Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
The psalmist repeats the phrase for His steadfast love endure forever for 26 verses! Why? Because he didn’t want the reader to miss it. He wants it to sink in, down deep.
Recently, I got away with many other women of Northstar for the Amazing Love Women’s Retreat. It was a great time of fellowship, fun and rest. Most of all, it was a time to be reminded of just how amazing God’s love is. Like the psalmist, we need the message of God’s steadfast love repeated over and over again in our lives.
We heard from three speakers over the weekend. Jenn Hatcher shared about God’s love for us. Sarah Beyer shared about God’s love in us. And Pam Behal shared about God’s love through us.
Jenn shared that God’s love is not dependent on our circumstances. She shared a beautiful passage:
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as You loved Me. (John 17:23)
Jesus’ prayer was that we would know how much God loves us. He loves us as much as He loves His Son, Jesus.
“..but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
I have read John 17 before, but somehow missed this sweet message. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see my sin. He sees His Son Jesus.
“..for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jenn went on to share from Ephesians 3:17-19:
“..so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Sarah shared next from John 15:1 I am the true vine and My Father the vinedresser.
She shared how we can have a life and heart wrapped up in God when we remember:
- we are the branches not the vine (John 15:4)
- bearing fruit means loving others (John 15:12)
- there is great joy in staying close to God (John 15:11)
We postpone this when we fall to temptation. Sarah shared three temptations that she often falls to: self-pity, self-righteousness and fear.
After Sarah’s time, I had an uninterrupted hour of quiet time. A precious time that allowed me to reflect, pray and be in God’s presence. He is always with me, but it’s not until I am still that I truly sense His presence (Psalm 46:10).
My heart broke thinking back to what Jenn shared from Jesus’s prayer (John 17). He loves me like Jesus! I am a wretch. I confess that I am not always loving. I lash out. I pass judgement. I say hurtful things. I worry and I am fearful. I fall to all the temptations Sarah shared that cut off my closeness with God, self-pity, self-righteousness and fear. But, He loves me anyway, and it is His amazing love that saves me.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NLT) tells me:
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with Him forever.”
During my quiet time, His sweet Spirit is with me, ministering to me just how much He loves me. He chose me. He forgives me.
I think about what Jenn shared from Psalm 103:12:
“.. as far as the east is from the west so far does he removed our transgressions from us.”
She went on to explain that if you start going north you would eventually meet up with south. But, east and west never meet up. I love this illustration! God’s love is perfect. His forgiveness of sin is true. He remembers them no more (Jeremiah 31:34)!
I get glimpse of what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 3:17-19. The love of Christ is wide, deep and high. The words from of a Third Day song, Show Me Your Glory come to my mind:
I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I’ll never be the same
Some questions had been prepared for us to pray about during this time too.
- Is there anything you are withholding from God?
- What are you clinging to besides Jesus?
- What are you worried about?
- What do you need to trust God with right now instead of trying to control it?
My children. This is my answer. Since becoming a mother, I have struggled with fear and anxiety. My mind is crowded by “what if’s.” I have become a helicopter parent. I think somehow this is the way to protect my children.
I read Joshua 3-4. It’s the account of the people of Israel crossing the Jordan. When I get to Joshua 3:10, I pause.
“And Joshua said, Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail.”
Living God and He will without fail jump out at me and come alive in my heart. Our God is a living God. He will not fail. The immeasurable love God has for me, He has for my children too. I would like to think that no one could love my children more than my husband and I do. But, God does! I can trust God with my children because He loves them.
There is another line from that Third Day song that I make my prayer as I leave my quiet time:
When I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won’t settle for ordinary things
I’m gonna follow You forever
And for all of my days
I won’t rest ’til I see You again
I am so thankful for this intimate time of praise and worship with my Heavenly Father. I get a beautiful glimpse of His amazing love. I am not the same because of it. As my quiet time came to an end, I am reminded that His presence is always with me.
“..for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
I am in awe of Your love for me. Because of Your love, you sent Jesus. Jesus took the punishment for my sin. So that when you look at me, you don’t see my sin. This is amazing love! Thank you. My prayer for others is that they will know and experience Your Amazing love. We don’t have to be at a mountian retreat to feel your closeness. You are everywhere. If we would just be still, we would feel your nearness. Help us be still.