Friday, June 5, 2015

Your Love Never Fails

I once heard someone say that the only question Jesus will ask when we stand before Him will be, “Did you know that I loved you?” 

I don’t know if that is true or not, but what if it is?  What would you say?   

For me I can honestly say that I didn’t always feel or believe that God loved me.  Love was a strange concept to me.  Even so, that didn’t mean He didn’t.

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Love Like That

Like most young ladies, I looked forward to falling in love and getting married.  There were plenty of fish in the sea, but none of them knew the meaning of love … that is, love the way I thought it should be.

With each opportunity I had to date, not all of them were what I would call “great dates”, in fact, many were downright disappointing. 
One time the guy didn’t even bring any money and I had to pay for both our meals. Why I kept dating the thug I don’t know, because he never really got the concept of treating a lady special. 

On a teen retreat in Pennsylvania we were with our group leader and decided to climb a mountain that was part of the center.  There were about 6 or 8 of us, I can’t remember.  As we were hiking I began to fall and my “date” suddenly disappeared.  The group leader assisted me the rest of the way.

What a big mistake!  I broke my big toe, the group got lost and somehow ended up on the other side of the trail.  We didn’t get back to the camp until late that night.  This same guy never remembered my birthday, and when I finally said adios he couldn’t understand why.  Duh! 

A boy I dated decided he liked my sister better, another almost got me drowned in the ocean at Wildwood, NJ, some dated because I was “popular” (I didn’t think so), and one dated me as an escort because he didn’t have his license.  (Note to the unattached: Never date guys younger than you or those that don’t drive!) 

Sounds sad doesn’t it? No wonder I didn’t have a clue to what love really was.  It seemed to be failing me with each relationship I had. With love like that how could I understand God’s love? 

A Father’s Lve

When I was an adult I finally figured out the love of God, but again I got it wrong.  I began comparing the love of God with the love of my earthly father.  This must be how God loves me I thought. 

On many counts my father’s love was like the Heavenly Father’s.  He fed and clothed me, cared for me as best as he could, and saw to my needs.  These were his responsibilities and he followed through with them.  

As I grew older it felt like his love for me grew tired and our relationship drifted apart.  He rarely asked how I was or wanted to spend time with me.  His world didn’t include me like it did when I was a kid.
Did I change or did he?  I found a father’s love and mercy left me wanting and felt it was because I had done something to disappoint him.   

If I was such a failure with my Dad, just imagine how the Lord must feel about me.  There is no way a perfect God could love imperfect me. 

In later years I learned why my father acted as he did; his father’s love had failed him concerning the relationship between his parents.  He too struggled with the understanding of a father’s love, especially when it came to God.  How could he give us what he didn’t know or experience? 
love is ...
When I was in high school I met a young man who had come to our church a few times.  We were in 9th grade when I first was introduced to this nerdy dressing, but rather well built guy. His clothes didn’t match his personality that’s for sure. He wasn’t much of a talker, but rather a good listener – a trait that would turn out to be a benefit.

For the next few years we were in homeroom together and became best friends.  I came to think this boy may be different after he sent me roses when I was in the hospital one summer.  On the suggestion of my father I accepted an invitation to go out on a date with him, as long as no one else asked me (it’s OK, you can boo here).  

Already being friends I didn’t think much about the date except that we always had fun together.  This is what I realized about him.  He was surely long suffering waiting for me to say yes, he was never rude or talked about himself (Can’t say I did the same, but hey I was teen!). 
Could he bear all the tales I told him about my other dates? Absolutely, and he always believed I was right (should have recorded those conversations).  Truly he endured for three years of courting. 

Was this love?  I believe it’s what the Bible records as the “Love is” equation and it fit perfectly.  Would this love change or fail as the others had?  Would it endure like God said His love does? 

Believing without Understanding 

This week I received an email asking me why I thought a Jew (referring to the post “Jesus Loves Me”) would love me.  At first I wasn’t sure how to answer my viewer, but my reply was: “Jesus loves me regardless to how I feel about Him. I believe it, because I believe His Word.” 

It’s almost impossible to believe things that are beyond our conceptual thinking, yet we do it all the time.  Who would have believed that people could travel to outer space or talk to someone in another part of the world without actually going there?   

Electricity and automobiles were only a phase, while flying in an airplane was an “in the clouds” dream.  Television, radio and the internet were surely not going to become a reality, but here we are, enjoying all sorts of things that were once impossible to man.  If we can believe in these material things that we don’t understand, why is it so hard for us to believe in spiritual concepts as well? 

