Sara's Musings

Home » Posts tagged 'Valentine’s Day'

Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Calendar

September 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Blogs I Follow

The Presidents Club

Click pic for 2015 post on "The Presidents Club"

The Surest Defense Against Evil

Click pic for "The Surest Defense Against Evil"

The Triumph of Grace

Click pic for "The Triumph of Grace"

Contemplating God’s Sovereignty

Click pic for "Contemplating God's Sovereignty"

How Should We Then Live?

Click pic for "How Should We Then Live?

Not a Timid Christianity

Click pic for "Not a Timid Christianity"

Finishing the Race

Click pic for "Finishing the Race"

Because the Time is Near

Click pic for "Because the Time is Near"

Revelation Song (YouTube)

Click pic for "Revelation Song" sung by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Where The Wind Blows

Click pic for "Where The Wind Blows"

Doing Great Things

Click pic for "Doing Great Things"

Recognizing a False Prophet

Click pic for "Recognizing a False Prophet"

The Power of Forgiveness

Click pic for "The Power of Forgiveness"

Created for Relationships

Click pic for "Created for Relationships"

The Only Way I Know

Click pic for "The Only Way I Know"

Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine

Click pic for "Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine"

Our True Home Address

Click pic for "Our True Home Address

‘Tis the Season . . . for L-O-V-E

Click pic for "'Tis the Season . . . for LOVE"

The Paris Terrorist Attack and the Problem of Evil

Click pic for "The Paris Terrorist Attack and the Problem of Evil"

Cherry Picking 101

Click pic for "Cherry Picking 101"

Love Sweet Love

Click pic for "Love Sweet Love"

So Goes The Culture

Click pic for "So Goes The Culture"

Idols of the Heart

Click pic for "Idols of the Heart"

Divisions Are Not Always Bad

Click pic for "Divisions Are Not Always Bad"

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Click pic for "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ"

Love Is In The Air

Valentine-Day-2015-Greetings

I posted this blog post below on Valentine’s Day last year and decided to post it again for this year. It’s always a good reminder to remember what true love is really all about.

Happy Valentine’s Day, 2016!

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
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.

~I Corinthians 13:4-8

}{

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~Jesus (John 13:34-35)

}{

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like JesusThere is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. ~1 John 4:7-21

}{

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Sonthat whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ~John 3:16-18

}{

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and
love.
But the greatest of these is
love.
~I Corinthians 13:13

YouTube Video: “Love Does,” by Brandon Heath:

Photo credit here

Advertisements

What Love Does

Valentine-Day-2015-GreetingsHappy Valentine’s Day, 2015!

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
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.

~I Corinthians 13:4-8

}{

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~Jesus (John 13:34-35)

}{

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like JesusThere is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
~1 John 4:7-21

}{

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Sonthat whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ~John 3:16-18

}{

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and
love.
But the greatest of these is love.
~I Corinthians 13:13

YouTube Video: “Love Does,” by Brandon Heath:

Photo credit here

Love Sweet Love

love-sweet-true-love

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and at this time of year our thoughts often turn to love . . . or maybe not . . .

From the current state of world affairs, love is sorely lacking. Back in August 2012 I wrote a blog post on this very topic, and since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, now is a good time to repost it. So without further ado, here is it . . .

What The World Needs Now

“What The World Needs Now (is love sweet love)–if you’re old enough you might remember this song made famous by Jackie DeShannon back in 1965 (YouTube video below). Doesn’t seem like much has changed in our world since she sang that song. This old world is still in great need of “love, sweet love.” And now more than ever.

Of course, this type of love is not the sexual or “romantic” love between two people that we find so often as a theme in books or plays or movies, but an “agape” type of love. Agape love is defined as: (1) the love of God or Jesus Christ for humankind; (2) the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind; and (3) unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love (source: Dictionary.com). Agape love–at it’s core–is sacrificial.

