A powerful love story based on strong promises

A Powerful Love Story Based on Strong Promises

Sunday Scripture

About thirty years ago, a handsome young man in a tux stood before me and recited loving words of commitment that began like this:

“Michele, joining my life with yours in the covenant of marriage . . .”

And so our love story began with strong promises about loving and listening, faithfulness and honor.  By God’s grace the covenant is still in effect, and after all these years, the more I learn about myself and my all-too-obvious weaknesses and failures, the more a love based on strong promises sounds really good to me.

God’s love is like that, too – based on strong promises that have been recorded in His Word, and as I read through the book of Hebrews, I’m reminded that God’s covenant with us, His people, is firmly based upon grace.  Rather than giving up on us in our stubborn disobedience, He perseveres in relationship with us and makes stunning promises:

“I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10)   This is a promise of internal change.  Since God’s commands were written on tablets of stone, any attempts to uphold the law in our own strength will only leave us crushed and without hope.  However, in Christ, the standard is written with love on the lining of our hearts, and the Holy Spirit directs us toward true righteousness.

“I will forgive and remember their sins no more.”  (Hebrews 8:11, 12) On the basis of grace and mercy, God “forgives and forgets” our failures – not because of any deficiency in God’s memory, but because He chooses not to hold them against us any longer.  Given that experience of having been forgiven, it is possible for me to uphold my promise to “forgive and forget” in my relationship with my husband and to extend grace to my children when they are the repeat offenders, for certainly this is what I have experienced from the hand of our forgiving God.

I also made a series of strong promises to my husband on the day that I wore satin and lace and was surrounded by the scent of gardenias.  Standing in the kitchen in my jeans and surrounded by the scent of garlic and St. Bernard, I may (occasionally) forget those promises “to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, as God in Christ has forgiven me.”  However, reading Hebrews 8, I am reassured that God will never break His promises.  The strength of my covenant relationship with God is based upon His faithfulness – not my own.

I made strong promises to my husband on the day I wore satin and lace, surrounded by the scent of gardenias. Standing in the kitchen in my jeans, surrounded by the scent of garlic and St. Bernard, I may (occasionally) forget…

A Love Story Like No Other

Furthermore, the love of our covenant-keeping God which never fails has made possible a relationship like no other.  Throughout history and around the world, humanity seeks the divine.  In the search for meaning or significance, there is a struggle to somehow transcend the mortal “box” and to commune with the higher power.

A powerful love story based on strong promises

By contrast, the truth of the Bible is that the God of the universe has already entered our “box,” becoming like us through the incarnation.  Then, rather than demanding our obedience through fear and threats of punishment, He has offered to write His law – not merely on our doorposts, or on our Sunday-morning smiles — but on our hearts.  We follow Him and live in obedience out of love and gratitude – not because we are looking for a way to heaven.

This is a love like no other.

Amy Carmichael said it well:

“Love of all loves, in Thee I know Love Divine.”

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God!”  (I John 3:1)

Praying for you,

Happy Valentine’s Day, Much-Loved Friend!
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

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66 thoughts on “A Powerful Love Story Based on Strong Promises”

  1. This is always a good day to reflect back on the day we committed our love to our husbands. And more so, it is always a good day to reflect and remember the love of God, so lavishly poured out upon our lives! Happy Valentine’s Day, Michele!

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  2. Tears are pricking my eyes, Michele. You’ve stirred fresh wonder in God’s lavish love–even for the likes of me–expressed in His willingness to forgive again and again. As if that wasn’t enough he chooses to forget my sins, forever putting them out of His mind. Beyond incredible. And then you mention God’s promises. I have lived long enough to see many fulfilled in our family’s lives as He’s protected us and provided for us, guided and empowered. Thank you, Michele, for inspiring renewed gratitude and desire for obedience in my heart.

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  3. Rather than giving up on us in our stubborn disobedience, He perseveres in relationship with us and makes stunning promises. Those words remind me how God knows, and how many good parents know that defiantly demanding things from our children can often times make them turn the wrong way in spite. He gives us the grace, as you say, in our disobedience and some leeway to let things settle in and absorb the right ways to use the knowledge that is given to us through his word.

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  4. This right here was a wonderful way to kick off Valentine’s Day this morning — > ‘Standing in the kitchen in my jeans and surrounded by the scent of garlic and St. Bernard, I may (occasionally) forget those promises “to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, as God in Christ has forgiven me.”’

    And all I can say is amen.

    I hope your Valentine’s Day was a delightful one, Michele!

