Thursday, May 22, 2014

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To Know Him and His Love

          Love is not really something that one can hear about and then say that they themselves know what it is to have and experience the reality of it.  Oh, you may be able to say what you think it might be, but you can’t attest for yourself that it is real and truly exists.  I’m not sure that I can really open the door to this subject that others may be able to look in and see for themselves, but at least I can try.  I want to try to share with others the great difference that is found between knowing about someone, and actually loving that person and being loved back in return.  The “person” I am speaking of is Jesus Christ.  The only way I think I might be able to convey an inkling of understanding to know the love of God, is to start by relating it to the love between a man and a woman who are given to one another in the covenant of marriage. If we can start there, perhaps we may begin to understand the difference between just knowing about God and the joy of truly knowing Him, loving Him, and being loved by Him. You see the Bible tells us that Satan and his demons know all about Jesus, but they will never know, obey, or love Him.

          When we try to tell others about Christ, it’s as if we think we can tell enough factual knowledge to them that it will automatically transfer as love to their hearts.  Unfortunately, that does not always prove out to be the case.  No matter how excitedly or passionately one tells someone else about Jesus, we are so surprised when their response may be “Well, I’m glad for your faith, but that’s not for me.”  I can remember my surprise and unbelief when I was told that by a person which I love so very much.  I was so excited about Jesus and His love, that I just took it for granted that everyone else, once they heard, would feel the same way.  But when that did not turn out to be true, I was absolutely flabbergasted.  I couldn’t believe it.  How could anyone not want the love of Jesus, to love Him and be loved by Him.  My gosh, how could anyone resist such a great and wonderful treasure-the greatest love story ever portrayed in all of history?

          I look back now at my own love story I’ve been blessed to experience on a mortal level.  First, I was told about him by a friend.  I was given information about him such as he was cute and he lived just up the street.  Later, I met him and my response was to agree that he was cute, more than that, he was really good looking.  So my interest was peeked.  Maybe it might be worthwhile to get know more about him.  I asked him to my birthday party, but his response after being told who was going to be there was, “No thank you,” much to my surprise.  [I found out much later, he had said no because I was dating a friend of his, and it was against his ethics to come between a friend and his girl.]  The next time I met him was at a dance at which I got to know a little more ‘about’ him; he was a good dancer, and that was a plus in my book.  Still, it didn’t appear to me that he had much interest in me so I didn’t entertain the idea of getting to know more about him.  Then one day, after getting off the school bus, I just happened to look up to see his face looking at me intently so I smiled at him, but didn’t think anything more of it.  [By this time, I was no longer dating his friend.]  Later on that day, there came a knock at our front door.  My sister answered the door and told me there was someone who wanted to see, and she invited him to come in.  Remembering that he had not wanted to come to my birthday party, I couldn’t imagine why he was now at my house, much less wanting to see me.  Anyway, we visited for awhile and then he invited me to go to a Valentine’s Day party.   I accepted his invitation. Before we went to the party, he came to my house to visit a couple of more times to spend time together and get to more about one another. Is that a key to having a relationship- spending time together to get to know about one another?  Sounds like a good beginning to me.

          Going on to the next step to develop a relationship, we went on our first date.  While there, he whispers in my ear and asks if it’s okay to hold my hand.  I smile inwardly and outwardly, and tell him yes while thinking to myself, “Isn’t that so sweet, he had asked me first and didn’t just take me for granted;” that was a definite plus in my mind.  Later, he was looking through a bowl of candy, after an extended search for just the right one, not being able to find one that said ‘I love you,’ he handed me one that said, ‘Forever Yours.’  By the way, I still have that piece of candy some fifty plus years later, but that’s another story. 

