NOT THAT; THIS !!
Johnny Lee is an American country music singer. (I can't believe that I'm writing a devotional that opens with country music!!! I've got a spiritual son who's a heavy metal AND blues musician; he's going to disown me.)
Let me share the first verse with you:
I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places
Lookin' for love in too many faces
Searchin' their eyes, lookin' for traces
Of what I'm dreamin' of
Like Johnny Lee, the world spends an awful lot of time looking for love in all the wrong places.
They look for love in fame and recognition, seeking a sense of importance. But fame is fleeting. Even he hasn't had a song place on the music charts since 1985, even though he released his last album this year. He's still searching, because fame is not a solid foundation for love.
The world looks for love and acceptance in commitment-less sex. As if to say, "I'm so wonderful that people want the most intimate part of me." But intimacy without the committed foundation of marriage is like a sieve. No matter how much you pour into it, it leaks out very, very quickly. The stories of people who tried to find long-term joy in short-term physical pleasure could fill canyons of pages; but even endless sex is not a solid foundation for love either.
You can look for love -- that deep and immoveable knowledge that you are accepted and treasured -- in a hundred and one places. You may think it will come from a successful business, an expensive car (or a garage full of them), an extravagant home, or a large following on your social media. It won't. None of those things, though they may excite you and bring you PLEASURE for a brief moment, will ever bring you the joy of true love. You'll keep searching, running through one thing after another until you run out of money, strength or both. Each one will fail to satisfy, and you'll end up saying, "Nope; not THAT."
The titles of some of Jimmy Lee's songs through the years seem to reflect just such a search. Pickin' Up Strangers. Prisoner of Hope. Bet Your Heart on Me. Be There For Me, Baby. Sounds Like Love. One More Shot.
Let me save you the searching and tell you the answer: GOD LOVES YOU.
It sounds so simple. GOD LOVES YOU. But it is actually incredibly profound. Because contained within His love for you is the fulfilment of His purpose for you. His love, when you receive it and enter a committed love relationship with Him, unlocks everything you need to find true acceptance, utter fulfillment, unending joy unspeakable and a peace that passes understanding.
Because GOD LOVES YOU every gift you need to learn about and totally fulfill every plan He has for you is within your grasp; because it lies within Him.
THIS IS LOVE! Not that we loved God, which is utterly logical and makes perfect sense. Why wouldn't you love someone who has gone to great effort and personal expense to provide for your needs, comfort you in your losses, support you in your efforts to grow and mature in Him, and invite you to a caring relationship of incredible intimacy?
No, the amazing part of TRUE LOVE is that HE LOVED US. US !!!!!
US, the ones who deliberately have chosen to ignore Him on so many occasions.
US, the very ones who have chosen sin over obedience time after time.
US, you and me. We who have failed so often, by ignorance and by choice. By choosing wrong and by refusing to do right.
HE loved us first.
And, because of HIS LOVE, we can enter into a life-changing, personally-empowering and utterly-fulfilling relationship with the Creator of the universe. HE wants that relationship. HE offers that relationship.