Monday, December 20, 2010

Ultimate Love

She had big brown eyes, eyelashes that seemed to go on forever, curly brown hair, and a smile that would melt your heart. As I watched her, she smiled at me and her eyes shone bright and innocent. She had never met me before, but she reached out to me as if I were her favourite aunt. What a treasure! Her name in her native language means "gold"...aptly named, she is a treasure. My heart and mind spun in prayers for her and for her family...for them to know Jesus and receive Him as their personal Lord and Saviour. Weeks later, that same little girl still brings a smile to my heart.

 I imagine God receiving each one of us that way and ideally, we reaching out to Him without fear, without hesitance, with a joy and abandonment unparalleled to any other.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.~Luke 18:16

 It is the reaching out with abandon that I admire or that I wish I would engage in with our God more often. But oftentimes I don't. I hold back. I allow fear to rule my heart and mind and I withdraw. It is difficult at times to imagine God as "Ultimate Love", in fact, it is difficult for me to imagine "Ultimate Love".

"Ultimate Love" - a love that is unconditional...always there...without ceasing. God is Love. It is oftentimes very difficult to allow that truth penetrate our minds, let alone our hearts. Wanting to impose our idea of love on God, we fall short of the reality of how great a love He is exactly.

On top of that, I have a difficult time wrapping my brain around how He loves each one of us without favourtism, the same...but differently. He meets us with His love in a way that speaks to us individually. That is incredible to me.

He loves the unloveable with the same love that He loves me, without preference. It is how we receive and reciprocate His love that brings joy to His heart...and that is an entirely individual response. The woman who gave her last pennies, the man who stepped out of the boat, the person who stepped back, the person who reached out...a smile, a word, a hug, a silence, a gift, an unselfish act in thought, word, or deed...It doesn't go unnoticed by Him, in fact, it is His love that enables us. Such a love baffles me as much as it brings me joy.

Learning that I could never give back as much love as God gives me is also difficult. By nature (I guess), I am a giver. I like to give...sometimes I can't, for whatever reason, and not being able to give back should spur me on to exhausting every facet of showing/living love 24/7/365...but I fail. I hold back, I withdraw...and yet, He still loves me and He stills pours His love into me. God is relentless. And I am very thankful for that.

Some Love(ly) Quotes to Remember and Meditate Upon
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies (Psalm 36:5).

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 36:7).

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love (Psalm 48:9).

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever (Psalm 52:8).

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and
faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever (Psalm 136:26).

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends John 15:13).

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9).

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 8:35-39).

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-5).

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

*Scriptural quotes taken in order from DougBrittonBooks 

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