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God’s love never fails

God’s love never fails God’s love never fails
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: Psalm 36

Devotional text: 1 John 4:13-18

We’ve been hearing about God’s love even before the beginning of time, when God made human beings in his own image (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:7, 2:21-22).

Throughout the Old Testament, God showed his enduring love. In 1 Chronicles 16:34, we read about it in David’s psalm of thanksgiving to God: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”

So many of the Psalms speak of God’s unfailing love toward us (see Psalm 6:4, 36:5, 57:3 and 107:8).

In Psalm 36, written by David, we learn of God’s mercy and love for us, even as we are not perfect. His unfailing love seeks us out so we can know him and believe in his salvation. In verse 36:5, he writes, “how priceless is your unfailing love.”

Even as we continue into the New Testament scriptures, our understanding of God’s love grows even more, both through the teachings of Jesus in the gospels and through the Apostles as they led people to God’s love and salvation.

The famous lines from John 3:16 tell us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (Jesus) that whomever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s plan? To save us all, if we just take the steps to believe that Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of the Father as our brother, the righteous one, who brings us into reconciliation with our God.

As he ascended into heaven, after his resurrection and after teaching his disciples for 40 days, Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives within believers to continue teaching, guiding and protecting us in our newness of life in Christ.

The first of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22, is love. God’s love, within us.

Then, as we read chapter 13:4-8 of 1 Corinthians, Paul lays it out for us in this list: Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, not rude nor self-seeking, not easily angered, does not keep a record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, loves truth, it protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ends with these words, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Furthermore, we read in Paul’s second letter to the believers in Thessalonica verse 3:16, that God’s love for us is eternal, offering us encouragement and hope.

All of this goes right along with the words of Jesus as he told us the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34 and Luke 10:27a) from Mark: “The greatest commandment is this, to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind. The second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.”

Not all people in this world want to know God’s love or even believe that there is a God who loves them more than anything, eternally and forever. Some believe, incorrectly, that if there is a God, then God could never forgive them for the many bad things they have done. They judge themselves without taking time to read the Word (the Bible) and what it actually says about forgiveness.

The Bible is full of stories, even of great men of God, who did the wrong thing. Yet, they were forgiven and called “men of God.” Read the life of David in the Old Testament, or the life of Paul in the New Testament.

David, an adulterer, had Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle so that he could have her as his own wife. Paul, a Pharisee, arrested and oversaw the stoning death of many new Christians before he became a believer himself, and God changed his world around.

Sometimes, even when loving family, friends and others try to explain the words of salvation found in John 3:16, people choose to not really hear the words or take action to believe.

There is sadness in many families over a relative who finds it hard to hear the good news. Yet, it does not stop God from seeking the lost and using his people to spread the good news and to show how living the life of a believer is a good and merciful thing.

It’s hard to hear someone say, “There is no God,” “There is no heaven or hell” or “There is no salvation.”

Those who live the Christian life always have wonderful stories to tell of how God has been with them in all circumstances. There are so many magazines, books and movies that show God’s love to all people. However, as God has taught to us, each person has free will to decide for themselves. It has to be this way; if faith is forced, it isn’t faith.

1 John 3:1 begins by telling us, “How great is the love of the Father lavished upon us, that we should be called the children of God. And that is what we are.”

Again, in 1 John, this time in 4:16b, the scripture tells us that “God is love.” It goes on to say, if God lives in us, so does his love. We are speaking about the very nature of God, the One who created us in his own image.

We can sum this all up by understanding that God’s love is with us. It never fails. It endures forever.

Trust in God, no matter what you are going through in your life. Allow God to speak to you through his people, his Word, your prayers and the Holy Spirit. Remember, God is with you. He promised.