Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Linda Brawner
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000190
00:31 Hello, I am Shelley Quinn,
00:33 and welcome again to Issues and Answers.
00:35 What issue are you dealing with today,
00:38 is it possibly that you are wondering
00:40 can God love you? Well, we are going to
00:43 find the answers today, not only from the Bible,
00:45 but from someone who has really learned that
00:48 answer directly from the Lord.
00:50 I'm so excited to welcome back again Linda Brawner,
00:53 all the way down from Mansfield, Ohio,
00:56 an Ohio girl all your life. Yes. Thank you so much,
00:59 what a joy it has been to have you come here
01:02 time and again, and we just really appreciate
01:05 you returning for this program.
01:06 And we're going to be talking today about love,
01:09 God's love, and know you Linda is an author.
01:12 She's written a wonderful book called "Keep Sweet,"
01:15 and you can get that book at keepsweetforever.com
01:18 which is your website. Yes.
01:20 You know I think that you touched my heart
01:24 in your book when you said that your husband
01:28 was an uncommon Christian, that he didn't always do
01:32 the things that people might think a Christian
01:35 should do, but he didn't feel that God
01:39 could really love him at first, why was that?
01:45 Because of his diabetes, his mind was not always
01:49 as sharp as most people, and he didn't get into
01:54 the word. The two kind of fed on each other.
01:58 He didn't read the word because he
02:00 didn't feel worthy of God's love.
02:02 He didn't feel worthy of God's love because
02:04 he didn't read the word. He was a good man,
02:09 he was kinder than you know in fact
02:12 he was a great influence on me becoming more kind,
02:15 and did a lot of wonderful things,
02:18 but he underestimated his worth, and if our
02:24 worth is based on what God thinks of us
02:27 then there is you can't
02:29 think too highly of yourself.
02:31 You know the Lord once really impressed upon
02:34 me that when I go out and minister,
02:36 the one thing I always try to remember to
02:38 tell people is that you are worth nothing less
02:42 than the price that Jesus Christ paid for
02:44 you with his own blood, that's how much we're
02:48 worth to God, yes. In your opinion,
02:52 and we hope your opinion is based on the Bible,
02:55 it is. Who does God love? Everyone of us.
03:01 No matter how bad we have sinned,
03:04 no matter what's going on in our life,
03:06 God loves all people, yes. So then this is a love
03:12 that is unconditional love as the Bible says
03:16 in First John 4:8 and verse 16 that God is love.
03:21 It is his nature to love, yes. He loves sinners.
03:25 Yes, and that's why we can trust him.
03:28 His love is not based on what we do,
03:32 not based on what any church tells us to do,
03:36 or tells us is right. God's love for us
03:40 is based on his nature, and the Bible says
03:43 he does not change. Amen, Malachi 3:6,
03:46 but he also says that you know I think
03:50 there's going to be someone out here
03:51 in our audience is going to say you girls
03:53 are wrong, you know God doesn't love
03:56 everyone but he says in Romans 5:8 that
03:59 he demonstrated his love for us in this that
04:03 he send Christ to die for us while we were
04:06 yet sinners. So that is proved John 3:16 for
04:11 God so loved the world, all of us,
04:15 that he gave his only begotten son,
04:18 so that whosoever should believe in him
04:20 should not perish but have everlasting life,
04:23 right, right. So how did you learn of God's love?
04:31 First, I had people tell me about Jesus.
04:34 By then I was reading the Bible,
04:37 I was in a college that was nominally Christian,
04:41 and there were a lot of good Christian kids
04:45 there who expected the institution to be
04:49 more religious, to have values more
04:52 what they had grown up with.
04:54 They were afraid, I do believe they love
04:58 the Lord but they were not getting
05:00 the kind of education they expected,
05:03 and they kind of clumped together in fear.
05:06 And so I started reading the Bible,
05:09 because I figured you know they're probably wrong,
05:13 but at least I should know what they're wrong about.
05:18 And as I read I realized that yes we are sinners,
05:24 and yes something has to be done about it,
05:27 and that something was Jesus Christ dying
05:31 on the Cross. And the most important thing I got,
05:35 and I am not, it was a blend of attending
05:38 a sort of evangelistic series, reading my Bible,
05:41 and these friends answered my questions,
05:44 was that God does love us, he does not look
05:48 forward to punishing us for transgression.
05:52 He wants to save us from sin.
