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Barriers to
God’s Love
The Great Commandment
“Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and all your soul and
all your mind...Love your
neighbor as yourself”
--Matthew 22:37-38
God wants lovers!
wants lovers. Oh, how tepid is the love of
so many who call themselves by His name.
How tepid is our own - my own - in
comparison with the lava fires of his eternal
love. I pray that you may be an ardent lover,
the kind of lover who sets others on fire.”
--Amy Carmichael
Tevia: “Do you love me?”
Golde: “Do I what?”
Tevia: “Do you love me?”
Golde: “For twenty-five
years I’ve washed your
clothes, cooked your meals,
cleaned your house, given
you children, milked the
cow. After twenty-five
years why talk about love
right now?”
Tevia: “But do you love
Golde: “For twenty-five
years I’ve lived with him,
fought with him, starved
with him. For twenty-five
years my bed is his; if that’s
not love what is?”
Nothing can replace our Love for Jesus
 The
first thing which makes a true Christian
minister or missionary or evangelist or
preacher or Sunday School teacher, or leader
or Christian worker of any kind, is not
learning, not eloquence, not wisdom, not
organising ability, not pleasing personality,
not even a ‘passion for souls’, but a lovepassion for Jesus Himself. Nothing, nothing,
NOTHING, can take the place of that. All
else without that is like withered flowers.”
—J.Sidlow Baxter
“Lovers make better Workers
than Workers Do!”
Why Lovers Make Better
Workers than Workers do
 No
sacrifice is too great for the heart
that’s on fire with love
 Love
is its own reward…
“True love despises the recognition for
sacrifices made for love.”
—Mike Bickle
Yeshua’s Prayer for His Disciples:
“I made your name known to them,
and will make it known, so that the
love with which you have loved me
may be in them, and I in
them.”(John 17:26)
“For the wedding
of the Lamb has
come, and his
bride has made
herself ready
…Blessed are
those who are
invited to the
wedding supper of
the Lamb”
--Rev. 19:7,9
Our Love
for God and
God’s Love
for Us
“We love God because God first
loved us”-- I John 4:19
The springs of love are in God, not in us. It
is absurd to look for the love of God in our
hearts naturally. It is only when it has
been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy
--Oswald Chambers
The truth is… our love runs out…
“When we fail in personal
Christian experience it is
nearly always because we
have never received
--Oswald Chambers
“And I pray that you, being rooted
and established in love, may have grasp how wide and
long and high and deep is the love
of Christ, and to know this love
that surpasses knowledge--that
you may be filled to the measure of
all the fullness of God”
Ephesians 3:17-19
The Love of God
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.
“As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you. Abide in
my love”
John 15:9
“Keep yourselves in the love
of God”
Jude 21
Where He tells me I am Beloved
“The indispensable condition for
developing and maintaining the
awareness of our belovedness is
time alone with God. [That is
where] we discover that the
truth of our belovedness is
really true.”
--Thomas Merton
The Love of God...
1. Love like the Father and Son
have for Each Other
“As the Father has loved me, so I
have loved you.”--Jn 15:9
“And have loved them even as you
[the Father] have loved me [the
Son]”--Jn 17:26
The Great Dance
“The Great Dance has been
from all eternity and first and
foremost in the love that has
always been going on between
the Father and the Son. To enter
into the Dance, then, is to enter
into the living dynamic activity
of the Love that has always
been between the Father and
the Son.”—Leanne Payne
As the Father has loved me…
“The love of the Father to the Son is that divine
passion with which He delights in the Son,
and speaks, ‘My beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased.’ The divine love is as a
burning fire; in all its intensity and infinity it
has but one object and one joy, and that is the
only-begotten Son…
And yet this love of God to His Son must
serve, O my soul, as the class in which you
are to learn how Jesus loves you.
So I have loved You…
As one of His redeemed ones, you
are His delight, and all His desire
is to you, with the longing of a love
which is stronger than death, and which many
waters cannot quench. His heart yearns after
you, seeking your fellowship and your
love…His life is bound up in yours; you are to
Him inexpressibly more indispensable and
precious than you ever can know.”
