KayMarie good friend...not AND...God IS LOVE.
The world presents God as an angry ruler who is just looking for an excuse to destroy us. He's been working on me, and little by little, I've come to see Him in a more favorable light. But finally I've begun to see Him as He really is.
We try to follow lots of 'rules'; try to force ourselves to 'be good'...even when we don''t want to. And sometimes we don't even try; we feel that it is 'too hard', or even that He is demanding too much. Our weakness prevents us from believing that even God could be perfect in love.
Tonight I began to get what I think is the whole picture. It took some time for me to realize that He could love ME! Who am I, that He should love ME? Some more perfect one of whom He could be proud...but not me.
God spoke through the prophet, saying, "I know the thoughts I think toward you," and He says those thoughts are to do us GOOD, not evil. He IS love, thus nothing else can come forth from Him. But that leaves us with questions...how/why could He let bad things happen to us if He loves us?
Well...now I see what is going on. God gives us commands (instructions) for living...NOT because He doesn't want us to enjoy life. After all, HE gave us LIFE; then He gave us His Son. If He gives us His dearest and best, why would He withhold anything else?
The secret is this: He wants us to be healthy and whole, body, mind and spirit. The first reason He instructs us to follow His thoughts, is that the pleasure derived from sin is temporary...and then it brings death. That destroys our health physically, mentally, and spiritually.
But suppose I'm not hurting anyone else, we ask? Because sin not only hurts us, it hurts those around us. Sickness, and divorce and greed, etc. bring pain and suffering, not only to the sinner, but to his/her neighbor. Our family/neighbors suffer greatly if we are sick; shock waves rumble out to hurt everyone when there is a divorce. If we follow His instructions, our lives become a blessing, if we do not, our actions become a curse to others (His other children.)
But what about hell, we ask? Isn't it mean of Him to be so angry with those who fail? If you've just been washed clean, and the old dog shakes his mud and fleas on you...though you 'love' Rover, can't you be a bit upset? God has given us everything necessary for 'life and godliness'. When His gifts are rejected willfully, it is simply proof that that individual is NOT love. Like begets like. It is a principal that works throughout God's world. So if one deliberately chooses to 'live in sin'; wounding all around him, that is proof that that one is NOT His 'seed'.
Now, Rover can't help himself; he doesn't even know how he is offending you...he's just trying to get comfortable...but God has made us able to hear and understand. It takes us a while to understand, but He patiently works with us as one works with a dear child. He FORGIVES us as long as our hearts are willing. Many times He waits on us when our understanding is lacking, and doesn't discard us. He LOVES us, He BELIEVES in us. He KNOWS what we can become, so He is patient.
Patience is PART of love (remember that the next time you are impatient). It takes time to cultivate love in us, so He remains patient. We are weak, and so He is merciful. Mercy is another PART of love. As obedient children we need to show mercy and patience (love) to His other children.
God IS LOVE...
You wrote, "We try to follow lots of 'rules';"
I would add, that when we try to live up to rules of doing good, we get tangled up....
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
There is first of all love, but then a sense of joy, and not of drudgery or a heavy heart in doing God's Will.
This is why angels fly...(smile)