Compassion travels right alongside agape love. Compassion is defined as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering” (source: Dictionary.com). In short, the combination of the two describe what Christian community should be all about–unselfish, sacrificial love for others with a strong desire to alleviate suffering wherever we may find it–and we don’t have to look very far to find suffering in this world.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts you’ll know that I’ve often quoted a devotion I’ve found in Day by Day by Dr. Charles Swindoll, (Thomas Nelson Publishers: 2000, 2005). I discovered this gem of a book several months ago on Amazon.com and my copy happens to be the first edition published in 2000. Well, once again, this morning I found a great devotion on compassion by Dr. Swindoll, so let’s read it together:

Compassion

Colossians 3:12-14; James 5:11

It was one of those backhanded compliments. The guy had listened to me talk during several sessions at a pastors’ conference. All he knew about me was what he’d heard in the past few days: ex-marine . . . schooled in an independent seminary . . . committed to biblical exposition . . . noncharismatic . . . premil . . . pretrib . . . pro this . . . anti that.

Toward the end of the week, he decided to drink a cup of coffee with me and risk saying it straight. It went something like this: “You don’t fit. You’ve got the roots of a fundamentalist, but you don’t sound like it. Your theology is narrow, but you’re not rigid. You take God seriously, but you laugh like there’s no tomorrow. You have definite convictions, but you aren’t legalistic and demanding.” Then he added: “Even though you’re a firm believer in the Bible, you’re still having fun, still enjoying life. You’ve even got some compassion!”

“You’ve even got some compassion!” Like, if you’re committed to the truth of Scripture, you shouldn’t get that concerned about people stuff–heartaches, hunger, illness, fractured lives, insecurities, failures, and grief–because those are only temporal problems. Mere horizontal hassles. Leave that to the liberals. Our main job is to give ‘em the gospel. Get ‘em saved!

Be honest now. Isn’t that the way it usually is? Isn’t it a fact that the more conservative one becomes, the less compassionate?

I want to know why. Why either–or? Why not both–and?

I’d also like to know when we departed from the biblical model. When did we begin to ignore Christ’s care for the needy?

Maybe when we realized that one is much easier than the other. It’s also faster. When you don’t concern yourself with being your brother’s keeper, you don’t have to get dirty or take risks or lose your objectivity or run up against the thorny side of an issue that lacks easy answers.

And what will happen when we traffic in such compassion. The Living Bible says, “Then the Lord will be your delight, and I will see to it that you ride high, and get your full share of the blessings I promised to Jacob, your father” (Isaiah 58:14).

If you really want to “ride high, and get your full share of the blessings,” prefer compassion to information. We need both, but in the right order.

Come on, let’s break the mold and surprise ‘em. That’s exactly what Jesus did with you and me and a whole bunch of other sinners who deserved and expected a full dose of condemnation, but got compassion instead.

Others won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.

Source:Day by Dayby Dr. Charles Swindoll, p. 258
Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, 2000

Let me run one of his statements above by you again (e.g., regarding “a fact that the more conservative one becomes, the less compassionate”): “When did we begin to ignore Christ’s care for the needy? Maybe when we realized that one is much easier than the other. It’s also faster. When you don’t concern yourself with being your brother’s keeper, you don’t have to get dirty or take risks or lose your objectivity or run up against the thorny side of an issue that lacks easy answers.” Ouch, that one stings, doesn’t it? I know I can feel the pain of what it says.

Let’s look at the two scripture quotations he cites at the beginning of this devotion. The first one is Colossians 3:12-14:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Read through that list slowly and let it sink in: “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience . . bear with each other . . . forgive grievances . . . forgive as the Lord forgave you . . . and put on love.”

The second scripture cited is James 5:11:

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

I like how The Message Bible states this verse along with the previous verse 10:

Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.

They put up with what? Anything! They went through what? Everything! AND THEY NEVER ONCE QUIT! Not one time!!! That’s perseverance in a nutshell, folks! And all the time they HONORED GOD! In other words, no grumbling allowed! And just look at Job’s staying power! I dare say none of us have had to endure all that Job had to endure (see Job 1-42 for the full story), and he still remained faithful to God through it all–and God rewarded Him with twice what he originally had when his incredible trial first started. The Lord is, indeed, full of compassion and mercy!

And we should be, too . . . .

