Monday, July 28, 2014

Your love is extravagant...


The praise and worship time in the evening service was coming to an end. I had my eyes closed, lost in the music, feeling the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so real, as if His arms were wrapped around me. I opened my eyes and looked down at the Bible book cover on the seat in front of me. It was as if my Savior was speaking to me through the words I was reading on the cover. There was an embroidered daisy with three small petals gently drifting down, and beside each petal were the words...
                    “He loves me”
                                  ”He loves me”
                                                ”He loves me”
...usually a girl playing the daisy game alternately speaks the phrases, "He loves me," and "He loves me not," while picking one petal off a daisy for each phrase. The phrase she speaks when picking off the last petal supposedly represents the truth about the object of her affection loving her or not.

As the music faded and I sat down, I knew I had just experienced one of those moments. There was no doubt in my mind or my heart, I knew it was real, it was the Truth, my Savior loves me with an everlasting love and underneath are His everlasting arms...He loves me...He loves me...He loves me...

In his book, The Ultimate Conversation: Talking with God Through Prayer, Dr. Charles Stanley writes, “Your intimacy with God–His first priority in your life–determines the impact of your life.” Stanley goes on to say there was a time in his life when he wrestled with knowing God more deeply. He couldn’t identify what the encumbrance was, no matter how much he sought the Lord and prayed. Then, he called his four closest friends, who were all godly men, and said, “God is trying to teach me something, but I don’t know what it is and I need your help to figure it out.”  He says they conversed for several hours.

Finally, he writes that one of the men said, “Charles, put your head on the table and close your eyes.” 
Stanley says he did this and quietly the man asked him, “Imagine your father just picked you up in his arms and held you. What do you feel?” The friend knew Dr. Stanley’s father had died when he was nine months old and that his loss had had a tremendous impact on Stanley’s life.

Dr. Stanley says he immediately began crying, and he continued weeping for a long time. Still, Stanley says, he did not understand what was causing so much emotion. The friend again asked, “What do you feel Charles?” Stanley writes, “The feelings were so overpowering, it was a long time before I could answer him. At last I replied, “I felt hugged, like I was warm and secure. I felt…loved.”

He realized that until that day, he had never really experienced God’s love. He said he told others about God’s love, but had never truly sensed it for himself. Stanley says, “That day changed my life. The time with four of my friends transformed my ministry and everything I felt about the Christian life; the Father’s love had become real to me and extremely powerful.”

Dr. Stanley invites us to do the same, writing: “I challenge you to do the same. Put your head down and imagine the Father holding you. You may be surprised by the emotions you feel. You may, as I did, realize His overwhelming love for you. You may realize that you’ve been running away from Him all of your life when all you’ve wanted to do is feel safe in your heavenly Father’s arms. Be still and allow God to deal with whatever emotions and issues arise. He will draw you into a deeper, more intimate relationship than you have ever known. Trust Him.”
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. —Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Take a few minutes to be encouraged by Darrell Evans’ song, Your Love Is Extravagant...
Your love is extravagant...Your friendship intimate...I find I'm moving to the rhythms of Your grace...Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place...

Was this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!


Linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Hearas an encourager.

18 comments:

  1. Oh Beth....how perfect this is for me today...going to put my head down, right now and spend time with Him, being loved.
    T H A N K Y O U <3

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    1. Mary, I'm so glad this was a blessing to you at this tender time. It is encouraging to me to know it was helpful to you. Many blessings to you, sweet friend.

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  2. This was such a blessing to me right now. I would love to share this feeling of love and tenderness with others today. Thank you for sharing this with us. Such a blessing to my heart.

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    1. Pamela, thank you for stopping by my post this morning and leaving your sweet comment...I am praying for you, not knowing what your "right now" challenge may be...your post on your blog today was encouraging to me, also. I love Jesus Calling devotionals, especially the one you shared, and your photos are spectacular! Your description of the kindness of your Daddy reminded me of my own sweet Daddy, who said and did many kind things like your Daddy to help "lift my head." You also might like the book, Hinds' Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard, which takes its title from Habakkuk 3:19, "The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places."

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    1. Karen, thank you for your comment...it is blessing to know that sharing what our Lord has used to encourage me encourages others :)

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  4. This is beautiful. We forget how powerful it is to remember that we are loved. To camp there for a while and soak in the love of God. Thank you for sharing this much-needed message today and for sharing your gift of writing.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. It is such a joy to link-up with so many ladies over at Holley's place, who love the Lord, and love to share with others how God is working in our lives through our writing :)

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  5. Yes, Jesus loves me.

    When all that's said and done, that's all that will matter.

    How simple it all was after all ...

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    1. Linda, that is so true...simple, childlike faith, Praise His Holy Name!

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  6. Wonderful post. Amazing to think on the truth that He not only loves me but that there is no "He loves me not" with God. So glad to have stopped here from Coffee For Your Heart this morning. Blessings!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by...so happy to hear you were encouraged this morning :)

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  7. Loved reading this post, Beth! I had a similar experience one lovely summer morning while taking a walk. I looked, really looked, as I walked along and noticed tons of wild daisies blooming by the roadside. I stopped, picked one, and the old school ritual of 'he loves me, he loves me not' came to mind. And suddenly, the love of Jesus flooded my soul and I could hear Him whisper, "I love you, I really love you!" He does love us extravagantly! I love that song too, and I'll be singing it all day now. Thanks for reminding me, my sweet friend.

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    1. Cindy, that's so sweet! Isn't that neat how He reveals His love for us in so many ways, so many places. The reason I chose "Your Love is Extravagant" as the song to include on this post is because that was the praise and worship song we were singing in the service when I looked down and saw that Bible book cover with the embroidered daisy...I have looked for that cover on many web sites, but never found one just like it...it was special...thank you for sharing your experience with me dear friend :)

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  8. I was a Daddy's girl and still love to hear him say he is proud of me. I can't wait to try this exercise! :)

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    1. Sarah, thanks for stopping by and leaving your sweet comment from over at Holley’s place… I loved your post this week…especially your last line… “He will make your face light up.” As soon as I read it, the Lord reminded me of a verse from The Message with the phrase…”He put a smile on my face”…so I did a search on Biblegateway.com and found 5 references with that phrase…thought you would enjoy them :)
      https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=smile+on+my+face&qs_version=MSG

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  9. I love the way God loves us...thank you for reminding us of this today, Beth!

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    1. Thank you, Holley, I love the transparency of Dr. Stanley's experience, it helps us get in touch with our inner child, the one who is curled up in the arms of Jesus, greatly blessed, highly favored, deeply loved, amen?

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