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Saturday, February 24, 2024

2-24-2018  For the Love of God


I’ve addressed the question before “Really, Who is God?” and, at that time, I shared three main spiritual events in my life.  I talked about how these experiences impacted my life but I didn’t really talk about how they came into being.  And that’s what I want to talk about today.  These, and all the other things I have experienced in my Life wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the LOVE GOD has for me.”

Communication with Father (or anyone else, is a two way street.  So is God’s love – He communicates with us, then we need to communicate with Him.  Communicate = talking.

First, God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son that should I accept His Son (Jesus) into my life and through my commitment to Him, I would enjoy eternal fellowship with the Father through the Son forever (John 3:16).

Second, I discover that if I love God I will live according to what Jesus said because it is a demonstration of my love for Him.  Jesus said “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 15:10-12).  His commandments are actually a single commandment – to Love.  But love moves in two directions – up and outward. God’s concept of love is to truly care about Father (the great I am), who He is and just what does He mean to me, then to care about those around me.  

Truly caring about our relationships is LOVE!    

Thirdly, God’s ultimate desire for me to have a relationship with Him through my love for Him (He loved me first).

What I want you to take away from this is about how Father loves me and then how I can return that love to him.  And, keep in mind, this isn’t just about me, it’s also about you.

Jesus says that whatever you’ve done to the least unto those in My kingdom, you’ve done unto me (Matt. 25:31-46).  He watches over us and stands beside us when we n need His help.  He is the first of many brothers of those who seek the Lord (Rom. 8:29).  Jesus IS our ‘big’ brother! 

Basically, I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church.  In my youth, I faithfully attended Sunday School and, as a group, the boys in my class and I attended services afterward.  After High School, I drifted away from attending church on a regular basis.  Several years later, I met the woman I wanted as my wife, who was also Southern Baptist, so we went to my old church to see if the pastor would perform the ceremony.  There was a new pastor (less than a year, I think) and he agreed to do our ceremony but he required one condition – that for the marriage to succeed, Jesus must be involved in our lives.  He explained how things would work then he turned specifically to me.  He asked me if I knew Jesus as my personal Savior.  I replied that I attended Sunday School in my youth.  “That’s not what I asked you” he said.  I responded to his next question with “I’ve never done anything really bad and try to treat people nice.”  Again, he said “that’s not what I asked you.  We exchanged thoughts then He asked me one final time “Have you ever received Jesus into your heart?”  At that moment, I felt a tugging deep down inside and admitted “No” and then the pastor asked me if I would invite Him into my life.    I said “Yes.”  Iprayed to let Jesus into my heart and immediately I felt a huge, very heavy burden literally lifting up off my being.  In reflection, at the moment I realized that, that was when, Jesus had become my big brother!  God, the Father, was now with me and in me!

While I was yet a sinner Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8).  I had the ‘audacity’ to ask Him into my life and, in spite of who I was.  He did not refuse.

Again, at that moment, I knew that while yet a sinner, Jesus had exchanged His life for mine 2000 years ago.  Also, in reflection, I’ve come to realize that was just the first step.  I’ve spent all my life learning, continually, how to walk more closely with my Lord.  Over the years, I’ve learned the depth of what ‘keeping His commandments means and, more so, what giving my love to Him truly means.

When I confess and repent my sins, He is faithful to forgive and forget them (Rom. 10:9, 1 John 1:9, Isaiah 38:17, Micah 7:19).

As I’ve lived my life, too many times I’ve fallen short of Father’s expectations for me and time and again, I’ve had to repent things which I have done.  It took years for Father to finally get into my thick skull to take care of business up front and not to put things off.  As with King David, when the prophet Nathan reminded him of the sin he had committed with Bathsheba which resulted in a little baby who died.  Through Nathan’s confrontation, David repented because he had come to realize what he had done (2 Sam. 12:1-18).  Father has impressed upon me that when I’ve “messed up”, as soon as I realize what I have done – that is the time to repent, not days, weeks, months, etc. later.    That is admit my guilt, confess my sin and turn away from it.  God forgets our sins (Micah 7:19, Isa. 38:17) and so should we.

Should I sin (after salvation) I do have an advocate with Father as long as I repent (1 John 2:1).

What more can be said here?  I remember, as I truly confess my sin, God puts that repented sin behind His back and it slides into the sea and is forgotten (thank you for the reminder  Micah and Isaiah?

Father loves me and I do my best to show my love for Him.  Let me share a couple of situations where God has shown His love for me.  Now, grant it, other people may have experiences more dramatic or traumatic than my situations, but these are a couple of mine.

