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Saturday, February 14, 2015

God's Valentine to us.

1 John 4:7 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

February 14th… it’s Valentine’s Day once again and the red roses are pouring out the doors of the florists, the Hallmark cards are flying off the shelves, heart shaped boxes of chocolates are purchased, and restaurants are booked weeks in advance so that people can find ways to express their love on this one day of the year.

It seems foolish in many ways to put so much emphasis on one single day to show love when in reality we should love one another every day of the year and not just wait until February 14th. It is nice to think and hear about love instead of all the doom and gloom on the media channels… but why DO we focus on this one day?

The history of the holiday is shrouded in mystery mixed with historical events about several different men named Valentine from Rome to Africa who were martyred within the 2nd to 4th century during periods of civil and religious persecution. The most familiar story was about a priest in the Catholic Church who ministered during a difficult time in history. Some stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. Another tells us that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men so they could serve in his military without distraction. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, chose to ignore Claudius’s decree and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Before the sentence was carried out, Valentine sent the first "valentine" greeting thus giving birth to our tradition of sending “valentines”. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter on a heart shaped piece of paper, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a heroic AND romantic figure.

As much as we can admire the courage of this man on this annual event, we must always consider that GOD is the Author and Finisher of Love, and as His children, we must always remember to share His love to others. God showed the world the most amazing example of LOVE when He gave His only Son to die on the cross to take away our sins. John 3:16 is repeated so often that we sometimes speed through these familiar words and miss the intent of God’s Heart, so on this Valentine’s Day, let us realize that GOD sent us a Valentine when He sent Jesus to earth. God loves you so much, and wants to show you His love 365 days of the year, not with chocolates and cards but with His gift of eternal life so that we can be with him forever in His loving Arms. In the Bible, “love” is mentioned 697 times, so get the message… GOD LOVES YOU! Open your hearts and receive His love in a fresh way today, then find ways to share that love with those that God places in your life journey.

GOD’s Valentine to the world, and to you and me!
Jesus said: 
"For God so loVed the world
       That He gAve
             His onLy
                      That whosoever
        Believes In Him
             Shall Not perish,
       But have Everlasting life."

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your love. We thank You that You are the author and finisher of love. Help us show Your love through out the year. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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