January 22, 2018

The Love Of God

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The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

O love of God, how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song

The Gaither Family
composed by Frederick Lehman

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

We have been called and chosen.  Why?  Just one reason—Almighty God loves us.  Paul says that God has set His love on those whom He loves from all eternity (Ephesians 1:4).  If you are a child of God, there has never been a time when God did not know you and did not love you.  Before you were even born He had determined to set His love on you.  He chose us not because we were love-able; but we became love-able because He chose us and desired us.

In this is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

From the foundations of time, Sovereign Almighty God has desired His children. And He made a way—a very, very hard way—for sinful, not love-able people to be brought to His Holy Self.  And that was through the sacrifice and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.  And then through the centuries leading up to the perfect time when Jesus would come to the earth to show this incredible love, at sporadic times there were a few people who recognized this love that God had for mankind. David the psalmist was one.  He wrote many, many times about the reality of God’s love for himself.

And even Job, through all his worrying and complaining and the very difficult times he had, knew and was convinced of God’s love for man. Listen…

What is man that you make so much of him
and that You set Your heart on him,
and visit him every morning…?
Job 7:17 and 18

God spoke through any number of the writers of the Scriptures of His love, grace, and mercy.

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2 Timothy 1:9

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

Particularly through the life of one prophet, Hosea, God showed what the depth of His love looked like…right alongside the depravity of the idolatry of His people.  The whole book of Hosea illuminates this truth but in particular I love one verse:

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4

And then Jesus came! And showed clearly the depth of God’s love for mankind. He lived love to the nth degree always being the epitome of God’s love.  Listen to this Truth (I know it is so because it is in God’s Word)…truth hard to comprehend but true nonetheless!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

Such love is so very difficult to grasp with our minds, BUT, because God tells us so through Paul’s words, we KNOW it to be true!  And through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit we are able to experience it with our hearts.

…And that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Truly not feasible by our own doing, our own efforts, our own works. And this is the awesome Truth of God’s desiring us—it is not based on you or me but completely on Him!

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, I ask that You help each of us to hold these Truths in our minds and our hearts.  There is nothing greater than Your love!  There is no more sure thing than Your love!  Please help us to live every day confessing and believing that,

“…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate <me> from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus <my> Lord.”

We stand in awe of You and this awesome love of Yours!  We love You and adore You; praying in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

To Be Known

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O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me,
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
Psalms 139:1-3

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

These three verses focus on one of the many aspects of God that I truly love and adore—He knows me.  Coming from a place in my life where I felt misunderstood, weird, different, and alone into a relationship with my Lord Who knows everything about me has been amazing.  Some people have things about themselves that they want to hide or hope others never find out…and they behave the same with God.  I’ve never been that way.  God knows everything about me, whether I tell Him or not.  And He knows everything about me whether I want Him to know or not.

To be known”…to some this is a great fear but to me it is a great freedom. Nothing I do, say, or think as well as nothing I have thought, said, or done,  can change the fact that God loves me.

  • He loves me just the way I am.
  • He doesn’t separate the good from the bad.
  • He doesn’t only love me when I behave.
  • He doesn’t only love part of me.
  • He loves all of me.

God can love all of me because He made me.  He knows me.  And when I give Him my life and work with Him, He can take the bad things in me and transform them to good things.  Being bad does not hinder God’s ability to love me one bit.  It is impossible.  He loves me because He chooses to and I have nothing to do with that.  NOTHING!

How awesome—that we serve a God who knows our everything and still calls us to be in a relationship with Him!  You don’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to ‘get your life together’.  You don’t have to stop a certain behavior or learn a new trick in order for God to love you.  He just loves you.  In a world where a lot of things are conditional, God’s unconditional love can be unfathomable to some.

What does God gain from loving us?  Think about it…
What could the Creator of the world possibly gain
from loving you and I in our imperfection?
I say—ask Him.

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, thank You for loving me unconditionally.  Thank You for seeing me for who I am here and now.  Thank You for caring enough about me to take the time to help me grow into a better me.  Help me to see that I have to do nothing to earn this love.  Amen.

At Home with GCH: More Appetizers

Here on our At Home with GCH blog, Monday’s are always focused on healthy but oh-so-yummy! recipes. And this month we are doing a series of looks at appetizers. Here in the NorthEast, we are in the middle of a snowstorm. So,  I thought…’summery food!’  🙂  This week’s appetizer selections are Caprese Salad and Zucchini Fritters. We enjoyed these as a vegetarian supper tonight!

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I hope you enjoy these fritters as much as we do! They go along with our healthy but oh-so-yummy category because they are loaded with zucchini, and a good shot of whole grains in the cornbread. And, even though lightly fried in a bit of oil, they are no greasier than your weekend pancakes!

As I confessed last week: I love appetizers! Whether you call them tapas, small bites, hors d’ouerves, antipasto, or simply appetizers; no matter what you call ‘em…I like ‘em!  I would love for you to leave a comment below sharing with us YOUR favorite appetizer!

Zucchini Fritters

1 box of Jiffy Cornbread mix  IMG_1404
1 medium zucchini, shredded (do not peel!)
1/2 cup milk
good squeeze of juice from a fresh lemon
1 egg
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
Oil of your choice (but NOT olive oil)
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250. Place an oven-safe platter into the oven.

Shred zucchini into a colander; sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt. Let sit to drain 5 minutes or so. Then dump onto a double layer of paper towels. Blot with a couple of additional paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible.

Stir milk and lemon juice together = buttermilk!  Lightly beat egg in a small mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk, zucchini, seasonings, melted butter and, finally, cornbread mix. DO NOT overmix; there might be a small lump or two. Let sit for 3 minutes.

While mixture is resting, add a small amount of oil to a large nonstick frying pan; bring up to medium heat; then reduce heat to low. Add the fritter mix by scoops, spacing apart for easier turning. When edges appear dry, and there are a few little bubbles on the surface of the fritters, carefully flip. Once cooked, remove to platter in oven, sprinkle with a bit of salt and keep warm while remainder of batter is cooked.

  • For larger size fritters: use 1/4 cup-sized measuring cup or a large cookie scoop.
  • For smaller, bite-size fritters, use a tablespoon measure or a small cookie scoop.

These can be served hot or warm. Serving options are many: Caprese Salad (recipe below); guacamole, sour cream, salsa…

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Continuing our “bit of summer in the midst of a snowstorm” theme, I prepared a quick Caprese Salad, aka Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. Not much tastes more like summer to me than a yummy, ripe, delicious tomato. Not so easy to find in the wintertime though! However, I find that the tiny tomatoes (grape, cherry, mini—whichever varieties your grocery store carries) are usually very flavorful and yummy all winter long!

Caprese Salad

various sizes of fresh mozzarella from my favorite brand—Belgioso!

8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1/2 pint tomatoes
Basil * (fresh is best)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil.   Easy-peasy!  Depending on the size of the fresh mozzarella you have bought, you might need to cut the mozzarella into small, bite-size pieces; halve the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.  Thinly slice the basil*.  Add the sliced basil to the seasoned tomatoes and cheese.  Pour a small amount of olive oil over and gently mix. Serve immediately.*Gourmet tip: stack 3-4 basil leaves; tightly roll-up (like a tiny cigar!); then carefully slice into very thin slices. You have now accomplished the technique known as ‘chiffonade!’  You are amazing!

 

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

coleen

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen concerning this series, you may email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com