I’d like to end this post with a few of the verses in the greatest chapter on love in the Bible–I Cor. 13:3-8 from The Message Bible:

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. 

  “Love never gives up. 
   Love cares more for others than for self. 
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
   Love doesn’t strut, 
   Doesn’t have a swelled head, 
   Doesn’t force itself on others, 
   Isn’t always ‘me first,’ 
   Doesn’t fly off the handle, 
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
   Puts up with anything, 
   Trusts God always, 
   Always looks for the best, 
   Never looks back, 
   But keeps going to the end.
   Love never dies . . . .”

Love never dies . . . .

And I certainly don’t want to be bankrupt without love . . . 

How about you?

YouTube Video: “What The World Needs Now” by Jackie DeShannon (1965):

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

The Power of Love

love_powerIn two days it will be Valentine’s Day here in America and in other countries around the world. Love is in the air, and much like Christmas is to me, I love looking at all the Valentine decorations that are in stores everywhere, and I even bought myself a tiny box of chocolates (only three pieces–the only amount I’m safe with) with a pic of Snoopy and Woodstock on the cover.

The expression of love almost defies definition, and it can mean different things to different people. It can be disguised as lust (e.g., sexual attraction), or as the ultimate sacrifice, as in laying down one’s life for their friends or their country. It can be tossed around tritely, as in “I just love my new car,” or, in my case, “I just love chocolate,” or it can be deeply felt, as in love for a parent, spouse, or children.

Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” (quote source here). And in the opening words to the song The Power of Love sung by Huey Lewis and The News (YouTube video below) love is described like this:

The power of love is a curious thing
Make one man weep, make another man sing
Change a hawk to a little white dove
More than a feeling that’s the power of love

Love can turn enemies into friends; it can mend a broken heart; it can change a life overnight; it can heal the deepest wounds. Love isn’t cheap or easy and it costs us everything, and it puts self in second place. It makes mush out of emotions, and words to describe it seem totally inadequate. It can hurt and it can heal. And as another verse in the song mentioned above states:

First time you feel it, it might make you sad
Next time you feel it it might make you mad
But you’ll be glad when you’ve found
That’s the power makes the world go ’round

Love does make “the world go ’round.” But, as a popular song back in 1965 stated: “What the world needs now is love sweet love, that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of” (quote source here–song title: “What the World Needs Now”–lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach, sung by Jackie DeShannon and later by Dionne Warwick).

Love is in very short supply in this world of ours. Wars and rumors of wars, conflicts, terrorism, power struggles, hidden agendas, jealousy, and hatred abound both on a grand scale and on a much smaller and much more personal scale such as in our homes, work places, and in our relationships with others. And often in our quest for an ever better lifestyle, we trample others in the dust and end up with a life totally void of love, except perhaps the love for possessions or money and all it can buy (including people). And that kind of love destroys everything it touches.

I Corinthians 13 describes what genuine love looks, feels and acts like. Let’s take a look at it in I Cor. 13:4-13:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
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.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

As I read through that list, I realize how far short I fall many times as I’m making my way through this life. When I’m mad at someone, I’m not often kind (whether it is said verbally or I just keep it to myself). And after almost five years of unemployment, I can still be easily angered by my situation and the folks who caused it. And I am weary beyond words after being unemployed for this long with still no end in sight. And, of course, trust is a major issue of mine right now. There is very little of it left to give out to anyone.

We all have our lists of failures (usually ongoing and unresolved) when it comes to that list regarding the attributes of genuine love. Self gets in the way all too often, and it trips us up every single time. We can confuse love with a lot of other things, which ends up not being love at all. Let’s look at the first three verses in I Corinthians 13 that often get overlooked when reading over the list of attributes for what genuine love looks like. Those three verses tell us often what we don’t want to hear:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels,
but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, 
but do not have love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor
and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love,
I gain nothing.

So often it is in the stuff that we do that we try to prove to others and to ourselves that we have love (or if nothing else, that we can try to manipulate them in some way). Yet these verses tell us that nothing we do means anything without real, genuine love being attached to it. And if we do not have real, genuine love for others–the selfless kind of love mentioned in verses 4-13, we have failed. Period. And it doesn’t matter how smart we are or how good we are at what we do or how much money we make and/or give to people in need or organizations or even if we have the kind of faith that can move mountains or are martyred for our faith. Without love, none of it matters.

