Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Power of Love

In a few days it will be Valentine's Day. I find it quite interesting that one day out of the year is set aside to celebrate the concept of love. It's almost as if the rest of the year one can be as unkind as they choose to their spouse or significant other but on Valentine's Day, all bets are off. Animosity is to be set aside and exchanged for a token or trinket that symbolizes love. Stores launch into their full "love" mode displaying their wares of sweet treats and flowers. Jewelry stores communicate the message that in no uncertain terms if you truly love that special someone its time to upgrade to a bigger cut of diamond ring or perhaps a diamond necklace or bracelet. For that one day in time people who have felt rejected or unnoticed can feel special. However, like most holidays we celebrate during the year, once the day has come and gone its back to business as usual. The warm fuzzies of Valentine's Day become a faded memory as we return to our every day routines and stores place Valentine's candy on sale at a deep discount. It almost feels like love isn't as valuable the day after so take advantage of the sale. Besides, the stores need to make room for treats and stuffed toys for the next big holiday, Easter. Since when did love become a commodity? For God, love is not something celebrated with fanfare once a year. For God, love is eternal and never fades, dies, or grows cold over time. There is a power in the love of God that cannot be matched, surpassed, or measured by anything on earth. Ironically, God's love is demonstrated in death, the death of His Son. From the first word in the book of Genesis to the last word in the book of Revelation, God has written His love letter to the world. In the pages of that letter God demonstrated how He loved the world into existence (Genesis 1:1), redeemed the world in love through His Son (John 3:16), and loved the world enough to one day create a new heaven and earth where God will personally dwell with us (Revelation 21-22) Furthermore, the power of God's love is so strong that nothing can separate us from it. (Romans 8:37-39) How is this possible? John tells us, "God is love." (1 John 4:16a) God is pure, unadulterated, perfect and holy love. Therefore, we can count on God's love 24/7/365. The Song of Songs is the book of "romance" in the Bible and describes the passion and power of love as expressed by the female voice (Beloved) to the male object of her affections (Lover). However, her words also speak to the intense love between God and His people. "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." (Song of Songs 8:6-7) God created us to be in relationship and to love one another but not merely following the cultural practices of giving material gifts one day a year. God calls on us to love sacrificially, from our inner most being reflecting His love that is ours in Christ to a hurting and broken world. John tells us we love not out of obligation but rather, "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) Jesus came to reveal the Father's heart and when asked by one of the teachers of the law of all the commandments which was the most important? Jesus responded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31) There is no power on earth greater than the power of love and nothing we give or receive on Valentine's Day is worth more than the love of God.
Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Sheree

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