Transformation Garden - Aug 21, 2010

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"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God…for God is love."
I John 4: 7, 8, K.J.V.

EXPLORATION 

God's Gift of Understanding 

Day 3: Gaining an understanding of God as my Lover.

"The love of the Father is like a sudden rain shower that will pour forth when you least expect it, catching you up into wonder and praise."
Richard J. Foster

Why is it important for me to know and accept God's love in my life?

"Some of us believe God is almighty and may do everything, and that He is all-wisdom and can do everything, but that He is all-love and wishes to do everything - there we stop short.  It is this ignorance; it seems to me, that hinders most of God's lovers."
Julian of Norwich

INSPIRATION 

"We love God because He first loved us."
I John 4: 19, K.J.V.

In a world where so many of the gifts of God have been tarnished by the perversions of humans, no gift has taken quite such a "hit" as the blessing it was meant to be, than the gift of God's love.

Love, as the central core of the character of God was demonstrated at creation and is the vein of gold that if followed is fully revealed in the act of our redemption - our ultimate returning to the waiting arms of God - our complete Lover.

Because "love" - God's love - is so key to our understanding ourselves and our place in this world, it is no wonder that so much evil force has been directed at reducing the human understanding of this elemental emotion and vital quality that is the essence of who God is.

To even say, "God is my Lover" can raise eyebrows and foster strange questions.  Yet, if we don't understand and embrace God's quality of love offered freely by our Father, we will never be able to have the deep relationships with others that we were created for and meant to experience.

In the Bible, it was the disciple John, often called the "beloved" disciple, who wrote most frequently about a love he obviously grasped in his own life - an expansive, all-encompassing love that so opened up his own soul, he longed to encourage others to share in this embracing, comforting and fulfilling love which brought him so much joy.  All throughout the books in the New Testament which carry his name - John and 1,2,3 John - this disciple tried to illuminate the love given to you and me by our Heavenly Father and as seen in the life of Jesus when He was on earth.

The fact is that it was John who most clearly revealed in His writings that Jesus was the embodiment of the Father's love and that it was this love which Jesus came to show us.  For blinded as we have become to the  beauty and healing power of love, if not for the revelation of Jesus here on earth, you and I may never have come to understand at all what it means to have a Father who is love.

So I have asked myself, "What does it mean to have God as my Lover?  How does the acceptance of God's love affect my life?" 

The disciple John, evidently had thought about these questions too, for he wrote, "We love Him because He first loved us."  As John said, "It is God's love, this love that completely embraces me and all I am, which if I accept will teach me to love."  Why is this important?  If I don't' or can't or won't accept God as my Lover, how can I in turn ever love myself or love the other individuals in my life.

Charles Hodge, the principal at Princeton Theological Seminary during the 1800's explained the impact of a clearer perception of God's love in our lives, this way:

"We can love (God) because He loved us.  (God's love) produces gratitude, delight, zeal, filial reverence, obedience.  (God's love) elevates the soul above the creature.  This is its legitimate effect.  Where God is understood, and where His love is really enjoyed, these effects follow."

How refreshing it is to begin to capture the realization that by accepting an indwelling of God's love in my life, a natural transformation in my daily living will take place.  As John of the Cross expressed so eloquently, "A soul enkindled with love is a gentle, meek, humble, and patient soul."  I know this is the kind of person I long to be.  This is possible for each of us, as we open our hearts to the unlimited gift of love from our Heavenly Father.  God as my lover refines me, elevates me, purifies me, and makes me whole.  All I have to do to receive this love is say, "Yes." In the words of Edwina Gately:

                        "I do not need
                        To pursue God.
                        I do not need
                        To chant and cry aloud.
                        I do not need
                        To seek out holy places,
                        Blessed shrines
                        And holy signs,
                        I need only,
                        O God,
                        I need only to whisper—
                        Yes."

            Let us whisper, "yes," to God our Lover, today.

            "All God can give us is His love; and this becomes tangible - a burning soul - it sets us on fire."
Brother Roger

AFFIRMATIONS 

Our prayer today is taken from The Book of Uncommon Prayer written by Steven Case for Youth Ministry.  This prayer of celebration regarding love, I believe, gives a glimpse into the broader power meant to infuse our lives when we accept God as our Lover.

LOVE 

            "God, the darkest night can still have hope
            When there's love.
            The coldest winter can still have warmth
            When there's love.
            Standing by ourselves we don't feel alone
            When there's love.
            Finding our way in the dark isn't as hard as we thought
            When there's love.
            There's help for the lost
            When there's love.
            There's a bed for the tired
            When there's love.
            There's food for the hungry
            When there's love.
            There's shelter for the homeless
            When there's love.
            There's relief for the sick
            When there's love.
            There's time together
            When there's love.
            We can accomplish anything
            When there's love.
            We can stop the fighting
            When there's love.
            We can hear the cries of the helpless
            When there's love.
            We find that one special person
            When there's love.
            We can choose the right path every time
            When there's love.
            We can be your children
            When there's love.
            Amen.

Your friend,
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@Transformationgarden.com

P.S.  My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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