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Perfected love
Pastor's Corner
Dr. Larry Murray
Dr. Larry S Murray - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
"I love you."  How many times have we heard these words?
These three words decree a declaration that is suppose to have a lot of meaning for the one on the receiving end, though they are spoken a million times to a spouse, a family member, a friend or in many cases to a loving pastor. If these words are not accompanied by actions and coupled with the willingness to invest time these words have little meaning to the recipients. They are the right words but perhaps for the wrong reasons.
"Do you love me?" This question is asked in too many relationships if the "I love yous" have been few and given without the investment of time.
Even Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him. (John 21:15-17) Peter was a fisherman by trade and I'm convinced that he had a great love for fishing so much so that the Bible records him fishing naked. (John 21:7)
Peter caught 153 fish at one time after obeying Jesus instructions to launch his net on the right side of the ship. Prior to this great catch he had caught nothing.
Much like Peter's experience, our life was empty before we decreed our love to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Many times we are not on the right side, we are not in the right place and we are not in the right covenant with the right people. We receive the right hand of fellowship with the wrong motives. We say I love you because we believe it is the right thing to say at the right time.
The story of Hosea and his wife Gomer is a strange love story that depicts God's love for Israel in spite of their unfaithfulness. The hero of this book, Hosea, is one of the greatest lovers in all literature. His love was so strong that even the worst actions of an unfaithful wife could not kill it.
Hosea was told to marry a woman worthless in character, in fact, a prostitute. God was using this for a sign to his people of how they remained the object of His love in spite of their sinfulness. God was making this picture of His redeeming grace. Grace is unmerited favor.
Gomer ran away and left her young husband, Hosea, with two little sons and a daughter to care for. If you are going through the same situation, the story shows God will work things out for the good and Hosea is your witness.
Lured away by the sin about her, Gomer fell into the moral cesspool and finally was carried off a slave. Through it all Hosea was true to her. Still loving her, he tried everything to win her back to a happy family life. Just as Hosea was married to an unfaithful bride, Gomer, so God was married to unfaithful Israel as He is to the backslider.
I want to encourage somebody to come back home. Grace does run out eventually.
Roman 6:1, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God is waiting to show you how much He loves you.
Perfected love is the kind of love that flows horizontally as well as vertical. It maneuvers up and down from side to side.
Perfected is a kind of love that refuses to be bitter and ill though you may have every right to be. Let us love one another for God is of love.

Murray is senior pastor of the Fellowship of Love in Hinesville and Savannah.
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