Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:8

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I didn't really plan on doing any special "love" themed Bible studies around Valentine's Day, but it just happened.  Sometimes God just sends you the greatest things when you least expect them.  I love this love (for lack of better terms) and the indesribable feeling that it fills my heart with, so I want to share some things that came to me on the love subject around this time.
 
However, love is something that we should embrace 365 (or in this case 366) days a year.  God's love is here with us and never changes no matter what the day, time, or situation. That is something that can't be said about any one else.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear."  1 John 4:18
This verse actually wasn't where I started, but it's where I was led.  During a Sunday School lesson at church, we were talking about fear and respect of God and His power to keep us from sinning (Exodus 20:20), then I thought about how fear drives a lot of what I and many other people do.  We fear disappointing others, losing something good, getting a speeding ticket, failing a test, getting embarrassed, forgetting something, getting sick, and soooo much more.  Think about it.  Do we do more things to prevent something bad or just to do something good? 
Fear does not feel good.  It makes us anxious and paranoid.  Our minds can't rest.  We constantly fret and worry about whatever it is.  That's not how we should feel!  These emotions drain so much of our energy that God has given us to use for postive things.  They distract us from Him and His plans.  This verse goes on to say, "because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  There is a simple solution to this problem.  God.  God is the love that drives out all this fear.  Now, it's hard to get rid of something if it isn't replaced with something better.  When we fill ourselves with Christ's love, these fears and sins just melt away!  God is love (verse 19), and He can't exist in the same place with fear and sin. 
I captioned this, "If you're in a 'crunch,' do what Snoopy would do, and simply love."
When in doubt of what to do, think of the loving thing.  Whenever Jesus or others writing in the Bible are talking about the overarching thing to do to live a life serving the Lord, love is the action they use.  (1 Corinthians 12:31 and 13:13, Matthew 22:36-40, Romans 13:9-10, 1 Peter 4:8, Colossians 3:14, and many, many more!)
There were also some songs that came to me in various places: my phone, church, the radio, or just got stuck in my head!
One of those was Remain by Royal Tailor  (*I've linked the lyrics to these songs if you want to look at them)
It reminded me that no matter how crazy things in our life get, God's love never leaves us.  Days will keep passing and the seasons roll around, we'll get older and things will definitely change in our lives.  Sometimes we feel alone and like things will never get better, but there is one thing that stands through it all:  God's love.
Oh how thankful I am for His mercy and grace!  Your Love Never Fails by the Newsboys just makes me want to dance!  I mess up a lot, but He always gives me more chances to get it right.  Some days seem like nothing goes right, but He always gives tomorrow to start again.  Things are challenging and sometimes crazy, but He calms the storm.  He makes all things work together for my good.  (Romans 8:28)  His love never fails.
The third song that really stood out to me was One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill.  We sang it at church, and I just can't put words to how good it feels to know the truth of these lyrics.
So I'll just repeat them.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

I am so thankful for all the love I am surrounded with from my friends and family!  But why do we love each other?  Yes because we're family, and yes because we're friends, but deeper than that "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19).  If it wasn't for that, this feeling/emotion/choice, wouldn't exist.  "Dear friends, let us love one another because love comes from God...God is love...since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another...He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.'"  (verses 7-8,11,21)  The Bible calls it a command, but it doesn't seem so "commanding" when you are first filled with His love. 
Love leads to more love.
Knowing that I am loved this much and being able to rest in that makes life so much better.  It's freeing for your soul!  Every day seems better because God's satisfaction beats out anything that the world can give.
"Because Your love is better than life, my lips will praise You."  Psalm 63:3

 "This is love:  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."  1 John 4:10
 
After all these things and more came together to me, I think of the word love a bit differently.