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Boundless LoveDevotions to Celebrate God's Love for You
By Patsy Clairmont Barbara Johnson Marilyn Meberg Luci Swindoll Sheila Walsh Thelma Wells
ZondervanCopyright © 2001 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneImagine That!
~ Patsy Clairmont
Two days ago I was sitting in a hospital lounge waiting for our first grandchild to be born. No, let me restate that. I was not sitting; I was pacing. Back and forth, back and forth, attentively listening for a tiny cry or footsteps of someone, anyone, bearing good news. I was both excited and exhausted as the hours ticked by ... five hours, seven hours, nine hours, and then finally, Justin Robert Clairmont was born! He was seven pounds, thirteen ounces, and twenty-two inches long with red hair. Yes-s-s!
After word arrived that all was well, we four grandparents waited with bated breath for our first glimpse of this child who would forever hold our hearts in his hands. That's when I saw a picture that I'll always think of as expressing God's boundless love. The surgery doors swung open (our daughter-in-law had an emergency cesarean), and I saw Jason, my youngest son, walking toward me carrying his firstborn son. My baby was carrying his baby. Wow!
If ever we doubt God's love, we need only observe a baby we deeply care for and then take the feelings of love that bubble up in our hearts and multiply them by infinity. Then we'll have a sense-just a sense, mind you-of God's boundless love.
I find that imagining the vastness of God's love is as close as I can come to measuring it. Perhaps that's why, when the Lord designed us, he included our capacity for imagination. He knew we wouldn't "get it" if we had to weigh his love next to our own puny experiences and abilities to love. He knew we would need to think beyond ourselves and so-voila!-imagination.
Some of my favorite "imagining" verses are found in Job 38 in which the Lord expands Job's mind with thoughts beyond himself. God quizzes Job as to his whereabouts when God created the universe in order to help Job understand the Lord's majestic spaciousness.
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" -Job 38:4 NASB
This absolute statement of proclamation could read, "I laid the foundation of the world before you were a sparkle in your momma's eye!"
Can you visualize laying the earth's foundation? Les and I just purchased a home that is being built, but by the time we made the decision to buy, the foundation already had been poured and the walls were up. Even though I can picture the big excavation trucks digging out the hole, the cement truck pouring the footings and foundation, and the bricklayers building the walls for our home, I can't conceive of how one would go about laying the world's foundation. You would need a cement mixer the size of the Western Hemisphere!
"Where were you [Job] ... when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" -Job 38:4, 7 NASB
Can you conceive of the morning stars singing? I love all kinds of music: Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Andrea Bocelli, Mandy Patinkin, The Martins ... Music moves me. I mean, have you heard Mandy Patinkin sing "Over the Rainbow"? Exquisite. I cry almost every time I hear it. Or have you heard Celine Dion and Luciano Pavarotti sing "I Hate You Then I Love You"? Oh, mama mia! And yet I'm certain that, if we teamed up all these gifted singers for one grand performance, they would not, could not, hold a candle to the concert of the morning stars. Of course, I, like Job, wasn't there for the performance, so I'm left imagining.
"Have you [Job] ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place?" -Job 38:12 NASB
I commanded my children when they were young (now they command me), and according to Les, I've commanded him a time or two, but I confess I wouldn't begin to know how to give instruction to the morning or the dawn. At times I've wanted to call off a day, but alas, I didn't have that kind of celestial clout.
Our magnificent God, however, knows the beginning, the end, and beyond. He calls the stars by name, and he has planned and recorded each and every day-including the day my first grandson was born. Imagine that!
Now that, folks, is boundless-boundless love.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Imagine that!
Hosanna the Donkey
~ Sheila Walsh
Miss Dawn is my hero. Twice a week she takes care of a roaming pack of three-year-olds at Christ Presbyterian Academy's Toddler Time. She is smiling when we arrive at 9:10 A.M., and then, as if to serve as visual proof of the existence of God, she is still smiling at 2:15 P.M. when the day ends. Our son, Christian, loves her. When he prays for her at night he goes all mushy. What a gift from God when your child's first teacher is such a sweetheart.
