Author, Max Lucado, puts it like this: “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose your heart. And what about the Christmas gift He sent you at Bethlehem? Not to mention that Friday at Calvary. Face it – He’s crazy about you!”
I asked God how much he loved me. He stretched out his arms as wide as he could and said, “This much” – and then he died!
Dr Maxwell Maltz, a Christian and a prominent plastic surgeon tells the story of a man who was severely burned attempting to rescue his parents from a fire. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed and they died. Depressed and disfigured, the man went into seclusion refusing to let anyone see him – not even his wife. Desperately looking for help she came to see Maltz but even though he told her he could probably restore her husband’s face, the husband stubbornly refused treatment. So when the woman came back to see Maltz again he was surprised. But this time her question blew him away! She asked, “Can you disfigure my face, so I can be like my husband and share his pain? That way he’ll let me back into his life again!” That’s how much she loved him! Maltz was so moved, he prevailed on the woman’s husband to accept his help and thankfully the story has a happy ending.
Just think, the God of the universe willingly left the splendour of heaven, was born into poverty and then suffered and died on a cruel cross for wayward humanity. – Why? – Because that’s how much he loves us!
Jesus loved you so much that He would sooner die than have you perish.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning By Morning, Sep 12.)
‘The Steadfast Love’ (hymn)
The steadfast love
Of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning,
New every morning.
Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord,
Great is thy faithfulness.
by Edith McNeill
Inspirational Olympic Family love
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIVUK
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring,
To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung,
As a praise of Your name for the things you have done?
Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part,
Of the debt of love that is owed, by this thankful heart.
Matt Redman (1994)
“Love in your heart is not put there to stay. Love isn’t love, till you give it away.”
How to do evangelism: Love the hell out of people!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Luther called John 3:16 “the heart of the Bible—the Gospel in miniature.” It’s so simple a child can understand it; yet it condenses the deep and marvellous truths of redemption into these few pungent words:
- “God”…The greatest Lover
- “So loved”…The greatest degree
- “The world”…The greatest number
- “That He gave”…The greatest act
- “His only begotten Son”…The greatest gift
- “That whosoever”…The greatest invitation
- “Believeth”…The greatest simplicity
- “In Him”…The greatest Person
- “Should not perish”…The greatest deliverance
- “But”…The greatest difference
- “Have”…The greatest certainty
- “Everlasting Life”…The greatest possession
Some junior school children were asked to define what love is… Here are a few of my favourite responses:
“When my grandma got arthritis”, said Rebecca aged 8, “she couldn’t bend over to paint her toenails anymore. So my granddad does it for her now all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s what love is.”
Elaine, age 5, said, “Love is when mummy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.”
Kari age 5, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on aftershave and they go out and smell each other!”
One day, a local coach driver found himself in charge of a bus full of school children, on a trip to the nearby mountains to visit a disused mine and museum.
The children enjoyed their visit but the day passed quickly and before they knew it, it was time to get back on the bus and return to school again.
The homeward journey down the steep mountain was especially hazardous, with several dangerous bends overlooking a sheer drop. But the coach driver wasn’t worried! He was familiar with this road and knew each twist and turn like the back of his hand. It was safe enough travelling in a low gear, with one foot constantly on the brake. And the children were happy: They were enjoying the ride and became exhilarated each time the bus handled a tight bend allowing them sight of the sheer drop below. But the sound of the children’s laughter and shrieks of delight changed into screams of panic as it became apparent that the driver was having trouble in slowing the vehicle down!
The brakes had suddenly failed and the bus began to gather speed. The driver frantically pumped the brake pedal but it was no use. The bus began to hurtle downhill out of control. Some of the children began to cry and they all screamed when the bus hit a bend too fast and skidded towards the edge of the cliff, which seemed to reach out in an attempt to swallow them up! It seemed certain that they would all be killed but then, somehow, at the very last second the driver managed to pull the bus around. It scraped against the retaining wall, sending masonry and rubble over the edge of the void, and then it clipped some trees and vegetation which slowed it down a little. But still, the bus continued on its downhill run. It was out of control and gaining speed again.
The near escape brought the driver to his senses and he forced himself to think hard. He had travelled this road many times and he searched his memory to recall how many bends were left and how best he should try to negotiate them in order to save their lives. Suddenly, a feeling of dread consumed him as he realised that coming up was a long straight section of road leading to a very sharp bend, which overlooked the cliff. The bus would pick up speed on the downhill straight and they would be travelling far too fast to take the bend! They would end up over the cliff and would all perish – unless… just maybe, there was still a slight chance.
The driver knew that just before hitting the bend there was a dirt track on the opposite side of the road, which led up a ravine to a wooden cabin. If he could just steer the bus onto the dirt track, it would begin to climb uphill again until eventually they would slow down enough to stop. It was their only chance.
When they reached the straight stretch of road the driver could see the bend ahead and the dirt track… Then, his heart came into his mouth. Across the dirt track there was a young boy swinging on a wooden gate. If he steered the bus onto the dirt track he would hit the boy but if tried to take the bend they would all end up over the cliff. As the impending disaster approached the driver became quiet and tears rolled down his face. He knew what he had to do… The young boy at the gate was killed instantly, but everyone else on the bus was saved!
When the emergency services and local press arrived at the scene, everyone hailed the driver as a hero. His bravery and quick thinking had saved the lives of so many people. Relieved parents and teachers also arrived and they too sought out the driver to thank him personally.
Eventually, they found him leaning over the body of the dead child. He was inconsolable and he wept uncontrollably. The people gathered around him and tried to reassure him that there was nothing else he could have done. “Of course,” they said, “it was horrible and extremely sad that the boy had to die, but what else could he have done. He shouldn’t think too badly of himself. After all, think of all the other lives he had saved.” The driver looked up. “No! No, you don’t understand,” the driver wept, shaking his head. “This boy that was sacrificed, he was my child; my son; my one and only son!”
Based on the Bible verse, John 3:16 - original source, unknown
St Augustine wrote: ‘God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.’
Love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
“If everyone loved their neighbour what a wonderful place the world would be.”
“Love the dawn and the day will love you.”
C. J. Langenhoven
‘A Red, Red Rose’
O, my luve’s like a red, red, rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O, my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare-thee-weel, my only luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
by Robert Burns
In the whole of creation mankind is the only creature that God comes face to face with and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). It’s a picture of pure intimacy, of real love… the first ever kiss of life!
‘God is love, and it’s in loving others that we are most like Him… The best way to spell ‘love’ is T-I-M-E!’ – You can give without loving but you can’t love without giving!
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan Publishing, p.136
Evangelism 1 God so loved the world