Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Memphis LPL - Part II

Recap - The Key Scripture was Exodus 34:6-7, which is God’s disclosure to us, His description of what He is like.

God tells us 7 things about Himself that we will like and one that we won’t:

Seven Things We Will Like

· Compassionate
· Gracious
· Slow to anger
· Abounding in love
· Abounding in faithfulness
· Maintaining love
· Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin

One Thing We Won’t Like
· Does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing the children and their children to the third and fourth generation

I covered the point about not leaving the guilty unpunished here.

Now, let's move on to the things we will like!

1. God abounds in love

God’s Word tells us over and over again that He loves us, far beyond what we can imagine or understand. John 3:16 is the classic verse. And in Ephesians 2:4-5 we read that “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” And in 1 John 3:1 we see ”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

The Hebrew word used in Exodus (for abounding?) is ‘Hesed’ (I think I probably spelled this wrong) which means “steadfast, loyal” love. God is fiercely loyal. Beth reminded us that one of the very first things most of us learned in Sunday School as a young child was “Jesus loves me, this I know”. And when we struggle and suffer, when times are difficult, we so often lose sight of this simple truth.

2. God maintains His love

The word ‘maintains’ means to guard, protect, keep watch. It is the same word that is used in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Beth talked about we are so careful to guard our hearts against things – heartbreak, loss, rejection, etc. But God guards his heart for something, not against something. God maintains His love means that He does not let His love for us diminish, change, or fade; He maintains His zeal and passion for us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Beth asked “Do we guard our love in the same way?” Sadly, no. I am guilty of this – of letting my love lose strength and passion, not maintaining my love. Love is a choice, a willing to do good, as well as the emotional feelings. Beth challenged us to open ourselves up to loving with that zeal and passion again, both the emotion and the active choices we make.

Beth gave an outstanding example of how we mess this up. She talked about parenting teenagers, especially those who may become rebellious or sullen, and how we can easily become a victim to our kids. God guards His love for us (He always loves us passionately) but He gives or withdraws blessings, based on our obedience to Him. As parents, we often keep blessing our sullen, disobedient kids, by lavishing them with cars, clothes, food, money, stuff, but we withdraw our love, the passion and emotional part. Beth said we are essentially “…funding our kids’ rebellion!” We think that blessings = love; this is backwards from God! He always loves, but withdraws the blessing; we always bless, but withdraw our love. When our kids are being rebellious we need to stop blessing them but keep loving them. This point was huge to me, as Rachel and then James will be hitting those teen years very soon. I know it is my personality type to fall into this trap of blessing them but not loving them.

Beth closed on Friday by reminding us that Moses asked and pleaded with God for His Presence to go with them. God was present with Adam in the Garden of Eden, but somewhere along the way, the presence of God became something that would “…flat out kill us!” But people were still desperate to experience it, to see the presence of God. The revelation of God became something worth risking everything for. And we should seek it for ourselves with that longing.


Lora said...

Thank you so much for sharing your LPL notes from Memphis! I'm so thankful God maintains His love!

Blessings to you!

Cindy said...

I'm so grateful for God's unbounding love.