However, you have experienced this kind of love in your life.Â This kind of love, this perfect love, has been poured out lavishly upon you by God your heavenly Father.Â He poured out this love on you as the blood of his Son Jesus Christ spilled for you.Â Godâ€™s patience lasted, through Jesus.Â Godâ€™s just anger was stayed by Jesus.Â Jesus did not boast in pride, but in humility made his way to the cross for you.Â The only red in Godâ€™s record book is the blood of Christ that has covered each one of us. Godâ€™s love persevered through hell for you.
Will the love bug be catching you later this month? Will you have cards written, chocolates bought, flowers wrapped, and a table reserved? To put it bluntly, are you ready for Valentineâ€™s Day?
On Valentineâ€™s Day we like to celebrate love.Â We do that in cute ways as our children give their classmates those punch out Valentineâ€™s cards based on the latest Disney movie, comic book characters, or princesses complete with the red and pink wrapped candies.Â As we get older, V-day becomes a little more serious, and we maybe take advantage of the aura of Valentineâ€™s as we ask someone out on that first date. Valentineâ€™s Day might even lose some of its significance the older we get, but whenever it comes around we do seem to pay a little more attention to â€œlove.â€
In 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul talks about love:
â€œLove 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.â€
How does the love we show measure up to that description?Â Sadly, whether it is on Valentineâ€™s Day or throughout the rest of the year, that kind of love is hard for us to maintain.Â Our patience can only go so far.Â The boiling pot of envy is hard to cover. Sometimes we just have to boast about our accomplishments, and our record books have numerous red checkmarks against others.Â Sometimes our trust and hope fail.Â We so often fail to demonstrate this love, because sin stains the love we try to show.
Interestingly enough, this year Valentineâ€™s Day falls one day after Ash Wednesday.Â The first thing to come to your mind on Ash Wednesday may not be love, but think about it a little bit.Â As we recognize our deep seeded sins, we also turn to recognize Godâ€™s deep-welled love, the love that led to our forgiveness.
1) How might you use Valentineâ€™s Day to talk to your children, or a friend, about Godâ€™s incredible love for them?
2) How might you use Ash Wednesday to talk to your children, or a friend, about Godâ€™s incredible love for them?
3) Based on your answers above, write a prayer asking God to open up opportunities in your life to share his amazing love.
What is â€œLentâ€?Â Lent is the traditional term we use for the period of 40 days that lead up to Easter.Â In the Christian Calendar it is a season of preparation.Â We prepare to celebrate Jesus resurrection on Easter Sunday morning, as we contemplate why he was in the grave in the first place.Â Often Lent focuses on the pain and suffering Jesusâ€™ endured on our behalf and for our sins.
Some Christians have a tradition of â€œgiving upâ€ something for Lent.Â While this may not be a bad practice, and can lead us to concentrate on Jesus more, it is not a demand that God makes of us.Â Our Sunday morning services in Lent will focus on different things that God does call us to give up so that we may see him more clearly.
During Lent, we will also hold special devotional services on Â Wednesday evenings.Â Various pastor from our nearby sister congregations will lead these services.Â It will be a great opportunity to hear someone other than Pastor Boushek. Please join us for these midweek opportunities.Â The services will be at 6:15pm.Â A soup and salad fellowship meal will be offered prior to these services at 5:30pm. Please note that there will not be a meal prior to the Ash Wednesday service on February 13th.