05:55 The word salvation in the original language
06:00 means to save, to heal and to restore, amen,
06:04 its all one thing in God's eyes. Amen,
06:07 so its amazing to me that here you are a
06:11 college student not with a lot of religious
06:14 upbringing or background, but as you came to the
06:18 word, the Bible, you really, you heard it first,
06:22 faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the
06:24 word of Christ, but you got into the Bible
06:27 and you really not only saw God in this,
06:31 the love of God in the Bible, but you embraced
06:35 this and received the love of God.
06:38 Do you believe that we can earn God's favor?
06:42 No, there is absolutely nothing, and this
06:47 knowledge is not something that the fact
06:49 that we can do nothing to earn his favor
06:52 is not something we understand as soon
06:55 as we become Christians, its something
06:57 we grow into. We can have a intellectual
07:02 understanding that there is nothing we can do,
07:04 but it's our own experience that makes
07:08 us grow in the understanding that
07:11 God loves us just as we are, no matter
07:15 what brilliant things we've done, no matter
07:18 what horrendous things we've done,
07:21 he still loves us, and nothing will change that,
07:25 because his love for us is based on who he is.
07:28 Amen, so what I hear you saying is then that
07:32 anyone can come to Jesus, just as they are,
07:37 yes. They can come there now, but even
07:40 though they can't earn his favor,
07:42 because the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8-10
07:46 that we're saved by grace through faith;
07:48 not by works that any man should boast.
07:51 Even though we come to Jesus just as we are,
07:55 and he loves us. He doesn't really just
07:57 you know I hear people say he accepts us
08:00 as we are. He receives us but would you agree
08:04 that he loves us too much to leave us in the mess
08:07 that we come to him. Oh definitely, definitely,
08:10 but the thing, to emphasize is its God's
08:14 work to clean us up, amen.
08:17 The change in behavior has to be a response
08:22 to his love for us, amen, because it's
08:25 so much easier to change your life,
08:29 to change unproductive ways of thinking,
08:32 unhealthy lifestyle habits. If we realize
08:36 that in Christ we are already winners, amen.
08:40 We are already accepted. Amen, and its something
08:45 that Romans 5:17 says that those who have
08:49 received an abundance of grace and the gift
08:51 and righteousness will reign in life through
08:53 Christ Jesus. It all comes from him working in us
08:57 to interact yes, doesn't it, yes.
08:59 But now you and I both belong to the
09:02 Seventh-day Adventist Church
09:04 and we believe that God's Ten Commandments
09:08 are something that we should keep and
09:10 sometimes because we profess this.
09:14 There are people who will say now Linda
09:17 you are trying to earn your favor with God.
09:20 How do you answer then when they say that?
09:23 Any church that preaches a standard
09:26 of righteousness is going to attract a certain
09:29 amount of people who want to play by the rules,
09:33 who want to get into heaven, because they
09:36 paid their dues by keeping the standards
09:40 of the church. Its human nature,
09:44 it is not wrong to preach a standard
09:47 but it is human nature to want to keep the rules.
09:52 So now wait a minute because I want to make
09:53 sure I am understanding it, what you're saying
09:55 then is in our church I know that we teach that
10:01 we don't keep the Commandments to be safe
10:03 but we keep the Commandments
10:05 because we are saved, amen.
10:07 Just like Jesus didn't keep God's Commandments
10:10 to become the son of God, he kept the
10:13 Commandments because he was the son of God.
10:15 But what you are saying is that if
10:17 I understood you just now is that even
10:20 in our church even though we don't preach
10:22 that you're saved by the Ten Commandments
10:24 there is that group of people who think that
10:28 they can just keep the Commandments and
10:30 not worry about a relationship with Jesus
10:32 and they think they got a right to salvation,
10:34 is that what you were saying? Yes,
10:35 there is a lot of comfort in our finiteness
10:38 when life is out of control, there's a lot
10:41 of comfort in having this measure of control that
10:44 I didn't do the dishes on Sabbath this week.
10:47 I didn't turn on secular TV. I was a good girl.
10:52 Yes, I went to church even though I hated every
10:56 minute of it. We've mentioned that
10:59 I had a nervous breakdown,
11:01 the biggest factor in it was that I stopped
11:04 talking to God, but I didn't want my brothers
11:08 and sisters on my back, so I came to church.
11:12 I sang the hymns, I said the proper words,
11:16 and I felt so hollow and empty on the inside.
