Understanding the Love of God

My husband and I have a very international ministry in a large city in Japan. As a result, I have had contact with ladies from multiple countries and cultures. There have been times when I ask individual ladies what their greatest struggle is.  The answer almost always has to do with feeling loved. If I were to ask them if they believed that God loves them, they would answer ‘yes’ because the Bible tells us this is true. But they lack that deep down in the heart assurance that God loves them personally, not just God so loves the world. This is something I have struggled with in my own life.  

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 has much to say about the love of God. Prior to this prayer, he spends time addressing the issue that the Jew and the Gentile are one in Christ.  Ephesians 2:18 says that both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father through the Spirit.  In chapter 3:14 it is for this cause, referring back to the truths of the unity of these believers, that Paul offers this prayer in chapter three. In the latter half of verse seventeen, Paul asks that they would be rooted and grounded in love. To be rooted is to be strengthened with roots, like a tree that has deep roots. It is fixed or unmoved. If something is grounded, it has a strong foundation. It is stable. Paul was praying that they would be strengthened or fixed and stable in God’s love. When my husband and I are stateside, we are in the southern states. We can have some pretty horrific storms here. The trees with shallow roots can topple quite easily. The trees with deep roots stand firm and strong when the storms come and the winds blow. When we are rooted in the love of God, we can be stable like the deep-rooted trees when the storms of life come.

In verse eighteen, Paul prays that they would be able to comprehend the love of Christ. To truly comprehend something is the idea of laying hold or taking possession of it.  When you truly comprehend the love of Christ, it becomes a part of you. You can’t forget it. You won’t doubt it. If your mind begins to question, you will be able to refute it because of what God has taught you. The terms breadth, length, depth, and height all suggest the great extent of this love. 

In verse nineteen, Paul continues to pray that they would know the love of Christ. This means we have to learn or be taught this love.  It isn’t something that we automatically know or believe deep down in our hearts.  It surpasses our limited knowledge.  We can’t have the smallest little bit of understanding of it without the aid of the Holy Spirit. As we come to understand this great love, then we will be filled with all the fullness or abundance of God and continue to grow spiritually strong.  It seems impossible to understand or comprehend all of this, but God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could possibly think to ask. 

While these verses tell us about God’s great love for us, don’t overlook the fact that this is a prayer.  We have to pray and ask God to help us understand His great love for us.  Our comprehension and understanding have to come from Him. We can’t possibly understand this kind of love unless He opens our understanding.

I remember the day clearly when God began to show me His great love for me. It changed everything. I no longer question His love and if a question does enter my mind, I am able to refute it with what God has taught me. Maybe you have a friend that is struggling and she doesn’t believe that God loves her. Maybe you are struggling with this and believe that God loves others more than He loves you. I have a list of ladies (including myself) that I pray these verses for regularly. Instead of praying, “God bless my friend” or “God help me today” pray these verses instead. Dig deep into God’s Word and wait patiently for Him to answer.  This is a prayer that He delights to answer. 

Psalm 91

The group memorizing Psalm 91 at Do Not Depart is finished according to the schedule.  I am still working on it.  I’ve been struggling with the last few verses.  I’ve also been struggling with the meaning behind some of the verses.  We know that God allows pain and suffering to those who love Him, so what does He mean when He says, “No evil shall come nigh thy dwelling.”  I have done some study on my own, read my study Bible notes and notes in a commentary.

You may remember that I have been pretty much confined to a chair due to a recent injury.  Today I took the time to go back and read the posts that were written about each week’s memory verses.  I would encourage you to do that even if you didn’t memorize the chapter.  They were such a blessing to me and gave me much to think about.  We live in such tumultuous times.  God is our peace.  It is my prayer that we will all run to Him for protection.

Here are a few of the most thought-provoking statements in those blog posts to me.  I wanted to write them out for my future reference and thought I would share them with you.  If you read the posts or have been meditating on Psalm 91, please share some of your thoughts in the comments so we can encourage one another.  I linked to each post in the Bible reference.

Psalm 91:1-2, “Regardless of the devastation that the coronavirus threatens us with, we can rest assured that if we stay in our shelter, once the storm passes, our souls will have survived.

And we will still be with God. Together.

He’ll help us pick up the pieces and put our lives back together. Then, as now, He will remain our refuge, our fortress, our God.

In Him we can trust.”

Psalm 91:3-4, “The mouse had taken the bait. And lost his battle.

We, however, don’t have to take the bait of worrying, of panicking, of complaining. We can go higher. Call for help. Avoid the traps.

