God’s Extravagant Love

God’s Extravagant Love

By Pastor Ben Hill

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

Augustine said: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

How motivating it should be to love when we think about God’s love for us! Yet why is it so hard to separate the love of God for us from our “performance” in loving back?! The pure perfection of His unconditional love is a concept; indeed, a Truth that must be accepted on faith because sin’s presence in our lives and our world make that pure unconditional love unobtainable for us. No matter how we may try, the “I” of sin will always get in the way somehow.

What, then, do we do? Focus on the reality that “God IS love!” He sees us through a timeless lens: simultaneously as we are AND how we will one day be! His love is pure… His love is proved… He gave His Son!! Jesus died because God is love.

During Oliver Cromwell’s reign as Lord Protector of England, there was a young soldier who was scheduled to be executed. His young fiancé pleaded with Cromwell to spare the young soldier’s life. Cromwell refused and the sentence was to be carried out when the curfew bell sounded. When that time came, the heavy rope of the large bell was repeatedly pulled, but there was no loud ringing sound! The soldier’s fiancé had climbed into the belfry and wrapped herself around the clapper so that it could not strike the bell. Her body was smashed and bruised, but she did not let go until the clapper stopped swinging. When she was brought down battered, bleeding and bruised, and Cromwell heard her explanation and saw her level of devotion and love, he commuted the sentence.

God’s love for you is displayed in brutally and beautifully vivid color as Jesus still bears the scars of being crushed to save you from eternal death! Just accept it…on faith. He really does love you!

Exceedingly Abundantly

Exceedingly Abundantly

By Jane Horvath

Ephesians 3:20 starts by saying, “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Many of us have memorized that scripture and prayed it back to God asking Him to do “exceedingly abundantly” in a given situation. However, I was not always sure how that looked until God gave me a great word picture to help me understand it.

I had been saving for a particular household item for months (probably a couple of years would be more accurate). Since this item was not a necessity, other needed items became more pressing, and I would borrow from the want fund in order to purchase the necessary items.

Then, one day God did “exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think.” He provided the item to me free of charge, and the item was much nicer and bigger than what I would have purchased myself. Just remember, this was not a needed item; it was just something on my “wish list”.

So what did God provide? A new TV. He gave me a 55” TV FREE OF CHARGE! I would never have purchased that size for myself. I had a 22” TV in my living room (at least it was a flat screen TV). What I really wanted was a TV that made it easier for my older eyes to watch. The one God provided is just the right size because whenever I see the TV hanging on the wall or I watch a program, God reminds me that He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly.” Moreover, if He does that with a want or a dream, just imagine what He will do for a real need!

Now when I pray Ephesians 3:20 back to God about a situation in my life, I remember how He provided “exceedingly abundantly” in the recent past and ask Him to do the same in my current situation. I have a better idea of what that might look like, and I am confident He will continue to show me in tangible ways what those words from Scripture mean for my life.