None of it matters . . . .

Love is giving up the last bite - Snoopy - 2-12-14And that’s a hard pill to swallow. Our pride gets in the way of it (at least I know mine does). There is something about going through hard times especially when they just don’t seem to end that can make one hard and reactive instead of soft and submissive. I vacillate between the two most of the time after five years of this struggle with unemployment. I’m sure you have your own examples in your life, too. It’s that constant struggle of being between a rock and a hard place.” And I want a third option–I don’t want to be between either anymore.

But the third option turns out to be the hardest . . . loving those who hate us or abuse us in some way. The urge to strike out is so powerful that the only remedy for it is love–real, genuine love. And that only comes from one place. And it’s not in us, either.

It comes from God through Jesus Christ:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ~John 3:16-18

Apart from Jesus Christ, real genuine love is unattainable no matter how hard we try. It requires sacrifice, and that is something we humans are not very good at. We are so busy trying to protect ourselves and always “looking out for #1” that any love we think we have for others blows away in the wind. It’s fake, and has self at it’s core.

Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 5:44-45:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I often find myself wanting to fight with my enemies instead of loving them. I rail against them because often I don’t understand why they are my enemies in the first place and it is the only way I know how to protect myself. Evil is very real in this world of ours and most of the time we have no explanation for it other than it exists. Terrorism comes to mind as an example of hatred that has no apparent reason, at least to us. Yet to fight against an unnamed evil in others is like fighting against that same wind I mentioned above that also blows the love out of our life. We are barely even good at loving our friends let alone our enemies. And if we continue to hold on to the list of wrongs done to us by others we destroy any possibility of experiencing real, genuine love for others, including our enemies.

Indeed, it is a hard pill to swallow . . . .

But shallow it we must, if we ever hope to experience real, geniune love . . . the kind of love that can turn the world–our world–around. And apart from Jesus Christ, we cannot do it. He is the One who has shown us the way.

Love isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come in a box of chocolates. It comes from hard work and from resisting the urge to retaliate no matter what. Real, genuine love can be cruel (Jesus Christ went to the cross), and it is selfless. It is also life-saving.

The chorus in the song, “The Power of Love,” goes like this:

You don’t need money, don’t take fame
Don’t need no credit card to ride this train
It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes
But it might just save your life
That’s the power of love

I don’t know what you are going through in your life, but if you’ve reached the point that I have reached, there is only one option left . . .

And I’m taking that third option . . . .

How about you?

YouTube Video: “The Power of Love” (1985) by Huey Lewis and The News:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit 
here

Be My Valentine

Be My ValentineThree days ago I wrote a blog post titled, A Month of Happiness,” (click here for post) which is about a month-long celebration during the Jewish month of Adar that takes place every year around this time of the year, and this year Valentine’s Day falls within the first three days of this celebration. So, I’ve decided to be extra happy on Valentine’s Day!

I thought I’d start out with a few fun facts about Valentine’s Day that I found at OddityJournal.com. For instance, did you know . . .

1. More than 50 million roses are exchanged worldwide on Valentine’s Day each year.

2. 73% of the flowers purchased on Valentine’s Day are purchased by men; while only 27% are purchased by women.

3. Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine. Saint Valentine is known as the patron saint of lovers. But few people know that he was also the patron saint of greetings, travelers, young people, and even epilepsy, plague and bee keepers.

4. The letter ‘X’ first symbolized a kiss in medieval times. It is believed that people who could not write their names, signed with an ‘X’. The ‘X’ was then kissed to show their emotions.

5. 15% of US women send flowers to themselves on Valentine’s Day.

6. Survey shows that most women prefer a good dinner over any other gift.

7. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of telephone, patented his invention on the Valentine’s Day. So, Valentine’s Day gave us the telephone. Penicillin was also introduced on Valentine’s Day.

8. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew the names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned on their sleeve for one week. This was done so that it became easy for others to know their true feelings. This is where the expression “wear your heart on your sleeve” got its start.

