Easter - The Greatest Act of Love

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Dear Friends,

Last year I joined the Facebook group 'COME Together' (Christians Overcoming ME Together) and I have joined their team of writers for their quarterly newsletter. Today's devotional is from my first article in that newsletter.
Easter - The Greatest Act of Love

The greatest act of love the world has ever known was at Easter. God sent his Son because he loved you and me so much. It was his purpose that Jesus would give his life for us that we might have and know a loving relationship with God. 

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT) 

Jesus' love for us was so great that he willingly submitted to his Father's will, taking upon himself our sins as he hung on the cross. Never has there been and never will there be such an act of love given on behalf of another. 

Christ "loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us". Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) 

Sometimes we find it hard to accept God's love for us. It's unlike any other kind of love we will ever experience. God's love is free, unconditional, without limits, and extravagant. 

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians and also for us was that we might "have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is." Ephesians 3:18 (NLT) 

God loves us and accepts us as we are and yet we can struggle to believe this because for much of our lives we may have been taught that people's love and acceptance of us is based on our appearance, our performance or behaviour. If we didn't meet their standards we faced rejection. 

So often our worth and identity are wrapped up in what we do and the roles we fulfil. I found it so hard when I first became ill with M.E because I was no longer able to fulfil those roles. I felt I had lost my identity and my self-worth plummeted as a result. But God took me on a journey, he taught me that it wasn't necessary to strive to earn his love because he had already chosen to love me. He loved me for me and I was able to spend time just being with him. 

God taught me that my identity is found in him – as his beloved child. I love the verse in 1 John 3:1 from the NIV translation: "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

Do you know that as his child, God lavishes his love on us? Don't you just love that word "lavished"? It means extravagant, generous, abundant, bountiful, and overflowing. That's a great description of God's love for us. 

God taught me that I am worth loving – not because of anything I do, not because of anything I own, or because of the way I look – but because he chose to create me and to redeem me. By sending Jesus to die for me, he paid the highest price imaginable. It cost him everything, but I was worth the price. You are worth the price. You and I are valuable in his eyes. 

Because of Easter, nothing can separate us from God's love: 

"So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!" Romans 8:38-39 (The Passion Translation). 

Sometimes it's easier to believe this in our heads than to believe it in our hearts. We know the truth of God's Word, yet somehow it gets lost in translation so that it doesn't always make it to our hearts. I think it's because the things others have said to us and the things we have said to ourselves have become firmly entrenched in our minds over time. So, we need to keep reminding ourselves of God's truth until it eventually becomes fixed in our hearts. 

Finally, this is my prayer for each one of us: 

I ask him [God] to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19 (MSG)

To Think About:
Can I encourage you to make some time to be quiet with God and meditate on any of the verses I have mentioned here? 

Ask God to help you to believe in your heart that you are deeply loved and accepted by him. 

How can you show that same love and acceptance to those around you? Is God bringing someone to your mind who really needs to know they are loved and accepted? How will you show them love and acceptance this week? 


If what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon, on Kindle or in paperback. (Its content is material adapted from past blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:


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