Displays of Affection

This weekend many will celebrate Valentine’s Day.  It’s a day set aside to celebrate love and the ones that one loves and are special to the heart.  Some people will give their loved ones special cards expressing their love, others will give flowers, or chocolates, or many other gifts.  It is a special time to show the ones you love how special they are.  It is a special day set aside for displays of affection toward family, friends, and sweethearts.  I began to think about love and the people in my life that I love.  I began to thank God for those people and then I began to think about God and how he loves.  I began to think about how Jesus taught us to love one another as he loves us.  Can we even comprehend that at times?  I thought about the displays of affection that we give to the ones we love and the ones they return to us.  Then I thought about God’s displays of affection toward mankind.  There are so many things that God does to show that he loves us.  He is truly our example of true, pure love.  There are so many displays of affection that God gives to us, countless ways, and it would be impossible for me to discuss even half of them in one lesson, but today let us discuss a few, and go as God would lead.

Handout: Displays of Affection 

As stated above, God is truly our example of true and pure love.  In fact that is what God is.  He is love.  Love is something we as humans feel, and an emotion that we have toward others, it is something we do; we love but God, HE IS LOVE. 

1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

Love is not just something God does, Love is what God is!  Think about that for a moment.  We have discussed this some in other lessons, but I want to get that embedded into the hearts of you who read because it is the main thing that the enemy will attack in the hearts and minds of the believer on a daily basis if we allow him to.  Satan knows that once we understand that God loves us, that perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18) Once we understand that God loves us unconditionally, that is when we begin to trust him fully.  That trust will lead to surrender, and then that is when God will use us for his glory.  Something I didn’t realize for a long time in my walk with God is that God loves us not because we are good, but because he is.  I knew that in my head, but I didn’t know that in my heart until God revealed that to me so sweetly.  Think about that.  God loves you because HE is good, he will always be good, he will always be love, and therefore, he will always love you.  His love isn’t based on conditions.  He has always been love and he will not change.

Malachai 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not;”

God will always be love and will always love us because that is what he is.  Does God show his love toward us?  Sure He does!  All the time, in so many ways, God displays his love and affections for his children and for his creation. 

Think about every sunset that you have enjoyed.  Every blessing that you have ever gotten from the Lord, even the things we don’t even ever think about that are blessings.  I read something once, it stated, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.  If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.  He sends you flowers every spring. He sends you a sunrise every morning Face it, friend - He is crazy about you!”  That is a sweet way to think of how God feels about his children, but it goes so far beyond that.  We cannot even comprehend how much God loves us. 

The first display of affection I want to explore for a little bit with you is the faithfulness of God.  God is loyal, and he is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him.