—Andrew Murray
Enfolded in Divine Love
 “This
is the most beautiful moment
of any creature’s life: to know that one is
loved, personally, by God to feel oneself lifted
to the bosom of the Trinity and to find oneself
in the flood of love that flows between the
Father and the Son, enfolded in their love,
sharing their passionate love for the world.”
—Raniero Cantalamessa
Love that enjoys and delights in you
“He delivered me because he delighted in
me.”—Psalm 18:19
“He will take great delight over you; he will
rejoice over you with singing; he will quiet
you with his love.”—Zeph 3:17
“Your name shall be called Hephzibah…for
the Lord delights in you…As a bridegroom
rejoices over his bride, so will your God
rejoice over you.”—Isaiah 62:4-5
“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my
bride.”—Song of Songs 4:9
“I am my beloved’s, and
his desire is for me”
—Song of Songs 7:10
“We will never have
more affection or
passion for God than
we understand he has
for us”
--Mike Bickle
“The only thing
that makes life
livable is enjoying
the joy that comes
from knowing one
is enjoyed by
--Sam Storms
3. Love that endlessly pursues
“Surely goodness and mercy
[hesed] will follow [radaph pursue] me all the days of my
life”--Psalm 23:6
 What
is it like to be pursued?
 When have you pursued someone
or something with abandonment?
Our Love
for God and
God’s Love
for Us
“We love because He first loved us.”
-- I John 4:19
Our Love
for God and
God’s Love
for Us
“We love because He first loved us.”
-- I John 4:19
“God is no respecter of persons, but
He is a respecter of conditions.
The Drenching Rain
of the Father
“The love of the
Father is like a sudden
rain shower that will
pour forth when you
least expect it…When
this happens do not put
up an umbrella to protect
yourself but rather stand
in the drenching rain
of the Father.”
--Richard Foster
But there is a problem….
Our hurts can cause us to avoid love…
“To love at all is to
be vulnerable. Love
anything and your
heart will be rung and
possibly be broken.
If you want to make
sure of keeping it
intact, you must give
it to no one, not even
to an animal...”
Walls of Protection
Admitting they are there
You cannot confess
to God what you
will not first
admit to yourself.
 “There
Nails in my
were nails in my
soul which were causing
pain. But I had gotten so
used to them, I hardly felt
them…They were old and
rusty, big and small nails,
but like my stubborn
father I didn’t want to
admit they were there or
that it hurt…Before I
could forgive those who
drove them in, I had to
admit they were there.”
Living Your Wounds Through…
“The great challenge is living your
wounds through instead of thinking
them through. …In your head you
can analyze them, find their causes
and consequences, and coin words to
speak and write about them. But no
final healing is likely to come from
that source. You need to let your
wounds go down into your heart.”
--Henri Nouwen
“I Am A Rock”
(Paul Simon)
A Winter’s Day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the Streets Below
On a freshly fallen silent
shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island
I build walls.
A fortress deep and mighty that none may
I have no need of friendship, friendship
causes pain,
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island…
Don’t talk of Love, I’ve heard the word before.
There sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock, I am an island.
I have my books and my poetry to protect me.
I am shielded in my armor.
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries...
My Machine-like Persona:
“As an Adult Child Of an Alcoholic…in many ways I
grew up like a machine. No matter what happened I
could not be hurt; I just kept marching through,
streaking through life no matter what the obstacles. I
didn’t realize until I was thirty that switching off the
pain sensors also meant switching off the core love
sensors and the all important intimacy sensors.
Because of my machine-like, nothing can hurt me
persona (which the world and the church often
rewarded), I was completely impotent in truly loving
my wife as God had called me to and as she needed
me to.”
Walls often
consist of…
 Bitterness
and Unforgiveness
 Vows and Judgments
A lesson from a pagan!
forgiveness is a lovely
idea, until they have
someone to forgive.”
