DayBreaks for 4/06/15 – Love Unfailing

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DayBreaks for 4/06/15: Love Unfailing

I don’t know about you, but I am not ready for Holy Week to be over.  When I was pastoring a small church in northern California, this was by far my favorite week.  I loved preaching Easter-related messages.  I loved the deep meaning of the services and the contemplation of the reality that is the theme of the week.

The services for Holy Week 2015 have come and gone and the calendar has moved on, but I haven’t.   I want to linger in the mystery. 

I have just finished reading a book, The Insanity of God, (I’ll write about it in a few days) that has challenged me and my understanding of Jesus’ call upon our lives.  It has opened my eyes to truths about myself to which I was at least partially blind and in denial.  And it has, in spite of everything, left me rattled to the core as to my walk and understanding of what it means to be a disciple.  Suffice it to say, I’m not sure I have a clue what it means to be a disciple of His. 

That’s a scary thing to have to admit.  And it makes me wonder about my salvation in a way.  Oh, I know in my head that my salvation isn’t dependent on how “good” of a Christian I am, or how much I may sacrifice for Him.  It’s all about what He’s sacrificed for me and His mercy and grace.  But still…there’s that nagging voice of the enemy in the back of my mind that says, “You’re worthless.  Compared to some of those other folks who have given it all for Jesus, you’ve given nothing.  You’ve sacrificed nothing.  You will not be recognized on the day of Judgment.”  Deep inside, I know that’s Satan’s voice – not Jesus’.  Yet it is a loud voice and it is fairly convincing.

And so it was that two simple words we sang at our Easter celebration at church came leaping out at me with such force: love unfailing.  The song is This Is Amazing Grace, and here’s what it says in the chorus:

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me.

As I was celebrating, the concept of unfailing love washed over me and blew through my heart like the freshest breeze ever.  I had been dwelling on my failings and shortcomings…and not on His unfailing love for even someone like me!

My wife, bless her heart, is a saint.  And though I have to readily admit that my failings in love FAR outnumber her few failings in love towards me, there have been times when her love has not been all that I think it could have been.  I say that not to take her down in any way, but rather to lift her up – she is truly amazing.  But the hard truth is that every love of every human on this earth has at one time or another failed me.  And I have most certainly failed others many times over!

The problem comes when I think of Jesus’ love for me as if it were simply the love of another human being that will fail me when I stand before the throne of God.  It shall not be so!!!!!  Listen to His words: John 6:39 (NLTse) – And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 

Lest we think that Jesus may love us, but the Father is angry with us, it is the beloved apostle John, who wrote these words: John 1:14, 17 (NLTse) – So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son…For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

On the day of judgment, I shall be saved.  Not because I’m something great or did anything at all of significance.  Not because I was or wasn’t a martyr.  Not because I was imprisoned for my faith or because I lived a life of little or no persecution.  I shall be saved because of unfailing love – a love that cannot now, nor ever, fail!

PRAYER: Jesus, we have never experienced love like yours upon this earth, and so we are tempted to believe that every love fails.  Let us lean with all our might into your unfailing love and trust your own words that you will not lose a single one!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/10/13 – To Be Sure!

DayBreaks for 10/10/13 – To Be Sure

It is interesting how powerful a litany of words can be.  Poets know it, public speakers know it.  So do politicians.  Think of these familiar phrases that were repeated over and over in speeches: “I have a dream…”.  “Yes, we can!” (from Barack Obama’s campaign). “We shall…” (from one of Churchill’s famous speeches during WW2).  “Blessed are….” (from the Sermon on the Mount).  Such words and phrases build upon themselves, stirring our hearts and emotions to fever pitches.

Theodore Schneider wrote: “I am always impressed with the litany-like phrases Martin Luther uses in The Small Catechism as petition by petition he explains the Lord’s Prayer:

“To be sure, God’s name is holy itself …To be sure, the kingdom of God comes of itself, without our prayers …To be sure, the good and gracious will of God is done without our prayer …To be sure, God provides daily bread, even to the wicked, without our prayer…

“To be sure, to be sure, to be sure! God’s gifts come to us despite our unfaithfulness and often without our prayers. Paul quotes an ancient Christian hymn in his second letter to Timothy: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).”

When God decrees something, we can be sure of it.  When God promises something, we can be sure of it.  When God describes his love for us, we can be sure of it.  When he says he will never leave us, we can be sure of it.  When he says he draws close to the broken hearted, we can be sure of it. 

We never have need to doubt or question him.  He will never fail – he simply cannot do so for it would be contrary to his very nature and an utter impossibility.

If you are carrying a burden today, read some of his promises, listen to his character, consider his actions.  And make them your own…

To be sure, even when we fail him, he will not fail us!

PRAYER: Thank you, thank you, thank you that we can be totally and unconditionally sure of You, Your words, Your character and Your promises to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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