DAY 2 - FOR GOD SO LOVED
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Read the Bible verses related to each devotion.
Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.
READ: John 3:1-21
Ok, so let’s take a look at the heart of the Father. Let’s look at His love towards you. I know what you might be thinking, “I know that God loves me.” I am sure that you do. But, there may be more. In fact, I know that there is more. His love for you is immeasurable. However, Jesus, who flawlessly displays the Father in heaven, shares a BIG part of God’s love in 25 incredible words.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
FOR GOD SO LOVED
This is seriously one of the most reassuring statements of all time. Let’s look at this more clearly (read the words slowly and let God speak back to you; let the Holy Spirit teach you while you read). “For God so loved.” This is awesome! God loved you before the foundation of the world. His relationship with you, it started in His love, and not in your good intentions. Let me explain.
Have you ever done something good, even extraordinary, and then people you never knew started to like you? Or people that didn’t really reach out previously to you started to talk with you? And then when you do something wrong, it seems the whole world turns against you. You feel rotten inside, and people don’t look at you the same way. As a result, you learn to perform; you learn to do the right things to get the right response from others. Maybe you put out the type of post that will get a certain response and make you feel better (I am not saying this is wrong). Instead, I am sharing about how our emotions work. If we do something good, we feel good, and people seem to like us. If we do something truly wrong, we feel horrible, and people don’t seem to like us. But it is not that way with God.
“For God so loved the world.” God’s relationship with you is not based on your performance. He did not start liking you one day because of how good you did in school, how well your business did, or how little you sinned last week. God, the Amazing Father, loved you, loves you, and will love you for all eternity. You cannot earn it. This is the most immense, perfectly perfect love—God’s love. God loves you and wants to be with you forever. TODAY, believe that you don’t have to do anything to earn His love, and rest in His desire and plan for you.
HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
Jesus, the Son of God, whom the Father loves, is the Father’s main JOY (this is His greatest TREASURE). The Father willingly gave His only Son to us. But let’s look a little bit closer at the one word “gave.”
The Father gave His greatest treasure. No one took it from Him. Instead He gave Jesus willingly. Why? Because He First loved you. Remember, this is all rooted in love. He did this, through the cross, to set you free from sin, so that you could be with Him forever.
Consider for a moment, do your sins make you feel distant from God? Does your sinful past haunt you daily? The cross of Christ has the power to restore you to worship God; to love Him and be loved by Him. The cross reveals the character of God: His love and justice. He loves the lost sinner, and His justice is perfect in your life. At the cross, those who turn to Him are delivered from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the pain of sin. Truly, the cross is the place where the pain of sin is healed; the cross is more powerful than what has been done to you; the cross is more powerful than what I’ve done.
If you suffer from ANY emotional problems—guilt, anxiety, depression, anger…etc.—there is healing in the cross of Christ (1 Peter 2:24; Heb. 12:2). If you are going through tragedy or suffering, there is absolute healing and peace as you meditate upon the cross: the perfect Lamb who was slain for you. You receive God’s righteousness and favor because of what Jesus did on the cross, not because of your good works (Rom. 3:21-31). To receive God’s saving grace, it is necessary to sincerely repent.
TODAY, believe that you are worth it. The Father “gave” His only Son that you might live with Him for eternity. He did this to set you free from sin, so that you could be with Him forever.
Next let’s take a closer look at the word “believe.” Remember we have set the foundations that (1) God the Father loves you. (2) He gave Jesus, because of love, to set you free from sin. Now you must “believe.” You must believe in God, and your faith must be alive inside of you.
You must believe God. (“Belief” is a verb, while “faith” is a noun.) Next, you are transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is important to note that you are not saved by repentance. Instead, you’re saved when you “believe” in the kingdom of God and Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). You can repent (say you are wrong and asked for forgiveness), but never believe in God.
Here are several ways you can believe:
Believing in facts: Your faith must be based on the TRUTH of who God is and what He thinks and feels about you. You should not believe in or have faith in any other secular or humanistic idolatry.
Believing is personal: Your faith must be alive inside of you. Belief starts when you agree with God in your mind and His word comes alive to empower your will. When you hear information and knowledge about God—and you agree with truth—then you have an active testimony, which brings life.
Believing is verbal: You must confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and Savior; you declare this first to Him and then to others (Rom. 10:9-10).
Believing is practical: When you believe in God then you will obey; believing is accepting and acting on those truths. Believing God affects your life of obedience. When you believe God in a living, personal way, then you can leave duty based-obedience and turn toward affection-based obedience (John 6:28-29; Acts 6:7).
Believing is continual: You must continue to believe God no matter how long it takes for the promises to be fulfilled (John 3:16; 20:31).
So how does this affect today? Trust Him. Believe in Him. Believe in His words. Believe in what the Holy Spirit has said. Rest in these two simple truths: He loved you before the foundation of the world, and He gave His only Son to set you free from the penalty, power, and pain of sin.
God wants to be with you forever, but you will not boringly play a harp and sit upon a cushiony cloud. God’s ultimate and eternal purpose for creation is to provide a family for Himself that includes faithful children and an equally yoked Bride for Jesus as His eternal companion.
Your value is not measured in the sum of your past mistakes. God desires to be with you FOREVER. God promised to give Jesus an inheritance consisting of a people whom He fully possesses in love. “I (the Father) will give You (Jesus) the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Ps. 2:8). TODAY, rise above the present pain and the past failures, and set your mind on the pleasure of eternity; live as a citizen of heaven. May you know that you are loved infinitely by the Father in heaven.
ACTION4U: Read over (John 3:16) again, slowly. As you do, what phrase stuck out to you? In the space provided below, write down why you feel God highlighted this phrase.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
PRAYER4U: “Father, You are a good Father. I know that You love me. Thank you for giving me this phrase (repeat the phrase He gave you from John 3:16). Today, I pray that you would touch my heart with Your tender love. Fill me with Your affections.”
ACTION4ONE: Today, you are going to just say “Hi” to the person. Just reach out and say, “Hi, how is it going?” (Examples of how to reach out: text messaging, social media, walk by their house, say hello at work, reach out at school, etc…).
PRAYER4ONE: “Father, today I ask that You would reveal to them how much you love them. Help them open their hearts to You. Thank you for the phrase (repeat the phrase He gave you from; John 3:16). Fill their hearts with this same kind of love. And help me to be a bright light in their lives.”
Have you been blessed by this and want to be a blessing?