9. Red roses are the most popular gifts on Valentine’s Day. Red has traditionally been the color of love and symbolizes strong emotions. Thus, red roses are thought to be the perfect object to show off the adornment on the special day.

10. If you’re a teacher, then we have good news for you on Valentine’s Day. According to a study, teachers receive the most number of Valentine cards. Each year, children between the ages of 6 and 10 give about 650 million cards to their teachers.

11. In Germany, young girls would plant onions in a pot on Valentine’s Day, and place the name of a boy next to each onion. They believed that they would marry the boy whose name was nearest to the first onion to grow.

12. During the 1700’s, girls in England would eat a hardboiled egg, along with the shell, on Valentine’s Day eve. Doing so, they hoped that they would dream about their future husband that night.

13. Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare’s fictional lovers “Romeo and Juliet” lived, receives about 1,000 letters every year sent to Juliet on Valentine’s Day.

14. Contrary to the popular opinion, more than 50% of women don’t find Valentine’s Day romantic at all. Even worse, more than 75% don’t like being proposed to on Valentine’s Day. So, you might want to think twice if you’re planning to do so.

15. Recent surveys revealed that on average, men spend about $158 on Valentine’s Day. This is twice as much as compared to the $75 spent by women. (List source here).

After reading through that list I can say that I’ve never bought flowers for myself on Valentine’s Day (#5), but I have at other times of the year. And, maybe I’d better start planting onions (#11) or eating hardboiled eggs with the shells left on (#12, ugh . . .). At least I’m not in the 50% of women who don’t like Valentine’s Day or the 75% of women who don’t like being proposed to on Valentine’s Day (#14); however, since Valentine’s Day for this year is now here I’d hate to wait a whole year to be proposed to since it is fairly apparent it’s not going to happen this year. Well, my birthday is coming up in May . . . .

. . . And I’ve just about given up on ever finding a job after almost four years, so maybe finding a husband would be easier??? Well, of course, one of my own and not somebody else’s; but then that hasn’t been so easy, either, come to think of it (not that I’ve ever wanted somebody else’s husband).

Okay, enough with the humor. But wait . . . this is “a month of happiness,” so let the humor continue!!! Here’s some more fun facts I found at CandyUSA.com:

1. More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day. A survey conducted by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association revealed that 50 percent of women will likely give a gift of chocolate to a guy for Valentine’s Day.

2.Valentine’s Day is the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases (after Halloween, Easter and Christmas).

3. American men say they’d rather receive chocolate than flowers on Valentine’s Day, especially those over the age of 50. Sixty-eight percent of men age 50 or older say they’d prefer receiving chocolate over flowers from their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, while just 22% said they’d rather have the flowers.

4. A natural aphrodisiac? As an elixir for love, chocolate has been believed throughout history to bring smiles to the broken-hearted and to prompt amorous feelings in both men and women. It is believed that Madame Du Barry served it to all her suitors; Casanova consumed chocolate instead of champagne to induce romance; and Montezuma, the king of the ancient Aztecs, believed chocolate would make him virile. In the 1800’s physicians commonly advised their lovelorn patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining.

Being a connoisseur of fine chocolate (well, mostly M&M’s), I can’t attest to the amorous feelings brought on by chocolate (well, maybe indirectly, after all, I’m not married or involved with anyone), but I can say that eating chocolate is about as close to, well . . . oh, never mind . . . I don’t want to get myself into trouble in a blog post. Suffice it to say I do love chocolate and I believe it is one of the absolutely necessary food groups needed to sustain life . . . okay, maybe not life but happiness. And this is “a month of happiness.” So, pass the chocolate, please . . . .

Author's picture of Christmas daisiesI can see I’ve gotten sidetracked. Obviously flowers are a safer subject for me to stick with for Valentine’s Day. Rated PG, I think . . . . And I do love flowers. Daisies are my favorite and I’ve purchased daisies for myself (especially colorful “designer” daisies–see photo) on numerous occasions like this past Christmas. And I do love roses, too; however, I’ve never purchased roses for myself and I refuse to as I want to save that experience for a suitor if one ever shows up (I’ve been waiting a very long time and I’m getting old, you know). They even have roses in designer colors, too, although, red roses are very beautiful. In fact, a bouquet of red roses with baby’s breath is quite beautiful, and very fragrant, too.

