Happy Valentine's Day!
"...but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
We don't have to look far to see the greatest love story ever told. God created man to fellowship and have a meaningful relationship with Him for all of eternity. Because of our rejection and rebellion however, we became forever separated from Him, our God and Creator. Yet because of God's great love, He sent Jesus down to earth to take our place on the cross where He received our punishment and paid our debt in full. We can call it "the great exchange" – on the cross God treated Christ as if He lived our sinful lives. Because of the cross God is now treating us as if we lived the sinless life of Jesus. Wow, how we need to daily be reminded of this precious truth.
While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, demonstrating God's love for you and me (Romans 5:8). Could there be any greater show of affection or declaration of love? No! In fact the Bible tells us that there is no greater measure of love than what Christ has already done: greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Hollywood has no clue of what love actually is but has sadly cheapened it; the marriages seldom last! Paul the apostle tells us what love is in 1 Corinthians 13: love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, it's not puffed up or proud, does not behave rudely, seeks not her own and is not easily provoked. Love thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
The true story of St. Valentine is so inspiring. In the third century Emperor Claudius the second was faced with defending the Roman Empire from invading Goths. He believed single men made better soldiers so temporarily forbade marriage. He also encouraged the worship of many Roman gods. Legend has it that Saint Valentine was a bishop in Italy who risked the Emperor's wrath for refusing to worship idols and for secretly marrying young couples. Saint Valentine was dragged before the courts of Rome and condemned to death. While awaiting execution it is said he prayed for the jailer's sick daughter who miraculously recovered. He wrote her a note and signed it "From your Valentine." February 14th has been declared Saint Valentine's Day. Signing an "X" for a kiss began in Medieval times: those who could not write their name marked a crisscross, or Christ's cross, in the presence of witnesses and kissed it to show sincerity as a form of the oath "so help me God."
"A Boy Named Chad"
There was a boy named Chad who was a little bit backwards, and the kids often made fun of him. Valentine's Day was approaching and he told his mother he wanted to make a card for every student in the class. He carefully set out to get all his classmate's names to make sure he didn't miss anyone. His mother was very worried as she knew her son would be so disappointed when no one would give him a card in return. But he feverishly went to work, and she helplessly looked on. When the day came she decided she was going to make his favorite cookies so when he came home she could cheer him up. His mother watched for him to see the look on his face as he came home. To her amazement Chad was beaming from ear to ear. She asked him, "Chad, did you get a Valentine?" He replied, "No mom, but I didn't miss one kid!" Now that is selfless love !
Oh sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown... Oh make me thine forever; and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.
We would see Jesus