CCS Weekly Devotions
September 15, 2019
“I am all in, committed to a God who is love.”
“O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”
Read it: Romans 8:28-39
Think on it: As you read through the passage for this week, Romans 8:28-29, you can see there are many truths contained in these twelve verses. I love this passage, and when I spend time reading through it and meditating on what it is saying to me, I inevitably learn something new, or am reminded in a poignant way, about some amazing truth about our God, and what that means for me.
In verses 28-30, certain things about God’s love are laid out for us.
Because God loves us we know…
- … that God will work through all things for our own good. God’s love causes all events, circumstances, etc., in our lives to grow us in to the image of Christ.
- …that God “foreknew” us. With all the billions of people who have walked this earth, He knows you and me, personally. He knew us before the creation of this universe.
- …that God “predestined” us to be Christ-like in our character. God’s predetermined plan for us – from before time began – was to become like Christ.
- …that God called us. He pursued, and still pursues, us with everlasting kindness.
- …that God justifies us – that He has given us the gift of worth, without any cause on our part.
- …that God glorifies us. He has already begun this work in us and will complete it. He pulls back the curtain on what He has been doing all along.
I am reminded of the lyrics of an old hymn, O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, when I think about the love that God has for me, and what that love has done for me. Here are the words of the first verse of this great hymn:
O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above
I stand in awe of this amazing love so freely given to me. That God would offer this to you and to me, is beyond comprehension! But there is more truth to be grasped as we continue looking at the following verses in our Scripture for this week. Verses 31-39 help me see how I should respond to this amazing love. They show me the right belief I should treasure up in my heart. Here are the truths I took away as I read and thought about these verses:
Verse 31 – if God is for me, then who can be against me? No one can stand up to God – no person, no power – no one; and if God loves me as much as Scripture tells me, then I am able to be protected and kept safe by God!
Verse 32 – if God gave His only Son to die for me – the absolute sacrifice – why would He withhold from me any need that I have? He will graciously give me what I need, not reluctantly, but graciously!
Verse 33-34 – if I have been justified by God, then who has the right or the ability to accuse or condemn me? Rather than condemn, I have an advocate, Jesus, who is at God’s right hand, interceding for me!
Verses 35-39 – if the God of the universe loves me, how could anything or anyone, separate me from this amazing love? Nothing, no one, no circumstance, absolutely nothing can prevent the love of God from surrounding and enveloping me! That love is so powerfully for me, at all times, without fail, that it turns every circumstance, situation, etc., into a victory! I am more than a conqueror – I am a super-conqueror!
Walk through this week knowing that Jesus came to earth, lived, died, and rose from the dead so that you and I would know that God sticks up for us, He provides for us, He justifies us, His purpose for us will not fail, He loves us, His love is loyal, generous, just, and eternal.
Christian author, Ruth Harms Calkin, wrote the following prayer. May you grasp the truth contained here and apply it this week.
“God, I may fall flat on my face; I may fall until I feel old and beaten and done in. Yet Your love for me is changeless. All the music may go out of my life, my private world may shatter to dust. Even so, You will hold me in the palm of Your steady hand. No turn in the affairs of my fractured life can baffle You. Satan with all his braggadocio cannot distract You. Nothing can separate me from Your measureless love – pain can’t, disappointment can’t, anguish can’t. Yesterday, today, tomorrow can’t. The loss of my dearest love can’t. Death can’t. Life can’t. Riots, war, insanity, unidentity, hunger, neurosis, disease – none of these things, nor all of them heaped together, can budge the fact that I am dearly loved, completely forgiven, and forever free through Jesus Christ Your beloved Son. Amen.”
Pray about it: “Father, I echo the prayer above. May I begin to grasp Your amazing love for me, and live life in the truth of that love. Amen.”
Act on it: Spend time this week examining all the areas of your life where God’s ever-present love is obvious. Thank Him for that. Then spend time identifying where His love is not as obvious and thank Him that even in those areas, He loves you. Take time each day, throughout the day, to say out loud, “He loves me.” Do it in the morning before your feet hit the floor, “He loves me.” Do it midmorning, “He loves me.” Do it at noon, “He loves me.” Do it mid-afternoon, “He loves me.” Do it at supper, “He loves me.” Do it before you close your eyes to sleep, “He loves me.”
Parenting Tips: As you walk through life with your children, identify for them how God’s love is always there – not just when things are going well, but even when hard things happen. I was raised in a strong Christian home, and because of the way my parents taught me about God, I have gone through life with this truth – God loves me and that love never fails. Your children will grasp that truth easier than an adult and will be equipped to carry it with them through their life.
September 5, 2019
“I am all in, committed to a God who is love.”
“God is Love”
Think on it:
As we begin a new school year, we also begin a new journey with our spiritual theme, “All In.” Our theme verse is Mark 12:30-31. It says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” As we walk through our school year, we will tackle topics related to the concept of being “all in” – totally committed. For this month, we will examine how we are to be “all in” – committed to a God who is love.
