In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. [10] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11

Since I was a small boy I can remember singing, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Do you know the song? Do you also know for a fact that Jesus loves you? I'm not just asking if you know the information. More than 2 + 2 = 4; more than some impersonal factoid, do you know that Jesus loves you? Have you experienced God's love for you personally?

It's only been more recently in my life that I've known in my heart that God loves me, that He really loves me. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this. I mean, why does a 40-something-year-old man need to know that God loves him? That's for kids, right? How stunned I was to have God meet me in such a powerful, personal way, and immerse me in this idea of His great love for me personally. I came to experience — to know, not just with my head but with my heart, His great love. Here's good news: God loves you, too!

How does God love you? Let's count the ways…

Isaiah 49:16 says He loves you so much that He engraved your name on the palm of His hand.
Matthew 10:30 says He loves you so much that He knows how many hairs are on your head.
Psalm 56:8 says He loves you so much that He saves your tears in a bottle.
Jeremiah 31:3 says He loves you with an everlasting love.

God's love is very personal toward you. It doesn't matter where you've been, it doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter what you've experienced — God loves you. It doesn't matter what you have thought about yourself or what other people may have said about you —God loves you. This is what God says about you! You are honored, you are precious in His eyes (Isaiah 43:4). Isn't that an amazing thing?

Most often when the Bible attempts to express God's love, it makes a beeline for the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is God's statement of just how much He loves you. When you think of the immensity of God's love, the first thing the Bible often asks us to do is to consider the price that was paid.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

What makes this love so amazing is that it is highlighted against the backdrop of a debt that each one of us owes. At the core of God's being is His holiness. In order for us to have any kind of relationship with Him, we have to find a way for our sins to be forgiven. Problem is, there's nothing we can do to accomplish that — it's too big of a debt. We can't buy God's favor, we can't work for it, we can't ever be good enough to earn it. God's holiness demanded that sin be paid for, and then God's love found a way. I proclaim this great love to you today. God loves you with an everlasting love that words fail to describe. —James MacDonald