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Knowing God: Experience & Love Him

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Love is God's Way

Paul J. Bucknell

The Basics of Love
Love's Development of Gratefulness
God's Love Flow
Training of Love
Tragedy: Life without Love
Summary: Application of Love

Unconditional love is what makes love genuine.The Basics of Love
We were made to live in the light of God's love. We do not realize how foundational His love is meant to be. When a person is conscious and receptive to God's love, they are filled with joy and gratitude. Some, however, have wondered what has happened to God's promised love. They think it has been cut off.

They live in a sterile and barren world filled with bitterness, hate and loneliness. In fact, God's love has never been cut off. God's constant stream of goodness pours forth special affection and care for His creation. God Himself makes constant and gracious provision for His creation.

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Look at the following words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44-48. Notice how He combines the two following thoughts: receive love and give love. Those who receive God's love are expected to love.

Receive love
We have received God's constant care and love whether we are evil or good. We live in God's love. No one can deny it. Yes, we might go through hard times, but in the end we all will be accountable on how we responded to God's daily care for our lives. Not one of us will be able to say that God has not provided for us. God rule of love is not dependent on our inherent goodness or outward activities.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45).
Give love
Because of this provision of love, we are expected to reflect this kind care for others by the way we treat others. God's love is perfect and constant. We are responsible to treat one another with love. God did not just love the righteous, and so we too are to love all.
"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:46-48).


Love's Development of Gratefulness
We often miss out on this comprehensive picture of God's love because we take it for granted. We ignore the God who provides us gifts of His love. We like the gifts and forget the Giver. We treat life and its gifts as impersonal. We are told it is impersonal 'mother nature,' something we can take for granted. However, we learn of our colossal mistake when we discover God Himself is behind all His good gifts.

Our sin of ungratefulness has been piling up day after day. We have been cared for and yet we do not express thankfulness. If the so-called good person who claims not to need God would only realize that self-reliance is a poor masquerade for ungratefulness. What parent would permit a child to take and not express thankfulness? Recently, I heard one person speaking of a Japanese high school exchange student who received a Christmas gift. He was not part of the family that he visited with his friend, but having received a gift, he politely expressed his thankfulness, "You are too generous." The host was delighted. With God, though, we have ignored the most basic rule of politeness. Ungratefulness is the expression of unbelief.

God's Love Flow

(1) God is the great initiator of love. Because God is love, we see His love enter a sin sick world.

(2) We are recipients of God's love. His love creates a loving nature in our lives. We are restored to an abounding and caring relationship by God our Father.

(3) We bring God's love to others. We duplicate what God has done for us by His love. They in turn are able to see God's love more clearly and brought to Him.

Training of Love
God's love is persistent, ever-present, and very powerful. Our lives are changed by the presence of love. All true love originates from God. Christians are to receive and replicate this love in their lives so people can know of God's love. A strong marriage provides the context of true love for a child. Let me illustrate this.

Visit one of the atheistic countries where they treat children as trees or gardens. Their materialistic mindset enables them to think that feeding and changing is all they need. The visitors at the orphanages instantly notice that these children are literally starved for love. Great emotional distress reaches out to their foreign visitors making them willing to give up much time and money to adopt these children as their own.
We have a 2 month old little girl. How can you train this girl so that she will care for the needs for others above her own? The only way is with love. The little one is a person who was made to receive love. She is designed to wonderfully respond to love. But how can one train such a little one who does not understand explanations of love?

We simply love her. Family and friends lavish such fond and kind words with gentle gestures that this little one will not ever question whether she lives in the presence of love. Day and night, crying or hungry, her mom's constant stream of love is poured out to her. It is from this love and the love of the father and siblings, that the child will soon learn to imitate and show this love to others.

Just this morning one son was talking, tickling and playing with our little baby. She returned his smile.

Tragedy: Life without Love
The way mothers hand their children over for others to watch is simply tragic. This would be like God turning His creation over to another because He didn't have time to provide what He was obligated to do. Imagine paying another to love your child! The mother would love the child the most. The child in this situation often senses betrayal. The needed constant stream of love is at best intermittent. The mother when returning home from work rarely has the time and focus to provide the needed love.

How would we like it if our water or electricity or even our supply of oxygen to breathe was intermittently provided. This care is sometime, though tragically needed. We mean not to criticize such mothers who have no choice but to work. In many cases fathers have acted poorly. We do, however, speak against the now common mindset to ignore God's plan for parents to show this love to their children and deliberately because of profit and pleasure have forsaken the caring of their little children.

When this constant stream of love is missing, then that child will grow up suffering.
  • The child will not know, respect or exercise politeness, rules of love.
  • The child will grow up without affection and be unable to receive people's love.
  • The child will be familiar with manipulation, power control, domination, hate and bitterness.
  • The child will accept all sorts of depraved behavior.
  • The child will develop all sorts of insecurities which lead to subjection to fears and worries.
  • This child will seek affection (i.e. attention, friends, sex) wherever it can be found.

Gangs flourish in these kinds of communities.

Those that do live in a loving environment will be trained to be courteous and kind. We do not mean to say that this person will be perfect. This good-hearted person still needs to find God for the true heart of love. We can train them on the outward but everyone needs the power of God's love inside to live out the life of love.

Summary Application

Nursery care whether public or private is a big mistake. Churches have exacerbated this problem. They encourage the parents to make wrong choices. Instead of giving children more fun time, they really need more of dad and mom's homemade love.

We might not have received the love that people should get from their parents. They will indeed be hurt. They will only be healed of these emotional pains which have produced aberrations of behavior by getting to know God's love. We have never implied that a parent's love is to be a substitute for God's love. Parental love, and in fact all love, are signs pointing us to get to know God's love. Let's now look at what God's love is like.
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Other great resources on love!



Developing love in Your Marriage