But back to Valentine’s Day. While I enjoy all the romantic stuff associated with Valentine’s Day, it’s been a very, very, very, very (did I say very?) long time since I’ve had any reciprocated romantic feelings. In other words, I haven’t been looking for love for a very long time (a couple of my past blog posts have addressed that issue so no point in going into it in this one). And besides, I’ve been looking for a job for almost four years now!!! Being unemployed doesn’t exactly attract suitors, not that that is my main reason for needing a job. No, my main reason for needing a job is that I need an income . . . and a life again!!! Being unemployed is not fun, and I didn’t ask for it, either!!!

Dear ValentineWhile I’m waiting for a job to show up–and at this point it will take a miracle after all of this time–I wouldn’t mind if maybe–and maybe it’s just in a dream but I’ll throw it out there anyway–if a suitor should happen to show up (although I’ve had enough experience to know that I don’t want just anybody who happens to be male), it would be fun to find out if there really is such a thing as romantic and passionate love as I’d like to experience it before my sojourn on this earth is over. And maybe he would like to experience it, too.

With that being said, I’ve considered myself lucky all these years to have been single for so long as I have a lifetime of experiences that would not have happened has I been married. I remember when I left my job in Florida for the job in Houston that one of my work colleagues, a married woman with grown children (well, I think her youngest was still in high school at the time) told me she thought I was so lucky as there was nothing tying me down to keep me from taking a new opportunity 1000 miles away. She was right, of course, but I believe that for those of us who love God and want to serve Jesus Christ that He opens and closes the doors we go through in our lives and that includes the times He has us “on hold” waiting for the right circumstances to come together in order to move us on.

I don’t recall at any other time in my life being put “on hold” for as long as this period of unemployment has lasted (it will be four years in April). However, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you know that it has been this whole “Houston” experience (well, it started there) that brought me out of the spiritual lethargy I didn’t even realize I was in at the time. Spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight or in a vacuum, and it rarely happens by attending church once a week and disregarding how we are living our lives and ignoring the Bible and what is has to say to us for rest of the week. And there’s no doubt I still have a long way to go, but had this whole “unemployment” experience not happened to me, I would have continued to walk in my spiritual stagnation that easily hides behind church or “Christian” activities. No, it’s about developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is active and vital and not just buried in “activities” or all the hype in a lot of “Christianity” in America today.

While over the years I have longed for the love of a man, I have never been without the love of Jesus Christ, who has so amazingly guided me all of these years, even through these last four years that have been some of the toughest years of my life. Sometimes He forces us to be still (Psalm 46:10) so that we can really learn of Him and what this life is really all about, and the activities of normal living can blind us to the fact that our life in Jesus Christ is about far more then what we see with our eyes and experience in the physical world. Eph. 6:10-18 makes that very plain:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

We get so busy in our lives that we forget the truth of what is really going on. And that has been what these past four years have been about for me–understanding the truth. It’s too easy, especially for folks who have been Christian for many, many years, to just coast along and stagnate without even realizing it. Eph. 5:14-17 states, Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

This Valentine’s Day, whether we have someone to share it with or not, don’t forget the greatest love we’ve ever been given that surpasses any human love on this earth–the love of Jesus Christ. Spend some time with Him.

He’s always available . . . .

YouTube Video: “Anyone At All” sung by Carole King from the movie, “You’ve Got Mail” (1998):

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit (my own pic of Christmas daisies)
Photo #3 credit here

How Sweet It Is

LoveI woke up this morning with a song playing in my head–How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” a “U.S. Billboard Top 10 ‘Pop’ Single” (coming in at #5) sung by James Taylor in 1975 (YouTube video below). Hmmm . . . well, Valentine’s Day is only a week away, but as far as I know there’s no one out there pining for me. Guess I’ll have to buy chocolates for myself again this year. Not to worry, though, since I’m trying to stay away from sugar and artificial sweeteners at the same time so I doubt I’ll buy any this year. Who needs chocolate, right?