Baltimore/Washington Parkway connects Baltimore Md. With Washington DC (no brainer).  My home was just a few miles outside the DC line and my sister was about fifteen miles closer to Baltimore.  The Parkway was the quickest route between the two points.  When I was in my early twenties, I rode a Triumph 250cc dirt bike.  I was coming from my sister’s, on the parkway and about a mile from my exit was a ninety degree turn in the road (OK, about 90 degrees), in the direction I was headed.  I was coming out the back side of that curve and as soon I had a clear view of the traffic ahead, it was stopped – dead!  The speed limit was 65 mph then and the closest car to me was maybe thirty yards.  I thought to myself ‘hit the brakes and lay the bike down.  Minimum damage I get severe road burn but I should live, maximum damage I slide under the car in front of me and suffer greater damage to myself as well as the bike.  Then I heard a small voice ‘get off the throttle and steer onto the shoulder’.  It was a gravel shoulder, but I did it.  I was able to safely slow the bike down to a controllable speed and safely survived what could have been one very nasty incident.  The Holy Ghost gave me direction.  God was watching out for me!  And, yet, at that time, I had not yet given my life to Him so I wasn’t appreciative as I should (or could) have been.  I didn’t even really know Him then.  If that isn’t love?  Not me!  The Lord!

The other experience I’d like to share was on my job.  Except, for a little under two years, I was a ‘federal’ employee ‘lifer’.  I worked for the US government, CIA, GSA and FDA.  Yup, that’s the Central Intelligence Agency, the General Services Administration and I retired from the Food and Drug Administration.  While at FDA, about five years after I had given my life to Him, I experienced God’s love for me, in my  finances.  I was a documents clerk with the FDA for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) specifically Office of Generic Drugs (OGD), under CDER, all under FDA).  I received, and coded documents then forwarded them for drug approval and resourced them to the appropriate discipline reviewers, aka chemist, medical doctors, pharmacologist, etc.  Not all the drug companies followed standard procedures by declaring what issues the document was addressing, fortunately they did file it to the appropriate drug application.  I processed various types of documents which would pertain to formula changes, packaging changes, expiration date extensions, manufacturing changes, quantity changes and the like and of course they all submitted an annual report reflecting all of the year’s activity for that application.  One day, I sat at my desk grumbling (to myself) about processing ‘easier’ documents versus more involved documents.  Annual reports were the easiest and it was a pain (oft times) trying to figure out just what the companies were doing with other documents.  While I sat grumbling, I heard a small voice say  “Give Me the job.”  I looked up and around then said “OK, it’ Yours.”  I knew Jesus by this time.  I believe, at that time, I was a GS4 but I might have recently been promoted to GS5, the ceiling of the pay scale for my position.  About two years later, we were told that our position was being upgraded to a GS7.  Still working within OGD.  Several years later, my supervisors told me a position was opening up as a contract Liaison which would go to a GS9.  CDER had sixteen review divisions (each dealing with a different drug type, heart, lung, kidneys, etc.) The liaison position meant that I would be training contractor staff to do the same job I had been doing (for about ten years) and I would also be dealing (as a liaison) with issues between the contractor and the government, as well as writing procedures for the contractor and explaining the impact for both contract and government staff.  After a few years, my GS9, then the top level of my position, was also upgraded to a GS11.  After a while, I was told that one of my co-workers would soon be retiring and my supervisors wanted me to replace him.  He retired and I did take his position which was a  GS12 slot and that’s the position from which I retired.  Generally, GS 10 and above positions, in the government, required college education.  I thanked God for giving me the ingenuity and the availability to attain that GS12 with only a high school diploma.  Father showed His love towards me through my paycheck. 

Other situations showing God’s love for me and how He protected me would be reflected in the near accident when I first bought that Triumph 250, or on the roof of the hotel in Saigon or when, the day before one of my coworkers and I were scheduled to check out of country (Vietnam) and catch a plane back to good ole USA  and during which we encountered a helicopter ride to the middle of nowhere, yet, we did make our flight the next morning. 

Over the years, I have always given ‘something back to God, but I haven’t always been a ‘tither’. Later in my life I have made sure Father has that which is holy to Him (Lev. 27:30).  And even through my failings in those years, Father has always given me direction and made sure I always had what I needed to meet my needs.  Yes, there were lessons in the process, but Father kept showing His love for me.

Over the years, He has continually grown me in knowledge of the bible AND drawn me into a closer relationship with Him. 

Has Father blessed me?  Definitely!  Has He shown His love towards me?  How can I count the all the blessings and situations He has pulled me through?

I can never, ever, fully repay Father for what He has done for me, but I do my best by learning what He has taught me and doing my best to be faithful and obedient in His will.  I give Him praise and glory by singing songs back to Him, which He has given me as well as singing along with recordings from professional artists.  I enjoy singing those songs for as I do, I feel His presence in my life.  Some songs, He has given me, even reflect those ‘physical’ feelings I have when I am in His presence.

I may not be like Daniel, who prayed every morning, noon and night but I do set a significant amount of time each day to spend with my Lord.  I like to know what Father and I talk about, but He has also impressed upon me that there are times I just can’t express myself in the way He likes, so yes, I also pray in the Spirit, that is the heavenly language Father has given me,  tongues (1 Corinth. 14:13-15, 39-40).

What I do doesn’t compare to what He has done for me, but I am still trying.  Before Father took her home, I used to tell my wife that “I was trying”.  She would look at me, get a slight smile upon her lips and say “Yes, I know.  Very.”  How often must Father look at me with that similar, subtle smile?  I thank God that He loves me.

I love the Lord with all my heart and He has shown me, over the years how He loves me.  Without going into greater detail, what more can I say?

Father does things for us and all too often we are not even aware of His presence or even consider His involvement in what happens in our lives.  Sooooo

Now, how about you?


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