11:20 So you came to church in your camouflage,
11:24 the verbal camouflage of happy Sabbath,
11:27 how are you, yes. Oh I am wonderful,
11:29 thank you, well dressed. You were fearful to,
11:32 why were you fearful to let people know
11:35 what was going on inside of you.
11:37 Because sometimes we can be really hard on
11:39 our brothers and sisters, I firmly believe that
11:43 my church did the best thing they help for me,
11:46 but the fact is when I had the nervous breakdown,
11:49 they assumed it was a lack of faith,
11:52 and at that point in time, I didn't have it together
11:57 enough to explain that no, it was a biochemical
12:00 imbalance keeping my brain from functioning right,
12:03 and that skewed all my perceptions of the world.
12:07 So you have I know a very loving church you
12:10 told me about your wonderful church members,
12:12 you have a close relationship, I know that
12:15 you told us in previous programs how supportive
12:19 they were during the time of your husbands' death,
12:22 but at that time they weren't understanding
12:25 what was going on in your life and you did,
12:28 you were afraid you were going to be judged
12:29 if you told them so the two of you,
12:32 it's almost like a standoff, wasn't that.
12:34 Yeah and they were scared to death.
12:36 I had been a brilliant Christian,
12:40 strong in the faith, not only saying the
12:44 right things, but usually they could see the fire
12:47 in my eyes. They knew that these things were
12:49 in my heart, and when I started faking it,
12:54 I went downhill, and I frightened them.
12:57 Do you think that maybe the reason
13:00 people were afraid is because to watch a
13:04 shooting star or a bright shining star
13:06 of the Lord suddenly fizzle its kind of like,
13:10 if this can happen to Linda, it can happen to me.
13:12 Yes, yes very much. Well now let me get
13:16 back to my train of thought was that,
13:20 what part if God is love and God loves all of us
13:25 equally, I mean he shows no favoritism towards man.
13:30 What part does the law of God play in this
13:34 scenario of love? It plays two parts,
13:38 first it is God's character, the law is who he is,
13:45 and we should, we should reflect that law,
13:51 so that when people look at us,
13:54 whenever we claim the name of Christ,
13:57 people look at us and they see who God is.
14:01 Our duty is to try to make that accurate reflection
14:06 of who God is, and then its to protect us,
14:11 if we're not busy cleaning up messes created by sin,
14:18 by our own personal sins, then we are
14:23 better able to hear his voice, better able
14:26 to enjoy his presence and better able to
14:31 accurately reflect God's character to those around
14:34 us. Amen, and you know the Bible does say,
14:37 Jesus said in John 14:15, if you love me,
14:40 obey my Commandments, keep my Commandments,
14:43 and he also says or John said by the inspiration
14:47 of the Holy Spirit I believe First John 5:3
14:49 that this is love and that is to obey
14:53 his Commandments, and they are not burdensome
14:55 to us. But his law, this Ten Commandments
14:59 are really, it's a law of love, ten promises of
15:03 what God will empower us to do.
15:06 The first four being teaching us how to
15:09 love the Lord our God with all of our heart,
15:11 soul, mind and strength, and the others six being
15:15 how to love one and another as we love ourselves.
15:19 And I firmly believe that we were made to keep
15:24 those Commandments, that we are happiest
15:26 to the extend that we keep those Commandments
15:29 by his grace because Genesis says we are
15:33 made in the image of God. Amen, amen,
15:36 by his grace is right, so is it anything that
15:40 in your opinion that we can do to make God
15:44 quit loving us? No, explain that.
15:48 You can take the blackest, you know
15:53 most sinful person, the worst deeds,
15:57 my father often puzzled over how Hitler
16:02 was allowed to kill so many people, yes.
16:05 God loved Hitler, God loved him like
16:10 we can't imagine and he weeps over the loss of him.
16:17 God loved the child Hitler, Adolf Hitler,
16:23 but he hated the sin, yes. And he hated the fact
16:27 that Hitler will be lost if he did not confess
16:30 his sin and repent to the Lord, he will be lost
16:33 forever. But he was very grieved over the acts
16:37 that Hitler committed because they were heinous,
16:39 yes. And it is you know there is something about
16:43 the power of choices in there, yes.
16:45 Its amazing that God loves us enough,
16:48 you spoke of that in your book.
16:50 Explain what you were talking about?
