February 14, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Mary Southerland, Director of Development for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Author, Speaker
"Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross." Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT)
I love the story of a man who came home from work, picked up the paper and settled into his favorite chair for a few precious and well-deserved moments of solitude after a long day at work. He had just begun to relax when his son burst through the front door. Spotting his dad, the little boy raced across the room, flung himself against his father's knees and said, "Daddy, I love you!" The father gave him a pat on the head and said rather absentmindedly, "Yes, Son, I love you, too!" Picking up his paper, the father continued reading - but the boy was not satisfied. He leaned a little further into the newspaper barricade and said, "But Daddy, I really, really love you." The man took a deep breath, put the paper down and hugging the boy said, "Yes, Son. I love you just as much!" Again, he picked the paper up and resumed reading. Finally, the little boy could not stand it any longer! He jumped up on his father's lap, crushing the newspaper and any thoughts of relaxation the dad might have had. "Son, what is it that you want?" the father tiredly asked. In response, the boy threw his arms around his dad and gave him a big squeeze, explaining, "I love you so much, Daddy and I've just got to do something about it!"
That is exactly what God said to Jesus. "Son, I love them so much that I have to do something about it!" Then He sent His one and only perfect Son to earth where He would live and die for you and for me. God's love is an unconditional love - a love with no strings attached - a love worth celebrating!
In the Bible, we find the story of a sinful woman, a prostitute who had spent her entire life seeking a love with no strings attached. Then Jesus came to town and into her life, and everything changed. When Simon, one of the local Pharisees, invited Jesus to his home for dinner, the sinful woman walked through her shame and fear, and went to meet Jesus. Everyone at the party, including Simon, knew who she was. Simon would never have allowed this kind of woman to enter his home, but when a Rabbi was invited to someone's house, others could stop by and listen to the conversation. She came, knowing that everyone at the party would recognize and judge her, but her desire to meet Jesus was greater than her pride.
Emptiness and sin eating away at her soul, this woman was tired of being used, unwanted and unloved. She came, and Jesus met her there, love and forgiveness in His hands. As the love of Jesus enveloped her very soul, she fell at His feet, weeping tears of worship and praise. Her natural response was to love Him so much that she had to do something about it! In her hands was her most precious possession, a bottle of very expensive perfume she used in her "business". This woman was not wealthy by any means and worked the streets, selling her body in order to live. She could have put a small amount on the feet of Jesus and it would have been a great financial sacrifice. But she brought it all and gave it all! She came, totally abandoning herself and all she had to Jesus. His response was to love her, unconditionally and completely.
Like this sinful woman, we are spiritually bankrupt, looking for love in all the wrong places. Jesus came, spelling Himself out in a language you and I can understand - a message of love. There is no condemnation with Him, friend. He adores you just as you are. He wants to spend time with you, laugh with you, dry your tears and fill your heart with new dreams. Today, no matter where you are or where you have been, He stands waiting for you. Come to Him. No matter how ugly the sin or how great the failure, He loves you. Come to His love. Celebrate Jesus!
My prayer for today:
Father, I recognize your unconditional love for me. I do not understand it or deserve it but I know that it is available to me. Thank you for loving me! Today, I accept and celebrate your love, coming to you just as I am. Please forgive my sin and cleanse my heart and soul. I surrender to you, your love and your plan for my life. Amen.
Right now - celebrate God's unconditional love. Read and memorize Romans 8:38-39.
Right now - celebrate your spiritual bankruptcy. Read and memorize Romans 3:23.
Right now - celebrate God's payment for your sin. Read and memorize John 3:16.
Right now - celebrate and walk, by faith, in His unconditional love and forgiveness! Read and memorize Romans 5:5.
Do I truly believe that God's love is available to me? Why or why not?
What is keeping me from Jesus?
What first step do I need to take in order to know Him and His love?
Am I willing to take that step?
"For 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 (NIV)
"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love continues forever." Psalm 136: 26 (NCV)
"God, your love is so precious! You protect people as a bird protects her young under her wings." Psalm 36:7 (ICB)
New! Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Speaker Team
How to Improve Your Love Life (tape set) by Mary Southerland
The Journey of a Woman's Heart (tape set) by Renee Swope