I just finished reading a book that was loaned to me...and now I think I have to go buy my own copy...because you cannot mark up a loaned book with yellow highlighter, and this is one book I will need to read again and mark up.
The book is called: "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen.
Now, to be honest, when I first started reading this book I was not real sure about it. In fact, there were two main reasons that I kept reading the book even though I was not in agreement with what the author said at first. Reason One: the people who loaned it to me are the kind of followers of Christ that we should all strive to be. They are not perfect, no that is not it, they just love Jesus and His people, and so if they thought it was good enough to loan to me, I thought I should finish it. Reason Two: I'm stubborn. If I start a book and invest a little time in the first few chapters, I'm bound and determined to finish the book. This is a bit of stubborness that I have had since I was a little kid. In fact, in all my many years of book reading, there has only been one book that I did not finish...just couldn't get through it, and I was determined that this book would not be unfinshed book number two.
Truthfully, I do not agree with a few things that Wayne Jacobsen writes in this book, and some of it, if you are not grounded in the Word of God could trip a new believer up. Some of it is hard to accept, but that is the way it is when you're learning about the grace and love that the Lord extends to His children. But by the end of the book, I found this one of the most rewarding books I have ever read. In one way or another, it will impact my relationship with the Lord, His church, the lost and my even my family.
The premise of the book is that most of us don't have any idea how much God really loves us, and that even those who have tasted of the relationship with the Lord that is provided to us only through the sacrifice of Jesus, still try and earn the approval and love from our heavenly Father. While I had grasped the concept many years ago that God has never loved me more than He did when Jesus died for me, living out that knowledge and living in that love has not always been easy. This book paints the love of God in brilliant colors and vivid pictures.
The last two or three chapters alone are enough reason to read this book. In one chapter it shows how the love of Christ is lived out in us as we in turn love those around us who are unloveable or have hurt us.
I want to share just one short story that the author tells in chapter 21, "In Exactly The Same Way" :
"Recently I met a woman from the Midwest who had been divorced when her ex-husband told her he was gay, that he had AIDS, and that he wanted to live with his partner. A few years later as the disease progressed, she felt compassion for her former husband and felt God wanted her to help care for him as the disease worsened. She did just that. With her husband's permission she moved back in, not as wife but as nurse, and cared for him as the disease progressed...she talked about it as one of the greatest experiences of her life. Before he died, her husband and his partner came to repentance and faith (MY NOTE HERE: while it does not state it in the book, if, they came to repentance and faith, I would assume they ceased their homesexual relationship as you cannot repent and stay the same way you used to be). What's more, after her former husband's death, she took care of his former partner as he died. While she was doing that, other AIDS patients came to the door and asked for help. During the next decade she cared for more than sixty other patients and watched them all come to faith."
Now I don't know what you would call that, but I would call it POWERFUL LOVE! That is the kind of love that the world needs to see from the church. That is the kind of love that is able to be poured out on those that hurt us, those that sin the sins that disgust us, those that live the lives that repulse us...because we have experienced and are secure in the love and relationship that Jesus gives us.
Thank you Kitty and Jessica for this book...and thank you Jesus for loving me, even when I was not your child and yet You loved me enough to die for me.