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Chosen By Love (published in The North Weld Herald 3/26/09)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:14 PM by Fccea Webmaster
One day the famous baseball manager, Casey Stengel, became exasperated by demands from the crowd for a player on his bench. He finally called for the player in question. "Am I going in?" asked the player eagerly. "No," replied Stengel, "I don't want you. Go up in the stands with your fans. They want you."

How do you feel about life right now? Loved, indifferent, generally rejected? May I suggest in this February month of love, there is a place where you are thoroughly, comprehensively, and compellingly loved. That place is in the heart of God Himself.

To better grasp this, we have to know that in the Bible multiple words are translated love. The two most pertinent are eros and agape, with meanings that are worlds apart. They differ in two primary ways. Eros is most like the way we normally use the word "love" in our culture. It is driven emotionally toward that which it perceives as worthy; thus we gravitate toward things and people who are attractive, ambitious, successful and valued. It also desires to possess.

Agape is the exact opposite. It is bestowed regardless of merit or worth, being based instead on the decision of the lover. And it desires to give, not get. Agape is the word used in Romans 5:8: "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The God of the Bible, as opposed to any other god of whom I am aware, loves sinners not because we stir some emotional response in Him or because of some cuteness or cuddliness on our part, but because He chooses to love us.

That love found its ultimate expression on the cross of Jesus Christ -- a fact often missed by the pervasive belief of our generation that Jesus' death was nothing more than a great tragedy, an unfortunate accident. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible is emphatic that Jesus died as a result of the plan of God Himself -- and as the embodiment of His love in providing atonement for sin that could come no other way. We read in Isaiah 53:10, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt." That's an almost incomprehensible love, described long before the cross ever happened!

Jesus himself said in John 10:17, "For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. (18) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."

The cross -- an accident of history? I don't think so. Not according to Scripture. Predicted ahead of time to demonstrate conclusively its part in God's eternal plan. Submitted to willingly, as the most extreme expression of love ever enacted, by a Savior desiring to draw us to Himself. All of which brings us back to where we are most wanted, desired, accepted, cherished and loved in the heart of our Creator and Lord. Why would any of us not accept the gift of salvation that He now offers based on that love?

By His Grace, Pastor Dave

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