Jesus Loves Me

octtemplate

By Sky Walden

If there’s one thing that sums up God’s nature towards mankind, it’s “love.” Even in the Bible, it says that God is love. I think this is a concept all of us have heard, but when you actually think about it, it has so much more meaning. For as many times as God has exercised judgment in the Old Testament, He is still so compassionate. His entire being is love, and He wants nothing more than to pour that love out on us.

Obviously, Jesus was one of the greatest examples of God’s love for us. He came to earth as a human. Think about this: if you were God, would you want to leave the light of heaven? Would you want to leave behind omnipotence and omniscience to be confined by a human body? I thought not. Humans dream about becoming more than we are–we dream of being perfect, of being superheroic, even. Leaving an omniscient form to become less wouldn’t be ideal. Yet for us, Jesus did that, and so much more.

When you look at the crucifixion and the resurrection, the overall motive behind it is love. Jesus was willing to come to earth and die a traitor’s death because He loved us so much. I know that this may sound trite because we’ve heard it so many times, but when you think about it, it’s pretty powerful.

If you’re anything like me, you probably already know that 1 Corinthians 13 is the ultimate chapter of the Bible on love. The Apostle Paul dedicated an entire letter to talking about it. In it, we see that without love, we are literally pretty much nothing. This refers to both God as love, and love itself. Without God, we are nothing. But without a loving God, we are nothing, too.

Now, even though God and love are the same, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the rules of what we think God expects from us. But that’s not what God is about. The judgment can be hard to break through. It can be hard to remember that God is not as perfectionistic about us as we are. But in 1 Corinthians 13, we see that love keeps no record of wrongs. That’s God, my friends. I promise you: when He looks at you, all He sees is how much he loves you. Love, love, love.

1 Corinthians 13:8 says this: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (NIV) In my own pursuit to understand life, I’ve chased after knowledge. But in the end, when we are gone and this earth is gone, all we will have is love. And though it sounds rather disastrous, it’s also comforting in a way. Life can feel so painful and empty at times, but it’s good to know that there’s more than this. Endless pursuits on this earth won’t matter. All that will matter is the love we’ve stored up in our hearts. And after that, we’ll see God and His face even more clearly. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV) We’ll see His love even more clearly, too.

One of my favorite examples of God’s love is the woman at the well. In a world where this woman had probably been used and hurt by many men, Jesus simply sat and talked to her. Not only that, but He asked her to help Him. He helped her to feel needed. I know the feeling of being rejected. Sometimes all we want is to know that we are seen, that we are loved. Jesus saw her, for all that she was and what she could become. He let her know that He saw her and that He loved her, and through that, He led her to Himself.

As we approach the Christmas season, remember that Jesus sees you, for all you are and all that you will become. Remember that He loves you infinitely. Remember how He came to earth as a baby, then a man, bursting with love for the nations. Let Him love you, because that’s what we were made for: love. Let that love wash over you. And then, once you have it, that’s when the fun starts: you get to give it away.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this song that, while simple, sums up what pretty much everything in our lives is all about.

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so

How to Contribute to Issue 5

Hello, Grafted readers!

I hope you enjoyed Issue 4! Planning for Issue 5 is in full swing. As always, we’d love for you to contribute!

We are looking for articles about family outreach. We want to hear from people who are a continuous witness in the lives of their family members, people who have seen changes in their families because of Jesus, and people who are still working. If that’s you, we’d love to feature your stories in Issue 5.

We’ll also be looking for pictures and photo essays, as well as advertisers.

In addition, we are also accepting guest posts for the Grafted blog. The theme for January is faithfulness, and the theme for February is witness.

 

GUIDELINES

All submissions must be previously unpublished on any form of media.

Photographs must be original to yourself and also unpublished anywhere other than Grafted magazine.

Articles submitted for Issue 5 may be no longer than 2,000 words long. Articles submitted as guest posts for the blog may be no longer than 1,000 words long.

Any submission may not contain over 10 photographs.

With your submission, you may include a short bio about yourself. Please keep your bio to a maximum of 100 words long. You may also include a link to your blog or website. Please do not use this as an occasion to promote your website, but to add to Grafted Magazine.

Please refrain from any language you wouldn’t use in church or around your grandmother.

 

Submit an excerpt from your article, and/or a sampling of 2-3 photographs, to contact@graftedmagazine.com. For written submissions, please put “SUBMISSION | [theme or title of your article]” in the subject line. If you would like to advertise in Grafted’s pages, please send us an email about you and your product. If you have a different type of project you’d like to share with us, please send us an email detailing your project or idea.

All submissions for Issue 5 are due on February 15th. Guest posts for the blog will be accepted throughout January and February.

We can’t wait to see your work!

