JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the motivation behind the cross.
In the shame and guilt of our sins, we needed a Savior, and that is where Jesus has stepped into the world at the right time to provide the solution for our greatest need.
John 3:16 reveals the heart of God’s love for the people of the world. That is why He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Love was God’s motivation for sending us Jesus.
First John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Because of Jesus’ accomplishment at the cross, the price has been paid. We have a pathway to get out of the prison of our shame through faith in Jesus Christ. He is our bridge to true and lasting peace and freedom, and a fulfilling relationship with God that lasts forever.
The sacrifice of Jesus at the cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Acts 10:34 and 35.
Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
Peter made this statement at the house of Cornelius, who was a military commander in the Roman army. Cornelius was a Gentile, and Peter was a Jew. Peter had the opportunity to share the Gospel with Cornelius and his household. At the same time, Peter was learning that this Gospel was not confined to national boundaries, but would be good news to all who embraced the testimony of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
This truth could be instrumental in stopping racism today. The starting place for mending strained relations of any kind is opening our heart to the love of God.
Embracing God’s love for people of every race and nationality is a vital-relationship building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – This week’s Relationship-Building Principles examine how inviting God’s presence into our lives is healthy for our relationships.
Where God’s Presence is welcome, there is love.
First John 4, verses 7 and 8 are all about love, and how God’s love motivates us to reach out to others.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Then we learn what kind of love the Apostle John is talking about. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
The love of Jesus was demonstrated through His service and sacrifice. There was no doubting that the expression of His love at the cross was authentic. God was demonstrating his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Having faith in Jesus gives us access to this power to love others selflessly and sincerely, with the heart of service and sacrifice.
Having the love of God is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – In Ephesians 3:18, the Apostle Paul prayed that we might grasp the height of God’s love for us.
God’s love is tall to the extreme. Psalm 103:11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” His love is destined to take His people to new heights, because Jesus said that He would come back and take His followers to be with Him in heaven.
Another way of looking at the height of God’s love is to consider a tower. The name of the Lord is compared to a strong tower that provides safety for the righteous. Towers in cities typically become landmarks for visitors. They might become tourist attractions. They have names that become famous worldwide. The love of God stands tall as a place of refuge in times of danger or uncertainty. We are wise to run there and draw attention to the love of God expressed through the testimony of Jesus.
The height of God’s love is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – In Ephesians 3:18, the Apostle Paul prayed that we might grasp the length of God’s love for us.
The length of God’s love can be considered in light of distance and time. Jesus came from heaven to earth to rescue us from the wages of sin. Isaiah 59:1 says, “The arm of the Lord is not too short to save.” Wherever we are in this world, we are never beyond His reach. As a familiar worship song declares, “You came from heaven to earth to show the way. From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord, I lift your name on high.”
On the time line, the length of God’s love can be compared to an infinite line. The LORD is described in Deuteronomy 33:27 as the eternal God. He has always been, still is, and always will be God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have a connection with God the Father, which lasts forever. We will never have to say tearful good-byes in heaven.
The length of God’s love is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – In Ephesians 3:18, the Apostle Paul prayed that we might grasp the width of God’s love for us.
John 3:16 tells us that 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 is wide enough to extend around the world and draw people of all cultures into His eternal family. The one thing that His people have in common is that they have received His gift of grace through Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished for us at the cross.
As we come into fellowship with God through faith in Jesus, He removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west.
The width of God’s love reveals the global impact of His love to reach every nation by the end of the age, and the personal impact of His love to separate us from our sins.
The width of God’s love is a lesson of faith worth remembering.