Week 40 God’s Real, Enduring Love

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

 Scripture Readings: Psalms 117-118

Key Scripture Verses: Psalm 117 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

 According the NIV, Life Application Bible, Psalm 117 is the shortest of all book chapters in the Bible and this psalm is the chapter of the Bible that rests in the middle of the Bible. It’s only the two verses, but the psalmist who wrote this one most likely wrote the one after it, because several times in Psalm 118 the unknown author writes, “His love endures forever.” That’s clearly a key message we are to understand. And what a wonderful message to emphasize.

 It’s a song of praise addressed to everyone, everywhere. It’s significant that it is written to all the peoples—peoples being plural and meaning different people in different places. The psalmist says “all you nations,” addressing the world. The New Testament makes it clear to us that the message Jesus brought and his salvation was for everyone. But, it’s interesting to see that even in the Old Testament which we typically think of as addressing the Jews within the context of their own history, we are told that God’s love is for everyone, not only the Jews.

All are told to praise God and he is praiseworthy because of how he demonstrates his love consistently and without fail.

I laughed at myself for reading this and then thinking of Coca Cola and their slogan many years back that addressed the whole world in song. Many of you will remember that a huge, multi-cultural group of people sang how they would like to give the world a Coke and spend time with everyone with a spirit and song of “perfect harmony.” It was brilliant marketing, selling peace, harmony, a good time together, and sharing a beverage—a Coke. And better yet, it ended in their slogan, “It’s the real thing.” Clever marketing—Coca Cola nailed it with that one. Some of us still remember the song and Coca Cola continues to sell all over the world.

But, the “real thing,”? Coca Cola will endure, I hope. But, whether or not it does is about marketing and consumer response. God’s love is there whether we respond to it or not. Look at how often God was rejected in the Bible and is still rejected by people today. But, whether we respond to his love or not, he is faithful in his love for us. ”Great is his love toward us”—His love “endures forever.”

That’s “the real thing!”

“Praise the Lord, all you nations.”

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: