God's love for us is intense. So much so, that he took the effort to speak very directly with people so we could not mistake the miracle and gift of Jesus' birth. He lavished his love, attention, and affection on us when we weren't even looking for it.
What is it to lavish? Lavish is an old word with rich meaning, as in, sumptuously rich, luxurious, and elaborate. What does this have to do with Jesus Christ's birth?
On one hand, Jesus left rich & luxurious surroundings to be born into poverty. But on the other hand, God dealt elaborately in matters relating to the people who were directly involved with Jesus' birth, benefiting not only them but us, today, as well. Here are a few scenarios recorded for us:
Christmas! What a profound opportunity to
highlight the love of God and the sheer grit of Jesus.
God gave us Jesus out of his vast supply of love.
And he still gives forever.
Jesus said 'yes' to his father's plan out of his immense love for us. He showed us what true humility and strength look like.
And he still says 'yes' forever.
May our hearts swell and beat fast for this God. May we be drawn deeper into his extravagant love... forever.
May we give the gift that is forever.
Love is one of the greatest quests of humanity. That's why we never run out of songs to write. But, have we made love something other than what it is? Have we made love something that serves us rather than something that serves? Have we forgotten what love is or, that love is God?
Everything that God does is out of an extreme love for us. Forgiveness, grace, mercy and yes, even rules. His love is relentless and bold, kind and personal, holy and right, unswerving and pure. His love is full; full of life, joy, creativity, energy and adventure.
Let me come at this from a different angle. One of the greatest struggles in my life has been fear. It has not been intentional and certainly not my quest, but nevertheless it has been there ...a nagging voice always looking to have its way! Fear opposes love. It is vocal, demanding, analytical and protective. Fear never allows love to totally be all it is meant to be for love is too free and does not make sense. It will never give everything to another because it must hold something back for a rainy day. If that is my axis or plume-line of action, then I will certainly grow more like it over time. My dreams, talents and relationships will be compromised and I will not be all that I am made to be. Over time, in essence, I will die.
Jesus said that perfect love casts out fear. Love is free and does not operate on calculations or keep tabs. Love makes fear mad. Perfect love is not a thing. It is pure and free flowing, unconditional and forgiving. Love does not need to be repaid or acclaimed. It does not need honour for it is honour itself. Love does not need. Perfect love is the substance of life and is completely Jesus.
God is love and His desires for us are out of His perfect love.
Will you let Love be?
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:16-18 NIV
A friend put out a public prayer request asking for a non-believer's healing. It was given with her consent and with the assurance that God is a healer, has been doing some great things in people's lives lately, and that we will ask for a miracle to happen ... that she has a full recovery.
I found myself praying for the individual and then, I thought, "God, Your name is being put out on the line today." And just as quick as the thought was out, was this realization: God is His Name!
We serve a great God; One who actually personifies His name.
Healer Lover Provider Redeemer Faithful Friend Powerful Merciful Just Compassionate Forgiving
Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord —
that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18 NIV
God stands by His Name.
Teach me. Show me the path. Guide me today.
Shine, so I can see where to put my feet. Lord, I am walking in obedience. Give me renewed passion & purpose for You.
May I, like Phinehas, do Your will in this complicated world.
Psalm 106:30-31, Numbers 25
Jesus, You were there in the beginning; fashioning, shaping the world, the generations and me. Thousands of yeas ago (in human terms:) You were planning, strategizing and creating.
May I be struck by Your Majesty!
Jesus, if You were there in the beginning, then you were surely there when perfection fell. You saw the greed & forgetfulness, the shame & nakedness. You saw the cowering to hide as Your holiness drew near in friendship. And you clothed them.
May I know Your love. May I fear Your holiness. May I love like you do.
And Jesus, You watched the generations trust, then forget over and over again. You watched with Your Father as the nations chose to not serve You wholly. You watched Your very own people choose evil over good. And yet, You came to give another chance. To redeem. You gave everything to woo them back. They didn't even know it was You! You suffered humiliation. You took all of our sin... my sin. You sacrificed it with Your body and died.
May I be full of Your grace & mercy toward others.
Then, Jesus, You rose up; back to life. Death could not hold Innocence. You put all my sin to death and came back stronger than ever! You are my King. You have killed my debt. You have given me life without shame.
May I live in it!
May I worship You forever!
May I always remember.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
There's a verse in Isaiah 41 that has messed with my head for a long time! You see, in this portion of scripture, God is busy assuring Israel of His help, comfort and deliverance. He repeatedly encourages them, telling them not to be afraid of the future and that He is holding them. Then, in verse 14 He comes out with this, "Fear not, you worm Jacob...!" Why would God say that to them?!
So, I went searching and found the meaning of the word... The original word (Towla) according to Strong's is: worm, scarlet stuff, crimson. Now this gets really good, so keep reading... Listen to what is written as explanation to the above meaning:
"the worm "coccus ilicis" ++++ When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding His precious blood that He might "bring many sons unto glory" (Heb. 2:10) (from page 73, "Biblical Basis for Modern Science", 1985, Baker Book House, by Henry Morris)
Isn't this amazing! This word wasn't used by God to mock or shame Israel, but to purposely prophesy & affirm that He had chosen them to be the very lineage of Jesus.
Take time to ponder this passage. Jesus has laid His life down, shed His crimson blood for us to have life now & forever. He protects us (Psalm 36:7), died for us (John 12:24), shed His blood for us (Colossians 1:19-21) and now lives again through us (Colossians 1:26-28).
What a wonderful Saviour! What incredible love...
"Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob? Don't be afraid. Feel like a fragile insect, Israel? I'll help you. I, GOD, want to reassure you. The God who buys you back, The Holy of Israel." Isaiah 41:14 MSG
"How deep, how wide is the love of God..." What God loves, He loves always.
Please inquire for the word of the LORD today. 1 Kings 22:5