How many of you remember as a child wondering if you were loved by your girlfriend or boyfriend?  Maybe you would pick a flower, and pull off the pedals one by one, saying, He loves me, he loves me not…  And you would rely on what the last pedal told you.  Did the flower always tell the truth?     Well, about fifty percent of the time it was right.  But what about the times it wasn’t?  You might throw away a wonderful relationship that could have lasted a lifetime, or you could have pursued one that was never meant to be in the first place.  All because of a pedal on a flower that has absolutely no wisdom whatsoever.  Either way, there’s a fifty percent chance you will go wrong.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like very good odds to me.
    If you are picking flower pedals off to determine if God loves you, I can guarantee you that the flower will lie to you about half the time.  And the devil will lie to you all the time.  So here’s some good advice:  don’t rely on flowers, and don’t listen to the devil.  How can you really know if God loves you? 
    One evening I was preaching at a church in Alma, Nebraska, telling the congregation that the Heavenly Father loves us as much as He loves His Son Jesus.  Just then I heard a voice in my spirit……Jerry, that is not altogether accurate.  There was this long silence as I was kind of taken aback by what I heard:  surely, I mean SURELY God must love us as much as He loves His Son.  Every preacher tells us so.  Why, Jesus even says in John 17:21-26,
Joh 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Joh 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Joh 17:25  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
   So tell me then, how can it NOT be that the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus?  Little did I realize, the Father himself was about to answer with some questions of His own..
    The voice I so clearly heard said, Jerry, did I sacrifice YOU that My Son Jesus might live?   Being I was standing there living and breathing, the answer was obvious, No, Lord, You sacrificed Your Son Jesus that I might live.  Then who did I place the greater value upon?  Tears started streaming down my face as I realized the truth that would change my life forever, both as a disciple of Jesus, and as a minister of the Gospel.
    I always knew “God loves me”, we have heard it from a child.  But hearing this really brought it home to me personally. God really DOES love me, even more than His only begotten Son, because He was willing to let Jesus die so I might live.  How could this be?  We are all nothing but selfish, self-centered, ungrateful brats from our first cry at birth to our last, yet, our heavenly Father decided from before the foundation of the earth that our worth was so great, only His own Son was worth enough to pay the ransom to redeem us from our sins.
    When you go to the store to make a purchase, you are deciding which is of more worth to you:  the thing you want to buy, or your money.  If the thing you want is more valuable to you than your money, you will surrender your money and buy the item.  And if it isn’t, you will keep your money.  But either way, you must decide which is the most important to you.
    When you marry, you must decide which is the most important and of the most value to you:  your freedom to come and go as you like, spend your money as you like, or the love of a mate.  If the cost is too great and you value your freedom more, you will stay single.  If you value your loved one enough, you will lay down everything you hold dear in life to have that person by your side for the rest of your life.  You will make whatever sacrifice is necessary for their good, no matter how costly and painful it may be for you, no matter how often you have to do it, for as long as you live.  Value for value; and only you can decide what is most important to you. 
    Our heavenly Father looked at Jesus, whom He adores.  There is none like Jesus, His only begotten Son, without spot or blemish, who had been with Him forever, ages without end.  Then He looked at you.  He had a painful and heart rending decision to make: you were lost in your sins with no way to redeem yourself, doomed to die and spend eternity in hell, forever separated from Him,  or, He could offer up the only One in all creation worth enough to pay the horrible price for your redemption and eternal life. 
  Jesus on His right hand, you on the left.  Jesus had NEVER done anything to displease Him in all eternity.  You, on the other hand?  Well, you fill in the blank.  You know yourself better than I do.  The pain, the agony of the decision that you would feel if you were forced to let one of your children die so another might live.  No one should ever have to make that choice, but our heavenly Father was forced to because of His compassion..  His heart must have been breaking, so full of love and mercy, the very GOD OF LOVE.  The Father looked again at Jesus, then at you, and made the decision that would change all eternity. He chose that which was the greater value to Him.
   He sacrificed His only begotten Son, so that YOU might live!
   Will you receive the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now if you have not done so already?  The question is no longer, He loves me, He loves me not…He has forever proven His love to you.  He has placed your value even above that of His only begotten Son.  You are the Father’s beloved, whom He delights in forever, whom Jesus looked upon and knew you are worth dying for.  Go to Him now and give thanks!