Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

He Loves Me, What Next?

The above title is a partial quote from a brother who had a role in church leadership. He was taking issue with an emphasis I had in sermons and classes on the love of God for us. In his frustration with me, he exclaimed, “Okay, God loves me! I get it! What next?” The sad thing is, he really didn’t get it. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that I could never be unbalanced in my teaching and preaching. But will someone tell me what I am to preach if not the love of God?! The idea that we could comprehend it so that we could move on to another subject doesn’t compute with me. Everything springs from this source…this most basic characteristic of our God Who is Love (1 John 4:8). Creation, redemption’s story, prophecy, judgements, commandments, worship, work, discipleship, suffering, promises, and on and on, all come forth from the love of God. The love of Father God…I am told it is a deep well…deep enough that when the drought comes and all other cisterns are empty or broken, it still holds the life-giving drink. God’s love…I’m told it is a mighty river that sings its way through the land of humans and upon whose shores trees prosper producing every good fruit that gladdens and ennobles the hearts of women and men everywhere. Divine “agape” love…I’m told it is an immense ocean the bottom of which we cannot sound, the width of which we cannot cross and into which all our sins may be cast never to be seen or heard from again. It is Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith Who roots and grounds us in this love. It is our Jesus Who challenges us to know this unknowable love and to comprehend its breadth, length, height and depth. An absolutely impossible invitation which sets our feet upon a most delightful adventure in which we are always within the security of our Father’s love. If we flee to heaven or hades, we find His love awaits us. If we take the wings of morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there His loving hand holds us, leads us. Whether it is day or night, we wake or sleep in the comfort of His love. All of our lives will be spent in the school of God’s love. We will never graduate in this life. The more we learn of it, the more we want to know of it. Each new lesson gives us brand new and further-reaching perspective. Such knowledge is too wonderful for us. It is high…so high! We cannot attain unto it. But we will forever try! Bless His Name. Okay then…God does love you. Do you get it? If so, you will delight to spend all your days learning and living the beautiful lessons of a love that never grows old. By the way, if I am ever accused of preaching and teaching the love of God…I hope the charge sticks and that there is plenty of evidence to find me guilty as charged.

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5 thoughts on “He Loves Me, What Next?

  1. The charges would definitely stick Doug! You make my heart smile and my soul sing!

    I cannot grasp the depth of God’s love…by any means! I cannot begin to understand why He loves me…with all of my faults and failures. Then to try to comprehend how much (enough for Jesus to suffer the cross), and how long (He knew me before the beginning, He knit me together..fearfully and wonderfully). I just know…He does love me!! And the more I know it, the more I enjoy it, the more I want to know about Him and what He wants from me, the more I want to please Him!

    Don’t ever stop teaching me about the love of God. I heard so much of the thou shall nots…and so little of the grace. I crave the grace and love and good news of Jesus!!

    SHERRY, YOU SAID OF GOD’S LOVE, “The more I know it, the more I enjoy it…the more I want to please Him.” DOESN’T THAT KIND OF CLICK? MAYBE GOD KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WHEN HE INVESTED SO HEAVILY IN LOVE. THE FEAR-BROKERS MAY COERCE SOME KIND OF RESPONSE FROM THEIR FOLLOWERS, BUT IT’S LOVE, TRUE LOVE THAT CAUSES US TO SERVE LONGER AND STRONGER. LOVE SEES WITH CLEARER EYE, SERVES FROM PURER HEART AND REMAINS WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS. HIS LOVE HOLDS US WHEN OUR STRENGTH IS SPENT. HIS LOVE CALLS TO US WHEN WE BEGIN TO WANDER OFF. HIS LOVE WELCOMES US EACH NEW DAY AND CLOSES OUR EYES AT NIGHT IN PEACE AND SECURITY. HIS LOVE PROTECTS US AND EMPOWERS US. HIS LOVE BRINGS US TOGETHER IN A FELLOWSHIP BORN IN HEAVEN AND MODELED AFTER THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE SPIRIT. HIS LOVE BROUGHT US LIFE AND WILL SEE US HOME WITH A SONG OF LOVE ON OUR LIPS AS WE GO. NO, SHERRY, WE WILL NEVER STOP SPEAKING, LIVING, SINGING, PRAYING, SHARING, LEARNING, AND JUST PLAIN, ENJOYING HIS WONDERFUL LOVE!

