Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Celebrate Love!

I love Valentine's Day!
Anything to do with Valentine's Day!
It's my favorite holiday!
I love hearts!
Red hearts, blue hearts especially, pink hearts, dotted hearts, open hearts, I just love hearts!!

I don't remember when my love affair began with Valentine's Day and hearts; it's just always been there. I decorate my house for Valentine's Day and send out Valentine cards, just like I do at Christmas.

Am I crazy? Probably! But I love the idea of celebrating love - God's love. Love never fails. Who can rail against love? And for me, the month of February is an opportune time to show the love of God.

I think of Christmas time as the time of hope - the promised Messiah has come and the world is alive with hope - for His future, for our future because of Him.

I think of Easter as the time of grace - the promised Messiah has made a way back to God for me; He has given grace - the path to relationship with God.

And I think of Valentine's Day as the time of love - the great love that God showed for us when He sent His Son, Jesus. That all surpassing, never ending, unconditional love that we should celebrate every day, not just one day!

I know, I know. The world does a good job commercializing all these holidays and the message seems to get lost in the $$$$$ signs! But let's take them back! Our God is a redeeming God and I choose to redeem these days for His purposes.

So, I celebrate Valentine's Day, not just on February 14th, but for the whole month and I try to make the most of the opportunities I get to show His love to a world that has grown cynical and demonstrates more the kind of love that says - "I love you for what you do for me" or "I'll love you as long as you make me happy." That's the temporal kind of love, based on selfish needs and desires. We desperately need to see the kind of love Jesus demonstrated to us.

So, I endeavor to show Valentine's Day not just as a day for couples, but a day for all to celebrate love because God's love is all inclusive and leaves out no one. Perhaps, too, I have become a little more sensitive to this since my husband died and I now celebrate Valentine's Day alone. But I choose to enjoy His love, marvel at it and respond to it and then sow it as I can. The love I celebrate is not the selfish kind, not the kind limited by my own ability or capacity to love. I celebrate God's love; the kind of love that is described in God's Word:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."   1 Corinthians 13:4-8b

This is God's love. Only God can love like that. We can't. I can't. I am so limited in my capacity to love. But we have a God who not only loves like that, but also assures us -

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:35-39

The love of God is poured out to ALL and is no respecter of persons.  God's love is not dependent on mine. And God's capacity to love is not diminished by my lack of love. His desire is for me to love Him back and enter into relationship with Him, but even if I choose not to, His love is ever reaching, ever seeking, ever pursuing me.

So, I encourage you as February has just begun, sow seeds of love this month. Make sure the ones you love know they are loved - by you and by God.

"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man has seen God at any. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. And we have known and believed the love that God has to us.  God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 3:11, 18; 4:7, 10-12, 16, 18-19

For God so loved the world that He gave..........

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