Fellow Worshipers and Kindred Spirits
One of the benefits of having a newsletter is sharing by email what I forgot to say when I was present. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at a church retreat. During one of the sessions I skipped this paragraph in my notes, but now I have the opportunity to share it with all of our readers.
As I was praying and preparing for the workshop entitled, “Knowing God’s Love” a phrase came to my mind. I had to do some research to find where the phrase originated. I discovered it is from a Gaither Vocal Band song entitled, “I am Loved”.
The words which God brought to me were: “The one who knows me best, loves me most.”
During my journey to love God more, I have reflected on why I have difficulty comprehending and accepting God’s unconditional love. I have no trouble believing God loves my wife and my sons. I can think of scores of wonderful Christian brothers and sisters who I am convinced are loved and liked by my heavenly Father.
But I still struggle to believe God likes me for who I am, period. I finally acknowledged there are many reasons, but the primary one is I know myself. I know things about me that no one else knows. And I reason that if others knew me like I know me, they would not love me.
Yet God knows me better than I know myself, and He still chose to die on the cross for me, while I was a sinner. My Dad knows me best, and He loves me most.
I frequently read Psalm 139, for I find these inspired words affirm how much I am known. “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;” (Psalm 139:1-6)
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139:13-15)
Jesus exhorts his disciples to: “Abide in my love.” (John 15:9) Jude counsels the church in his epistle to: “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” (Jude 21) I find it is a good work to abide and keep myself in God’s embrace. For the more I comprehend and assimilate God’s omniscience and His unconditional grace, the greater my capacity is to love Him in return, which is the great command.
Not only am I equipped, inspired, motivated (I’m searching for the appropriate word) to love God, I am also enabled to love others as I have been loved, which is the new commandment, or as the Gaither song declares: “I am loved, you are loved, I can risk loving you.”
If you have never heard this song, listen here.
June 8-10 I will be in San Antonio at FEAST
June 15-17 I fly to participate in the CHEC convention in Denver, CO
June 19-23 and 26-30 I will be in Northeast PA at two Joni and Friends Family Retreats working with the Men’s ministry.
Opportunities to Serve
If you, or your family, are interested in serving as a volunteer at these Joni and Friends Family camps, email me, or find a retreat close to your home here. A friend of mine, Melissa Crabtree, is featured in a documentary on what it is like to serve as a volunteer, or STM (short term missionary) at one of these wonderful camps. You can watch her story unfold here.
“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)