Fearfully and Wonderfully Made From Love Devotional Reading and Podcast
Agape love is a sacrificial love that unites and heals. It is the love of God that we see through the cross of Jesus Christ. This love saves and restores humanity in the face of sin and death. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13. http://www.christianity.com
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…'” (Genesis 1:26). “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16
God demonstrated His love for humanity by creating us in His likeness and the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrificial love gift of giving His life on Calvary for the redemption of our sins. “In this, the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
King David proclaimed, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Yes, we were created in the image of God by Jesus whose very name and character are synonymous with love.
In these last days of earth’s history, the darkness of sin and misery threatens to overshadow the light of God’s unconditional love. We are living in a time when earthly love has dwindled to a flicker and hopelessness pervades. Throughout this world, we have generations of people, including many Christian believers who are filled with brokenness as evidenced by anxiety, worry, and depression. Not only are they questioning God’s love for them, but many are also living their lives by just going through the motions and thinking, “Why am I here?”
In a recent sermon, Pastor Wintley Phipps answers the question, Why am I here? “We were created for three reasons, to be loved by God, to love God, and to love others.”
We also have a straightforward answer from the Apostle John for our internal brokenness: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Believers who feel unloved and perceive life as overwhelming or meaningless were once in a loving relationship with Christ.
But the relationship changed or else we could not feel unloved. “For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Two primary reasons cause us to forget the love of God: Allowing life’s trials and sorrows to act as a catalyst in producing the negative emotional response that God has forgotten me, how can He say that He loves me? Or the distractions from the busyness of life have left little time to maintain a heart-to-heart relationship with Christ. The interruption in our spiritual connection with God is always a result of our decision to change the conditions of the relationship.
In Revelation, Jesus tells the Ephesus Church [The Loveless Church], “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).
The members of Ephesus Church did not reject God. They were diligent in their church attendance, gave tithe and offerings, witnessed, and did not engage in pagan activities, but their service to God was ritualistic. They did the right things because it was what they were instructed to do as Christians. In losing their first love, Jesus was no longer the reason for their works as disciples.
Strengthening the bonds of love with Christ requires the human effort of demonstrating our love for God through daily praise and worship. When our lives exclude the daily power and presence of the Holy Spirit because we fail to pray and study the Bible the outcome is separation from God. Without a steadfast connection to God, we place ourselves in the enemy’s territory.
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Trending fallacy: “Each of us has a soulmate who will make us complete.” By accepting the misguided worldview of a false definition of love, we expect someone else to make us whole. The unrealistic expectation for people to be our primary source of love will always produce disappointment and emptiness.
You may say, But I am married or in a committed relationship. Even so, the only consistent, never changing, selfless love that can make us whole is the agape love that our Heavenly Father gives. “…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3, last part).
By focusing on the demand for a nonexistent perfect love from others, we develop a spirit of discontentment. Unrealistic expectations cloud our perception and we forget about the selfless love of God which also causes us to lose our connection with Christ. Our example is King David who had many enemies in his kingdom including two of his sons, Absalom, and Adonijah. Although he loved them, they did not feel the same for their father.
From a young shepherd boy tending sheep who was anointed as the second king of Israel and Judah to having Divine protection from King Saul and forgiveness for his double sin of murder and adultery, God demonstrated His unfailing love for David. God even permitted David to have the status of a powerful Warrior King. The only thing that God withheld from David was building the Temple because of his history of bloodshed.
“Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 43:2 and 5). Yet, King David did not have peace until his last years of life. Throughout the Psalms, we read of his emotional distress because he was fixated on his enemies.
When our focus is not on God and we fail to remember our God-given victories, our faith fails and we lose the trusting relationship that we used to enjoy. Spiritual separation reveals itself in feeling unloved which easily leads to a downcast soul. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
God created humanity to live on this beautiful earth and to possess hearts full of love, joy, peace, and happiness. Yes, we recognize the detrimental effects of the lack of love on this earth. Because we were created from love, to love, Christians are not exempt from feeling the misery of the pervading evil that often causes us to forget that God’s love is always present and He is still in control.
