Tag Archives: God’s love

What to Remember When You Say, “Our Father”

Some truths we have to “push” into our hearts – they must be massaged and worked in like oil into a baseball glove. One of those truths is our heavenly Father’s love for us. Without working to get this deeply, the truth of His love ends up being like water on a windshield. And when we do not know His love, we miss one of the sweetest aspects of prayer…and life.

Well, some years ago I came across a glorious exposition of the Father’s love by the great Puritan, John Owen, in His book, Communion With God. Since then, I’ve pulled some of his key thoughts on this together, and I’ve brought them out once or twice when I came to the “Our Father” portion of the Lord’s Prayer. These truths, grounded in the glorious gospel, are oil on the leather of my heart. Maybe they will soften yours up too…

Saints are to see God as full of love to them…This is the great truth of the gospel. Commonly, the Father, the first person in the Trinity, is seen as only full of wrath and anger against sin.  Sinful men can have no other thoughts of God.  But in the gospel, God is now revealed especially as love, as full of love to us. To bring home to us this great truth is the special work of the gospel (Titus 3:4)

Therefore, it is through the Lord Jesus that we see God the Father in His wonderful love:

By Jesus Christ also we see and experience and are led up to the Father’s love.  If we, as believers, would meditate on this truth more and live in the light of it, there would be great spiritual growth in our walk with God.

And I would add to or clarify Mr. Owen – we would be drawn to prayer.  But sadly, this is not how many Christians see God the Father.

Christians walk oftentimes with exceedingly troubled hearts, concerning the thoughts of the Father toward them. They are well persuaded of the Lord Christ and his goodwill; the difficulty lies in what is their acceptance with the Father—what is his heart toward them?…Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing. Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds.

But it need not be so.  We can choose to live in the love of our Heavenly Father, and what a place to be…

All here is serene and quiet…This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love. This is that which Christ came to reveal—God as a Father (John 1:18); that name which he declares to those who are given him out of the world (John 17:6). And this is that which he effectually leads us to by himself, as he is the only way of going to God as a Father (John 14:5–6); that is, as love: and by doing so, gives us the rest which he promises; for the love of the Father is the only rest of the soul.

This is the bent of the Scriptures, and the aim of more than one prayer of the Apostle Paul, that we would see the Father as full of love toward us.  He prays for the Thessalonians: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV)

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son, to make a wretch…His treasure! – Stuart Townend


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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Understanding the Depth of God’s Love

If you want to think about incredibly deep love, it’s hard to do better than parental love. Most parents who are not caught up in addiction or extreme self-centeredness will ascribe deep, deep love for their sons and daughters. It’s only natural and right. And with this in mind, we probably don’t make enough of the fact that God calls us…His children. The Apostle John states that it is this kind of love which is gloriously high and wonderful:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; 1 John 3:1 (ESV)

John says, “Do you want to know what kind of love the Father has for you? It’s like the love your parents have for you, or the love you have for your children…it’s that kind of love.” J.I. Packer writes well about this in his classic Knowing God

In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge [justification] is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father [adoption] is greater.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God

The Lord wants us to understand His love, for it is this love that compels us to live for Christ and His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:14). So, how do we come to understand this love? Well, first, we need to put our imaginations to work and with God’s help, try to understand His overwhelming love for us. To do this, we can spend time meditating on the ones we love, recognizing that God’s love for us is far greater than our love for those nearest and dearest to us.

But there is another thing we need to do: You see, we are mistaken if we assume that Christians automatically have an understanding of God’s love, because the Apostle Paul didn’t subscribe to this idea. We know this because the Apostle made the comprehension of God’s love a focus of his prayers for the Christians at Ephesus, giving us a model prayer that I often pray for myself, my family, and our church. As you read, notice Who He prays to…The Father:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)

For Wednesday, November 24th: 1 John 4

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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When Jesus Didn’t Come to Help

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. John 11:5-6 (ESV)

The word that doesn’t make sense in these two verses is, “So…” In Greek, it is the word, oun, and it means, therefore, or accordingly. So let’s look at it again, and paraphrase, “Jesus loved…Lazarus, so when He heard Lazarus was sick, He didn’t go to him.”

That word “so” just doesn’t make sense in the context, unless you agree that sometimes it is better for us when God keeps His distance. But surely I’ve phrased that wrong, because “the nearness of God is my good.” (Psalm 73:28 NASB). So, in other words, sometimes it is better for us when God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers.

That’s very hard to believe, especially when you are Martha, or Mary (or Lazarus!) and you are desperately crying out for Jesus to come and help. And yet it’s true, for Scripture says, “Jesus loved them, so He didn’t come…”

So, where in your life is Jesus not seeming to come? Where are you desperately crying out to him for intervention, and yet hearing and seeing nothing happening?

Here’s the truth that the family of Lazarus would attest to: If you are one of His, then He loves you, and His plans for you, accordingly, are good. When it seems like He doesn’t care, or when He seems to come late, well, the truth is that He has a better plan for you than what you are asking for. You may have a very hard time seeing this, and you might have a harder time believing it, but Lazarus – the recipient of the most famous resurrection other than Jesus Himself – would say it was true.

For Tuesday, October 20th: John 12


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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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What Jesus Wanted You to Know

PasserottoOne of the tasks of a preacher is to say old things in new ways. And you know why – because it’s a bit like singing old songs. We all appreciate the classics, and they can still move us, but you have to admit that it’s pretty easy to put your mind on auto-pilot when you sing Amazing Grace. Hence the repeated Scriptural admonition to “sing a new song to the Lord.” (Psalms 33, 40, 96, 98, 144, 149)

Likewise, while we may appreciate it when we hear from the pulpit, “God loves you,” nevertheless, a good preacher will find a new way to say it or plan on being tuned out.

Now…Jesus was more than just a good preacher, and He found very fresh ways to say the old truths. Take for instance, how He put that particular old truth of God’s love in Luke 12:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)

“Do you see those birds flying around everywhere? God knows every single one intimately, and if He knows them, surely He knows and loves you far more.”

It is indeed an old truth told in a fresh way, but here’s what I find especially wonderful: Jesus wanted you to know it. These verses are an example of the Son of God tenderly communicating His Father’s love to you and me. How wondrous that God not only loves me, but that He also sent His Son to tell me so.

Oh…and even better than telling – He sent Jesus to demonstrate it too:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (ESV)


For Friday, July 17th: Luke 13

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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