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    1. It really was! I saw all four of our boys, one on a screen, but the other three gathered with us at our oldest son’s home to watch Return of the Jedi (Why??), and I brought the chip ‘n dip! Got to smooch two of my grandkids goodnight as a bonus!

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  5. Dear Michele, what a sweet analogy! We are so blessed when we have spouses or parents who have chosen to love us no matter what. Tom and I have been at this for 47 years next month. It took at least 30 for us to realize that we were so blessed that the Lord used each of us to bring out the best in the other. God’s so good, and thankfully, between pandemic and polar vortex, sometimes we don’t have to step beyond our front door to see His hand at work. Thanks and blessings, Michele!

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  6. Thank you for this reminder Michele. I really needed to hear it, as I just recently realized how much I need the Lord’s help with my marriage. We have been struggling. But, as I seek out God in desperation, He changes my heart day by day, with every loving request.

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    1. Praying for you and your marriage this very minute, Cheryl. Struggling is no fun, but it’s way better than giving up! May God meet your desperation with all his power of healing and reconciliation!

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  7. I love the contrast between the satin and gardenias and jeans and garlic and dog smell. And what a beautiful analogy, that God’s love is strong enough for the everyday and the less than ideal.

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  8. Well I wish I had read this yesterday! I was “feisty” according to our adult daughter who lives with us, and my husband, bless his tolerant heart, spent the day trying to cheer me up. (I don’t do well with inclement dark weather days.)
    This is a timely reminder of how we are blessed by grace. No matter how we are dressed or what smells surround us (labradoodle, shihtzu/poodle, and cabbage for me yesterday), God’s blessings should be uppermost in our thoughts. Instead of moping about the weather and road conditions, I should have been more thankful for time spent at home with my husband and youngest. (I was upset at not being able to deliver our other daughter’s Valentine’s present, thanks to ice and snow.) And I could continue, but you get the idea… I need to extend the grace which has been extended to me!

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    1. Oh, I am so sorry about your disappointment. That’s a hard thing to accept. And I appreciate your sensitivity to the nudge that’s revealing your heart attitude yesterday. Your daughters are blessed to have you for their mum.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been reading Isaiah, and it pairs beautifully with the message of Hebrews. God loves us like no one else can. I recently read a book that said the purpose of marriage is to glorify God. The only way we can do that is to accept God’s love for us and let it change us from within (I don’t have a lot of natural grace and mercy 😕).

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    1. You reminded me of something I read about the biblical metaphors. God didn’t say, “I guess I will have Paul.write about husband/wife relationships so people will.understand the trinity.” That’s backwards! The trinity existed eternally, and he fashioned an earthly relationship to demonstrate it.
      I find that fascinating.

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  10. Thank you Michele for a great reminder about love. I always find it fascinating that we all have it us but somehow, we often struggle to share it. I’m also still working on my self-love so it was lovely to read your post and remind myself of forgiveness. Thank you #MondayMusings

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  11. Such a lovely parallel to remind us of God’s unending love for us! Beautiful!

    As for your reading list: I’m reading Shift right now! How is Share Your Stuff? I’ve been eyeing that one.

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  12. Great post about God’s promise of grace and forgiveness in Christ. I especially liked that God has already entered our “box” and offered to write His commandments on our hearts. What love!

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  13. It’s always so humbling to learn new things about our wonderful God. He speaks to us in so many different ways when we reach out to Him.

    It’s great to see your link at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!

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  14. I can’t get over that He put on flesh, came to our neighborhood, and lived among us 33 years and still thought we were worth dying for. A love like no other, indeed!

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  15. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great blog post and powerful illustration regarding your marriage, Michele.

    This illustration did make me laugh, “Standing in the kitchen in my jeans and surrounded by the scent of garlic and St. Bernard, I may (occasionally) forget those promises “to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, as God in Christ has forgiven me.” A powerful reminder. to walk in kindness in the midst of everyday life.

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  17. Beautiful words about love, Michele! Long ago I learned the meaning of unconditional love and have loved that way ever since. It really makes me feel a bit closer to God and the heavens when I can love all creatures without stipulations or conditions. Thanks for sharing this lovely message!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  18. Sorry I took so long to stop by, MIchele. Loved this post. So easy to forget the promises we made when we’re so caught up in love in the early days. Thank God for forgiveness and grace – without them, I’d lose sight of what my marriage is meant to be – a covenant of love.

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  19. Thanks for the wisdom and words of insight to encourage us and to shed the Light. We will feature this post on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. I love Christian writers who have the courage to put their writings in places that need the Light, where they will not get a lot of accolades. By faith, knowing that God’s word will accomplish what He intends it to.

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