Even in our seasons of lengthy trials, illnesses, and hardships, God promises that He is always with us. Without knowing scriptural promises and having an active prayer life, we become discouraged and feel that God has abandoned us. Does Jesus love us? Yes, we have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who promises to keep us in perfect peace and protect us. Study Psalms chapter 91.
This morning during worship, I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer that would help us [including me] to never forget that He loves us. The answer: Go back to the beginning of the Bible and read the Creation story. I am sharing my reflection on Jesus’ love.
When I look at the landscapes, the variety of flowers and fruits, forests of trees standing like soldiers, plants capable of thriving in a harsh desert, the rough terrain of mountainous regions decorated with a spray of multi-colored wildflowers, the oceanic waves that stay within their boundaries, the animal kingdom and the diversity of human beings, I know that Jesus is Love.
From studying the Book of Genesis, I am reminded that Jesus did not speak humanity into existence. Jesus bent down and created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from Adam’s rib. Yes, He knew they would reject His love by disobeying the command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The sacrificial gift of Jesus’ life for wayward humanity was approved by God, the Father before Adam and Eve. There is never an afterthought with the Omniscient God. The Righteous Lord Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross to give us an alternative to the wages of sin which is the final death. Refer to Malachi chapter 4. Yes, I know that Jesus is love.
Jesus the King of the universe who commands His angel armies not only exhibited the humility of agape love on the cross of Calvary but also demonstrated His majestic power and glory in the creation of human life and this world. Yes, I know that I am loved!
From receiving the gift of a new day, we are reminded of Jesus’ love, grace, and mercies. To receive the benefits from agape love, we must surrender our will to God. It’s not that God does not love the sinner, a disobedient and unbelieving heart is an open rejection of Jesus as Lord and Savior in one’s life.
The unbeliever views the life of a believer as one who has to obey a long list of restrictions. Our faithful love for Christ changes our outlook. True disciples desire spiritual transformation and we acknowledge that whatever God requires we will obey because this earth is temporary and will pass away.
Created from love, to love, not only God but also one another. Loving God keeps us spiritually connected to the Source, Jesus Christ. Understanding Agape love prevents our emotions from being in total disarray. We are steadfast in our conviction that God is love!
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the reason that you feel unloved. Are your beliefs in alignment with the Scriptures? Does your lifestyle demonstrate that God is first in your life? Feeling unloved or abandoned is always a consequence of us changing the status of our relationship with Christ.
The Holy Spirit will reveal the exact reasons for the loss of our first love. Then it is our choice of whether or not we will change our behaviors. Pray a prayer of forgiveness for abandoning Jesus as your First love, and recommit by verbalizing the desire for the restoration of your relationship with Christ.
Remember, Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us despite our free will choices. When we faithfully love and trust Jesus, we readily give Him our devout praise and worship every day. We will never feel unloved again. Diligently study the Scriptures to learn about the only lifetime soul mate that will always love us unconditionally, our Creator, Jesus Christ.
For those who have a steadfast relationship with Jesus are we witnessing to others that Jesus is love? We have the responsibility, to tell the truth about the creation of humanity and dispel the mythical teaching of evolution. Everyone needs to hear the powerful message that Jesus loves them and sacrificed His life to complete the plan of salvation.
Tell them if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior that this earth is not our final home. We have a forever home waiting for us where love will abound and death will cease. Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so!
The next time you are feeling unloved, relax by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Extend your arm and move your fingers, turn your hand over, and touch your face. In a normally functioning person, those movements are effortless.
Neurons carry messages from the brain via the spinal cord. These messages are carried to the muscles which tell the muscle fibers to contract, which makes the muscles move. This is a simple explanation of the physiology [function] of the highly complex Nervous System producing normal movement of our muscles.
Scripture: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
Prayer: God, thank You for creating us with fearfully and wonderfully made minds and bodies. We love You and desire restoration. Thank You, Jesus, for Your great sacrifice. We ask this prayer in Your Holy name, Amen!
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