This is an Old Testament term meaning an oath-bound commitment expressing freely given love. The closest English term for this is devotion. In the Old Testament, it is almost exclusively used for God’s sovereign devotion to His own people. In our modern times, I suppose you would think of a parent’s love for their children as an expression of devotion.Related image

Although, many people today seem to think that God doesn’t care about us when, in fact, He cares very deeply for us! We may not perceive it as clearly and openly as we do with each other, but His love for us is much deeper than we can understand or comprehend today.

God provides for us, collectively and individually, everything that we need. Yet, we worry about things which usually means we are worried about something which we rarely have control of anyway. His love and His presence are available all of the time because He never leaves us, but if we don’t practice our prayer life and being aware of Him we will feel as though He isn’t there.

In your daily life, you can see the evidence of Him all around you. In the clouds and the trees and the wildlife which you see during the day and in the sky with its stars at night! He is present in your child’s laugh and in a baby’s cry. God is in and around you whether you actually believe in Him or not, but He wants you to know Him and He wants to know you better too.

Whenever you feel His Presence, answer His call in your life and in your heart. Why? Because He is devoted to your life and your well being, no matter what you may be going through…even if it is stage 4 cancer or a horrible accident. He is there to give you strength and healing if that is His will for your life. Sometimes He may use your death for a purpose which you don’t know about yet, but if you belong to Him then you will see the outcome when you are with Him. Every good thing in life comes from Him, every bad thing is allowed to happen because there is something good which will come from it.

Just as the time when Jesus delayed coming to Lazarus‘ side when he was ill, there was glory and honor to be given to God the Father because of his death. If Jesus had come before he died, He could’ve healed him of his illness, but a greater glory was shown because Jesus called him from the grave after four days.

John 11: 41-44 KJV

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go.

Faith of a child

Children are special not only to their parents but to God as well. Why is that? Because their faith is unwavering and true and hasn’t been corrupted by adult ideas and teachings from school and living life itself. They look at life around them in absolutes, black and white, there is no gray area when a child sees the world! Children don’t bring their own baggage into their beliefs because they haven’t lived long enough to have “baggage”.

A child can be told that a prayer can heal someone of a sickness or disease and if they are young enough, they will pray with more faith than the most aged saint can muster.Why is that? Because they believe with their whole hearts and minds, and they don’t doubt the Word of God.

So, why do we doubt God’s Word? He cannot lie and His Word is True, so what’s the problem? Mostly it is our own individual ideas about Who He is and what He will or can do in our mind. We limit Him and put limits upon Him with our own ideas about Who He is.  In fact we are creating a “god” which fits our definition and we aren’t truly believing His Word about Himself!

Children don’t have that hangup until they are taught how to do it by us. Whether it is something they hear in school or Bible school or at home, we are the ones responsible for killing that young, powerful faith in their Creator.

I would love to tell you how to get that kind of faith back, but it is hard for me to dredge up the kind of faith that a child can have with no worries at all. Growing up and learning about the world and going through our “education system” seems to put a blanket over that faith which eventually smothers it or at least dims the light of it so that it is almost useless until we are tested and made to exercise it.

Seek Him out in His Word and ask Him to show you how to exercise your faith so that it can be stronger and useful to you and to Him. God loves us and all that we have to do is seek Him out and learn to love Him in return.

Themes in the Bible

What is the theme which is carried all through the Bible? One of them is the blood. From the time that God had to shed the blood of two animals in order to create garments for Adam and Eve, through Abraham’s time where God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac, blood was always being shed in some form or another. Later, in Egypt, a lamb was sacrificed in order to anoint the door posts with its blood so that the angel of death would pass over the house of each Israelite. The covenant of circumcision also required the shedding of blood and then later, when Jesus was convicted of doing nothing more than telling the people how they could know God and come into His Presence, His blood was shed during the scourging and then on the cross itself.

In many ways, people in the world today reject our beliefs because they call it “a bloody religion”. What about all the children and parents and grandparents that have been killed by the “religion of peace” in our time? What about the blood that they have spilled? I would call that a bloody religion too, wouldn’t you? It is true that blood has been shed all through the Bible, but what about other themes and requirements?

The most prevalent one that comes to mind that I have seen from the beginning to the end of God’s Word is obedience. All that God ever asked and required of those that He called His was obedience, to His laws and to Him. Starting in the Garden and in every book from that point on, He asked certain people to do as He asked them to. Sometimes, they obeyed but many times they did not. Even before the Israelites had a king over them, as soon as they were delivered from bondage or trouble they would revert back to worshiping other gods and refusing to obey their God.

Even Moses, during the exodus from Egypt, disobeyed God by striking the rock when God had told him to speak to it for water. True, the first time God had said to strike the rock and Moses did, but the second time he was supposed to speak to it and his anger caused him to strike the rock instead. Then, when Israel asked for a king, God gave them one but the first one didn’t obey God like he should have so his kingdom was taken from him. David did as God told him to do, but even he disobeyed God in some things but at least he repented of his sins and asked for forgiveness.