— Sky Walden, Submissions Manager

 

Verses On Love

Exodus 20:6
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:13
And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee:he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Judges 5:31
So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord:
but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might.
And the land had rest forty years.
Exodus 20:6
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:13
And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee:he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Judges 5:31
So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord:
but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might.
And the land had rest forty years.
Psalms 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Psalms 18:1
I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
Psalms 31:23
O love the Lord, all ye his saints:
for the Lord preserveth the faithful,
and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Psalms 40:16
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.
Psalms 70:4
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Psalms 91:14
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
Psalms 97:10
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil:
he preserveth the souls of his saints;
he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalms 116:1
I love the Lord, because he hath heard
my voice and my supplications.
Psalms 119:97
O how love I thy law!
it is my meditation all the day.
Psalms 119:165
Great peace have they which love thy law:
and nothing shall offend them.
Mark 12:30
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:this is the first commandment.
John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 6:6
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance:against such there is no law.
Colossians 1:4
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
Psalms 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Psalms 18:1
I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
Psalms 31:23
O love the Lord, all ye his saints:
for the Lord preserveth the faithful,
and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Psalms 40:16
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.
Psalms 70:4
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Psalms 91:14
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
Psalms 97:10
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil:
he preserveth the souls of his saints;
he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalms 116:1
I love the Lord, because he hath heard
my voice and my supplications.
Psalms 119:97
O how love I thy law!
it is my meditation all the day.
Psalms 119:165
Great peace have they which love thy law:
and nothing shall offend them.
Mark 12:30
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:this is the first commandment.
John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 6:6
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance:against such there is no law.
Colossians 1:4
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Heartbroken God

heartbrokengod Heartbroken God

God has a beautiful way of making a picture to show His relationship with us.  One of the most common, but strongest portrait of that is marriage.  Marriage is built on trust, faith, hope, dreams, sacrifices, and what many would call most important, love.

 

Love is supposed to make your chest contract, when someone you care about is hurt.  Love is also what pushes us to make sacrifices, so that your loved ones can have something even though you might have wanted it.

 

Love also is what helps us feel so much, that we miss and hurt when someone that we love is gone. People often refer to that feeling as heartbreak, sometimes I wonder if God made that feeling just for us, so that we could just have a little taste of what He felt when we spiritually died in Eden.  I mean we literally cut ourselves from His life giving goodness, it hurts to be cut, and we cut Him.

 

When we left we said we didn’t need His love.  Thankfully you can’t just cut off His eternal love.  It remains attached no matter how far or long you run from it.

 

Love does have to be returned, and in the end we have to admit that He’s been there for us every step of the way, while we have run as far as we could.

 

One of the best pictures God ever showed of that is in the book of Hosea.  He made Hosea keep going after his adulterous wife.  He always brought her back, despite all her shameful behavior, and that she didn’t want him.

 

God keeps bring us back home, loving and caring over us despite all our shameful scars, that show we have been unfaithful, again.

 

Love is the attribute that remains after all.  Just like Him.  Just like we shall be through Him!

The Interview

theinterview

The carpet was a deep blue. The walls were white with a deep texture to them. The lights were a little bit too bright. The table in front of me, as well as the counter to my right where I had just checked in, both had the clearest glass I had ever seen. Smells of the room were that of aged wood but the only really wood I could see was the bookshelf in the corner of the room to my left. The lobby chairs were nearly sofas but infinitely more comfortable. I was sitting in one of them with the emotion of panic only allowing me to process the contents of the room.

Though I had tried to arrive early, as my university interview counselor had suggested, I managed to arrive to my interview right at the appointed time. Of course, everything remotely possible had to go wrong on my way here but for the moment I tried to calm myself and recollect my thoughts before I was called in.
“OK first impressions are important,” I thought to myself, “and I should probably make myself look busy instead of staring blankly at this perfect room.”
I fumbled through the brief case I had brought which had the directions that brought me to this room. At the last minute before leaving home, I had also stuffed some of my notes for the interview which I now thought would be just the thing I should look over. I came across the first page covered in my covered in my sloppy speed writing which read “Appealing to those above you.”
“Perfect!” I thought, “Now I can look all important and actually be getting ready for this interview.”
My notes began, “1) One cannot receive more than another person unless they are legitimately different.”
Trying to apply this to my situation I thought, “OK, So I have to really set myself apart from the other candidates.”
Agreeing with this my notes continued, “2) In order to be different, set yourself apart through your creativity in the very best way possible.”
“Cool,” I stated getting a bit anxious and wanted to get through the notes before I was called in, “So what am I trying to attain by being different?”
“3) It is by being different and set apart that we become Holy and attain more of God’s Grace.”
“Wait…” My mind spun for a second then I realized, “These are my notes from Wednesday night church last week.” I couldn’t believe I had been so careless as to grab an entirely wrong set of papers and bring them without noticing. “But wait this kind of applies to what I’m about to be doing here.” I looked over my notes to find the last point.
“4) When we increase in Holiness not only do we find more Grace in the eyes of God but also in the eyes of those around us.”
Everything seemed to make so much sense now! “I just need to find Grace in the eyes of my employer to get the job. So, I just need to be different with the creativity God gave me to be able to do this.” I noticed that I had written the reference Esther 2:16-17 on the side of the page and remembered Esther’s story. There was much in that story I could identify with at the moment so I bowed my head and prayed “God, I really need you to show me how I can bring glory to yo-“
“We are ready for you.” I looked up and saw my interviewer standing in the open doorway waiting for me so we could begin.
All I could think to say was, “Yes sir” as I made my way to the door. I wished I had the chance to finish praying but I believed that God could see my heart. He would make sure everything would be to His glory.
Walking through the doorway I was a bit surprised by the first question of the interview to be asked with such interest. “Were you praying?” I nodded in response. “That’s different, not too many people doing that nowadays.”