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Sometimes children say cute things that are just plain full of deep wisdom! My Grandson, Liam was in the tub a month or so ago playin’ with his toys (now he get’s in tub more than just once a month) and my daughter walked in. Well, little Liam, he’s only 4 years old, looked up at my daughter and said, “Mommy…….Jesus walked on water!” My daughter was just so happy inside, smiled, and said, “Yes Liam…….you’re right!” Liam looked back up at her with this little grin and said, ”but I can’t walk on water…..Jesus is awesome like that!”
My grandson Liam just loves Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman and Ice man! He has the costumes and loves to wear the mask! Just a couple of weeks ago Liam was in the living room and told his mommy, ”Mommy, God is like a super hero isn’t He? He wants to save everybody!”
Well…..you know, Jesus had a special place in His heart for children. And He recognized some things about kids and us as adults, something that maybe some of us have lost: humility, trust and innocence. As Children we are born with an innocence that, as we grow, as adults, we often lose. Have you ever really considered the love of God in your life? DEEPLY? Have you ever really thought beyond what you have been taught about religion and thought about who God is? Why we should love Him, why He loves us and really “HOW” you love God.
Today’s message is called: “TWO BIG BUTS” The first BIG BUT is: “BUT”…… why should I love God? The second BIG BUT is: “BUT”……..how do I love God?
As adults or as people coming into adulthood, when we start to really take ownership of our feelings, our thoughts and beliefs we often come to the table with many obstacles.
We have already felt some emotional pain that few little children have felt. We often are already carrying emotional grief’s that little children rarely have and if nothing else, we have started to questions things in our lives—truths–and we start to need an “intellectual reason” to believe. You know, we sometimes also start to need an “intellectual” reason to LOVE, don’t we?
Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
There is much mystery, BUT, this we do know: Jesus unlocked the mystery for us. As we submit to Jesus, trust Him and trust in His wisdom, indeed, as we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior we start to know and understand the creator of the universe God the father.
Jesus is telling us this: When we start to HUMBLY trust Him as our Lord and Savior, with a child-like trust we actually “enter” into the kingdom.
Let’s take a look at THE FIRST BIG BUT: “BUT” why should I love God?
I asked myself why my grandsons love me? Why do my children love me? The answer is actually very simple because I love them. SO, why should we love God? Because he loves us and you know–God wants us to love Him–just like you want your children to love you..
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
we love because he first loved us.
The next question might be, ”How much does God love us?” Everyone is familiar with John 3:16……
John 3:16 (NIV)
For 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.
Let’s look closer at John 3:16
For God — God is the greatest lover
so loved — His love is the greatest degree
the world — The greatest number
that He gave — this is the greatest act…giving
His one and only Son — Jesus is the greatest gift
that whoever — This is the greatest invitation ever given
believes- – is the greatest simplicity
in Him — the greatest person…….Jesus
shall not perish — the greatest escape
but — is the greatest difference!
have — is the greatest certainty
eternal life — Eternal life is….the greatest destiny!
You see, God loves us in the GREATEST way, with the GREATEST heart and with the deepest love!
Our next question might be, ”Should we love God because he deserves our love?” OR “Should we love God because it’s to our advantage to love Him?”
While both of these questions are true, GOD DESERVES OUR LOVE, and that’s where our focus should be.
If you have children or grandchildren you may be able to identify deeply with the love they have for you. I want you to think about that love as I am talking here. When I come home from work my grandsons are often at the house and the first thing I hear is a big….”GRANDPAAAAAA” from my grandson Liam.
Then little Isaac rushes up to the gate in our family room with a huge smile and his arms stretched up in the air just wanting me to pick him up!
I change my clothes and go into the family room and settle in my big easy chair and little Rhys runs over to me with a big smile and he starts to climb up with me. He’s a “snuggle-baby”!
And then Aiden, with his high little voice, runs over and says, “I love you grandpa.”
NOW THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE!
Why do they love me? Because I love them! Can you see the innocence in the love that your children and grandchildren have for you?
Remember what I said earlier? As adults, or as people coming into adulthood when we start to really take ownership of our feelings, our thoughts and beliefs, we often come to the table with all these obstacles. We have already felt some emotional pain. We often are already carrying emotional grief’s. And, if nothing else, we have started to questions things in our lives and we start to need an “intellectual reason” to believe. Indeed, we often start to need an “intellectual reason” to love.
