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Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.
Jeremiah was in a pickle. God had given him the unenviable task of telling the people that they had failed God and He was about to unleash His wrath upon them. Ouch!
Judah was in a covenant relationship with God. They were His chosen people, yet they chose to worship the pagan god Baal. The king of Judah had been defeated in battle and now the people were the subject of Egypt. Soon, God would allow brutal Babylon to rule over them for seventy years. Yes, tough times were on the horizon for the people of Judah. But instead of turning to God for help, they chose to continue worshiping their false gods and idols.
So, God sent Jeremiah to call Judah out on their wicked ways and tell them to turn back to Him before it was too late. But they ignored Jeremiah’s warning of God’s coming judgement.
Faced with the people’s indifference to his message, Jeremiah had his own choice to make. He could go with the flow and follow the people’s lead, or he could remain faithful to God and His will. In the face of adversity and a growing defiance from the people, Jeremiah chose faith over popularity.
God remained faithful to Judah, in spite of their disobedience. He remembered His promise to restore His blessing. And because of His everlasting love, God showed His mercy on a faithless people and gave them a new covenant.
This story from Jeremiah isn’t just a piece of history from long ago. It is meant for us right here, right now! Just like Judah, sometimes we find ourselves facing tough times. And just like Jeremiah we might be in a pickle.
When tragedy strikes us close to home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is too close and the struggle is too difficult. It’s almost impossible to see how anything in our lives can ever be right again. We’re at the crossroads and we have a choice to make. We can decide to turn our backs on God like the people of Judah. Or we can turn to God for help and rely on His promises during the tough times to come.
The Bible is filled with so many blessings and promises from God! Each one of them meant to give us hope for a better tomorrow. Within Jeremiah 31:3-4, there are three promises from God to help us in our time of need. Once we understand them, we can face any hardship with a new perspective and resolve.
#1 An everlasting love…
God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. God’s love for us is an everlasting love. It has no beginning and it has no end.
But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
God showed His mercy and demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son to save us and give us everlasting life. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we have the ability to experience this everlasting and unending love of God.
#2 I have drawn you…
Because of God’s lovingkindness, He stretches out His hand to us and draws us to Himself. Even when trouble surrounds us and all seems lost, God has not forgotten us. He draws close to us in our need.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
#3 Again I will build you…
Whatever hardship we have endured, whatever sin we have committed, God has promised to rebuild our relationship with Him.
You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no
means be put to shame.
1 Peter 2:5-6
As Christians, we are the building project of God. He is the contractor, building a spiritual house for us to dwell in. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building, keeping our spiritual house from crumbling and falling to pieces. God has formed us into “living stones” to be set upon the cornerstone of Christ. Each stone is carefully and deliberately placed, making us the walls of the house firmly set on the foundation of our faith. But our sin tears down the house God is building for us. So, He forgives our sins and builds the house back up again. We are imperfect so, the building goes on and on. It is a continually building and rebuilding of our lives. And it will only be completed once we are in heaven with Him.
Jeremiah’s story is a testament of a faithful servant who endured many hardships yet followed God anyway. Today, his story stands as a reminder to us that tough times will come, but we have a loving Father who is always faithful to the end. We may make bad choices or get knocked down, but when we make Jesus the cornerstone and main focus of our lives, we will never fail. God will honor His promises to us. He will show us everlasting love, draw us with lovingkindness and pick us up and build us again.
If you are facing tough times, I pray that you will turn to God and be encouraged by these promises. God loves you, He will draw you to Himself and He will build you again.
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Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God.
1 John 4:7
The “L” word, LOVE. So many people are afraid of it. They’re afraid that if they feel love they will get hurt. And they’re afraid that if they show love they will appear weak. But love is the foundation of our Christian faith. Without love we would be lost.
The book of First John talks at length about love and what it means to us as Christians. So, today I’d like for us to look at two fundamental parts of love that represent our faith in Jesus.
God’s Love For Us
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
The most important component of our Christian love is that God loved us first.
God, the Father, loves us. But our sins are a barrier that separates us from Him. No matter how hard we try we can’t get past it on our own. So, God sent, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross the barrier of sin was torn down and the relationship between God and man was restored.
Jesus, the Son, also loves us. He said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus knew that He would face betrayal, pain and death on a cross, but He willingly came to earth anyway. He laid down His life for us so that we could have eternal life with Him. Without the great love of Jesus we wouldn’t have salvation and the assurance of heaven.
It is only because of the love of God the Father, and, Jesus the Son, that we are able to return that love to Him.
Our Love For Others
The second part of our Christian love is to show love to the people in our lives.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11
This verse, from 1 John, talks about the love we have for our Christian brothers and sisters. If God loved us, then we, in turn, should love other believers. How can we show love to an unbelieving world if we can’t even love other Christians? We show this love by being kind to each other, showing respect when we disagree and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow believers.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
These words of Jesus tell us two things. First, love in a Christian’s life isn’t an option. It’s a commandment straight from the mouth of our Savior. And that love should reflect the love Jesus has for us. If we truly love one another, then we will give the very best of ourselves just as Jesus did for us.
