Summary: This text is written in the author’s own "shorthand". It was written the week Hurricane Katrina came in and was delivered 6 weeks latter with the hope of bringing the listeners to see both sides of God’s love
A BIBLICAL VIEW OF THE "LOVE OF GOD"
• Have taken a couple of weeks in aftermath of Katrina for "Storm Stories", this message has been burned into my psyche.
• Candidly - Some messages are better understood
"After the storm" because in the aftermath of a storm we are more inclined to listen to truths which, at other times,we do not care to hear the truth because some of the content is not what we desire to hear.
• The message today is like the conception to birth of a baby. This message was conceived on Sunday August 28, 2005 and was "brought to life on Wednesday, August 31st. It was implanted in my heart as I drove to my parent’s house on that Sunday evening. It then became an embryo on Monday as the worse of the Katrina bore down on us in South Mississippi. It was "carried to full term on Tuesday as I listened to a Catholic Priest and a reporter discuss this very subject on a news report. Finally, on Wednesday Evening at my parent’s house, I got up in middle of night to deliver the baby that is now this message.
• Ladies, I mean no disrepect in drawing this parallel, just know that two thoughts come to my mind. First, this was indeed like having labor pains!! Secondly, I really didn’t care to deliver this particular baby. You may ask "Why?" and the answer is simple. This message possesses a large, sharp, and ominous looking hook.
• Consider with me the situation in which this message comes. We are living in an area in which many people who have lost every material possession they own. From the view point of many--which coincides with the opinion of the world as well as many church-going people--this devestation cannot be a part of God’s hand. The thinking goes something like this: "God is a loving God, and a loving God would not allow this catastrophe." While this thinking seems to "fit" modern day America, it doesn’t seem to ’square’ with the Bible. As a serious student of God’s word, my question is this, "If this is NOT God’s hand, who has taken over God’s place in this world?"
• In our present day churches and cultures there has seemingly been taught & in some measure, we have bought into a simplistic and “one-dimensional” view of the love of God. For many years Evangelist Oral Roberts began his telelvision show with the song, “Something Good is going to happen to you." Honestly, we have literally shouted "a part" of Romans 8:28 as a battle cry. You know which part we have leaned on, "For we know that all things work together for good..." Although this is scripture, it is only "half" of this scripture and my dad taught me a long time ago that a "half-truth" is a lie. I begin by saying we need to understand a ’balanced’ view of God’s love.
• When we leave this place today it is my prayerful desire to re-frame your concept about the "Love of God". My desire is to be basic, balance, and most of all Biblical in this trek.
• It is one thing to be “OFFERED the Love of God” and another thing entirely to “experience, receive, & embrace” that love.
• The Bible teaches in Romans 8:35 ”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" In its haste to encapsule Holy God, our Culture completely misses the conduit of God’s Love flowing to us.
• Scriptures offer many texts to teach us the truth about the flow of God’s wonderful love. In Romans 8:1 it says; "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus". The balanced love of Jehovah God begins and ends "IN" His Son, Christ Jesus. The proof of this statement can be confirmed in many other scriptures (John 3:16, Rom 5:8, etc) Our Lord Christ is the expression of God’s love in human form.
• But the question many are asking today is this, "How can a Loving God allow a catastrophy like this to happen to people that He says He loves?"
• To gain a balanced understanding, let’s take a quick look, eye-opening tour of Biblical history.
• In GENESIS we find the story of creation. Did you realize that Chapter 2 is the only chapter in the Old Testament which displays the Paradise which God intended for mankind for all time. He had designed a perfect world free from hurt, pain, and yes even disasters. However, in Chapter 3, that sorry, slippery, serpent, Satan slid into the Garden, convinced Eve to disobey God and, like a cancer, sin entered this paradise to begin eating away at this perfect world God had created. In Chapter 4 murder arrived on the scene. The result was that wickedness grew as “men sought to go his own ways”.