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Sue Stahl

Jesus We Love You by Sue Stahl

Jesus We Love You.jpg

Jesus we love You…oh how we love You. You are the one that our hearts adore…

Last night was a praise and worship night where we joined together with another church. 

It was wonderful. 

From the beginning the Spirit’s presence was manifested. You know those chills you get, the smile that comes across your face, the joy, the victory, the hope we receive as we corporately gather together to recognize and praise our God.

Yet towards the end of the night and in the midst of telling Jesus how much I love and adore Him, I was drawn back to my own reality and the question that seems to steal away my intimacy with God. 

Do I really know the love of God? 

Meditating on this and seeking His word brought up two distinctions regarding God’s love.

The first belief without a doubt is that God is love.

His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and our very breath of life is because of His love.

Unchanging and steadfast, a love that nothing can separate us from!

A love that brought redemption and reconciliation and allows us the blessing of knowing Elohim, God Almighty as our Abba Father. Yes, I believe this!

Knowing that truth then lead me to then ask what I am looking for to determine if I know ‘the love of God’.

Many like myself, have grown up with brokenness in our families. Absent or unloving parents, mistakes made, and wounds unhealed have left a ‘longing for love’. In the flesh, my defensive responses of pride and entitlement or hurt and anger can even now arise as idols that compete and rob me of relational intimacy with God and others. 

God has been continual healing me and I am grateful to say that the break in that moment of worship was by His grace. I knew to go to His word to allow Him to give the answers that I could now receive in His timing. 

1 John 4 brought me to the truths that set captives free. Please walk with me through my thoughts as the Spirit did His transforming work:

8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Woah, that was right to the point and my first response was this doesn’t sound like the unconditional love I expect from God. God is telling me I need to do something to know Him and His love.

12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

‘If we love another’, there it was again, a condition and one that I don’t do well with. Is God then not abiding in me? Would not this thinking cause me to question God’s love for me?

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 

Wait, that is me, I have made that confession and God is abiding in me and I in Him. 

And there it was that God’s living, acting, mighty and powerful word spoke to me. 

It was no longer about what I needed to do, but what God has already done. We love because He first loved us. (v19) and He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (v4)

These truths about love were not warnings and condemnation for my failure to love but instead a reminder that I am born again by His Spirit to love as He does(v7) and that as He is, so also are we in this world. (V17)

He reminds me His love will be perfected in me, (v12 and V17) and His love will cast out fears that are against His love. (v18) 

His grace and faithfulness revealing His love as His prophetic word now answers my longing soul:

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Thank you Jesus that You are Love. May we continue to abide in love, love as You loved, and know and believe the love God has for us. Amen


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A Jealous God by Sue Stahl

A Jealous God.jpg

"You shall have no other gods before me. - You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” -Ex 20:3-6

I never really dwelt on this title of God and didn’t fully understand it.
Jealousy as I knew it didn’t seem to be a character I could associate with God.
Jealous people bear bad fruit. They are insecure, angry, envious. They want what someone else has. They will do foolish things to get what they want. They ruin relationships.
If anyone has felt the jealousy over a relationship where one has been rejected, cheated on, betrayed and ultimately replaced by another you can understand the strength of those feelings and may have seen some of the bad results of jealousy as mentioned above.

Through our recent church reading on Hosea I began to see God as a ‘jealous God’ but in a new light that would move my heart to say I am glad God has proclaimed Himself to be a ‘jealous God’.

Hosea is told by God ‘take a wife of harlotry’. (adultery, fornication, prostitution) (Hosea 1:2)
In reading Hosea, God parallels a defiled marriage relationship with the Israelites’ relationship to Him. (forsaking Him and following idolatrous practices) Relevant to the gospel is the parallel of Christ’s relationship to the church (his bride) and the same spirit of idolatry that is present today.
However, what stood out for me was God’s heart; the thread of His steadfast love throughout the story. Love is the motivation. His intense passion is for us to know Him and be known by Him. He is love and we are the object of that! The breadth and length and height and depth of that love He wants us to know! (Eph 3:18)
Wow, that is why God wants no other God’s before Him; no idols that we turn to instead of Him. His jealousy is our grace for He will let nothing separate us from His love.

In Hosea, the disciplines, punishments and consequences of forsaking God are evident which only seemed to make God’s steadfast love more profound.
This jealous God never stops pursuing us, never stops loving us. He stays in the details of our lives even when we are not in obedience. He stays to bring us back, to rescue, to redeem.

But they do not consider that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face. -Hosea 7:2

And in the midst of it all with His alluring words and reminders, God’s thoughts towards us are revealed. His plans, His promises, His purposes will prevail. His steadfast love and faithfulness are unchanging. His jealousy has its cause.

pastYet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. - Hosea 11:3

present, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. - Hosea 2:14

future. For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed, when I restore the fortunes of my people. - Hosea 6:11

Prayer:

Thank you Lord, that You are a jealous God. Let us respond to how great a love you have for us and help us to recognize and remove idols from our hidden places.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. -1 John 5:21


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