NO MATTER WHAT

Dave SepikBY: Dave Sepik

E-MAIL ADDRESS: Davesepik@mac.com

BIBLE TEXT: Romans 5: 1-8:
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

PERSONAL REFLECTION:
I am amazed at how short words can jump off a page and convict me. As I read the other day about being adopted into the family of God and His unconditional love for us, the word IF stopped me. Such a small transitional word that I normally read right through, but on this day the words “unconditional” and “if” joined themselves in my heart. With God there is no conditional “if” when it comes to love.

I took a basic computer programming class once. I remember basically nothing, but I do remember we would use “if, then, else” statements: “If this, then do this, but else do this.” I am really glad God is not a programmer! God’s “if” isn’t exclusionary. He doesn’t say, “If you’ll do right, I’ll love you and care for you.” He just says, “I love you.” No if’s. And even when you hurt me by hurting other people, I love you. And even when you are selfish and not putting me first in your life, I still love you. And even in the midst of committing sin, I am hurt, but I still love you. God doesn’t say, “If you straighten up for 30 days, then I’ll love you.”He doesn’t say, “If you’ll slow down and spend more time with me, then I’ll love you.” He especially does not say, “If you would not have done that bad thing, I would have loved you more. But since you did that, I can’t love you as much.” HE DOES NOT SAY THAT. There is absolutely no excuse in this world we can come up with that prevents God from loving us … no matter what!

I know some people can’t understand this yet. They are listening to a lie that they have told themselves based on how they think and not how God thinks. If you know someone that has not forgiven themselves and needs freedom, remind them that God loves them no matter what. That one reminder may be all they may need.

God does have some “if’s” but they are only instructional guides to follow:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” –2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus said: “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” -John 15:6-7

Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” -Romans 8:31

PERSONAL APPLICATION
May I not use conditional “if’s” when it comes to love, care, and service today. I need to always accept God’s unconditional love and then do the best I can to model it to others.

PRAYER: God, sometimes life gets me down and I find it hard to see things to be thankful for. Open my eyes to see the gifts you’ve given me in my life. I’m going to start by thanking you for loving me enough to come to earth and die so we can live together forever. Thank you for loving me in spite of my shortcomings and utter failures, I love you ….Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Westchester, New York, I moved to Central Florida as a senior in high school.  I muddled around for many seasons in which I served as youth pastor, spent several years working for the Big Cheese himself in Orlando, and even made it snow in Florida. God brought me to Florida for one reason: to meet my best friend for life — my wife Sharon. When not doing activities with DJ and Izzy, I enjoy fishing, gaming, movies, and treasure hunting! I am currently Help Desk Administrator at Zander Insurance in Nashville. My family and I have called Life Assembly our home for three years now.

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