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February 2023

jesus loves meHappy Valentine’s Day! True security is based on God’s love. It’s not an emotion, but a matter of fact, since God proved His love for us by sending His Son to die for our sins. He rose from the dead and sealed us with the Holy Spirit, regenerating our hearts. As a result, we have forgiveness, purpose and security.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” 1

A Testimonial Response…

Jonathan wrote: “I’m doubly delighted that you wrote back. It was a divine appointment. I needed the encouragement.”

“I have been spreading the word about ‘Abounding Love.’ I tell people about you all the time. Even the younger people know about you thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s movie ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.’ I tell people that you, who has spent 50+ years in prison are the truest sense of a free man than I have ever been. Initially, most think I’m joking, but then I explain and tell them about the website.

“Since I feel something of a kindred spirit with you, let me tell you just a little of my story. I grew up a preacher’s kid/ My father was a wonderful man, but a hard man. We were fundamentalist Baptists. Everything seemed to be based on fear. My dad is long gone, but I find myself being afraid of him, and always trying to get his approval. I know so many had similar childhoods. I probably sound like a broken record.

“I did well in school, in spite of the fact that I was a closet drinker and smoker from the tenth grade on. I was accepted into Harvard, but my dad didn’t approve, so I went to a local college. I married a grade-school sweetheart, and we eventually had four wonderful children (and I currently have three grandkids). My wife and I headed down to Texas to go to seminary. ‘Preaching’ was the family business, and since my dad and older brother went to Dallas Theological Seminary, I did too. Looking back, I’m amazed I made it through; I lived a double life. Seminary student and pastor of a little church in Caddo Mills (by Greenville, about 45 minutes from Dallas); and, on the other side of things, I was an alcoholic womanizer. I cheated in seminary a lot, petty thief, and on and on.

“After seminary, I joined the Army as a chaplain. I did really well even though I was still drinking heavily. But then after an injury, I got addicted to prescription pain pills. It quickly got out of hand, and I started stealing prescription pads and writing my own prescriptions, plus all the lying! Lying, lying, lying. Naturally, I got caught and exited the Army in embarrassment and shame. My wife kicked me out, and we were eventually divorced. That was 30 years ago. I’ve struggled off and on with my addiction, in and out of rehabs (the last one was a year and a half long); legal trouble, jail, etc…

“I’ve endured the whole rigamarole… A.A., N.A., Celebrate Recovery, Sponsors, etc. I’ve read probably 50 books about addiction and recovery. I know it all… ‘in my head.’ But since hearing from you, I feel like I’ve had that elusive, profound ‘breakthrough,’ that’s constantly talked and written about. And of course, the breakthrough is Jesus and the cross… something that’s always been in my head, but never really traveled down to my heart. Thank you for who you are and all you are doing. Jonathan, MI.”

God is for Us…

After all these years, Jonathan could have easily given up, but God. I recall what David wrote in one of my favorite Psalms: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” 2 I believe the goodness of God led Jonathan to repentance, not me. 3 I only share God’s goodness and leave the rest to Him. “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” 4

Many of you are drawn to this site to hear God’s Word for the first time, because “…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.” 5

God’s Everlasting Love…

You have the opportunity to become a child of God, to leave all your guilt and shame behind you, to be forgiven and free from condemnation, fear and inferiority. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.” 6

This should be nearly-too-good-to-be-true news. The apostle Paul asked, “Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” 7 In another letter, the apostle said, “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” 8 And again, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” 9

God’s Love United Us…

Like Jonathan, I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places that tore my life apart from family and friends. Instead, God’s love is the glue that holds our lives together,  in Christ during times of struggle. The apostle Paul asked, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” 10

Our security and victory lie solely in what Christ accomplished 2,000 years ago through the finished work of the cross. Regardless of our circumstances, feelings or our good performance, we remain secure in the Lord’s love and faithfulness. “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 11

A Prayer for You…

Jesus, my loving Valentine, I give you my heart to create anew and to cleanse with Your precious blood. I confess that You are my Lord, Savior and Righteousness. I believe in my heart that God raised You from the dead. By faith in Your Word, I receive salvation now. Thank You for saving me and revealing Your love to me.

Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive that filling right now in Jesus' Name!

Holy Spirit, thank You for baptizing me in your love. You are welcome in my life! Amen! (I would love to hear about your new life).

Scripture References (NLT):

1) Rom. 8:38
2) Psa. 27:13, NKJV
3) Rom. 2:4
4) Psa. 118:14, NKJV
5) Rom. 8:29,30
6) Rom 8:31b-33
7) Rom. 8:34
8) Eph. 2:6
9) Col. 1:13,14, NKJV
10) Rom. 8:35,37
11) Rom. 8:39