Chapter OneASSURANCE OF GOD'S LOVE
God absolutely loves you. Do you know that? It's hard to get our
mind around, but it is true. He loves you.
Becoming the Beloved means letting the truth of our
Belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say
-HENRI J. M. NOUWEN
This is where the faith journey starts: understanding that God
loves you. If you do not have an assurance of God's love, your faith
journey will not last long.
Memorize this and you will grow in your assurance of God's
1 Kings 8:23
THE GOOD GOD
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you. (Psalm 86:5)
It is not advisable to experience the verses in Memorize This in isolation.
That can be a dangerous practice. Each verse shared is part of
a larger book and the total of God's love letter to us-the Bible.
In that light, read all of Psalm 86. Then jot down things that stand out
to you in the psalm.
Psalms is unlike most other books in the Bible. It could be called a
songbook or book of poetry because the psalms were used by believers
to worship the Lord.
Did you notice how small capital letters were used in several places
to refer to God in the psalm? When you see "Lord" in the Bible, that
reads YHWH in the original Hebrew text. You may have heard it pronouncedYahweh. It is the most reverent and holy name used for God in
Yahweh was considered to be a mysterious God. The Israelites
respected and even feared Him. After all, this was the God who
destroyed whole cities. His followers approached Him with caution.
David, the writer of Psalm 86, was king of Israel and one of the most
incredible individuals of history. God said David was a man after God's
own heart. But David was also a man who had some struggles along his
life journey. He had an affair and was a murderer. He was a sinner just
like you and me.
Read Psalm 86 again. How does your new insight into God and the
author of this psalm change your perspective on it? Jot down
God is still mysterious. We don't know why certain things happen
in our lives. And we are still sinners. We do things that we
know God would rather we not do.
With this in mind, write your own personal paraphrase of Psalm
THE GOD WHO IS WITH US
"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
For context, read Zephaniah 3. Zephaniah was a prophet. A
prophet is one who speaks the words of God. Let's break this verse
"The Lord your God is with you." What does this mean? When
have you experienced God with you?
"He is mighty to save." This is a powerful, life-changing line. Our
God is not a wimp. He is able and ready to save us from anything. He
is in charge.
Sometimes it is hard to see how God has saved us. He may be saving
us all the time and we don't see it.
The movie Signs gives us a great picture of how God saves us. In the
movie, the world is under attack by space aliens who come to the home
of Graham, a former Episcopal priest, played by Mel Gibson. Graham's
son has asthma, and during the attack, the son nears death because of
his condition. Graham hates God because God has given his son this
condition, and his son is unable to breathe. But when an alien tries to
kill Graham's son with poison, the poison does not enter his body
because the asthma has closed his lungs. Graham realizes that the
asthma has actually saved his son's life. Earlier in the story, the last
words of Graham's dying wife to her husband were "Graham . see!"
Do you "see"? God is saving you all the time. How can you enhance
your ability to see God working in your life? It begins by asking, "God,
help me to see." It continues by looking for His action in your life. It
concludes by writing it down.
God will move in your life this week. Jot a few lines about the
It seems every day ends with a miracle here. And whatever God
may be, I thank God for this day.
-LIEUTENANT DUNBAR IN DANCES WITH WOLVES
"He will take great delight in you." God not only loves you; He
likes you. Sometimes love can feel like a requirement: I have to love
my sister, because we're in the same family. It's way more than this for
God. He really likes to hang out with you, like a best friend.
"He will quiet you with his love." Often we are quieted with a
shout-Hey, shut up! Zephaniah said that God will quiet us with His
love. Have you ever been quieted by love? It's like melting.
Finally, "He will rejoice over you with singing." You make God
Draw a picture of this verse. It doesn't have to be a great painting,
just a simple picture of what it means for you to experience God
as expressed by Zephaniah in the verse.
GOD OF LOVE
Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured
out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he
has given us. (Romans 5:5)
Read Romans 5. The book of Romans is in the New Testament. We
experience God at a new level in the New Testament, as compared
to the Old Testament.
How can you see this new relationship with God expressed in this
Many Bible versions title sections within the chapter. What title does
your Bible version give for this section?
This verse talks about three feelings: hope, disappointment, and love.
How have you experienced these three?
Write about a personal relationship that has included all three.
How is your relationship with God similar to this relationship?
God has called you into a special love relationship, one based
on hope. These assurances are building on that hope. But there will
be disappointments. There will be times when you disappoint God
and times when you are disappointed by Him. It is for those times
that He has provided the Holy Spirit to pour love into your being.
The deepest of relationships experience times of hope, disappointment,
and love. These times deepen our love even more.
THE GOD OVER ALL
O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in
heaven above or on earth below-you who keep your
covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly
in your way. (1 Kings 8:23)
This passage does not live in isolation; it is part of a larger story.
It's a long chapter, but read all of 1 Kings 8 for context. What is
the larger story in this passage?
Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. It is
one of the primary ways we communicate with Him. This prayer
Verse 23 talks about gods in heaven and on the earth. At the
time it was written, many people worshiped idols. For the most
part, we do not have statue idols today, though we may still have
things in our lives that we treat like idols.
God in heaven we can understand, but what are gods on earth? What
idols do people worship here on earth?
A covenant is a contract. We have a contract of love with God if we
wholeheartedly pursue Him. What does it mean for you to wholeheartedly
Write a covenant of love with God, and include the aspects found in
this prayer. Name the "earthly gods" in your life, express how you will
continue to wholeheartedly follow the one true God, and so on.