The Love of God - Girlfriends in God - Mar. 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

The Love of God

Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

“Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:2, NIV).

Friend to Friend

The story is told of a young boy who carved a small sailboat from a block of wood. When the boat was finished, he couldn’t wait to try it out! Racing to a nearby stream, the boy knelt on the shore, gently slid the boat into the water and let it go. With a quiet reverence, the boy watched his precious boat gather speed as it floated away. He did not realize that there was an undercurrent in the stream until the boat was swept away beyond his reach. His precious boat was gone! The little boy frantically searched until there was no light but could not find his boat. With a heavy heart, the young boy headed home.

Several days later, the little boy was walking down the main street of his small town, when he saw a wooden boat in the toy store window. He couldn’t believe his eyes! It was his boat! The boy raced inside and came face-to-face with the owner of the store. “Mister, that’s my boat!” he cried. The owner frowned in disbelief and said, “Young man, I just bought that boat. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it from me!” Near tears, the boy exclaimed, “Please, sir! I worked so hard on that boat, and then I lost it! It really is mine!” The owner shook his head and said, “Nevertheless, I paid good money for it and you will have to buy it back if you want it.”

The little boy raced home, emptied his piggy bank and ran back to the store, his savings clutched tightly in his little hands. He dumped all of his money on the counter and asked, “Is it enough?” The owner smiled and handed him the boat. The little boy cradled the precious boat in his arms and said, “Little boat, you are twice mine. Once because I made you and once because I bought you.”

God loves you. He created you. The words of Psalms 139 beautifully express the heart of God toward each one of us: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalms 139:13-16).

A healthy self-image is not one of pride or arrogance, but rather one that coincides with God’s viewpoint. It is learning to accept God’s evaluation of who we are, learning to see ourselves as God sees us, no more and no less, learning who we are in His eyes and giving Him permission to make us what He designed us to be. In His eyes, every person is valuable. We are all sinful and broken, wounded and sick, and He loves us still. In fact, Jesus is drawn toward brokenness. Broken people are why He came. With tenacity and stubborn love, He pursues those others may only shun – like the woman at the well.

John 4:5-9 “Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans” (NLT).

Little is known about this woman and what we do know is not good. She was immoral and spiritually ignorant, an outcast despised by the Jews and even by her own people.  She was very popular with the men of the village who bought her to satisfy their own physical pleasure and then tossed her aside like a broken, damaged and used doll. I am certain this woman had no illusions about the fact that she meant absolutely nothing to these men. In the beginning, she may have convinced herself that they cared for her and perhaps even loved her, but I imagine that illusion was short-lived. In fact, while studying her life, I have many times wondered if there had ever been a man in her life that she could love or trust. I do not know what drove this woman to such an empty and futile existence, but I do know as far as Jesus was concerned, that old life was over. It did not matter to Him. He looked at this woman through eyes of healing and forgiveness and saw His precious child. He just loved her – right where she was and just as she was. He recognized her worth, her value – and He loved her. 

God loves you. He paid for your sin. God defined His unconditional and relentless love for you and for me when He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth as a baby. And Jesus said, “Yes!” What an amazing gift! The love of God for us compelled Jesus Christ to willingly exchange a throne for a manger, divinity for humanity and Heaven for Earth. 

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s love changes everything and everyone who receives it. God’s love protects and breathes life and purpose into every minute of every day. God’s love is a gift beyond measure that surrounds us and covers us when the fire of life rains down.

I know many of you are experiencing those fires of life this year. No job and no prospect of one. Someone you love is very ill or maybe you are the one battling to survive each day. A rebellious child has broken your heart. A secret addiction is slowly destroying your life. Your spouse packed his bags and walked out the front door because he no longer wants to be married.

Do not believe the lies of the enemy when he tells you that your God has forsaken you. God is with you – Emmanuel. He endured the cross, completely and absolutely alone because He loves you. No one can take your place in the Father’s heart. God knows your pain and He understands. God created you and paid for your sin for one reason alone – He loves you. Not because you are so lovable, but because He is love.

Let’s Pray

God, I need Your love. My life is filled with scars and wounds that can be healed by Your love alone. I celebrate the love You so freely offer. I accept the gift of Your love and thank You for its transforming power in my life. I love You, Father.

In Jesus’s name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize John 3:16. Record it in your journal.

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Write the verse in your own words.

Write the verse and make it personal by inserting your name. For example, “For God so loved _________, that He gave His one and only Son, that if ___________ believes in Him, ______________ will have eternal life.

More from the Girlfriends

Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. The first study of 2013 is Power Up With Proverbs, and since each lesson stands alone, it’s not too late to join.

Are you stressed out - facing financial problems, health issues, or dealing with difficult relationships? God will be your peace. Get Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, and learn how to transform the promises of the Twenty-third Psalm into easy-to-implement, practical steps that will hand you the keys to stress management.

And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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Originally published Tuesday, 05 March 2013.