  2. “All of our lives will be spent in the school of Godʼs love. We will never graduate in this life. The more we learn of it, the more we want to know of it.”

    Wow … I really like this. I have always thought of myself as a student … always willing to learn … knowing there is always more out there. But I hadn’t thought of it in this regard.

    God’s love is something I will never ever understand … fathom … grasp. And yet … I can recognize it … know it … experience it. I can share it … talk about it … show it. I do not have to know everything about it to be an expert … experiencing it once is life changing enough to share … and we have it for eternity.

    In my limited experience in this school of God’s love I have seen it demonstrated in so many ways. I’ve seen Him love people that had never really been loved. He’s loved people that loved so much their heart almost burst. He’s loved the one’s that hated Him and cursed His name. You name them … He’s loved them. How? Why?

    I read a book once called “The God of the Towel”. The only thing I remember is that it talked about how it is hard for us to grasp God’s love … because we are not capable of it. I can never love like God loves … so I can’t really understand how or why He does it. That made it easier for me to realize … I’m never going to be through learning to love like Him … learning to accept His love … so I might as well sit back and relax. And rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to understand His love to know that it is real.

    I know one man that was touched by your love, and it changed his life … the evidence in that case alone is enough to convict you. Thanks for doing that for him … and thanks for your words that stretch me to have new thoughts … and new ideas.

    DEAR FELLOW-STUDENT IN GOD’S SCHOOL OF LOVE, I LIKE YOUR STATEMENT ABOUT HOW WE DON’T HAVE TO BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND GOD’S LOVE IN ORDER TO KNOW IT OR ENJOY IT. MY GRANDDAUGHTER, SKYLAR, WHO IS THREE YEARS OLD, KNOWS I LOVE HER. SHE REMEMBERS CERTAIN GIFTS I HAVE GIVEN AND CERTAIN ACTIVITIES WE SHARE WHEN I AM WITH HER. SHE ENJOYS OUR RELATIONSHIP, BUT SHE ISN’T CAPABLE OF THE CONCEPTS THAT ALLOW HER TO SEE THERE’S NOTHING I WOULDN’T DO FOR HER. MY DAUGHTER, WHO NOW HAS HER OWN DAUGHTER, SEES MUCH MORE CLEARLY THE CHARACTER OF THE LOVE I BEAR THEM. GOD’S LOVE IS LIKE THE OCEAN…WE CAN WADE IN AT THE BEACH AND BE AMAZED AND REFRESHED. WE CAN, IF WE HAVE GREATER GIFTS, GO FOR A LONG SWIM AND APPRECIATE THE VASTNESS OF THE SEA. AND IF WE HAVE EVEN MORE SKILL AND EQUIPMENT, WE CAN DIVE INTO THE SEA AND GROW BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS IN OUR UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF IT. BUT NO MATTER WHO WE ARE OR HOW EQUIPPED WE ARE, WE CANNOT TAKE IT ALL IN. BUT IT WILL BE OUR JOY FOREVER TO KEEP TRYING, WON’T IT? BY THE WAY…I THINK YOU ARE GUILTY TOO…OF LOVING A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHOM GOD LOVES ALSO AND SHARING HIS WONDERFUL STORY OF LOVE WITH THEM ALL!

  3. another sinner on said:

    Long ago – in another life – when I was a preacher, I sat in a meeting of church leaders. They were discussing topics they wanted me to preach over the next several weeks. I was grateful for the suggestions. They wiser and more knowledgeable. One statement of that meeting still haunts, however. One brother looked at me and said, “Rex, you are a good preacher; but we have had enough of that love stuff.”

    Enough of that “love stuff”? How could he say that? Why would he say that?

    Thank you, Doug – my beloved friend – for the reminder and the example.

    p.s. Interesting thing was – I was preaching a series at the time: “Beginning to Know God” (God in the book of Genesis) – not what you would neccessarily consider all “hearts and roses”.

