Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “for your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Q: What is the most important thing you could know in all the world?
A: To know you are known by God, and to know that you are loved by God.
To love is to cherish. To be loved is to be cherished. It is to be considered irreplaceable.
My mother died of a brain tumour when I was five years old. There are very few things I remember about her, except those moments of feeling her love. I remember her cuddling me in her bed, holding me close. I remember her looking at me through the kitchen window when she was ironing. My Dad remarried after she passed away. It was unhappy circumstances under which they married, and the marriage was far from happy. Our home was filled with shouting, anger and tensions. I left when I was sixteen. My step mother Betty was a strong, outspoken, organised, decisive person, who did the right thing, doing the best she could with two boys she hadn’t anticipated raising. I held art exhibitions, acted in plays, took part in sporting events, graduated from school and can’t remember my parents ever attending any of those things. There are no photos of any childhood events I was a part of. I can’t remember Betty or my father ever hugging me. I can’t remember ever hearing the words ‘I love you’ from either of my parents. One day, however, I was standing with my Dad and Betty holding a soccer ball. I somehow kicked it on the road and chased after it to get it back. Betty grabbed my arm and stopped me running out on the road. She said, ‘We can always get another ball, but we can’t get another you’. Those few words of value remained with me. I meant something to her, and to my Dad. I was irreplaceable!
Before she died my Mum was part of Christian prayer group. She would have prayed for me. Her love and her prayers reached out into a future she was never going to be a part of. I was born again when I was nineteen. I could have become bitter about losing my Mum, but I simply see that it all worked together for good in making me stronger and independent for what God had planed for in the future. I learned so many things from my Dad and Betty in the few short years I lived in my home. When I came to Christ I found I didn’t need constant affirmation or people turning up for me to give my best. I found that my father in heaven had drawn very close to me, to counsel me, to simply be with me, to teach me, guide me and bless me. I have found myself hopelessly in love with my Father in heaven and because of that I have found I easily love my father and Betty. I wrote them letters saying how much I appreciate them and to ask their forgiveness for all the times I caused them grief. When I hear other people griping about some of the things they missed out on in life I feel like telling them Chris’s and mine stories.
None of these things need to separate us from the love of God.
There would be many people today who have had similar experiences. Parents who find it difficult to express love. They are going through their own challenges. When you are loved by God and He is your father you become rock solid secure. You can rewrite your negative history as positive and love the people who have wounded you. The reason God loved us first was so that we would love Him (1 John 4:19).
When the sisters of Lazarus reached out to Jesus to come and heal their brother, they appealed to Jesus’ love for their brother.
John 11 – He whom you love is sick..
God doesn’t love us because we have loved him first, or because we have been such wonderful people, or because we did everything He asked of us. He loves us because He is love. He doesn’t just love people. He is love. There is nothing that can ever stop God from loving. We can stop receiving and put up walls against Him, however, even if we reject Him, He will never stop loving us and will never reject us if we return to Him.
Everything God has done is to draw us near to Him, to fellowship with Him.
Why did He send Jesus?
To remove our sins?
Because sin had disconnected, separated us from Him. He wanted us to be reconciled and to be one with Him again.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
One of the greatest reasons you need to be in Presence Conference is so you are able to spend time drawing near to Him, discovering His love for you, becoming secure in life. When was the last time you spent a day or two or three days with Him? We need to move from knowing He loves us to experiencing His love for us, to feeling the impact of that love within our lives. Put yourself in a place where His love can reach you. Jude says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God’.
God has things for us that we can get from no one else. Things that take time to receive. All of us feel we can be closer to Him. If not us, then our children, our friends, our family. Drawing near to God because we are drawn to Him by His love for us, has an impact, has an effect on our lives.
Isaiah 40:38 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
When we wait on the Lord, spending time with Him, our energy is renewed. Those things we have given up on, those discouragements, those things we always quit, we overcome the fatigue and we rise again. Spiritual renewal and refreshing are imperative to the Christian life. Some of you have taken a beating and need recovery. You need healing. Some of you are fatigued and need refreshing. Some of you are soldiers with wounds and need to be healed and recommissioned. This will be like being born again, again.
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