          Each time we get together, we have the opportunity to share and get to know more about each other.  Up to this point, we have only been learning about one another. Now it’s the beginning of not just head knowledge, but the transfer is taking place to begin the heart kind of knowledge that will eventually, over the days and years to come, bind us together with cords of love that can not be broken.  A few days after the party, he comes to visit once again.  He kisses me on the cheek, and I respond with a kiss on his lips.  Again, by kissing me first on the check and not on my lips, he opens the door of my heart for me to respond to him.  This is another definite plus in my book that endears him more to me.  He’s neither pushy nor fast.  This I like very much.  He treats me like a lady, and not like an object to be used or abused.  Not only that, but he is kind and good to my little brother.  He doesn’t tell him to get lost, as if he is unwanted or a bother.  Okay, that’s important to me, and he doesn’t even know it.  I make another positive note of that not just in my head, but in my heart.  Do you begin to see how this head knowledge is being transferred into heart knowledge, and it’s taking place through the process of spending time together and getting to know each other more and more?  It’s developing into a ‘personal relationship’ in which head knowledge and heart knowledge are coming together to build a mutual love between two people who, years down the road, are first joined together as one in the flesh through the covenant of marriage. This requires an exclusive commitment to one another; it can never work if one is committed to the relationship, but the other is not.  This is a good start.  Thanks to God, during the second year of our marriage, we both received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, binding us together as one not only in the flesh, but more importantly in the spirit.  Our hearts were made alive not just to one another but unto the Lord our God.  We have been through many a storm, but the Lord has always been right there with us to help and take us through them.  And much to our amazement, as much as we thought we loved one another when we first got married, we love one another still more and more every day.  Why, because God loved us first and our response of love to Him has made our love for one another so much more the richer and deeper.

          Okay, now why in the world have I told you this story?  Well, it is in hopes that you will see that a personal relationship, one that is able to grow and endure the test of time, depends upon far more than just head knowledge.  For true love to take root and grow it takes a combination of things to occur.  Let’s now try to reflect back to see, if we are going to really know and love Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, it takes many of the very same elements as it does in the personal commitment to one another in the bonds of marriage.  Why do we think that may be?  Perhaps it is an earthly example of the marriage ceremony that is to come when Jesus receives His bride, the church (body of believers), in eternity when we are called home to meet Him face to face.

          First, I had to be introduced to the one who eventually became my husband. Then I had to open the door and invite him to come in.  Next I had to spend time with him to get to know factual knowledge (head knowledge) about him. We both had to be willing to want to know more about one another, not just a one way street, with one learning and the other not caring.  We both had to desire to put each other first, a commitment to one another alone, not having several other partners included within the same relationship, but devoted only to one another and no other. (“Have no other Gods before me.”)  We had to listen to one another and decide to take the same path in life with one another, not each of us living together but deciding to take a different path than the other.  Unless two walk together down the same road they can not be in agreement with one another to reach the same point of destination. (A house divided can not stand.)  We must be willing to nurture, care for, and support one another or love once started can not grow and prevail but will wither and die.  If one continues to grow in love but other does not, the one who does love will eventually die from trying to be fed as if on a starvation diet due to neglect, and they will soon part if not by true death in body at the very least by death in the spirit.  Unrequited love is no better than no love at all.