But what if things were different with our children? What if it went like this:
“So grandpa, why should I love you? There are so many others out there. Why should I love YOU? And why should I trust you? What’s going to happen if I come over to your chair? Will you pick me up or just leave me their standing all alone? I’m afraid of being hurt. You won’t drop me, will you? How do I know that you are my grandpa? People say you are but how do I “know”? How do I KNOW that I know? You know grandpa, I’m doing okay standing right here on the other side of the room. Is it really worth the effort to run over to you?”
What if your kids or grandchildren reacted THAT way? Your heart would ache, wouldn’t it? But they don’t react that way! YOU love them and THEY love you!
Our relationship with God, our Perfect Father, indeed, our relationship with Jesus, is the same way: HE LOVES US and I believe His heart aches when we lose that innocence of youth and question whether he loves us.
“Aiden you don’t understand. I love you more than you will ever know! I want so much for you. I was there WHEN you were born. I loved you BEFORE you were born and I see your past, present and future all in one, every time I look into your eyes. I would die for you in an instant because I love you that much! I have so many things to show you and teach you. I want to see you grow. I want to see every moment and every victory. I know that as you grow Aiden, life will have its challenges, but I sooooo much want to be there with you in those times to love and to encourage you! Aiden, please understand, come across the room and into my arms. There’s a warm place there! We’ll look at family pictures together on the computer. We’ll get on the floor and play games. I love you with all my heart son !”
Why should we love God? Because he loves us. How much does God love us? He loved us enough to die for us in the flesh so that we might have an eternal life with Him.
You see, God loves us in the GREATEST way, with the GREATEST heart, and with the deepest love!
The SECOND BIG BUT that we might have is: BUT how…..do I love God?
The answer to that question is also pretty simple. The answer is simply, to know Jesus, to embrace Him and to trust confidently in His Word and His wisdom. To know Jesus is to know God.
Mark 9:36-37 (NIV)
36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
While we don’t know all there is to know about God, we know enough to be saved. While we don’t have every question answered we can grow in love and compassion. A child doesn’t have every question answered BUT as you love that child they grow in love for you!
God loved us so much that He gave His only son to die on a cross, a horrible death, so that we might live a new life.
I read it best put like this,
“A child comes to a trusted adult without achievements or personal greatness; instead, the child comes simply trusting that he will be received and loved.”
This is the attitude that I work hard to have in my heart each and every day. If you want to know more about Jesus….I invite yo to come forward to pray. If you want to recommit your life you are invited to come forward to pray. If you simply are hurting in some way and need prayer please come forward to pray
Jesus tells us:
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.“
You see, no matter what has happened in your life, no matter what mistakes you have made. no matter how you have been treated in this life, no matter what you have done, no matter what doubts you have or what questions you have–Jesus loves YOU and He wants YOU to love him–not religion!
BUT why love God? Because GOD loves you and wants you to love Him.
God Himself tells us clearly:
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
BUT again, how do you do that? It starts with a decision. Deciding that you want more out of life than what you have been giving it. By making a change in direction, looking at God’s wisdom instead of your own or the world’s. We call this “obeying”
When we admit our sin and turn from it, asking for simple forgiveness we call this “repentance” Turn away from the old life and look to Jesus for a new life. Turn to Jesus! He has a promise for you:
Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV)
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. God said very clearly, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Maybe some of you don’t know Jesus but want to know Him. Maybe you are making this decision for the first time. I invite you to come forward to pray. To change the direction of your life.
Maybe some of you realize that you though you knew Jesus you knew a lot of religion and felt burned by emptiness and it’s sting. The truth is, God, indeed Jesus, LOVES YOU! And he wants you to love Him–and that’s not religion!
Maybe you simply feel that you are being held captive by life and would like someone to pray for you and with you. Now is the time. Maybe it’s an illness that holds you captive. Maybe it’s an addiction. Maybe it’s just simply the world that won’t let you go but YOU WANT TO BE FREE!
JESUS is clearly telling YOU: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus tells us in:
John 8:36 (NIV)
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
I want to ask you……..DO YOU WANT TO BE FREE?
If it’s a new decision–we want to pray with you and stand by your side.
If you simply feel it’s time to recommit your life and your love–we want to pray with you and embrace your life.
If you simply need prayer to heal from the bumps and the grinds of this life–we want to walk beside you and let you know that you aren’t alone!
Oh, how He loves you and oh, how he wants to embrace you and to be in your life.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”