- C.S. Lewis
Seven Steps in Forgiving From the Heart
 Preparing
to Forgive - Focuses on the Past
Facing the Facts
Feeling the Hurt
Confronting the Hate
 The Heart of Forgiveness – The Present
Bearing the Pain
Releasing the Person Who Hurt Us
 Starting Over
Assuming Responsibility for Ourselves
Opens the possibility for Reconciliation
What Forgiveness is Not
Adapted from R.D. Enright, in N. Denison, To Live and Forget, On Wisconsin (Nov.-Dec. 1992)
 Forgetting:
deep hurts can rarely be
wiped out of one’s awareness.
 Reconciliation:
reconciling requires
two people; an injured party can
forgive without reconciling.
Forgiveness is Not, cont.
 Condoning:
forgiveness does not
necessarily excuse bad or hurtful
 Dismissing:
forgiveness involves
taking the offense seriously, not
passing it off as inconsequential or
Forgiveness is Not, cont.
 Reinstatement
of Trust: forgiveness
never disregards the hurts or the
potential for future hurts; it can occur
while maintaining appropriate
II Timothy 4:14,15
“Alexander the coppersmith has done me
much harm, but the Lord will judge him
for what he has done. Be careful of him
. . .”
Forgiveness is . . .
commitment to act humbly when I feel
justified in my right to exact retribution.
 a choice to extend mercy out of gratitude
for the mercy that has been shown to me.
 a willingness to love when I feel no love at
all and everyone around agrees that I’m
entitled to my resentment.
with God
Disappointments with God
 When
unexpected happens to us
 When obedience results in
Moses’ Disappointment with God
 “Moses
returned to the Lord and said, ‘O
Lord, why have you brought trouble upon
this people? Is this why you sent me?
Ever since I went to Pharoah to speak in
your name, he has brought trouble upon
this people, and you have not rescued your
people at all.”(Exodus 5:22-23; cf.
Numbers 11:10-15)
Similar experiences…?
“Have we not all had experiences of a like kind? We
have felt the unmistakable urge of the Spirit to some
new form of service, or to some special line of action,
and have obediently pressed forward, confident that
the inward urge itself was the guarantee of immediate
success. Then instead of success, opposition and
disappointment and seeming failure have stunned us
into bewildered despair, until we have ever been
ready to fling the charge of unfaithfulness in the face
of God.”
J. Sidlow Baxter
Then instead of success,
opposition and
disappointment and
seeming failure have
stunned us into bewildered
despair, until we have ever
been ready to fling the
charge of unfaithfulness in
the face of God.”
—J. Sidlow Baxter
Disappointments with God
“We are apt to imagine
that if Jesus Christ
constrains us, and we
obey Him, He will lead
us to great success. We
must never put our
dreams of success as
God’s purpose for us;
His purpose may be
exactly the opposite.”
—Oswald Chambers
Disappointments with God
 When
unexpected happens to us
 When obedience results in
 When something
unfortunate happens to
someone we love
Understanding The Process:
Spiritual Responses
 Anger
at God
 Blaming God
 Loss of spiritual appetites
 A loss of the sense of the
nearness of God
Repressed Feelings of Disappointment
“Multitudes of Christians struggle with
repressed feelings of disappointment.
God allowed things to happen in their
lives which deep down they believe He
ought to have protected them from.
These repressed feelings then prevent
them from entering into a passionate
relationship with their Lord.
Repressed Feelings of Disappointment
Worshipping with one hand open
and one hand clenched into a
Repressed Feelings of
It is difficult to be romantically
involved with someone whom you do
not believe has your best interests at
--Selwyn Hughes
“Love often succumbs to a
cold death on the sharp rocks
of disappointment”
--Dan Allender
Disappointments with God…
Damage our “love receptors”
 Create anger towards God
 Expose our idols
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the
Lord and he will give you the desires
of your heart.”
Bring Your Disappointments
with God to the Yeshua!
“My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me!”