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
God is faithful to his creation.  What he has said, he will do.  God always keeps his promises.  God is faithful in comforting us, protecting us, in keeping our souls, he is faithful in providing for us, and he is faithful in his love for us.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Along with being faithful in his love toward us, God is forgiving. 
Ephesians 1:3-8 “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”
Colossians 1:12-14 “ 12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
When we go to the Lord he is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us and we can start over.  His mercies are new every morning.  God is merciful, compassionate, and longsuffering toward his children.
Psalm 25:10 “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
Psalm 36:5-7 “ 5Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
 6Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.
 7How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”
Lamentations 3:22-24 “ 22It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
 24The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
 25The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
Psalm 86:15 “But thou, O LORD, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
Thank you Lord!  Are you convinced yet that the depth of God’s love toward you runs deeper than any ocean, higher than the heavens, and lower than the lowest depth?  It is amazing the ways that God shows his love for his creation.  He knows everything about you.  He knows the very number of hairs upon your head.
Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
God created you, he provides for you, he knows every little detail about you down to the very number of hair upon your head.  That is so wonderfully intense.  Almighty God loves you and is concerned about you.  God thinks about you, many deep thoughts.  These next verses are so profound.  As you read, or listen, just open your heart, let them soak in, think about what an honor it is that God most high, Creator of all things, thinks of you and I in this way, that He loves us this much.  What an honor that he pursues us.  He is the ultimate in all things that are good.  Let us read together in Psalms, chapter 139.  Let this encourage your heart in knowing that God does love you with a love that as the writer here explains that we cannot comprehend or attain this kind of love. 
God is surely amazing and we can trust him fully with our lives and everything therein.
Psalm 139
1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.  2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.  7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
 12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”
If we don’t get it by now that God truly loves us with a love that no one else could ever reach, if we don’t get that God loves us with the ultimate love, then we need to be on our knees seeking God for the answers of why we don’t believe it.  God shows displays of his affection toward us in so many wonderful and amazing ways.
The most definitive display of affection was when God sent his only begotten Son to the world to live and die being the supreme sacrifice for our sins so that we could enjoy all the things we have discussed thus far. 
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have ever lasting life.”
God came to earth in human form, born of a virgin and his name was Jesus.  He left the palaces of perfect peace in Heaven, came to the earth that was cursed, He endured the hardships of life and the agony of the most horrible torture and pain that has ever been, in order to redeem us from our sin.  He would rather die and suffer than to live without you.  He did all the work, and all we have to do is believe and receive salvation and love.  He made it simple because he understood that we were helpless and hopeless without him.  That is the greatest display of affection that could ever or will ever be.  God gave all of himself to you, he wants all of you too.  How lovely and wonderful he is!
If you are fortunate enough to have already accepted Christ into your heart, then rejoice!  You are his and he is yours and you have everlasting life through Christ your LORD.  However, if you haven’t called upon the name of the Lord for this salvation from yourself and your sin, do not be dismayed.  You can!  All you must do is believe that God sent his Son Jesus to die for your sins, that he was crucified, died, and rose the third day.  Call upon the name of the Lord and ask him to forgive you of your sins.  Ask him earnestly to help you and to be the Lord of your life.  Ask him to save you.  God’s word says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and that he will turn no one away.  You cannot be too vile or to sinful that God will not forgive you.  He can and will forgive you of anything you have ever done.  Satan will try to tell you that you have been to evil that God won’t possibly love you or forgive you but Satan is a liar and the father of all lies.  Salvation is a free gift from God, because he is good.  All you have to do is accept the gift, just receive it with your heart and believe and confess it with your mouth.  Don’t believe the lies of Satan and keep yourself from the most wonderful relationship you will ever have. Satan is a liar.  JESUS IS TRUTH!
John 8:42-44 “42Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
 43Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
This is serious.  It is life and death.  It is your soul.  The most important decision you will ever make.  It will determine where you will spend eternity.  If you receive salvation, you will spend eternity in perfect peace with the LORD, but if you turn away God’s grace, you will have to spend forever in torment, in hell. 
Jesus came that you could have life and that you could be righteous enough to make it to heaven and have relationship with God, because he knew that we are born sinful and could not save ourselves.  We all are sinful and we all must bow before God and ask for forgiveness and he is faithful to do so.  Won’t you call upon the Lord today and make him the Lord of your life?  You can live a life of victory and peace and a life in perfect love while you are here, and when this life is over, you can go to be with him forever in a perfect place.
Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God moved heaven and earth, Jesus lived, died, and rose again in order for you to be saved, how can you not want him to be your Lord and Savior?  Without him there is no hope, but in him all things are possible.  Accept him today.  He will never fail you.
We are so blessed to be loved so much by the one true God, the creator of all.  We are so blessed that he wanted us to be his children, we are so blessed that he wants to be a father to us.  We are so blessed that we belong to him but he allows us to have free will.  Yes, God shows his love for us every single day and will always.  We are most blessed to receive his Displays of Affection.  Praise HIM! 
Reminder:  Remember to love and serve one another in the attitude of Christ.
Dear Righteous, Lovely, Heavenly Father…
We come to you today thanking you so much for how wonderful you are.   You are most high, the one and only God.  We are in awe of you and the wondrous works of your hands.  We thank you God that you want to be our Father, that you are, and that you want us to be your children.  We thank you Father that you are our provider, our comfort, our counselor.  We thank you Father that you are faithful, just, righteous, and that you are forgiving, merciful, gracious, and forgiving.  We thank you Father for the countless ways that you display your love and affection for us.  Father we ask that you forgive us for the times we take you for granted and for the times we don’t even realize that you are showing your love.  Father we do love you and we understand that while we are human, we cannot love you as you love us, but we thank you that one day we will. 
Father, we ask that you help us to reach new levels of love for you and for others as we live and grow in your grace.  Help us to share with others your love and the good news of the gospel of Christ.  Father, we pray that you help those that have not yet accepted Jesus and your truth and salvation, we ask that you convict their hearts with your beautiful Holy Spirit and help them to believe.  Father, Satan tries to keep a hold on everyone that he can and being human we are no match for him, but Father we know that you are all powerful and with you all things are possible.  You can loosen the chains and holds that he has.  Father, please help those that are deceived to come to truth and help them to believe and receive you and your love. 
Father, we thank you for protecting us yet another week and we ask you to protect us and our families yet again.  We ask that you bless this ministry and those that read and share your word with others.  We ask that you help us to reach people all over the world so that you can draw them to yourself.  Master, thank you so much for loving us when we don’t deserve you or your love and thank you for making us worthy through Christ.  Thank you for sending your Son to die for us and for making away that we might have relationship with you and be cleansed from all unrighteousness.  O God help us this week to learn more of you and your ways and to grow in faith and to be what you would have us to be.  Father, we praise you and will forever love you and be thankful in JESUS name we pray.  AMEN.

God Bless you…
February 15, 2009