Right???

Years ago (1993) there was a youth movement in Christian circles titled True Love Waits.” Of course, it promoted sexual abstinence for teenagers and college students until marriage, but in my own life the phrase has an entirely different meaning. I’ve been waiting all my life for “true love” to finally show up. It ranks at #1 on my “Waiting” list, with “finding employment” coming in as a close second after almost four years of looking for that very elusive job.

I know I’ve mentioned it before in a past blog post or two, but I’ve never intentionally gone looking for love in my entire life. Well, I mean romantic love. It’s not that I didn’t want to experience it, but mostly what I found was lust, not love. And I wasn’t looking for lust either, not that the pull isn’t there. But lust is momentary and, well, pretty much selfish. And, it’s momentarily satisfied but, like greed, is insatiable, and is never happy with what it has and always wants more. So I stopped looking for love when all I found was lust. I decided to wait until love came to me.

I suppose there is nothing worse than unrequited love.” Maybe “unrequited attraction” is a better description. And maybe it’s the same in your case, too, if you think about it and have ever experienced it. We call it “love” but love–real love–comes with sacrifice. A longing for someone doesn’t necessarily require any kind of sacrifice other then a broken heart on our end when it is not returned or reciprocated. I have experienced that kind of love (well, longing). Sometimes it was someone I noticed and took an interest in but for whatever reason they weren’t interested in me (it usually ended up that they were already attached to someone else or just weren’t interested which is always a little bit devastating). And sometimes it started with someone who was interested in me but by the time I finally “got it” the interest on their part had waned and they had moved on. After all, there are plenty of other fish in the sea, right?

There’s a story in Genesis 29:16-30 about a man named Laban who had two daughters; Leah, the older daughter, and Rachel, the younger. Leah was described as having “weak eyes” but Rachel was described as being “beautiful in form and appearance.” Jacob (one of Isaac’s sons) was in love with Rachel and told Laban that he would work for him for seven years in order to have Rachel as his wife, and Laban agreed. However, at the end of seven years Laban actually gave Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel (see Genesis 29:21-22). Because Leah was hidden behind a veil, Jacob didn’t realize he had married her instead of Rachel. When Jacob realized what had happened, he went to Laban to find out why and Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work” (Genesis 29:26-27). And as the story goes, “And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. . . .  Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years” (Genesis 29:28, 30).

So Jacob ended up with both sisters as his wives; however, he loved Rachel more than Leah. Imagine how that must have made Leah feel. It’s not like she had much choice in the situation. Let’s read about it in a devotion I read this morning in Our Daily Bread:

Second Best?

Genesis 29:16-30

Leah must have laid awake all night thinking of the moment when her new husband would awaken. She knew that it was not her face he expected to see, but Rachel’s. Jacob had been a victim of deception, and when he realized that a “bait and switch” had occurred, he quickly made a new deal with Laban to claim the woman he had been promised (Gen. 29:25-27).

Love in the sandHave you ever felt insignificant or second-best? Leah felt that way. It’s seen in the names she chose for her first three sons (vv.31-35). Reuben means “See, a Son”; Simeon means “Heard”; and Levi means “Attached.” Their names were all plays on words that indicated the lack of love she felt from Jacob. With each son’s birth, she desperately hoped she would move up in Jacob’s affections and earn his love. But slowly Leah’s attitude changed, and she named her fourth son Judah,which means “Praise” (v.35). Though she felt unloved by her husband, perhaps she now realized she was greatly loved by God.

We can never “earn” God’s love, because it’s not dependent on what we do. In truth, the Bible tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In God’s eyes, we are worth the best that heaven could offer—the gift of His precious Son. ~Cindy Hess Kasper

Love sent the Savior to die in my stead.
Why should He love me so?
Meekly to Calvary’s cross He was led.
Why should He love me so? ~Harkness

Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross.

