John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Advent Reader -- Day 4

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8) ----------

Give thanks to the lord, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

To him who alone does great wonders,

His love endures forever,

who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever,

who spread out the earth upon the waters,

His love endures forever,

who made the great lights --

His love endures forever.

The sun to govern the day,

His love endures forever,

the moon and stars to govern the night;

His love endures forever.

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,

His love endures forever

and brought Israel out from among them,

His love endures forever

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;

His love endures forever.

He remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever

and freed us from our enemies.

His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-12, 23-26)

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"I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

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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. (John 3:16)

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This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

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When someone is committed to us, it makes us feel secure, and when we involve ourselves in something that will last a long, long time, that makes us feel significant. God knows these things, and this is why his grace, his offer of acceptance to us is always previous to our response.

God longs to demonstrate his unshakeable commitment to us, first. And then he teaches us, gently and consistently, that his love endures forever. It is only when we forget these two things that we begin to fail and believe the terrible, cosmic lie that we are lovable only when we are great.

To fall for this lie is to make all of our best efforts to be (or at least to look) great, in order to win the attention and admiration of our peers. But the clear teaching of Christianity is that we are loved because God is great, and it is on this we must depend. We must realize that attempting to be who others want us to be and seeking their approval leaves us confused and utter fools.

We must learn that obedience to his commands brings revelation and personal knowledge of God which can meet even the deep abyss in our heart for love, security and hope.

God sent a sign of his commitment to us. A gentle sign. A baby born. The best thing God had, he gave to us and sacrificed what was most precious to him in order to show us just how committed he was. And if we will commit our lives to him, we will see for ourselves that his love endures forever.

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God of causeless and ceaseless and measureless love, I bow in your presence, humbled and in awe of your astonishing affection for me. Help me to remember that your affection and love is the wellspring of my true security. Though I cannot fathom why you should commit yourself to me in the full knowledge of my sin, I thank you that you did. Though I cannot grasp why you should remain faithful when I have been so faithless, I praise you that you have. Though I cannot know why you should send your Son at immeasurable cost to rescue me and bring me back to yourself, with reverence and wonder I confess that this is what you have done. Give me a greater ability to grasp the dimensions of your amazing love for me, and fill my heart with this redeeming love so that something of your nature may be reflected in me, through Jesus Christ. Amen.