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Dear Partner,

All Christians have some understanding of the love of the Father. We have all known how His love was expressed through the sacrifice of His Son as our substitute for sin. If we could only have one verse from the bible, surely it would be:

John 3:16   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Without that first level of understanding our Father's great love we could not even be saved. But I think we often stop far short of truly knowing and receiving the fullness His love for us. Because we do not receive the fullness of His love for us we also fall short of sharing His love for others especially His love for wicked, mean, evil people. For years I had the hardest time understanding what Jesus meant when He said,

Luke 6:27-28   But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

When people hate us, curse us, and despitefully use us our normal reaction is to get defensive and cry out to God for "our" deliverance from such bad circumstances. When we are being mistreated like that our perception is something like, "I am in trouble. These people are really doing me wrong. Oh God please deliver me." We feel like "we" are the ones in trouble. But from God's perspective, if we are the born-again person on our way to heaven and the person who hates us, curses us, and is despitefully using us is unsaved and on his way to Hell who is the person in trouble here? It's that sinner who is in danger of eternal damnation not us!

Luke 6:35-36   But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Jesus says our Father is kind to the unthankful and the evil. When we stop to think about it, wasn't that the way He was with us before we were saved? All of us were sinners having the nature of sin and death passed down to us from our forefather Adam. Paul plainly describes our plight before we heard and believed the gospel:

Eph 2:12   That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.

We were lost and undone. We were without God and without hope. Even though most of us tried to be "good people" we all know that there was plenty of selfishness and evil tendencies in our hearts. Did God withhold his rain from us while we were in that state? Did the sun only shine on the just and the good?

Mat 5:45b   For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

The bible never says God is power, although in truth He has all power. The bible says, "God is love." It doesn't say He merely "has" love. No, it says He "is" love. The most supreme being of all is love. We have a hard time understanding Him. When we are being mistreated we normally think about "our" deliverance from these wicked people. What God is after is that we learn to receive the fullness of His love. He desires that what HE treasures becomes what we treasure. What is His treasure? In a word PEOPLE!

God cares about each of His children and our circumstances. But much more important to Him is the eternal soul of that wicked person who is treating us so badly. I long for the day when HIS love for that wicked person truly becomes MY love for that wicked person also. I long to love the wicked the same way my Father loves the wicked.

1 John 4:16   And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Notice John says first we have to "know" the love that God has to us. Then we have to "believe" the love that God has to us. Then as we learn to "dwell" in our Father's love, the more we also learn to "dwell" in God and the more God is able to "dwell" in us. Let us continue to place the highest priority on knowing, believing, and dwelling in the love of God.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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