God knows where our traps have been set, and if we’ll shelter in His nest, we will be safe. He’s got this. Let’s let him fight this one for us.

Count on His faithfulness.
Trust His goodness.
Rest in His love.”

Psalm 91:5-6, “We have a safe place in Jesus, despite our vulnerability in the world.

Ultimately, vulnerability isn’t our weakness. It’s our opportunity—to run to safe refuge in God.

It’s in God’s shelter that we are finally safe.”

Psalm 91:7-8, “While our bodies are just as susceptible to destruction as any other, our souls are not as susceptible. They are protected.

Our immunity doesn’t rest in the physical (although God can still perform miracles there also). Our advantage comes in the peace of God’s presence in us and around us.”

Psalm 91:9-10, “By trusting in God as our refuge, we not only are protecting ourselves, we’re also protecting those ‘near our tent.’

God’s protection ripples out.

When you stay close to God, others around you also benefit by His shade.”

Psalm 91:11-12, ” He doesn’t always stop the catastrophe from happening to us in the physical realm…Even when we can’t see God, He sees us. We are always on His mind and always in His works.”

Psalm 91:13-14, “Getting to know God more doesn’t have to be complicated. But you do need to consciously choose it.

Loving God more means spending more time with Him, being more aware of His presence, learning more who He is, talking with others about Him, talking more in person with Him.

The more you know God, the more you’ll love God. You’ll then hold on to Him in love because you want to, not from guilt or fear or obligation.

You’ll know Him by name.”

Psalm 91:15-16, “We often don’t see the gifts. Our blindness causes us to miss out on God’s good gifts.”

I think, perhaps, the fact of God’s presence is the dearest truth to me next to His love.  It is something that I dwell on continually. God reminds me of it when I don’t. This psalm is full of reminders of His presence.

Thank you, Lisa, for allowing the Lord to use you in this way.  The time spent in this psalm was exactly what my sore, anxious, weary heart needed.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day in Japan is quite different.  Basically women buy chocolate for the men in their lives whether it be a husband, teacher, colleague, etc.  On White Day, March 14th, men reciprocate.  If they received chocolate, they return the favor.  I like our way better!  🙂 The article linked here explains more.  I still can’t get over the whole idea of obligatory chocolate.  HA!

Here’s a picture of me with my Valentine.  💕

May each of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day reflecting on the love of our God towards us.  It is not obligatory.  It is out of His generous, loving heart.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16


Come Away

Mark 6:31
Mark 6:31

I just finished listening to a wonderful series on Revive Our Hearts.  I needed to be reminded of the truths that were in it.  I hope you’ll take the time to listen and that your heart will be encouraged as mine was.

Come Away and Rest with Carrie Gaul-This is the title page for the series.  It contains links for the sessions below.

The Ball and Chain of Condemnation

Freedom from the Ball and Chain

Receiving the Gift of Suffering


Life is preparation…

…for eternity.  I heard these words this spring when a dear friend lost her husband.  As his final days were being lived, she kept saying, “We have spent our life preparing for this event.”  It was hard to wrap my brain around at the time, but the more I think on it, the more I understand.  Now I hear the words again in the post I am about to link to.  Make sure you read with tissues near by and your thinking cap on.  Maybe even take a moment to ask the Lord to speak to your heart as you read.  If you haven’t already begun to make your own preparations,  I pray that you will begin today.

From Amy in The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Lean Hard

Child of My love, lean hard,

And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;

I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;

Poised it in Mine own hand; made no proportion

In its weight to thy unaided strength,

For even as I laid it on, I said,

“I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,

This burden shall be Mine, not hers;

So shall I keep My child within the circling arms

Of My own love.” Here lay it down, nor fear

To impose it on a shoulder which upholds

The government of worlds. Yet closer come:

Thou art not near enough. I would embrace thy care;

So might I feel My child reposing on My breast.

Thou lovest Me? I knew it. Doubt not then;

But loving Me, lean hard.

–Author Unknown

Unexplainable love…

Cherry Blossoms, 2010

“An honored saint was once so ravished with a revelation of his Lord’s love, that feeling his mortal frame to be unable to sustain more of such bliss, he cried, ‘Hold, Lord, it is enough, it is enough!’  In heaven we shall be able to see the bottomless well of love to our lips, and drink on forever.  Ah, that will be love indeed which shall overflow our souls forever in our Father’s house above!  Who can tell the transports, the raptures, the amazements of delight which that love shall beget in us? And who can guess the sweetness of the song, or the swiftness of the obedience which will be the heavenly expressions of love made perfect?”

~ C. H. Spurgeon