In this world, our definition of “love” is typically not the type of love defined here. If we were to look up the definition of love, here is a common definition found in The American Heritage Dictionary, “Love is an intense affection for another person based on familial or personal ties.” We love other people, or we say we love others, when we are attracted to them and when they make us feel good – this is the basis of the phrase intense affection in the above definition. We love conditionally, meaning we love someone because they fulfill a condition to make them loveable. We also love mercurially. That is to say we love based on emotions and feelings that can change from one day to the next. We fall “in love,” and then we fall “out of love.”
1 John 4:8 says that “God is love.” There is more to this divine love than just the fact that God loves us unconditionally – that He loves us regardless of the circumstances. It carries the idea that love is the essence of God’s character. Theologian A.W. Tozer put it this way: “Nothing God ever does, or ever did, or ever will do, is separate from the love of God.” Everything He has ever done is out of love. He created this world out of love. He flooded this earth out of love. He saved Noah and his family out of love. He allowed the Israelites to be enslaved in Egypt out of love. He brought them to the Promised Land out of love. He allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den out of love. He sent His Son to this earth out of love. He allowed Jesus to be crucified out of love. He pursues a personal relationship with you and me out of love (I John 4:9-11). God’s love is incomprehensible, just as God is incomprehensible.
What does this mean for you and me? If God’s love is so immense and incomprehensible, how in the world do I begin to understand it? Here are some things that we can know about God’s love.
• God’s love is trustworthy. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul describes the qualities of love, and at the core of those qualities is the fact that love is unfailing and unwavering. All throughout the Bible, we see time and time again how His love is unwavering and constant. This is the same God that loves you and me. His love for us is unfailing and, therefore, we can trust in God’s love.
• The offer of salvation to us is an expression of God’s love. John 3:16 reminds us that God so loved us that He sent His Son and gave Him up as a sacrifice for us. This offer of salvation is not because we have earned it. As a matter of fact, He gave His Son “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). This salvation is for all who would believe in Jesus. God’s love does not discriminate.
• God’s love enables our ability to love others. In Mark 12:30-31, we are told to love others as we love ourselves. We cannot love others out of ourselves. Remember, our love is conditional and mercurial. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to love (Galatians 5:22). As we allow God’s love to saturate us, we cannot help but love others (1 John 4:7).
• We can rest in God’s love. Nothing we have done or will do is a surprise to God – yet He chooses to keep loving us, unconditionally. We have hope because God loves us enough to have a plan and purpose for us (Ephesians 1:3-14).
• We can have confidence in God’s love. We are constantly reminded about the faithfulness of God in Scripture. From the very beginning, God’s love has been at work, and will continue to be at work. In this we can have confidence. In Psalm 136 we are reassured twenty-six times that God’s love “endures forever.”
In his article, “10 Things You Should Know about the Love of God,” Garry Williams sums up our response to the concept of “God is love.” He says, “God’s love truly perceived always draws out from us a response of love. The contemplation of divine love in its biblical fullness is never something that ends in itself. Our rest in God never finds its fulfillment in ourselves but always leads us out of ourselves toward him and toward others. The love of God is to be lived as well as learned. The love of God for us begets love in us for him and for others. The true Word of love that we have in the Bible, if we have it truly, will abide in us, and will not return empty as, by miracles of grace, we make glancing reflections of the immeasurable love of God visible to others in our own lives.”
My prayer for you this week is that you allow this immeasurable divine love of God to soak into your heart, soul, mind and strength – so much so that it oozes out into your daily relationships and others catch a glimpse of God’s love through you.
Pray about it: “Father, just to tell You, ‘thank you’ for Your love seems so inadequate for what Your love truly is. But thank you for being love – for loving us so much. I find peace in Your love, and reassurance that, like You, it is constant. This week I want to abide in Your love. I want it to penetrate all areas of my life. That is the only way I will be able to love those around me with the kind of love that is divine. Thank you again for Your love. Amen.”
Act on it: This week for your devotional time, spend time understanding the love of God. There were multiple Scriptures shared in this devotional that would be a good place to begin. Here are a few more: Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 86:5; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 136; Zephaniah 3:17; John 3:16; John 15:9-17; Romans 5:8; Romans 5:2-5; Romans 8:37-39; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 3:1.
Parenting Tips: The first glimpse of God’s love that a child has is the love they receive from their parents. As you learn about God’s love, you will see that His love is always acted out in what is best for His people – not necessarily what His people think they want. Love seeks out the best for the other person. What kind of love are you demonstrating for your children? Is it a reflection of the love God has for us? Is your love conditional and mercurial – ever-changing with the circumstances or your moods? Ask God to help your love for your child become a reflection of His love.