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A Love Story

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A Love Story.doc                                                                                                    SD19

February 12, 2006                                                                                                   File: E

A LOVE STORY

Hosea

I want to tell you a love story—Valentines is Tuesday!

It is of course, about a man and a woman

He was a good man…with a good reputation…not the kind of man you would find cruising the red light district of the city

Not the kind of man who would even know a woman like her—

So how they met is a mystery..

      Yet meet they did…I didn’t get that part of the story…

            Maybe it was a walk in the park one day—

He fell in love!

But she was a woman of the night.

      A street walker…a prostitute…

            He was torn—between his budding love and his reputation

But his love grew…

      He was committed…they were married

            But she couldn’t (wouldn’t) change…

He gave her everything

      A good home, fine gifts

            But more…he gave her his heart! – Unconditionally

They had three children…first a son, then a daughter, then another son…

But she was back to her old haunts…back to the old friends, the old places, the old habits..

And he left her alone…until….finally, --

Her youth spent…her money gone…her body ravaged…her beauty betrayed…

Loaded with personal debt and no longer good for the street she hoped to sell herself as a slave to pay the debt.

It was the days when people were bought and sold to pay their debts…you would even sell yourself

That is where he saw her…

It was the first time in several years…he had looked, searched, wanting to see her…

And now she is on the auction block in the slave market…where she would be sold to the highest bidder…

He had never given up! And he was passing by that day…when something made him look up at the next one being sold…

She was barely recognizable

      Hair matted and dirty

            Her clothes hardly covered her…

                  Bent low…shivering…cowering

Nothing left of the fineries of her former trade in lust.

      Sick and sinful…wasted!

But he was there now!  And she was within reach!

      He had waited! Hoped!

Many had told him to get on with his life!  There are other fish in the sea—move on

      But it just wasn’t an option he left open for himself.

            He loved deeply!!!!

And now today he saw her!

      His heart aches for what had become of her…

            Broken hearts hurt deeply!!!

And as the auctioneer began the bidding…his voice rang out loud and clear…

Her eyes lifted but a little!

      Did she recognize the voice?

            But how could it be? Surely he has moved on!

                  “Why would he be here…today…wanting me?”

But when the teller is given the ransom price…he went to her!

      Took off his robe and wrapped her up…and took her home!

If you have read the Old Testament prophets you have come across this story—the story of Hosea and Gomer

But it is much more than a story about a man and a woman

      It is the story of God and his love for you and me

And how we have often spurned his love and done our own thing—and been left with the dregs

Rebellious—sick—filled with self—reaping the harvest we have sown—

      Having gone our own way…and been left for dead.

            Rejected—alone—lost!!!

But still God loves!!!  And still He waits!!!!

     

The story is told in one great hymn—by Ralph Carmichael

      “The savior is waiting to enter you heart, why don’t you let Him come in? There’s nothing in this world to keep you apart, What is your answer to Him?

      “Time after time He has waited before, and now he is waiting again, To see if you’re willing to open the door, Oh, How He wants to come in.

      If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend, You’ll find His arms open wide; Receive Him and all of your darkness will end, Within in your heart He’ll abide.”

The story is told in many scripture texts:

“Greater love has no man than this…that he lay down his life for a friend…”

But greater love is the love of God, who “While were yet sinners, died for us.”

Mark 10:21 (rich young ruler)  “Jesus, beholding him, loved him…”

John 13:1  “Having loved His own, he loved them to the end.”

Jeremiah 31:3 “the Lord has appeared of old to me saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

1 John 4:9-10 (NIV) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

In the love story of Hosea and Gomer—we are the harlot

      And God is the lover—

We have stood on the auction block of sin—ready to be sold for our debt…

But the voice of the Lord comes ringing out over the crowd of gawkers…she is mine! I will buy her back!

     

The words of one song—the most theologically correct songs I know come back to me:  “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so…”

1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God.”

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

The concept of unconditional love is a hard one to wrap our mind around—we are so used to loving others for what we get out of them—spouses, kids, brothers and sisters—

And we are used to receiving that kind of manipulative love!
I love you if…
      I love you when…

But his kind of love—is the greatest thing in the world!!!
      It is the greatest thing you can give
            It is the greatest thing you can receive!

It is demonstrated by God Himself!
      Unconditional love!!!!

            JESUS LOVES YOU!

Nancy (that is her real name-though you don’t know her)…had been going through a very trying time in her life...the kind we all go through at one time or another…
      God just was far, far away!

It was winter at Emerald Bay in Laguna.  It was winter inside and outside—The beach was nearly deserted—just a few people walking down the beach, some distance away. It was almost like she had the entire beach to herself
      She needed to be alone with her thoughts and her prayers – and with God, if He might show up!
      She needed to cry out to Him for comfort, for help—as she struggled with some deep personal needs.
      The day was cold, but clear—her heart was cold, and anything but clear—but as she walked among the beauty of that day she began to feel aware of God’s creation and His presence surrounding her.
      But she longed for that personal touch of God in her life—to speak to the immediate need she faced.
      Suddenly she was aware of that inner voice—telling her to “Write it down—in the sand”
      She looked around and found a stick and knelt and wrote four words in the damp sand—one right on top of the other.

                  JESUS
                  PLEASE
                  HELP
                  ME

      As she finished the last word a shadow fell over her shoulders –and a very young boy (perhaps 7 or 8 yrs)—was standing there. He took the stick from her hand without comment. At first Nancy was sorry that anyone had seen what she had written. She felt it was so private. – Just between her and the Lord.
      She didn’t want anything or anyone to spoil it!
      But the little boy smiled at her—reached out with the stick—and made in the sand the sign of the cross right over the name of JESUS and said, “I am a Christian.”   
      And then he turned back to two other children he was with—and the three walked on down the beach without another word.”

God had met her!  With the message of the cross!...the message that God reached out and touched her life…2000 years ago…and because of that He still touches lives today!

      Jesus Loved You!!!

It reminds us of the profound truth!!!!

JESUS PLEASE HELPME—Yes! That is what the cross is all about! He has helped!  He has sought us out! He continues to reach out in love to the lost and fallen!

He loves us that we might learn LOVE!
That we might have life!!!!  In the truest sense of the word!
He is alive!  He is here!  NOW!

      The crucified, risen Lord who give life and hope to all who believe—surrendering their lives to Him!

Hosea 2:19

I will make you my promised
bride forever. I will be good and fair;
I will show you my love and mercy.

“For all its mysteries, the Bible has one simple story.

God made man.

Man rejected God.

God won’t give up until he wins him back.

God will whisper. He will shout. He will touch and tug.

He will chase us and chasten us.

He will take away our burdens; he’ll even take away our blessings.

If there are a thousand steps between us and him, he will take 999. But he will leave the final one for us. The choice is ours.

Please understand. His goal is not to make you happy. His goal is to make you his. His goal is not to get you what you want; it is to get you back.” ---- A Gentle Thunder[1]


His dream for you and Him is to restore a faithful bride!
      GOD LOVES YOU!!!!

The gospel is the story of how the King of the Universe showed up at the slave auction…paid the ransom price with his own blood...and then wrapped the wanderer in His righteous robes to take us home!

It is the love story of the universe!

It is time to follow Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength!

Can you do that???
         I know you can!!!!


----

[1]Adapted from:  Lucado, M., & Gibbs, T. A. 2000. Grace for the moment : Inspirational thoughts for each day of the year . J. Countryman: Nashville, Tenn.

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