Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love, even truth and faithfulness are they for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
Psalm 25: 10
“Lord, when my eye confronts my heart, and I realize that you have filled my heart with Your love, I am breathless with amazement. Once my heart was so small in its vision, so narrow in its compassion, so weak in its zeal for truth. Then You chose to enter my heart; and now in my heart I can see You, I can love all Your people, and I have courage to proclaim the truth of Your gospel to anyone and everyone. Like wax before a fire, my heart has melted under the heat of Your love.”
Count Von Zinzendorg
Zinzendorg left his court position in Germany to become a spiritual leader with the Moravians. The Moravians launched the modern Protestant missions movement.
Today’s Study Text:
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He even gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in and trusts and clings to Him, shall not perish, be lost – but have eternal, everlasting life.”
John 3: 16
“Lest I Forget” – Part 5
“Lest I Forget Thy Love For Me”
“Tell me the old, old story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love.”
- Catherine Hankey
How has God’s love, in sending His only Son to earth to rescue me, changed my life?
In what places in my life do I find that Christ’s love has healed what was broken?
“Consider the mysteries of love, and you will then have a vision of the bosom of the Father, whom the only-begotten Son alone has declared. God Himself is love, and for the sake of this love He has made Himself known.”
Clement of Alexandria
“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
“Lest I Forget Thy Love For Me”
He was the fair-haired boy, studious and aggressive, the Jewish leadership had their eyes on this young man. With a ferocity borne out of misplaced religious legalism, the young Saul found himself working his way up the ladder to success.
We first meet the young Saul when the devoted follower of Jesus, Stephen, a man described as “full of grace, blessing and power who worked great wonders and miracles among the people,” (Acts 6: 8, Amplified Bible), was hauled before a varied group of rulers in the synagogue to defend his faith in Jesus Christ. I absolutely love what the Bible tells us about Stephen as he testified about his Savior. Dr. Luke, who Biblical scholars say was the author of the book of Acts, describes the scene at Stephen’s “testimony service” with these descriptive words: “Then all who sat in the council (Sanhedrin), as they gazed intently at Stephen, saw that his face had the appearance of the face of an angel” (Acts 6: 15, Amplified Bible). What an image to leave imprinted upon the minds of those who were listening to this soldier of the cross. And not the least in the audience was the up-and-coming young leader, Saul. Here’s what the Biblical record tells us about Saul’s participation in the events surrounding Stephen’s martyrdom:
“And Saul was not only consenting to Stephens’ death, he was pleased and entirely approving. On that day a great and severe persecution broke out against the church which was in Jerusalem…a party of devout men with others helped to carry out and bury Stephen and made great lamentations over him. But Saul shamefully treated and laid waste the church continuously, with cruelty and violence; and entering house after house, he dragged out men and women and committed then to prison.”
Acts 8: 1-3
As I read this graphic description of the torment Saul perpetrated upon Christ’s followers, my thoughts took me to these words:
1. “But God shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were yet sinners, Christ the Messiah, the Anointed One, died for us.”
Romans 5: 8
2. “May Christ through your faith actually dwell, make His permanent home in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love…That you may really come to know through experience for yourselves the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God and become wholly flooded with God Himself.”
Ephesians 3: 17-19
3. “We were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate and disobedient, deluded and misled; we too were slaves to all sorts of cravings and pleasures, wasting our days in malice and jealousy and envy, hateful, detestable and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by the cleansing both of the new birth and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out so richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
Titus 3: 3-6
These passages of Scripture, weave a gold-filled tapestry of love. And the words penned to the Christians in Rome and Ephesus, as well as to a personal note to a friend, Titus, are a heavenly reflection of the central characteristic which infuses our Father’s being – He is love. It was this love which transformed Saul the persecutor into Paul the pastor. It was God’s love that came to this earth in the presence of His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the tyrant Saul into the passionate Paul – on fire for Christ. But Saul wasn’t the only beneficiary of God’s love. You and I are, too! Praise God!
Author William Countryman in his book, The Truth About Love gives us this tremendous insight to God’s love for everyone of us, “God’s love is not conditional on anything. It is expressed in forgiveness. You can ignore or oppose God, if you really want to. It will probably do you no good, but it won’t deprive you of God’s love, either. God’s love has already taken any possible wrong or error or failure on your part into account. You are loved anyway. You have been all along. You will be all along.” As the Apostle John wrote, “This is what love consists of, not that we have loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so very much, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4: 10, 11, Amplified Bible).
As I was preparing this particular devotional entitled – “Lest I Forget Thy Love for Me” – I came upon a story written by the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I just love the way he relates this personal experience which not only touched his own heart, it also affected his preaching. Here’s how he tells about exactly what happened:
“I said to the officers of the church, ‘There is a man coming from England and he wants to preach. I am going to be absent on Thursday and Friday. If you will let him preach on those days, I will be back on Saturday and take him off your hands.’ They did not care about him preaching, being a stranger; but at my request they let him preach.
On my return on Saturday I was anxious to hear how the people liked him, and I asked my wife how the young Englishman got along. She said, ‘They like him very much. He preaches a little different from what you do. He tells people God loved them. I think you will like him.’ I said she was wrong. I thought I could not like a man who preached contrary to what I was preaching. I went down Saturday night to hear him, but I had made up my mind not to like him. He took his text and I saw everybody had brought their Bibles with them. ‘Now’ he says, ‘if you will turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse, you will find my text.’
He preached a wonderful sermon from that text. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ My wife had told me he had preached the two previous sermons from that text, and I noticed there was a smile over the church when he took the same text instead of preaching that God was behind them with a double-edged sword to hew them down, he told them God wanted every sinner to be saved, and he love them. I could not keep back the tears. I didn’t know God thought so much of me. He went from Genesis to Revelation, and preached that in all ages God loved the sinner!”
My personal prayer today is, “Dear Lord, never let me forget how much you love me!”
As Julian of Norwich so eloquently expressed: “In His love God clothes us, enfolds and embraces us; that tender love completely surrounds us, never to leave us.” All I can say is, “Thank You Lord for Your love.”
There is an old hymn, written on the evening of June 6, 1882 by Scottish pastor and author George Matheson who suffered poor eyesight from birth. At the age of 15, he learned he would be permanently blind. This challenge did not deter George. Instead of giving up, he enrolled in the University of Glasgow and at 19 he graduated. He pursued studies in Theology even learning Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Because of the help of his three sisters, George was able to graduate and take up full-time church ministry. In looking back on his motivation in writing the treasured song, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go,” George Matheson stated that “On June 6, 1882, I was alone. It was the day of my sister’s marriage…Something had happened to me which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering…I had the impression of having (this hymn) dictated to me by some inward voice…I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in 5 minutes.”
While George Matheson didn’t tell anyone at the time what his severe heartache was, it later was made known that his fiancée had broken her engagement to him, letting him know that going through her life with a blind man wasn’t possible. And thus he wrote of his great longing, as we all have, to find a love that was so strong it would never let us go.
“O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow,
May richer, fuller be.
O cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be.”
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
“How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast of anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.”
Stuart Christopher Townsend
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and committed my faithfulness to you.”
Jeremiah 31: 3
“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” by Fernando Ortega
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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