 (CEV) says: 'When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God.' If one has the willingness to love others, God will lead with creative ideas.

"If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do." - D.L. Moody.

Leviticus 19:34 (GW) says: 'Foreigners living among you will be like your own people. Love them as you love yourself, because you were foreigners living in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' Here, we see the Lord reminding the Israelites that they themselves were foreigners in Egypt and so were well-aware of the insecure feeling one has by living in a foreign land. Such people desperately look for security and loving them covers all their concerns. Conscious and determined efforts should be put to express love for people- not doing just so as an obligation. Only those who love God can really love people.

In Acts, chapter 11, we read about the prediction that a famine was coming up shortly through out the whole land through Prophet Agabus in Antioch. The believers responded immediately. They collected offerings to be sent for the poor believers in Judah for use during famine. This shows the willingness and eagerness of the people of Antioch to help the needy. Yes, the Lord reveals the needs of people and enables to help them if we are willing and eager to do so. It is wise to follow the Holy Spirit guidance in matters of giving or in anything for that matter.

"You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving." - Amy Carmichael.

Bible teaches us to give and lend without expecting anything in return (Psalms 37:26). Our giving should not have any selfish intention. Sadly, many help provided they are benefited in some way in return or some mileage is obtained like name and fame. Such people will not even move their little finger if they do not get anything in return. Hence, if a miser blesses you financially or materially, watch out, the actual intention could be something else!

"On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him." - C.S. Lewis.

Effects of love:

Philemon 1:7 (GNB)says: 'Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all of God's people.' The writer says, the love they received brought joy, encouragement and cheer. What a tremendous effect love has on people! Because love has such great potential, it is important to release it in a proper controlled and decent manner.

In Genesis 24:21-22 (GNB), we read: 'The man kept watching her in silence, to see if the LORD had given him success. When she had finished, the man took an expensive gold ring and put it in her nose and put two large gold bracelets on her arms.' Abraham’s servant was sent to find a girl for his master’s son. He made sure it was God’s will (verse 21) before he let loose the flood of love in the direction of Rebecca with costly gifts of gold. Letting loose ‘floods of love’ in the wrong direction (that is, not according to God’s will) reminds me of what Derek Prince has once said in this context in one of his messages: Once a magician called for a flood and forgot the formula to recall it – resulting in heavy destruction. Undoing such destruction is very difficult. Hence, before releasing flood of love in any direction, make sure it is God’s will. Holy Spirit’s guidance with proper discernment is a requisite to let loose love in the right direction in any matter. Only then it leads to fulfillment of God’s will and results in God’s blessings.

Love heals. Some years ago, Dr. Karl Menninger, noted doctor and psychologist, was seeking the cause of many of his patients' ills. One day he called in his clinical staff and proceeded to unfold a plan for developing, in his clinic, an atmosphere of creative love. All patients were to be given large quantities of love; no unloving attitudes were to be displayed in the presence of the patients, and all nurses and doctors were to go about their work in and out of the various rooms with a loving attitude. At the end of six months, the time spent by patients in the institution was cut in half (Sermonillustrations.com).

God’s love leads people in a way that always results in unity, peace and glorification of His name.

What are the hindrances to love?

Matthew 6:24 (ESV) says: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." According to this verse, money-lovers cannot be God-lovers and so cannot be people-lovers too. For example, Paul wrote in 2Timothy 4:10 (GNB): "Demas fell in love with this present world and has deserted me,"

Genesis 37:3 (GNB) says: Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons . . . Jacob’s partiality towards Joseph created a lot of problem in the family. Again, in Genesis 43:34 (GNB), we read: 'Food was served to them from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was served five times as much as the rest of them. . . . .' It must have been a horrible experience for the rest of the brothers to digest the way they were treated – food being served unequally. It is quite clear that Joseph did what he learned from his father – to be partial. But, God hates partiality (Acts 10:34). He loves everyone equally and commands us to do the same.