 Bring your hurt, your anger, your
idols to the foot of the cross.
 Ask Jesus to touch you with his
nail-scarred hands!
“By his wounds we are healed”
Lies that We’re Not Lovable
What Voice Are You Listening To?
 Pride
 Intimacy
“The greatest trap in our
life is not success,
popularity or power, but
self-rejection...Selfrejection is the greatest
enemy of the spiritual life
because it contradicts the
sacred voice that calls us
the ‘Beloved.’”
--Henri Nouwen
One Of Our Greatest Needs
To be fully known… and loved
unconditionally anyway.
“But God demonstrates his own love for
us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Our Own Failures and Sins
Not Like Real Children
“Some of us keep living like maids and butlers
instead of like real children. Working
frantically to earn the right to stay, we never
really settle in, kick back and enjoy our
Father’s company. In effect, we live in the
crummy, cramped quarters over the garage
rather than in the magnificent main house”
—Sandra Wilson
There’s a world of
difference in knowing we’re
the forgiven and knowing
we’re the beloved.
--Sandra Wilson
Our Own List of “Unforgivable
I’m too bad because…
Yeshua bent down and wrote on the
ground with his finger. John 8:6
Forgive Yourself
You can no longer evaluate yourself
based on your life before life with
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation, the old has
gone, the new has come” - 2
Corinthians 5:17.
Messages We’ve Received
from Others
Something that my parents taught me,
but I have found to be untrue.
“Sticks and stones may break my
bones, but words will never hurt
(Prov 11:9 NIV) "With his mouth the godless
destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the
righteous escape."
 (Prov 12:18 NIV) "Reckless words pierce like a
sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
 (Prov 15:4 NIV) "The tongue that brings healing is
a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the
 (Prov 18:21 NIV) "The tongue has the power of life
and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
A Complete Waste of Life
“I grew up in a very broken and destructive
home…Emotional and physical abuse were
both very real and present… My mother used to
call me all sorts of names. I recall one of her
favorites being ‘(Censored!)’; and when she
wasn’t calling me that she was telling me to go
to hell. I never understood what I had done to
make my mother hate me so much. I certainly
couldn’t be lovable. She wouldn’t have done
all those things if I were capable of being loved.
I saw myself as a complete waste of life”
The Architecture of Despair
 “There
was nothing my father could not teach
me about the architecture of despair. I knew
all its shapes and its blueprints, the shadows of
all its columns and archways. My father could
send me reeling down its hallways and
screaming into its batspliced attics with a curl
of his thin-lipped mouth. He brought madness
home every time he entered the many houses
of my overlong childhood. His cruelty baffled
me, shamed me, and I promised myself I
would never be anything like him.”
—Pat Conroy
A Genius for Scab-flicking
 “My
father possessed a genius for
scab-flicking, for zeroing in on
that tenderest spot of the psyche
where healing was most difficult,
exposing the rawness of the
wound again and again.”
—Pat Conroy
When the “You ares” become the “I ams”
Our Fear of Letting God
Love Us
What We Fear Most
What we humans fear more than
anything else is not the evil all
around us, nor even the evil
inside us. What we fear most is
the good in ourselves. It is so
demanding we repress it.
William Sloane Coffin
Taking the Risk of Letting God
Love You
“Odd as it may seem
and counter to ordinary
human expectations, the
Christian life consists in
taking the risk of
allowing ourselves to be
endowed with gifts from
God.”--Thomas Oden
What need is being met in You by
your refusal to let God love you?
“These walls are
funny. First you
hate them. Then
you get used to
them. Then you
grow to depend on
them.”--“Red” in
The Shawshank Redemption
The God Who Sings Over You
“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
--Zephaniah 3:17
There is nothing you can do to lose God’s
love – stop fearing.
There is nothing you can do to earn more of
God’s love – stop striving.
“The only thing
that makes life
livable is enjoying
the joy that comes
from knowing one
is enjoyed by
--Sam Storms
Here I Am Lord!
I the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?