"Love is Faithful"
"I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD."
Loving unconditionally can go against our natural way of thinking, counter-intuitive. It feels good to love those who love us. But loving someone when they are acting unlovely - well, that's tough. But we are to love that way anyway. Why? Because that's the way God loves us, and if we are His children then we will want to reflect to others what we know of Him. Do you remember in Day 19 when we studied how "Love is Impossible"? Well, this is the challenge that is going to put action to that lesson. Loving unconditionally even when there has been unfaithfulness is straight out of the Bible, and straight out of our lives.
The account of the prophet Hosea is one of the most remarkable in the Bible. Against all logic and propriety, God instructed him to marry a prostitute. He wanted Hosea's marriage to show what Heaven's unconditional love looks like towards us ... He had loved her, but she had spurned his love. They had grown close, but now she had been disloyal and adulterous, rejecting him for the lust of total strangers ... But he welcomed her back into his life, expressing an unconditional love. This is a true story, but it was used as a picture of God's love for us. He showers His favor on us without measure, though in return we often don't pay attention ... We have rejected Him in many ways - even after receiving His gift of eternal salvation - and yet He still loves us. He still remains faithful.
If your comment to the account of Hosea and his wife is, "I could never do that", you're right. Not in your own strength. But with God, nothing is impossible. The truth is that He calls us to a love that is supernatural, totally from Him: "But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you ... If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that." (Luke 6:27-28, 32-33) Jesus' teaching goes on to add, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Choose today to be committed to your wife, even when times are tough between you. Say, or write, these words to your wife: "I love you. Period. I choose to love you even if you don't love me in return."
All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another. (John 13:35)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7,8)
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know."
(2 Corinthians 4:17)
There is a growing hunger for something beyond ourselves to cling to. We are witnessing an openness to spirituality, but that spirituality is accompanied by a deep skepticism towards the miraculous. As a society, we like the internal feelings of spirituality, but are doubtful (or fearful) that those feelings could ever manifest in the physical. In other words, as long as our experience is internal, we can control the outcome. We can rest assured that, regardless of what the skeptics may think, the God of the Bible is alive and well and is working miracles today, just as He always has. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." He desires that His children become the conduits of His miracle-working power, as a testimony of His love to a lost and broken world.
Ask yourself today, "Do I see God as a benevolent source of help and possible good fortune?" or "Do I serve Him with joyful expectancy that He will perform the miraculous today, and it might be through me?"
Prayer: God, I thank You that You still work miracles today! I want to be a conduit through which You can work miracles in our marriage and the lives around me. Make me instruments of Your power in our marriage and all those who depend upon me! In Jesus' name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Isaiah 40:28-31 ... What are the areas of your life that are in need of God's hope and a renewal of His strength? Place those before the Lord in prayer today.