Second, our love for other Christians will be evident to the world. They will see how we treat each other and they should know that we follow Jesus because of it. The question is, what will they see? Will we be a good witness by our actions and turn them to Christ? Or will they take one look and decide that Christianity isn’t for them?
I’m not perfect. I mess up. There are times when I get angry or frustrated. I say things I don’t mean or overreact to a situation. I don’t always live up to the expectations of what Christian love should look like. Like everyone else I have my good days and bad days. I’ll always be a work in progress, but I choose to follow God and let Him mold me into what He wants me to be. Thankfully, His love is greater than our sins and greater than my frustration. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to show God’s love.
We may not automatically feel love for every person we meet. Sometimes we click with people and sometimes we don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t show the love of Jesus to each and every person God puts in our path. We never know what is going on in someone’s life. They could be going through a very hard time and our love and kindness could be the beacon of hope that leads them to Jesus. If we are willing to let God lead us and show His love to those around us, we will be blessed for it.
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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the time of year that we set aside to show our loved ones how much they mean to us. The reservations have been made at the best restaurants, the cards, candy and roses have been purchased. But for some of us, especially those who are single, this can be a very lonely time of the year. We’re left to wonder what’s wrong with us. Why can’t we find that special someone to share our life with? Am I just plain unlovable?
But there is someone who loves us! Someone who is always there for us and is always faithful to us!
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
God’s love for us is everlasting. He loved us from the very beginning of time and He continues to love us now.
This love that God has for us can be seen in so many ways if we just look for it. So, how does God show His love for us?
1. God sent His Son, Jesus to die in our place.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Our sin has separated us from God, but He loves us so much that He was willing to send His only Son to die for our sin. I don’t know anyone else who would even consider sending their child into the world to die for someone else! God definitely loves us!
2. God has made us a part of His family.
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1
Jesus died for our sins, and when we accept Him as our Savior we are automatically adopted into the family of God. What a great honor that we can call God our Father! We are no longer alone in this world, we have a family all of our own. God loves us so much that we can now call Him our Abba Father or Daddy. (Romans 8:15)
3. God doesn’t give up on us.
Because we are human we have a sinful nature. Throughout our lives we will continue to sin even if we are saved and even if we don’t want to. It’s just a part of our nature. But God doesn’t give up on us. Even when we mess up or walk away from Him, He continues to be faithful and completely loyal to us. The word “everlasting” from Jeremiah 31:3 literally means “loyal”. And Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:23, “Great is Your faithfulness.” Because of our sin, we don’t deserve His faithfulness and loyalty. But it is in God’s nature to give it to us anyway. We can rest assured that He will always be there for us.
Maybe you are feeling unloved today. But God wants you to know that you are loved by Him! He wants you to feel that love surrounding you every day. And He wants to have a close and personal relationship with you. God’s love for you is everlasting. He has always loved you and He always will. Whatever things may happen in your life, He will love you. No matter who may come and go in your life, He will love you. God’s love for you is so deep that there is nothing that can separate you from His love.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height not depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you would like to share how God has shown His love toward you, please leave a comment below or visit me on social media. May God bless you!
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What does it mean to abide in the love of Christ? The word “abide”, isn’t used very often in our modern vocabulary, but it’s a word that sparks my imagination. When I hear it, I think of cozy family dinners or intimate conversations with close friends. I would like to think that my relationship with Jesus is cozy and intimate. And I want to feel that there is a real connection between us and not just a ritual that I was taught as a young child. So how do we get there? How can we develop the close relationship we desire and abide in the love of Christ? The words of Jesus tell us how.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
The word abide means to continue, remain in, or dwell. In this passage there are three key points about what it means and how to abide or dwell in Christ’s love. Let’s look at each one.
First, Jesus tells us that He loves us just as the Father loves Him. What an amazing thing to hear! Jesus wants us to continue to experience the joy of our salvation through Him and to have a close and personal relationship with Him, all because of His great love for us.
Second, Jesus explains that when we keep His commandments that is when we “abide” in or remain in His love. If we are obedient to Christ and His teachings then we are able to have the intimate relationship with Him that we are looking for.
Lastly, Jesus says that when we are obedient to Him, His joy will remain in us. This joy is a complete joy that is full of love. To receive this joy, all Jesus asks of us, is that we obey Him just as He has obeyed the Father. The idea of obedience is not a popular one these days, but to obey Jesus is to love Him. And when we love and obey, then we can truly experience what it means to abide in the love of Christ and have fullness of joy through Him.
Simply put, to abide in the love of Christ means to love Jesus and to be loved by Him. Just as the Father loved the Son, Jesus loves us. It sounds so easy, yet seems so complicated. In the fast paced modern world we live in, we can become so caught up in chasing the things of this world that we forget to be still and abide in the love of Jesus. But to set aside the things of this world and dwell in Him is exactly what we should do. My prayer for us today is that we will learn to obey the commandments of Jesus and understand what it means to follow Him in everything that we do. Then, through our obedience and love for Him, we will abide in the love of Christ and have fullness of joy.
In 1 John 3:24 we hear again about abiding in Jesus. But there is an extra component to this verse. Can you spot it? What did you learn about abiding in Jesus? What is different about this verse? What is it that we are given to help us abide?
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Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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