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The Banner

The Fightin’ Irish. Never did a team claim anyone’s heart the way that Notre Dame claimed the heart of my late husband.

The spectacle of the game did not disappoint on October 11, 2015. The smell of popcorn, the anticipation of the band, the sight of the shiny gold helmets, the adrenaline pumping—all of it emitted into our senses as we awaited the entrance of the home team onto the field.

And my, oh my….when the team blazed onto the field amidst smoke and the Irish Fight Song, it was game on. Watch out Navy! The Fightin’ Irish are in their house and are ready for takedown.

All over the campus on game day were banners declaring exactly who owned that house. “Here come the Irish”, “Play Like A Champion Today” or quite simply, “We are the Irish”. The banners defined exactly who the Fightin’ Irish were and before the game even began, the banners demonstrated the loyalty of the fans.

My favorite banner was the one that led the team onto the field. It quite simply read “ND.” The leprechaun waved the banner in a fury of excitement and pride. When the team crushed into their huddle, the leprechaun continued to run. In fact, he ran around the entire perimeter of the field announcing the arrival of the “Fightin’ Irish” to everyone. The banner announced the arrival and their behavior backed up the message it sent.

God’s Word talks of another banner, and it is a phrase that I put on my prayer room wall a couple of years ago when I was in a tough spot. “My heart will sing no other name – JESUS – His banner over Angie is love.” Again, I am in another tough spot, and the phrase has continuously danced around in my head for several days—“His banner over me is love.”

Life does not always feel like God is loving, does it? There are moments that take our breath away with joy and there are moments that crush our hearts with grief. In every moment, I choose to give allegiance to no other name because His banner over me is love.

According to Webster’s, a banner is a long strip of cloth bearing a slogan or design, hung in a public place or carried in a procession. God publicly declares that I am loved. That is who I am.

When I am successful, His banner over me is love.

When I am rejected, His banner over me is love.

When I feel numb, His banner over me is love.

When I am crying with tears of joy, His banner over me is love.

When I weep with tears of heartbreak, His banner over me is love.

When I am happy, His banner over me is love.

When I am confused, His banner over me is love.

When I am devastated, His banner over me is love.

When I am enjoying time with my family, His banner over me is love.

When I am at a football game, His banner over me is love.

When I am at work, His banner over me is love.

When I am at home, His banner over me is love.

Do you get it? No emotion or situation can tear us away from God’s public declaration that we are loved. We need to get the message into our hearts. Who does God say you are?

“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!” Romans 8:38-39

God says that I am loved. He announces it, and his behavior backs it up. He says that I am loved, not with a love that the world understands or often promotes in movies or music. It is a love based not on feelings but on selfless commitment.

“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.” I Corinthians 13:4-8 TPT

What do we do in response to this kind of love? If we are going to carry the banner of child of God, then our actions need to reflect Him. What we do is quite simple actually -- We imitate God in all that we do.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Romans 5:1-2

Our love for others needs to match the love defined in I Corinthians 13 because that is the behavior that reflects God’s love for us. Love is not what you say; love is what you do. If you claim to love Christ, then you put away actions that would disappoint God, hurt others, or take away from your words. So many things want to confuse us, cause us to question, and leave us anxious or depressed. What is NOT confusing is the love of God. Either you will love God with all you've got, or you will trust in yourself--your decisions, your good deeds, your kindness to others. His love is consistent, but your consequence is determined by your response to this love.

If we truly love God with our heart, soul, and mind, then we will love our neighbor as ourselves. I don't know about you, but I like myself. I don't deceive or hurt myself intentionally. I don't inflict unnecessary pain on myself. If we live under the banner of His love, then our behavior needs to back up the message of I Corinthians 13 love.

Did you notice what cannot separate us from God’s love? It is no thing in the universe. Even when God does not love what you are doing, He still loves you. He still loves you. He STILL LOVES you! He publicly declares to the world that you are loved. You are worth saving. How will you respond to his love? God gave everything, and He expects us to do the same.

“For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 TPT


Take a minute and respond to the love of God.

Psalm 40 A Joyful Salvation

1 I waited and waited and waited some more,

patiently, knowing God would come through for me.

Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.

2 He stooped down to lift me out of danger

from the desolate pit I was in,

out of the muddy mess I had fallen into.

Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place

and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.

3 A new song for a new day rises up in me

every time I think about how he breaks through for me!

Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until

everyone hears how God has set me free.

Many will see his miracles;

they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!

4 Blessing after blessing comes to those who love and trust the Lord.

They will not fall away,

for they refuse to listen to the lies of the proud.

5 O Lord, our God, no one can compare with you.

Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with you!

And you think of us all the time

with your countless expressions of love

far exceeding our expectations!

6 It’s not sacrifices that really move your heart.

Burnt offerings, sin offerings—that’s not what brings you joy.

But when you open my ears and speak deeply to me,

I become your willing servant, your prisoner of love for life.

7 So I said, “Here I am! I’m coming to you as a sacrifice,

for in the prophetic scrolls of your book

you have written about me.

8 I delight to fulfill your will, my God,

for your living words are written upon the pages of my heart.”

9 I tell everyone everywhere the truth of your righteousness.

And you know I haven’t held back in telling the message to all.

10 I don’t keep it a secret or hide the truth.

I preach of your faithfulness and kindness,

proclaiming your extravagant love to the largest crowd I can find!

11 So Lord, don’t hold back your love or withhold

your tender mercies from me.

Keep me in your truth and let your compassion overflow to me

no matter what I face.

12 Evil surrounds me; problems greater than I can solve

come one after another.

Without you, I know I can’t make it.

My sins are so many!

I’m so ashamed to lift my face to you.

For my guilt grabs me and stings my soul

until I am weakened and spent.

13 Please, Lord! Come quickly and rescue me!

Take pleasure in showing me your favor and restore me.

14 Let all who seek my life be humiliated!

Let them be confused and ashamed, God.

Scatter those who wish me evil; they just want me dead.

15 Scoff at every scoffer and cause them all to be utter failures.

Let them be ashamed and horrified by their complete defeat.

16 But let all who passionately seek you

erupt with excitement and joy over what you’ve done!

Let all your lovers rejoice continually in the Savior, saying,

“How great and glorious is our God!”

17 Lord, in my place of weakness and need, I ask again:

Will you come and help me?

I know I’m always in your thoughts.

You are my true Savior and hero,

so don’t delay to deliver me now, for you are my God.


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