Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This Is Love

Today is Valentine's Day and I have been meditating on a verse from 1 John 4:10, "This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I have been drawn to those first three words, "This is love." In our culture we define love in a very conditional way. People spend a lot of money and figuratively speaking "go overboard" to demonstrate their love to another person. But what happens after the day is over? All the tokens that mark Valentine's Day do not last. Flowers wither and die, greeting cards may end up in the trash or a recycling bin, and chocolates disappear eventually ending up around our waistlines. If greeting cards are saved, they often end up in a box on a shelf or in a closet only to be looked at as one is downsizing their living space or a relative is cleaning out a home after someone's death. Then, there are all those who have no one to share love with them. They may be homeless, or perhaps they are not involved in a relationship of any kind. Some may be divorced or have lost a spouse or significant other to death. The Scriptures define real love in the purest and truest sense of the word. It is the unconditional love of God demonstrated in the ultimate sacrificial gift, the life of His Son. God's love is for all people regardless of race, creed, color, or ethnic background. There are no expectations or pre-requirements on our part. We can be rich or poor, healthy or ill, employed or unemployed. We can live any where in the world under good conditions or difficult circumstances. We can be law abiding citizens or sitting in a jail cell for a crime. The bottom line is that Christ died for all and God loved us with a love that is everlasting and does not change or end. We as humans can never really love well enough. Even after Valentine's Day we are still constantly trying to prove our love in one way or another. Our love can even fail us at the time of death. Doctors have observed a phenomenon referred to as "broken heart syndrome." When two people are strongly emotionally bonded, the death of one individual can then trigger the quick demise of the other sometimes within weeks or even days. People are still shocked over the death of actress Debbie Reynolds two days after the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynold's son shared that after his sister Carrie passed away, his mother reportedly stated she wanted to "be with Carrie." Bereavement experts report that the first stage of grief after someone dies is anger. Perhaps there is an underlying feeling on the part of the surviving relatives that the person didn't love them enough to stay alive and not leave them abandoned. God has promised He will never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b) Indeed, God has kept His promise because Jesus did not remain in the grave but He was raised from the dead and one day will come back for us. (Revelation 22:7,12,20) Furthermore, in His absence Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to not only be our strength, comfort, and support but also our guarantee of what is yet to come. (John 14:16-18; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:14) This indeed is love! It is a true, pure, and unadulterated love. So for all of those who are feeling left out or abandoned on this Valentine's Day, know this, You are loved and always will be! From the Father's heart to yours, Happy Valentine's Day!
In His Love,
Pastor Sheree

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