Lavished!

 

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During this Christmas week, let’s turn our eyes to the love God lavishes on us. Last week, we looked at the beauty of God’s love as expressed in the Hebrew word, Hesed.  This unique term portrays the Lord’s love for us in such a gracious and powerful way in the Old Testament, yet in the New Testament (which was written in Greek) we see another descriptive word identifying God’s love.

The Greek language has several different words for love: eros which is sensual or passionate love, philia which represents brotherly love, and storge denotes a natural affection. Yet it is the term agape which expresses a strong, altruistic and sacrificial, God-type love.

The apostle Paul elaborated on agape love in his first letter to the Corinthians. Perhaps you are familiar with his description, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” What a beautiful picture of how we are loved by God!

Now we tend to throw the word love around to mean all sorts of frivolous things:

“Oh I love your new outfit!”

“I love cake-mix-flavored frozen yogurt with sprinkles on top.”

“I love the beach.”

“I love this new book!”

What we typically mean is that we really, really, really like something or feel a type of surface-level affection for it. Sometimes we equate love with how we’ve been treated by a parent or a friend or spouse. But God’s love is beyond what we see in human affection. When we examine the definition of love that Paul gave us, we see a love defined beyond this world. We can scarcely comprehend the depth of God’s love. Earthly comparisons of altruistic love leave us lacking in the understanding of the height and breadth of the love of God.

Unfathomable love! John, the disciple who called himself “the beloved one,” wanted Christ’s followers to know how wonderfully loved they are by the Father.  To God’s beloved children (that’s you and me) John wrote:

 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  I John 3:1

 

Lavished! Did you catch that word? Lavished; bestowed profusely. God is not guarded or stingy when it comes to His love for us. His love pours out in generous measure. Stop and drink this truth from John into your heart. Allow it to permeate your being. You are lavishly loved with the sincerest, most powerful love imaginable.

That’s what Christmas is all about, God lavishing His love upon us by sending His only Son Jesus into this world, so that He could offer His life for us. What great love! What an unspeakable gift! Thank you Lord for your agape love for us! We celebrate you this Christmas!

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This blog is an excerpt from Unfailing Love. To learn more about this book and the $5 special this month click here.

Light of the World

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Many years ago when I taught science, I enjoyed teaching my students about the spectrum of light and the rainbow of colors that appear when light is refracted.  Whether it is a rainbow, a sunset, a prism or cut glass, refracted light always reveals the same order of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet (Roy G. Biv). It’s unchangeable and consistent.

Isn’t it interesting how many of the characteristics of light seem to reflect certain attributes of God?  Just as the spectrum of light is unchangeable, so our glorious God is immutable and unchangeable. The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” It’s no wonder that the beloved disciple John uses the metaphor of light to describe God.

 

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

 

Darkness can’t overtake the light, but light drives out or dispels the darkness. Throughout scripture, light refers to holiness, purity and truth, while darkness is compared to evil and sin. God is completely holy and represents absolute purity. There is no sin in Him, not even the smallest portion. Darkness is a place where things are hidden, but when God shines His light in our lives, He not only reveals sin, but He also offers forgiveness through Jesus. He opens our eyes to see things we may have never seen before and guides us down a new path.

 

He lights up our spiritual eyes to see.

 

May we bask in the radiance of His love, as He lights our paths and guides our way through this dark world. This Holy season points us to Jesus – the Light of the World. As we enjoy the lights and splendor of Christmas let us joyfully reflect on the One True Light and turn our hearts toward Him.

 

Praise you Light of the World. Thank you for the warmth of your love and the light of your wisdom. Continue to lead us and guide us along Your path. Shine your light on the dark corners of our lives. Help us to shine your light so that others may know your love.

 

Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer on Unsplash

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A portion of this blog is an excerpt from my book Unfailing Love.