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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

God is love


 Let your love dictate how you deal with me; 
      teach me from your textbook on life. 
   I'm your servant—help me understand what that means, 
      the inner meaning of your instructions. 
(Psalm 119:124-125 The Message)

These words say it all!  There is nothing more "secure" than allowing God to deal with us according to his LOVE instead of what it is we DESERVE!  Our psalmist had "tapped into" God's intense love so many times - - probably just like you and I have!  I find it comforting to realize God's dealings with us are according to his love - - love is the basis of grace; grace is the basis of forgiveness; forgiveness is the basis of restoration; restoration is the basis of relationship.  It all begins with love!  No wonder the Apostle Paul took an entire chapter to outline the many facets of love!

The word "dictate" almost escapes us in this passage, but it carries an important meaning that lends to the richness captured in these words.  It means to prescribe or lay down authoritatively or peremptorily - - we think of this as commanding something in such a manner that there are no options for other conditions to exist.  In other words, God deals with us in such a way that there is no opportunity to deny or debate his love!  Try as we might, there is no way of denying God's love - - it is the very nature of who he is!

David then turns to the desire of his heart - - teach me from your textbook on life, God.  There are many avenues of learning in life - - some better than others.  The goal of David's heart is that he have no other instruction influencing his life choices - - he wants to be influenced by the love of God alone.  

I opened with four "seed" thoughts:

- Love is the basis of grace.  Grace is receiving what we don't deserve.  It is the intense favor of a holy God to bring an unholy people close to him through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus.  It is NOT turning his head to sin, but it is dealing with sin head-on through the perfect sacrifice of his Son.  

- Grace is the basis of forgiveness.  Where mercy begins, forgiveness is allowed to take root.  Grace gives us the "pardon" - - forgiveness changes our perception of where we "stand" after receiving the pardon.  In other words, we "hear" words of pardon - - forgiveness is the process of "walking out" the reality of the pardon.  It is what leads us to desire to live a "changed" life.

- Forgiveness is then the basis of restoration.  Restoration is only possible when a way has been opened for one to be drawn close again.  It is through the process of restoration that we are brought back to an "unimpaired" condition of mind, will, emotions, and soul.  

- Therefore, in realizing that we are dealt with "in" God's love, we move into a state of forgiveness in which we begin to recognize the reality of being made new in Christ Jesus.  In turn, we begin the journey of drawing close to God - - there is a re-establishing of what was lost by the entrance of sin - - relationship.  Love began the work - - love completes it.

It is good to know grace - - it is best to know love.  When we know love, we know God!