The word “love” gets tossed around a lot these days. People will tell you that they love chocolate, or their car, they love football, or sun bathing. We tend to say we love a lot of things. The problem is when a word is tossed around with regularity and irreverence, it tends to loss its true meaning. For instance, when a spouse, child, or grandparent, call out, “I love you,” we tend not to even think about what they are saying. And, because of our familiarity with the phase, we throw it back without any more thought than we received it, “I love you, too,” and off we all go about our business. Do any of you find that to be a sad thing? The greatest love that we will ever encounter is not the love you have for chocolate, or your new pickup truck – but God’s love for you. But even this greatest of all “loves” has sadly, grown stale to us. If I would ask you if you believe that Jesus loves you, how would you answer? My guess is you’d say, “Sure.” And, you would be correct, but does your simple acknowledgment of God’s love, take the journey into your hearts and then from there into your souls, where it can grow and help you become a person who truly knows what love is? Brennan Manning, who I think understood the depth of God’s love for us more than almost anyone, once told this story to try to help us break through our cold and sometimes callous response to God’s love. He tells about what Edward Farrell’s uncle said to him on the day of his 80th birthday. The two were walking along the shores of Lake Killarney in Ireland. They stopped to watch the sunrise. As they stood there, Ed glanced at his uncle and saw that his face had broken into a broad smile. Ed said, “Uncle Seamus, you look very happy.” “I am,” Ed asked, “How come?” His uncle replied, “The father of Jesus is very fond of me.” I know you know that God loves you – but are you aware that God is also very fond of you? The idea that God is “fond” of you, probably makes you feel a little uncomfortable. It seems so personal and so intimate doesn’t it? But you know what? Uncle Seamus is right, God is very fond of you. And we need to be able to embrace that truth to the point where we too can say, “Yes, the God is very fond of me. He knows me and loves me. God is head-over-heal in love with me.” I want to challenge you embrace this reality. Throughout the coming week, at least a dozen times each day, take a moment to stop what you are doing, be still and in the silence of the moment whisper out these words: “God is very fond of me.” I think this will help you recapture this eternal truth that seems to have gotten a bit lost: God loves you. Always will. He just can’t help it. He’s just that fond of you!” ~ Pastor Dan P.S. Next Wednesday’s devotion will look at why God loves you so much.
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