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Thursday, September 7, 2006

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"Jesus Loves You!"

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God"  (Ephesians 5:1,2).

You see a lot of bumper stickers and it seems they are becoming more and more profane as time goes by. Yesterday as Brooksyne and I were driving into Lancaster we saw one that was sacrilegious and mocking of one of the greatest spiritual truths; that "Jesus loves you."  I have often seen Christian pamphlets and bumper stickers with the simple truth expressed "Jesus loves you."  But the twisted message we saw yesterday on the bumper sticker read, "Darwin loves you."

Wayne and Yvette are a young couple from the church we served in New England who have a street ministry seeking to reach the homeless and addicted population.  Their message is simple as they seek an open door to share their faith. They share the wonderful truth that "Jesus loves you" and Wayne told me that this is something many have never heard. It's a timeless message that is life-changing.  We were so pleased that Ester was able to go out with them two weeks ago prior to her surgery and experience this type of outreach.

Today's Scripture verse proclaims that we are "dearly loved children" and looks to the greatest expression of love since time began, that "Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us."  What a personal expression the apostle Paul uses in describing the kind of love Christ has for us when He says we are "dearly loved."  It speaks of the kind of affection a devoted mother has toward her own child.

Some of you just may need to hear this today. You've experienced and perhaps are even presently experiencing great deficiencies in human love; an abandoned spouse, rebellious child or apparent rejection from others in the Body of Christ. In fact we regularly hear from readers who are in the midst of these heartbreaking experiences.  Hear the Word of the Lord today, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

Many around us need to hear this message. It's simple and for many of us so very familiar.  May it never grow old or be taken for granted.  Today look for appropriate ways to share the wonderful message that "Jesus loves you" with the hurting world around us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer: 
Father, the most uplifting and life-changing message from Scripture is that You loved the world so much that You gave Your only Son to die for our sins.  This greatest act of sacrificial love is for all who will call upon Your name….for the successful and for the failure, for the rich and for the poor, for the famous and for the unknown, for those lovely to look upon and for those pitied by others.  Prompt me to generously share the message "Jesus loves you" to a world that is seeking for love in all the wrong places.  Lead me to those whose lives will be changed by this simple but life-changing message.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:
  Lonely people do surround us, but we tend to look the other way when we don't want to take the time. Sometimes we don't reach out for fear of rejection, we struggle for the right words, or we simply lack the courage to do so. 

I can still see the empty and hopeless expression on the face of a carnival worker I saw at a fair in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania many years ago.  I was waiting in line at the merry-go-round when she caught my complete attention.  She collected tickets from the riders and operated the ride but her eyes were glazed and her expression seemed so distant and hopeless.  God spoke to my heart as audibly as I've ever heard Him… "Tell her 'Jesus loves you.'" 

I felt my heart was going to burst as I contemplated her reaction to hearing these words from a complete stranger.  Finally the line moved forward and I put Ester, who was about three years old at the time, on the horse. I stood watching her ride on the Merry-Go-Round, all the while, putting off this conviction from God to be a messenger for Him.  I began saying to myself that I would give this message to the worker after the ride was over.  But I let fear override the conviction from the Holy Spirit.

This experience is so vivid in my memory because it has played over and over in my mind.  I have wondered many times if this was a desperate, lonely woman who simply needed to hear from God.  May we all have godly courage and take the time to seek out the lost and lonely people in our surroundings who may simply need to hear, "Jesus loves you."

"Jesus Loves Me" audio file

Daily photo taken early this morning shows one of the few distasteful aspects about living out in the country!

Photo of manure spreader

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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