After David’s reign, Solomon did follow God and did as God instructed him for a while, but his wives led him astray to worship other gods in his old age. After his reign, very few of the kings which followed would worship God or do as the prophets told them to do. Many of them desecrated the Temple with strange gods and killed the prophets. Why would God be merciful to a people, even those of us over the whole Earth, when most of us have refused to obey Him and His laws or even to follow His Son?
The next theme which flows all the way through the Bible, from the beginning to the end, is His love for us. He, the Creator of all things, LOVES us! Even when we don’t like or even believe in Him!!

God loves us today, each one of us, enough that He sent Jesus to die so that we could have a relationship with Him. He wants that. He doesn’t need it. God has never needed us, nor does He need the angels in heaven, but He wants a relationship with His Creation, all of Creation. That is why Lucifer rebelled against Him, because he didn’t want the relationship from that point, he wanted to be on the receiving end of the adoration and the love but he didn’t want to give it to Creation or the Creator.

In many ways, we are rebelling today because we want to get the love but we don’t want to be required to give it. You know what? You aren’t required to love God at all!! But, when you realize what He really did for you so that you have the choice and the ability to love and be loved by the Creator, then you actually do want to! If you can’t make that leap into God’s lap as you would into your dad’s or your mom’s lap, then you will miss out on it. You will miss out on the true, loving, whole relationship with God, the Trinity of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a feeling which cannot be described to anyone who hasn’t felt it.

The closest way to describe it from me to you would be how a mother or a father feels when they hold their first child for the very first time. If you can imagine being the recipient of that love and then multiply it thousands of times to the point of it overwhelming you….that is what it has felt like to me at times. It is a feeling which can’t be described because the actual feeling is beyond description. Similar to the problem of telling someone what the color blue is or maybe the color purple. If they have never seen it, you just can’t tell them about it at all.

Until you can get into the Word of God and come close enough to Him that you can feel His Presence, then I can’t describe it at all. Then, consider that the river of Life runs through Heaven and it is like liquid joy!

You know, I started this sermon off talking about the blood, then I spoke about obedience, then lastly there is Love, and just as first Corinthians says that “the greatest of these is LOVE”. It really is True! Love is the reason for all of this, your life and mine as well as for Jesus coming and dying on the cross and being resurrected. God’s Love for us! The least that we could do would be to give back some of that Love to Him in the form of our life and our love because He loved us first, isn’t that a wonderful way to look at Easter?

The Love of God in your life!

Do you believe that God loves you? Have you felt it in your life this week or this year? Has someone from a Christian church ever showed the love of God to you or to someone that you know? Is there a church nearby that teaches from the Bible as God’s Word in truth and in love? All of these questions are things that shouldn’t be needed in our society, the commandment which was given by Jesus was that we should “love our neighbor as ourselves” along with loving God! The problem with this idea is that you can’t love God or anyone else until you decide to love yourself!

I am not speaking of selfish love, believing that everything and everyone should love you and revolve around you, but about caring about yourself and your soul in the way that Christ does. You also need to care about others too, especially those who may be less fortunate than you are. Those who are homeless or without a job for one reason or another (not just because they don’t want to work) or even someone who is elderly need to feel the love of God through us. Something that you can do or your church can do would be a great demonstration of God’s love. It doesn’t have to be much, just a meal that you take to someone or even helping them to get their groceries by taking them to the store.

In this world that we live in, little things mean a lot to someone who is in need. The need may not be financial, they just may need to have someone to visit them a couple of times a week. Many elderly people rarely see friends or family unless it is on a holiday or at church. Some have trouble driving and have a hard time getting someone to help them get to the doctor or the grocery store. These are just ideas, and they are small things that we can do but they mean a lot. So, how can you feel the love of God in your life?

If you are not a Christian, then you truly need to know the love of God. So, I ask you have you given your life to Christ? Do you believe in God and His Son, Jesus? There are many people in the world today that don’t claim to have a belief in Jesus or in religion in general. How can I show you the love of Christ? I know that He loved those of us in this world before we were born because He said so in His Word and He doesn’t lie.

The love of God is eternal for His Creation, all of it which includes each one of you. Satan cannot love anyone except himself, he doesn’t reward anyone with anything except the same punishment that he will receive for eternity. God cannot be different and He doesn’t change, we are the ones who change, we are the ones who move in the relationship and it is usually away from the One that we should cling to! The problems in our world today are the result of rebellion.

Rebellion against God, rebellion against the laws of God, rebellion against the wisdom of God, these are the reasons for the problems in our world today. If we spent our lives trying to be like Jonah, then sooner or later you will find that escape from God and running away from Him does not work. Why? Because God knows where you are, even if you don’t! He can see you regardless of the darkness that you try to hide in, especially if He has plans for you to accomplish! Like Jonah, He will make certain that sooner or later you will accomplish His purpose in your life and for Him!