The divorce rate in America attests to the fact that human love is fickle. “Various studies on US rate of divorce show significant differences when a comparison is made in 1st, 2nd and 3rd marriage breakups in America. The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%; the rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67% and the rate in America for 3rd marriage are from 73% to 74% (quote source here). While we are familiar with the divorce rate being around 50% now in America, I was shocked when I read the  divorce rate for second and third marriages. Overall, it only gets worse.

Rarely do we ever find a love like the description of love given in I Corinthians 13:4-8“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 . . . .”

I’ve failed that test many times in the past and I’m sure you have, too. It’s not easy being human, and our own desires get in the way all the time. I know of only One Person who has never failed that test–Jesus Christ“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:1-5) . . . and “The Word became flesh [in the person of Jesus Christ] and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

In John 3, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling class, came to Jesus at night stating, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (v. 2-3).

It is within this dialogue with Nicodemus in John 3 that Jesus states how a person can be born again–“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:16-21). Jesus Christ is the One and Only Son of God.

John 3v16Real love comes with sacrifice, and Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross at Calvary for you and for me. It is not a fickle, human love that comes and goes with our feelings, but the ultimate sacrifice made for the redemption of humankind, and the only sacrifice there is that’s available to us. It was and is a sacrifice made out of a love that we as humans cannot fully comprehend this side of Heaven, and it’s available to anyone who truly seeks Him, as stated in John 3:16-18 above and again, here–“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

If you’re like me on this upcoming Valentine’s Day, you may not get chocolates or flowers or other expressions of love from anyone, but the love that is offered through Jesus Christ is a far greater love than any love found on this earth of ours, and not just on Valentine’s Day, either, but forever. And while Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to give it to us, for us it is a free gift from God if we only believe in Him and in the sacrifice He made for us.

How can you resist a love like that?

In a word, don’t . . . .

YouTube Video: “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” sung by James Taylor (1975):

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here
Photo #3 credit here

natsab

Here I stand.

The Daniel Fast

Consecrate yourself unto the Lord through extended prayer and fasting.

Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

It's a God thing...

Unpacking the baggage of life, love, and spirituality

drcristy

Dystopian Fiction Writer | Doctor | Wife | Mom

Reformedish

incompletely reformed thoughts on God, ministry, and life

lovelyseasonscomeandgo

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Messianic Sabbath

A daily break in your day to celebrate our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus) and our abundant life through the Torah

For Such A Time As This

"...who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Disciples of hope

Living the hope that comes from Christ

daily meditation

daily thoughts on scriptures

The Minstrel's Wife

A worship leader's missus and her views from the pew

From the Wisdom of our Founders

Important Quotations to Instruct and Inspire

Growing Forward

a blog for those seeking personal change for God's glory

The Old Guys

Quotes & Resources From... The Old Guys

Prime Reality Ministries

God is the Real Reality!

Flotsam and Jetsam

Random thoughts and commentaries on God's Word

Sara's Musings

Living It Out. . . on WordPress.com

Don Sweeting

Reflections on theology, worship, culture, history and the church

What's The Good Word?

Reflections on daily readings from the Scriptures

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

The Daily Way

A Daily Devotional from Dr. Michael Youssef

Jean Huang Photography - Los Angeles Custom Portraiture and Fine Art Photographer

"Transformational Beauty" "Maternity" "Newborn" "Children" "FineArt" Photography

Life in the Boomer Lane

Musings of a former hula hoop champion

Laura's Lens

Taking a look at the beauty around us

Perception

Photography. Life.

ILLUSTRATION AGE

THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE FOR ILLUSTRATORS

The Elliptical Saloon

Weblog for WhiteHouseMuseum.org

Thought For the Day

Bringing whatever stirs my heart

A Breath of Fresh Air

"Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God." Philippians 2:15

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Tracking events and trends in Israel, the U.S., Russia and throughout the Epicenter (the Middle East & North Africa)

ForeWords

Lectionary Musings within the Community of Christ

Of Dust & Kings

Empowering Faith. Transforming Culture.

A MINIATURE CLAY POT

"We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives" 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Message

gracefully50

On your birthday: count your candles, count your years, count your blessings.

lilies, sparrows and grass

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." Psalm 26:7

%d bloggers like this: