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Sunday, September 15: Day 146 – Wide, Long, High, and Deep Love

Rob and I looked forward to attending church in Split but Rob was starting to come down with a cold so I went on my own. The walk was very pleasant down quiet narrow cobblestone streets.

This is what I read on the church website: We believe that in this time and in our lives, we need much more joyful news, rather than the scary everyday ones. That is why we think that every human being has the right to hear the original Biblical GOOD NEWS about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the whole world.

I want every human being to hear the good news, too, so I have found my tribe!!

The welcomers were very friendly and helpful. There was quite a large group of visitors, all English speakers. We started as small row. Then we were a circle,

and as more came, we were moved to a section with our translator in the middle.

Then, in the end, the translator stood beside the pastor and they did a bilingual presentation. Maria was our translator. It is not easy to listen and translate and then speak. I certainly felt like an invasive species as we had taken over the way that they normally worship.

Countries that were represented: Holland, Korea, France, Australia, USA, New Zealand, and Ukraine and we numbered eighteen.

The young French couple is here to help construct a camp for the church. They have carved out a year to be here. There is much to do.


Scripture

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 3:18-19

Sermon

I AM El Shaddai. God doesn’t NEED us but He LOVES us. The love from God does not know boundaries. We need that kind of love to be satisfied. No man can satisfy that need.

The search for love is universal. We want to be loved. True love comes from God.

However, we spend a lot of our lives talking about the lack of love. We seek what is missing.

If we have been deprived of love and missing true love in our family or circumstances, when we come to know the Lord, the fact that God loves me is overwhelming. In fact, that is the greatest truth there is.

It is hard to admit but we sometimes come to the place that we think that maybe God doesn’t love me. We do things that God doesn’t like. Even though our eyes are opened to God’s love, we will always go astray.

In II Timothy 1:7, Paul says we have the power of love.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

We tend to think that it is God and me but love is with all saints. What is the point if it is just me? All those who are born again have this love. It isn’t exclusive. We understand love together.

Humans understand measurement units. But the love of God cannot be measured.

Our experiences are affected by sin. We have hurts, disappointments, and scars. These don’t go away immediately but, these will lessen when we allow beautiful Jesus to fill us with His love.

Love has to be understood and lived in fellowship with our spouse, children, family and our saints in our church. Yet we need directions.

The love of God is immeasurable. It doesn’t depend on feelings. Love is not rooted in feelings but our feelings are affected by love.

Recently, some church leaders were criticized. Now people in the church no longer believe in God. Their point of view and experience led them to believe that it isn’t worth it to believe. That is not truth.

The church comes together and are conduits of God’s love.


WIDE

A river has borders but often the river floods and extends the very borders.

John 3:16 we know it well.

God so loved…period. It has nothing to do with you and has everything to do with you. Past, present and future generations are loved.

God’s love is wide enough for everyone. It is hard to go into the world if we don’t embrace this fact.

Love covers all people. All sin, all situations, all crises, all failures are all covered. There will be consequences for sin, but love is not withdrawn…ever.

Jesus didn’t come for a few. He came for all. Believers are rooted in His love.

How wide? It is even greater than if seven billion alive today would receive the gift of the love of Christ.

Don’t make God’s love narrow. Don’t narrow love to just God and me. It isn’t true.

God’s love isn’t exclusive. God’s love covers all men. Don’t think small or doubt His love.

If you think God’s love is narrow, you will not preach the gospel.


LONG

We run races that have a beginning and end. Everything in between is length.

Where is the beginning of God’s love? What else is needed to satisfiy our longing for love? Until filled with the love of God, nothing else will satisfy. He will fill our heart.

Satan comes with doubts. He is waiting. When you doubt God, you will not be a vessel of God’s love.

It all starts with feelings which disguise truth. First comes disappointment. Then we become filled with anger and it crowds out joy. Don’t let your relationship with God be rooted in feelings.

There is a animated film called Inside Out (2015) that illustrated how anger can rob us of joy. It is about a little girl confronting her world. Anger grows. Joy grows smaller and other positive emotions start to disappear.

So many unsatisfied Christians, children of God, allow the fruits of the flesh to grow instead fruits of the Spirit.

All of us have a broken heart that can only be mended with love, everlasting love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 31:3

God didn’t just start loving you when you were born. God loves you with an eternal love…before you were born.

Before you were, he loved. What else could you want?

People who love us come and go: parents, spouse, children.

When a loved one dies, we mourn and we grieve because we miss them. But 20 years later, we start to forget about them because that love has stopped. However, God’s love surpasses death.

When you close your eyes in this world and open them in the eternal world, love remains.

He loved you before you were born, during your life in Earth and that love will continue in eternity.


HIGH

We like to climb to the top. (Rob Street especially.) We are inspired and feel the presence of God on the mountain top. We are filled and awed.

…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

Ephesians 2:6

We think small. We have goals but they are set so low.

We are just looking for things on earth. Paul thought about things of heaven. We are already sitting with Jesus in heaven today.


DEEP

No love can go as deep as this one. Love for your spouse, children, parent doesn’t go this deep.

Jesus made himself nothing. He left his throne and took the nature of a human servant. Jesus first became like you. He humbled himself and was obedient unto death on the cross.

…emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Phil 2:7-8

By contrast, when we give a beggar money, we don’t become like him. Our love doesn’t go that deep.

The love of Christ is deep and reaches the worst sinner. We have all been that worst sinner, an enemy of God.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8


Why are so many disappointed in God? Even those born again leave the love of God. Was their belief just based on emotion? They were lifted out of darkness into the light.

You can’t walk away if you understood and experienced the love of God-wide, long, high and deep.

Where can I go to find that kind of love? Where can I hide from the kind of love?

Walk with him forever in eternity. He will lovingly walk us through the shadows of death. His love isn’t just for our years on earth. Love lasts and is eternal.

Don’t miss out on this love!! Let God’s love fill our whole being.

Hallelujah! (This is a word that transcends EVERY language.)

Connections

In Cincinnati, my daughter, Amy, was looking for a church home as she just moved downtown.

We had just finished taking the course called Perspectives. We drove to Loiusville, Kentucky every Wednesday after work for 15 weeks. It was such fun to have “windshield time” talking about life and Jesus. I would then spend the night with her, and we would go to our respective jobs the next morning.

We don’t have anything against denominational churches but many are just entertaining the saints when there is much to do to spread the gospel message.

We attended The People’s Church. It was so refreshing to hear the pastor talk about Unreached People Groups that we had learned about in Perspectives.

We spoke at length with the Pastor Chris Beard after the service. It turns out that he was involved with many of the leaders in the historic Lausanne Evangelical Conference in 1974.

So…when I introduced myself to Pastor Mršić, he told me about his dear friend from Cincinnati named Chris Beard from The People’s Church. Chris had come to Croatia and they had spent a few weeks together. The People’s Church helped to purchase their church building!!!

I told Vjekoslav Mršić that we were soon leaving for Bosnia. Even though we won’t be there over a Sunday, he gave me a church contact. He said that there are only 300 Evangelical Protestants in the entire country. He was a missionary in Bosnia for three years.

The last thing that he said to me was that in the USA, there are natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes. In our land, we don’t have those. We have wars!

Do natural disasters bring people together? (We are all in this together fighting a common element whereas war divides and lingers with thoughts of vengance and hatred.)

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