    ENOUGH OF THAT LOVE STUFF!? HOW SAD? TRAGIC! IF I HAD THE POWER I WOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY DISMISSED HIM FROM HIS “ROLE” AS A CHURCH LEADER AND TOLD HIM HE NEEDED TO GO AND LEARN WHAT THIS MEANS, “I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.” WHOEVER PREACHES THE GOSPEL AND LEAVES LOVE OUT IN HIS MESSAGE OR IN HIS MANNER, IS LYING! HE IS A DECEIVER! HE TAKES AWAY THE LORD FROM PEOPLE SO THAT THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE TO FIND HIM. I KNOW THE CHARGE WOULD STICK AGAINST YOU, REX. THAT BROTHER COULD DETECT THE CLEAR NOTE OF LOVE IN YOUR LESSONS FROM GENESIS. I AM NOT SURPRISED AT ALL. MUCH, SO MUCH, OF WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT LOVE CAME THROUGH YOU. CAN YOU POSSIBLY KNOW HOW MUCH I MEAN THIS?! IT IS SO TRUE. I AM FOREVER IN YOUR DEBT AND IN HIS. I LOVE YOU.

  4. Dad,

    I was listening to a sermon this morning by Rob Bell entitled “Abound.” He was describing the love that Paul was encouraging in the Philippian brethren. One thing struck me. He brought out the Greek meaning of the word “knowledge” in the context of their “love abounding more and more in KNOWLEDGE and depth of insight.” The Greek word for knowledge is “epigeneis” which implies a knowledge from the heart or at the center. He illustrated his point by describing person A who grows up in the church and knows the story of the prodigal son and yet leaves Christ. Bell proceeded to make the point that he did not really KNOW (epigeneis) the story. By this logic (and I believe it is true), we can know a lot of things but not really KNOW them.

    So…I think the person of whom you speak may think he knows the love of God but he does not “epigeneis” that LOVE…or he would never make such a comment. Those whose love abounds the way Paul wants it to abound will never get tired of hearing about the love of God. I pity those who feel they can make such a statement.

    YES, I FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE WHO BOLDLY ASSERT THAT WHICH THEY HAVE LITTLE OR NO UNDERSTANDING OF…WHO HAVE GOD ALL FIGURED OUT…WHO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS…AND WHO ARE PRETTY SURE THEY KNOW ALL GOD’S PEOPLE PERSONALLY. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME TO KNOW HOW TO SPRITUALLY FEED SUCH FOLK WHO REALLY AREN’T HUNGRY. I THINK THAT’S AN EXCELLENT POINT ABOUT KNOWLEDGE FROM THE CENTER AND THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE KNOW WITHOUT KNOWING. IT’S LIKE WE KNOW THINGS ABOUT A FAMOUS PERSON, BUT WE DON’T “KNOW” THEM. I HOPE THE BROTHER I SPEAK OF SOMEHOW COMES TO UNDERSTAND HOW SHORT-SIGHTED WAS HIS RESPONSE. I KNOW AS I LOOK BACK ON SOME OF MY OWN STATEMENTS, I AM EMBARRASSED BY THE IGNORANCE THEY REVEAL. I AM SURE I’M NOT THROUGH WITH THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE. I HOPE GOD WILL WISE ME UP. YOUR INPUT ALWAYS HELPS, SON. I MISS YOU A BUNCH. APRIL 30TH WON’T COME QUICK ENOUGH. HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? I REALLY DO. KISS KELLY AND LOVE ON REMI FOR ME. I MISS YOU ALL. LOVE’S PRAYERS, POPPA O

  5. Nancy G. on said:

    Doug – I liked your article on God’s love accentuated by the Prodigal Son story. I only know that the more I know (or think I know) the less I can acutally grasp the tremendous love of God. How can it be so endless? How can it be so all encompassing? How can it not give up? What an awesome love. I just have to believe it and that’s all there is to it. Keep preaching it, Doug. We need it whether we think we do or not!

    THANK YOU, NANCY, FOR YOUR COMMENT. YOU ARE PART OF THE EVIDENCE OF GOD’S LOVE IN MY LIFE AND IN VICKI’S AS WELL. FATHER GOD SERVES OTHERS SO VERY WELL IN YOU…THROUGH YOU. YOU ENCOURAGE SO MANY. YOU ARE THOUGHTFUL FOR SO MANY. YOUR FAITHFULNESS IN WORSHIP AND IN SO MANY ACTIVITIES AT CHURCH ARE EXEMPLARY. YOU AND YOURS ARE LOVED BY US…THAT’S FOR SURE! CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT GOD WILL DO NEXT! MAY WE TRULY BE HIS PEOPLE AND CONTINUE TO SERVE AT HIS BIDDING. SEE YOU IN WORSHIP TOMORROW, BY HIS WILL.

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