Blocking the flow of God’s love through His children is an act done deliberately under the influence of idolizing money or material things, not realizing that an opportunity to show love that is lost is usually lost forever. These kinds of evil attitudes originate from the devil. Self-exalters and jealous people find it very hard to love those in limelight. Those whose hearts are immersed in the world, will not have the spiritual sense to think about the concerns of others.

Consider the following story:

A very wealthy man was asked to make a donation to the church building fund. The case was made very compellingly, the situation explained, and an appeal was made for his assistance. The man listened to the appeal and said, "Look, I completely understand why you think I can give a hundred thousand dollars to the building fund. I have my own business and, as you've probably noticed, I have all the signs of wealth. But there are some important factors you aren't aware of. For instance, did you know that my mother is in an expensive nursing home?" "Well, no, we didn't know that," replied the churchmen. "Also, did you know that my brother died, and left behind a family of five, and that he had absolutely no insurance?" "No, we didn't know that either." "And did you know that my son is a deeply committed Christian, is working with the poor, and earns less than the national poverty level to support his family?" "No, we didn't." "Well, then, if I don't give any of them a cent, what makes you think I'd give anything to you?" (hotsermons.com). 

Charity begins at home:

1Timothy 5:4 (GW) says: 'The children or grandchildren of a widow must first learn to respect their own family by repaying their parents. This is pleasing in God's sight.' Isn’t it clear from the above verse, that there is an order in which love should be shown – from family to beyond? Those who cannot love their family members cannot really love others. Again, there are those who are concerned only about themselves and their families. What would such people say when asked about their concern for others in the light of the verse: “love your neighbor” at the judgment?

"Charity begins at home but it should not stop there," so goes a saying.

Choose to love:

In the book of Ruth, chapter 1, we read about Naomi telling both her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, the hopeless future that awaits them if they were to accompany her back to Bethlehem. Orpah went back to her people not caring about Naomi’s welfare and we read about her no more. But Ruth took a step of faith in caring for Naomi by resolving not to leave her alone and so was eventually blessed. Those who choose to love will not lack love. Ruth experienced this as she later found genuine love in Boaz.

No separation from His love:

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) says: 'For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.' As nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing should hold us back from loving people.

Ephesians 1:15 (CEV) says: 'I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people.' Paul writes the same verse in Colossians 1:4 & again in Philippians 1:5. Check the word all’ occurs in all the three verses. Sadly, there are those who consider members of their fellowship as brothers but treat those belonging to other fellowships almost as enemies. What answer can such people give in the context of 1Corinthians 13:1-3 (CEV) where it says: 'What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others?

Please read the following illustration:

Two men met on a plane and one man asked the other, "Are you a Christian?" "Yes I am." "Wonderful! Are you Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox?" "I’m a Protestant." "That’s great. So am I. Are you Calvinist or Arminian in your theology?" "I’m happy to say that I’m a staunch Calvinist." "That’s fantastic. So am I. If you don’t mind my asking, are you a Calvinistic Baptist or a Calvinistic Presbyterian?" "I’m a Calvinistic Baptist." "What a coincidence. I’m a Calvinistic Baptist, too. Are you a Northern Calvinistic Baptist or a Southern Calvinistic Baptist?" "By heritage and by choice I am a Northern Calvinistic Baptist." "Unbelievable! So am I. May I ask if you are a Northern Regular Calvinistic Baptist or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist?" "I’m a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist." "This is truly astounding. There are only 200 of us in the world—and two of us happened to meet on this plane. Tell me, sir, would you happen to be a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1868?" "I am a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844." "This is a miracle! Are you a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 King James Version or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 New International Version?" "I am a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist of 1844 New International Version." With that the first man ceased to smile, turned away and refused to speak any further to that ‘heretic’ (Sermoncentral.com).

Finally, let us close with 2Thessolonians 3:5 (CEV) that says: I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.