16:52 For hope reason why there is sin on this planet
16:56 is because God refuses to force us to obey him,
17:00 right. Sin started in heaven, and God could
17:05 have put an end to it like that, but all of his
17:11 creation will serve in fear, and that's
17:15 counter-productive, you know just as
17:17 we can't serve to earn his favor,
17:20 we can't serve him well, we can't obey him well,
17:24 if we are scared to death or getting zapped,
17:27 amen, because oh my, we had one contrary
17:32 thought, amen. You know when you said sin
17:35 started in heaven, lets look at what Isaiah 14:13
17:39 says because that sin that started in heaven
17:42 was pride, and we've got this angel Lucifer
17:48 who was the most beautiful, most intelligent
17:52 of God's created beings, and he stood up in
17:56 heaven and this was his thoughts.
17:59 He says in his heart, I will ascend to heaven,
18:03 I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
18:07 I will sit upon the mount of the assembly,
18:09 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
18:12 I will make myself like the Most High.
18:14 So Lucifer who stumbled and fell because of pride
18:20 and rebellion, led this rebellion.
18:22 He was the father of lies, and he was the murderer
18:25 from the beginning. He got this in his heart,
18:29 I mean God did not create a devil, yes.
18:31 He created a beautiful angel,
18:32 but pride created the devil.
18:34 So there are things that we can do
18:38 and attitudes we can adopt, that can make us
18:41 actually be eternally lost if we do not repent,
18:45 correct. But that doesn't mean you know
18:47 boggles my mind is that God still loves Lucifer
18:51 and his heart grieves over his loss, yes,
18:53 he really does. But now there is a very popular
18:57 teaching in some Christian circles that
19:02 since God is love and we are his children
19:07 that he will give us anything that we desire
19:10 and that the evidence of God's love is health
19:14 and prosperity, what would you say to that,
19:19 are only the people who prosper loved by God
19:23 and are the rest of them are second rate Christians,
19:25 if they're poor, if they're not healthy.
19:28 I hope not, because I am poor, and I struggle
19:32 with depression, and those could be strong
19:34 arguments that God does not love me or that my
19:37 Christian faith is not valid, but the bottom-line
19:42 in what God allows to happen to us is
19:46 what will save us, what will keep us by his side,
19:52 what will strengthen us, so that we can help others
19:56 understand who God is. Absolutely and we can't
20:00 you know the scripture when he says delight
20:02 yourself in the Lord and God will give you
20:04 the desires of your heart. I guarantee
20:07 if you are delighting yourself in the Lord,
20:09 the desire of your heart is not going to be a
20:11 new Mercedes Benz, right.
20:13 When we delight our self in the Lord,
20:15 his desires become our desires, isn't that right,
20:18 yes. And so we know that Jesus said that
20:22 son of man didn't have a place to lay his head.
20:25 If he was willing and we remember that
20:29 Peter said to the beggar, silver and gold have
20:33 I none, but what I have I will give to you.
20:36 So wealth, is prosperity message has really been,
20:41 would you agree that they have twisted the
20:43 scripture and taken that out of context, yes.
20:46 So that isn't what the signs are then.
20:49 No the signs are sensing his presence and
20:57 sometimes we can think its God's presence
21:01 and it misleads us, and that is where the word
21:04 comes in, amen. The word is our guide, amen.
21:08 And the Bible does not promise that when we
21:11 come to Christ all of our problems are going to
21:13 be gone. In that Jesus even said in this world
21:17 you will suffer many tribulations,
21:20 but now has your poorness, financial poorness
21:27 or your depression has that made your life bad,
21:34 or has it enriched your life.