Each time Christian gets out of school I check his lunch box to see if he has eaten any of his lunch. Usually he just rearranges it. Then I read his "What kind of day I had today" sheet. It's almost always the same:
Christian had a good day today. He participated in everything and was very communicative [just like his dad]. He didn't eat much and didn't take his nap, but he lay quietly like a good boy, occasionally whispering to his rabbit, Whitey.
My desk is covered with things Christian has made at school. A manger made out of graham crackers. A tulip made from his handprint cut out of pink paper and folded in like petals. A jewelry box in the shape of a cross which he presented to me with the matter-of-fact statement, "Jesus died for your sins and this is for your rings." So I knew that during Easter week Miss Dawn was sharing more than just the Easter Bunny with her pint-size boys and girls.
My son, being a typical male, does not always give me all the information I'd like at the end of each school day. Still, I try.
"How was school today?"
"What did you learn?"
"Did you sing?"
"Did you play outside?"
"So you just sat around for five hours and did nothing?"
"... Did you say something, Mommy?"
I've learned that the best way to get Christian to "spill his stuff" is to go bike riding together. So every evening he and I mount up and head for the hills, and you wouldn't believe what I learn as we kick up dust together.
The evening before Good Friday we were pushing our bikes back into the garage when he said, "You know, Mom, today when I was Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Tristan and Zachary waved branches to say hello. It was cool."
"You were Jesus?" I asked, wondering at Miss Dawn's discernment as she cast the roles.
"Sure! Hey, you want me to do it for Daddy and Papa?" he asked, full of joy at the thought of an encore performance.
We went inside and announced that the show was about to begin. That's not unusual in our household. We have frequent performances. Sometimes they're from Mary Poppins or The Wizard of Oz. This, however, was our first biblical epic. Christian and I hid behind the door leading into the kitchen where Barry and William, Christian's grandpa, waited in eager (?) expectation.
"Okay," Christian said. "I'll be Jesus and you be Hosanna."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Who's Hosanna?"
"Well, the donkey, of course!" he said, looking at me as if I had temporarily backslidden.
"Why do you think the donkey's name is Hosanna?"
"Mommy, think about it. I'm Jesus, right?"
"Well, as I'm coming in they all shout, 'Hosanna!' That's not me. That has to be you."
I tried to explain that "Hosanna!" is a cry of praise and adoration, that it was directed toward Jesus. He listened intently and then announced, "Okay, Hosanna. We're on."
As we reenacted that joyful scene in the Gospels, I thought about how dreadful it is that so many of those who exuberantly cried, "Hosanna to the One who comes in the name of the Lord!" also cried out, "Crucify him!" just a few days later. And I wonder if we as human beings have changed much in the two thousand years since those fickle cries sent Jesus to the cross. If you are like me, you often feel like two people. Some days we live in such a way that our actions cry out praise to God. But on other days it's as if we crucify Christ all over again.
The most wonderful thing about the love of God expressed in Christ is that none of this is a surprise to him. God entrusted his Son to a harsh, cruel world knowing that it would first embrace him and then spit on him and kill him. And yet he did it anyway-because his love has no limits. God's love cannot be quenched by the ever-turning tides of human emotion and devotion.
If I could say only one thing through my part of this book, it would be simple and to the point: God knows all about you. He knows your good days and your bad days. He knows the noble thoughts and the shameful thoughts. He sees your devotion and your indifference. And he loves you-totally, completely, passionately, boundlessly. Forever.
Oh the Passion, Oh the wonder, Of the fiery love of Christ. King of Glory on the altar. Perfect lamb of sacrifice. Who are we that he would love us? Who but he would give his life? Oh the Passion, Oh the wonder, Of the fiery love of Christ. Oh the wisdom, Oh the wonder, Of the power of the cross. Love so rare no words could tell it. Life himself has died for us. Who are we that he would save us? Crucified to give us life? Oh the wisdom, Oh the wonder, Of the power of the cross. -Sheila Walsh
You are loved! You are loved passionately and unconditionally by the God who gave his only Son so you could rest secure in his eternal embrace
Excerpted from Boundless Love by Patsy Clairmont Barbara Johnson Marilyn Meberg Luci Swindoll Sheila Walsh Thelma Wells Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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