“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
–1 John 4:8 (NLT)

You may think this Bible verse is rather short, but I believe it is also very profound. To see what I mean, let’s compare our love with God’s love. The Bible says that His love is unchangeable, while we tend to reserve our love for certain people.

Just think back on when you used to give out valentines as a child. If you were like me, you wanted to give them to people who you considered to be special. You might be reliving this annual scene if you have kids of your own.

Sadly, this mentality doesn’t always stop when we grow up. While we don’t give out cardboard or paper valentines anymore, we may try to impress others by buying a bigger house than we can afford, and then getting a fancy car to go with the house. Then we tend to pick out individuals or a group of people who we consider to be favorites, and we lavish attention on them. Without realizing it, we may feel that we have to earn the love of these people, and if weare not careful, that kind of thinking can spill over into our understanding of God.

But unlike our human love, the freeing news is that we don’t have to earn God’s love. On the cross He cried out in a jubilant voice, “It is finished!” Our sins have been paid for in full, and His love has no strings attached. Trying to earn God’s love is impossible, for all of us have fallen short of His pure and righteous standards.

God loved you and me so much that He gave us His one and only son to be a bridge to the Father. The fact that Jesus came to be that bridge and save all of humankind is truly amazing.

Think about it this way. If a person you love has passed away, you have most likely experienced incredible pain and grief. In many cases, your life is never the same again. You may hear songs or see pictures that bring back memories of the loved one who has died. But that pain is nothing compared to the agony which the Father felt when He sent His only son to die for us. But Jesus humbled himself by laying down His life willingly. As we said before, the extreme separation between man and God which couldn’t be bridged by our own good works was bridged by Christ.

You may want to look at this another way. Pretend you’re in a car and you come to a large stream where there are no boats. It’s impossible to cross over without a bridge. Your loved one is on the other side of the stream, and your heart is full of agony. But try as you might, you can’t reach them alone, and you can’t find any way to cross over. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a smiling man coming towards you. He says that he had the same problem with the stream once, so he built a bridge a few miles downstream. After asking him for directions, you get into your car. Soon, to your great joy, you reach the bridge leading to the other side.

In the same way, Jesus has built a bridge to the Father, and if we ask Him for the forgiveness that He has freely paid for, we can cross over to Him. But many people who claim to follow Christ believe that there is a tollbooth at the beginning of the bridge. They are paralyzed with guilt over something they have or have not done. But God’s Word, the Bible, also stresses an important truth that is life-changing. It clearly tells us that there is no condemnation to those who have already crossed that bridge by faith. The Bible also says that Satan is a total liar, and Jesus said that the Devil only came to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to render you inactive for God’s kingdom, and steal your joy.

So whether you are coming to Jesus for the first time or re-dedicating your life to Him, God wants to encourage you today. He is telling you and me to forget those things that would hold us back and keep us in the past. So my friend, I challenge you to follow Him today with your whole heart, and experience His free gift of love in new and amazing ways. God’s love, which was demonstrated in Jesus Christ, is freely available to everyone.

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, check out our online store at www.amway.com/burdicksbargains. In order to support us, please register for free on our store website before purchasing anything. Thank you!

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