          Thus, a personal love and relationship with Jesus is very much the same.  Most of us seek to have that special someone to love and be loved by in a lasting and enduring relationship with one another.  Why then do we not seek even more diligently to know God and an even greater love relationship with the very one that created us?  Why are some of us satisfied to know something about Him, but never seek to truly know Him and His love?  He is the very one that has given us this life.  Doesn’t that show how great a love He has towards us?  He has even given us an owner’s manual, His written Word, His love letter to you and I.  Those who know Him little, if at all, may call it a book of rules and tyranny.  I call it a book of protection, survival, deliverance, salvation for freedom from sin and death, the path to eternal life, and love so glorious and wonderful that no words can express the fullness of so great a love. As if that wasn’t enough to show His love towards us, He sent His very own Son, God incarnate in the flesh, that we might not just hear about God and His love, but also know and experience the great love that He has towards us through His Son.  God the Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to us on earth.  God the Son loved us so much that He willingly left all the glories in Heaven to walk the earth in the flesh, being all man and all God.  He came as all man and yet all God willing and yielded entirely to God the Father to do only the work of His Heavenly Father.  Being man without sin, He was the only one capable and able to die on the Cross to take ALL of our sins upon Himself, to suffer separation from God the Father, and in doing so He paid the price for our sins, a debt that we could never repay.  We who believe and receive what He alone could do on the Cross have been reconciled to a right relationship with God.  Not able to ever be perfect enough before God and having no righteousness of our own, Jesus covers our sin and covers us with a cloak of His righteousness imparted unto us.  We never earned it; we never deserved it.  Yet the gift of salvation is freely given to anyone who chooses to receive eternal life through Jesus and the work He alone did on the Cross.  Then to go even further, Jesus didn’t leave it up to doubt as to who He was or what He had accomplished.  He proved that He was and is the Son of God when He arose from the dead, appeared before many over several days after His crucifixion, and then allowed many to witness His ascension into Heaven.  And if that wasn’t enough, He has sent His Holy Spirit to live within anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  God has not left us alone without Him here on earth as He is in each believer to lead and guide through this journey on earth.  When we die, it is a physical death only, for we have been made alive for eternity in the spirit when we received Jesus and were born again in the spirit. Having such love poured out towards us, one would think that every soul on earth would run to the one who is offering it as fast as one could go.  Having known how wonderful an earthly love has been and continues to be with my husband, there’s no way I want to pass up an even greater love with and from the One and Only true God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Or if you have not known a wonderful earthly love, then all the more reason to seek God and His love for you, for you will have a greater love in and from the Lord.  You will not have miss out in having the greatest love of all.  He gives His love freely without limits IF we will only choose to believer and receive.  All it takes is repentance- turning around from the path away from Him and turn to Him and receive Him. 

          Having been told ‘about’ Jesus (your introduction to Him), have you yet decided to open the door of your heart to invite Him in?  He stands there knocking at the door of your heart. He already loves you with a love that can not be surpassed.  You didn’t have to do anything to earn it or make Him love you, He just does, and that is a fact that you can depend on.  How can anyone resist such a great love that is so freely given?  How can anyone be satisfied with just knowing about Him (head knowledge) and not want to know Him personally (heart knowledge)?  Just like one has to spend time with the one you love to really get to know him and fall deeper and deeper in love with him, so it is with the Lord.  One must be willing to spend time with Him through prayer, and listening to His voice (through His Word), and then to grow more and more in love with Him by doing and living out His word in your life (being a doer and not just a hearer of His Word).  Until one chooses to crawl up in His lap, to hear from Him, to be taught of Him, to be loved and cherished by Him, to be protected through obedience to Him, and to bask in the warmth of His love as you pray, praise and worship Him, sadly you will miss out on the Greatest Love Story Ever Told. He’s been there all along just waiting for you to seek to know and love Him.  How can anyone resist so great a love?  The lyrics of the chorus of this song say it so well:


“I come to the Garden Alone”

And He walks with me

And He talks with me

And He tells me I am His own

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known

          Won’t open the door of your heart and let Him come in to sup and dine with you, to share your heart’s deepest secrets and desires, to learn of Him, and be enveloped by the sweetest and greatest love that anyone could ever know?


**This story is dedicated to my husband on his birthday today, and to my parents who are home in heaven.  To my Dad, taught me well the importance of the FEAR of the Lord- to respect him, to stand in awe of him, to fear his wrath, and to obey him-not out of fear of tyranny, but to obey out of understanding that not obeying him could only bring harm upon myself and remove the hedge of protection that was meant to keep me safe from harm.  To my Mama, who was always there with love freely given and wonderful arms that held me close.

            To my husband on this his 71st birthday: I love you my darling dear, and I am Forever Yours.  Thank you for ‘loving me first’ and always ‘loving me more,’ not just in words but even more so in actions.  Thank you for never giving up on me, and for being that example of God’s love that He never gives up on me either.  Thank you for being willing to walk with me through our journey here on earth.  And thank you God for giving me the love of my life to show me the Greatest Love of Our Lives- Our Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Thank you God for always welcoming us to come and sit at your Throne of Grace, to spend time with You, and share a love that ‘none other has ever known.’  Thank You, Jesus

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 13)


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