Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feb 10 The Valentine of All Valentines!

Are you decorating a shoebox to be filled with valentines from your friends next week? Maybe not, but I bet you salivate when you see those little boxes of heart shaped candies! It’s not that they’re so good, but that we’re conditioned to do that, beginning with our first tiny candy hearts with “u r cute” printed on them! Well, guess what? Marketing picked up on that one a long time ago. Those folks use the same principle, more often than we realize, to get the pupils of our eyes to dilate with pleasure over a product or idea, or to get us to respond in a certain way. Buyer beware! The more aware we are, the less we fall for the wrong response triggers out there!

Our human nature goes for marketing gimmicks like earning bonus points or double coupons when we shop here, work out there, fly a certain airline enough for a free round trip. Obviously some of it’s to our advantage, so why not? My question is, why is that so appealing? It’s partly because we like something for nothing, we’re drawn to the extras, the add-on’s. They give us reward. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when you use ‘em up, where’s the reward? After we get the prize, the free trip, the free whatever it is, then it’s “Thanks for the memories.” That lasts awhile, but eventually it’s back to start and we have to earn the bonus points, the add-on’s all over again.

By contrast, God’s great, over-the-top marketing of His love is a bonus, like a reward we can never use up. For openers, we can’t even earn it. He doesn’t dole it out as a perk for good behavior or for praying to Him so many times a day or attending church every week. He gives it freely because God IS love. BTW, “freely” doesn’t just mean gladly, to everyone, always no matter what you’ve done or are doing. That’s true and it would be more than enough, but He goes even further on the love scale. His love is free. It costs us nothing. But it cost Him everything. So he’s serious about love. His commitment is to everyone who believes His Son Jesus Christ willingly/lovingly gave His life on the cross for our sins. He didn’t do this just to start a religious movement. Love came down at Christmas, lived among us so we could see Love in the flesh and then Love conquered sin, death and the power of the devil.

This is the Valentine of all Valentines. Whether or not we get a long stemmed rose or a box of candy or valentine card from someone special, we have an everlasting Love from The Living God, Who makes our hearts beat one hundred and three thousand, six hundred and eighty nine [103,689] times a day! Those beats long for Him because He built that in to our design. St. Augustine put it this way, "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."

His everlasting, unfailing love is bigger than any candy, cake or flower shaped heart we can imagine. It’s sweeter than anything we’ve come up with since time began! It’s a little like the way humans market, come to think of it. We hear about this Love of God for us, even though we don’t understand it and can not wrap our human minds around it. Then when we welcome God’s Holy Spirit into our hearts, He gradually teaches Who He is and about the take away for us in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, things like forgiveness and courage and peace that passes understanding. We open up to the potential we have through this Love as we try it on. And we get a FREE TRIP at the end! This is not a round trip, but entrance into the very Presence of our Heavenly Father, the Love of our lives, for eternity! Won’t that be heavenly! Think about it as you open that Valentine right now! And as you pass it on, remember why… We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

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