21:35 It has definitely enriched my life, one thing
21:39 I have learned over the years in terms of finances
21:41 is I recognize that everything I have comes
21:48 from God, the way one does that is what the
21:52 Bible calls tithing, returning to God,
21:56 ten percent of your increase. I have done
22:00 that ever since I became a Seventh-day Adventist
22:03 and God has seen to it that even in the most
22:07 frightening times I have had enough and some
22:11 to share. Isn't that amazing, well it's been our
22:13 experience too, you know we went through,
22:16 when we first married, my husband and I had,
22:19 we owned our own business, we had a business partner
22:22 who took for a large amount of money,
22:24 left us with huge debts, and even though
22:26 we were making a lot of money in a new business,
22:29 it was, all of it was required to pay back
22:32 to all this, yes, and I would eek out a $100 a
22:35 month for. We lived in Dallas, we lived on the
22:38 $100 a month to for all of our grocery and supplies,
22:42 and you know what Linda, there came the time
22:45 when we weren't tithing because there was
22:47 no increase, I mean our business is dead,
22:49 got you, I mean there was no increase and
22:51 I told my husband we need to start giving
22:53 an offering, and he said how much, and
22:55 I was impressed to say $100, so we gave the
22:58 only thing we had to live on, yeah, and I don't know
23:00 how but God stretched our budget,
23:03 he stretched that money, and he really
23:06 is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who meets all of
23:08 our needs, yes, isn't he? What would you say to
23:10 someone if you could look into the camera,
23:13 what would you say to someone right now,
23:15 who is questioning because of circumstances
23:18 in their life, if God loves them, how could you
23:21 respond to that question? He does love you,
23:27 no matter what, sometimes because we are human,
23:33 because we are finite, we can't see what's going
23:37 on behind the scenes. God uses trials, sometimes
23:44 to bless us, sometimes to bless others,
23:47 and sometimes we just have to walk by faith,
23:50 and accept it as the cold hard fact that God
23:55 loves us. You know you're speaking from experience
23:59 here and something you said just reminded me
24:02 of a scripture in James because I just wanted
24:06 to share this, I think this is great.
24:08 What James is writing in James chapter 1
24:11 and verse 2, he says and I will be reading from the
24:13 Amplified Bible. Consider it pure joy my brethren,
24:17 whenever you are enveloped in a trial,
24:21 when you're encountering trials of any sort
24:23 or fall into various temptation.
24:25 He says be assured and understand that the trial
24:29 and proving of your faith bring out endurance
24:32 and stead vastness and patience, and led that
24:36 endurance and patience have full play and do
24:39 a thorough work so that you maybe perfected
24:42 and fully developed. And the way I look
24:45 at this is that if you're going through a trail
24:49 and God has trusted the trial to you like
24:51 he did with you Linda. He has trusted that
24:55 trial to you because he sees a potential in you
24:58 and he is polishing that potential and that's why
25:01 we can count it pure joy, is because we can
25:04 say Lord, thank you I know that you're working
25:07 something in me to perfect me for eternity.
25:10 One last question because we're running out of time,
25:13 okay, so we gonna have to make this quick.
25:15 If God loves us no matter what, then why don't
25:19 we just do whatever we wanted?
25:24 Because we are his, because he loves us,
25:28 this makes us priceless, and you don't take
25:35 something priceless and toss it in the corner
25:38 and trample on it. We deserve the very best,
25:42 and God's law is the best. And you know I am going
25:46 to add one thought to that because the Lord
25:48 just reminded me of scripture. It is true that
25:52 God loves us no matter what, but God does not
25:56 forgive our sins because he loves us.
25:59 He forgives our sins because Jesus Christ
26:02 died for us, and he is the propitiation,
26:05 the atonement for our sin. And he tells us in
26:10 First John 1:9 that if we confess our sin,
26:14 he is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sin,
26:18 but here is that scripture, is Hebrews 5:9,
26:21 that it says, that He Jesus became the author
26:26 of eternal salvation to all those who obey him.
26:31 So I guess the easy way to say is that if Christ
26:35 is on the inside of us, Colossians 1:27,
26:38 Christ in us, the Hope of Glory, that he will
26:41 empower us to do everything he has
26:44 called us to do, and Christ is going to work
26:46 in us to will and to act according to his good
26:49 pleasure, and he will complete the good work
26:52 he's begun in us. So grace is not a let me see
26:58 if you agree with this. Grace is not a license
27:02 to sin, and if we want that salvation,
27:07 that gift of salvation that we received,
27:09 when we receive that he's working in us
27:12 and we will walk in obedience, and if we
27:15 are not walking in obedience, I have to
27:18 question how much we value that salvation is
27:21 that true, yes, absolutely. Its gone too quickly,
27:24 we can talk for a long time. Thank you so much
27:27 Linda for coming and joining us,
27:29 and I want to once again remind you,
27:31 she has written a beautiful book called "Keep Sweet"
27:34 and bottom-line on that one is that she is saying
27:37 don't become bitter, and you can get that at
27:40 keepsweetforever.com. And until the next time
27:44 may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
27:46 the love of the Father, and the fellowship
27:49 of the Holy Spirit be with you. Thank you Linda.