By Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of September 10, 2023
I love when God shows me a scripture in a fresh way, especially as it pertains to my life or someone close to me. And that’s what happened recently with His foundational gospel scripture, John 3:16.
I had been driving all night from out-of-state, returning home after a family emergency. When I pulled into my garage and picked up my phone to drop it in my purse, the time on the phone was 3:16 a.m.
It brought me comfort, because I knew Holy Spirit was reminding me of His simple and profound message of salvation for my father, who had met Him face-to-face just two mornings earlier.
The Amplified Classic version of John 3:16 says, "For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."
The Passion Translation study notes say of this verse, “True faith has a number of components: acceptance, embracing something (someone) as truth, union with God and his Word and an inner confidence that God alone is enough.”
The NIV study notes say, “The theme of this summary of the gospel is God’s love made manifest in an infinitely glorious manner.”
The Word love expressed in John 3:16 is the Greek word, agapao (Strong’s #25), which means “Unconditional love, love by choice and by an act of the will.” It “denotes unconquerable benevolence and undefeatable goodwill.” It “will never seek anything but the highest good for fellow mankind.” It “is a word that exclusively belongs to the Christian community. It is a love virtually unknown to writers outside the NT.”
So, this is the level to which God loves us—unconditional, unconquerable and undefeatable. For me, that morning, it was important to God’s heart that I know that I was loved and not alone and that His love was and is enough for me. In the early darkness, I clung to this truth.
Likewise, in this new season, I believe God’s beloved will experience new moments in which He will express His love for us uniquely. I believe it will be heightened and highlighted as He walks with us through big shifts so we’ll come to know Him, once again, as our more than enough.
It may happen during times of pain or loss, such as in my case. Or it may happen during times when God adds to our lives. But in all times, it is gain, as we give thanks. Because, as we know, He Himself as Love is with us (1 John 4:8).
When I consider all He has done for me, how can I not celebrate Him? How can I not praise Him for giving my family the gift of 29 extra years with my earthly father when medical experts at one of the top universities in America said it couldn’t and wouldn’t happen?
When I begin to thank Him for my father’s life on earth and what He has done to make a way for him to enter into Heaven and for me to see him again, as a treasure stored up for me, it is more than I can contain.
When I consider what God has done for me, all I experience is overwhelming gratitude and joy unspeakable (Psalms 94:19). Literally. Every. Single. Time. It hits me like a rushing wave that makes me want to fall face down before Him (Psalms 116:6).
It lifts me like nothing else and makes me pick up my gait in my race toward God even more. And I want everyone who has lost someone to know this kind of joy unspeakable that is live-giving and life-sustaining (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
A short time after that morning, Holy Spirit highlighted an affirming scripture. It was 2 Timothy 4:17. The Amplified Classic version says, "But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the [Gospel] message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So, I was delivered out of the jaws of the lion."
So, I am here to testify that, no matter what storm rolls in, God sees and knows and is there to deliver us from death into His glorious light. This is for those living in Christ here and beyond.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17 NIV).
As we process through mega shifts in this new wine era, we must remember this simple gospel and know, by His Word and Spirit, that we are loved. When God removes people from our lives and the voice of the enemy comes to lie to us, we must trust in, cling to and rely on God’s true gospel of John 3:16.
To God be the glory.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.
Originally published Sunday, 10 September 2023.