His Love Never Changes 

What we have forgotten is that nothing was ever impossible to God, and He is the one who makes all things possible.  As we witness these changes there is one thing that never changes … God’s love.  He has always loved us and always will.  Our love or way of loving doesn’t change how He loves, nor can it separate us from that love. 

Paul the Apostle was convinced that nothing could separate us from the love of God, even if we run away from or fail Him. His mercy keeps going and going and going … every day in every way. 
This is what the Christ follower believed:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded (convinced) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (including *satan), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39 NKJV) 
Relationships fail because something in the equation that we deem as love has changed.  Not remembering my birthday was a love factor for me and it changed the way I felt about that person.  That “love” always failed and there was no mercy in it.

Wanting to be with the other person, caring about their feelings, kindness, mercy, forgiveness are X-Factors in the Bible definition of what our love is to be (not be like … be, a reality).  Yet, this love will always disappoint because it is based on human emotions.  God’s love discounts earthly emotions as a foundation, and that’s why it never fails or changes.

God Is Love

God promises that no matter how things look in the natural, He will work them out for our good, because His love doesn’t fail, is full of mercy and never ends.  The love of God isn’t based on our being good, earthly works that are well done or the amount of things we have accomplished.  His love is … because He is love.  He cannot “not” love.  God cannot be or do what He isn’t.

The Bible doesn’t say God loves, but that He is love (therefore, He does love). 
Love is God’s blood, not in His blood (so to speak). He can no more change who He is than we can change our own DNA. 
“God remembered us in our weakness.
(He saw the trouble we were in.)
His faithful love endures forever. (God’s love never fails.)
He saved (and rescued) us from our enemies.
His faithful love endures forever." (God's love never fails.)
(Psalm 136: 23-24 NLT emphasis mine)  

What Is Different? 

The “Love Is” beau from my teen years, as you probably already gathered, became my spouse and I am his beloved.  Although we try to walk out 1 Corinthians 13 in our lives, it still pales compared to the love of God for us through Christ Jesus.  There is one big reason that makes His love different than ours. 

Why doesn’t God's mercy or favor ever fail?  God’s mercy (grace and favor) doesn’t fail, because His love never changes or ends.  If it did, it would be subject to failure just like ours does.  Once we get that in our thinking and stop comparing how God loves us to the way we love (or the way we are loved by others), our joy will be renewed morning after morning.

This Week’s Challenge:
Love Like He Loves

With relationships ripping at the seams, it’s time we took action into our part of the failing. 
The Bible has set clear standards as to what we are to be looking at in the way of loving one another as Christ loves us.  We want to learn to love like God loves.

Our task for this love challenge is to see where we measure up compared to our dealings in relationships according to the Word of God.  First we will read 1 Corinthians 13 and see if we are doing what we should as a believer.
This is to include all our relationships from home, work, church and friends.  We are to love others regardless of how they treat us.  Jesus loved us before we loved Him, and continues to do so no matter what our action.  He wants us to love others the way He loves us, with mercy that endures and forgives.
Here's a godly sample "love is/isn't" checklist of what to look for in how you handle relationships based on 1 Corinthians 13

Love is - Patient.

Love is - Kind (even through unkindness).

Love is - Never Jealous.

Love is - Never prideful or boastful.

Love is - Never rude to the other.

Love is - Never demanding.

Love is - Never irritating or irritable.

Love is - Glad to hear the truth no matter what it is.
Love - Never keeps track of the things others do wrong.

Love - Never shouts for joy about an injustice.

Love - Never gives up on the relationship.

Love - Never loses faith in God.

Love - Remains hopeful in all situations.

Love - Endures through hardships and in every situation.

Love - Loves like God, because you believe He will help you. 

Pinpoint where you (we, me) have failed according to the scriptures design on what love is, and make the changes needed to love like Christ loves.
May I rephrase the same question I was asked?  Do you believe Jesus loves you? Do you know God’s love never fails or stops concerning you?  Better yet, do you believe it?  It’s time we believe what we say we believe. 
You don't have to be afraid or alone.  God's love never changes or fails. His love is for you, for real and forever!

Until next time, believe God’s loving favor never fails! 

Check Messages throughout the week.

“My love will never fail or end."
Jesus Christ

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.

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by John Ortberg

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Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.

Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Love sign  Empty Pockets  A Father's Love  Love Is Cartoon  God's Love Never Changes  God's DNA
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.