When we lived in England, we resided in a pleasant town just south of London. One Friday evening, we were away to London for a show, and on Saturday morning, I saw that there was a broken window in the door of the back entrance to the house. I asked my children if perhaps they had broken it, but they said that they had not. Our next-door neighbour saw us looking at the broken window and mentioned that his little dog had been really barking the evening before. So, we concluded that someone had tried to break in, but was scared off by the neighbour's little dog.
In those days, my travels took me away from home for weeks at a time, and my wife decided that she wanted a dog to scare away possible burglars. I'm not a dog person, but I could see her point.
The next week, we all went to the dog pound, and they picked out a nice-looking dog: "Sandy", we called her. I did not like her at first, and she did not like me. But I went for a walk every morning at 6:00 a.m., and I took her along. Sometimes, she would want to stop when I wanted to keep on walking, and sometimes, she would go left when I wanted to go right. And she grabbed the mail when the mailman pushed it through the slot in the door. It took us quite a while to break her of that habit and to get used to each other.
Once she found out that we were in charge, she started to love us and obey us, and it did not matter if I were mad at her — she still loved me. If I told her off, she would just sit there and look a me with those beautiful eyes. We could see that her love was unconditional — she loved me no matter what. When we came back to Canada, we brought Sandy with us, and when she died, I cried.
There are a number of passages in the Bible about God's unconditional love for us:
1 John 3:1a – How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (NIV)
1 John 4:10 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)
God, through Jesus, loves us unconditionally. But it doesn't stop there. He urges us to love others unconditionally through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:11 – Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (NIV)
Romans 5:5b – God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (NIV)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, it is with humble hearts that we thank You for Your unconditional love, which You express to us every day of our lives. We have the assurance that even when we fail You, You still love us, and we are thankful indeed. Enable us to love others like You love us. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne" (Lyrics)