The Ultimate Valentine Gift

Valentine Couple watermarked
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Guys, let me give you a hint: Today is Valentine’s Day.

I’m planning to take Marty to Wal-Mart where we’ll stand together in the Greeting cards section and I’ll read romantic Valentine Cards to her.
– They have some real mushy cards — I know she’ll appreciate those words of love.

I asked Marty what she wanted for Valentine’s Day…she said “nothing”.
– I suppose I’ll find out Friday if she was telling the truth.

A wife woke up one morning and said, “Honey, I just had a dream that you bought me a new gold necklace. What do you think it means?” – “I don’t know, but Valentine’s Day is coming soon.

Friday, you’ll know,” He replied.

A few nights later, she again woke up after having a dream, “This time, I dreamed you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?”

– “You’ll know Friday,” He replied.

The night before Valentine’s Day, she again woke up telling him about her dream, “This time I dreamed that you brought me a diamond necklace. What do you think it means?”- “Honey, be patient. You’ll know tonight.” he said.

That evening, the husband came home with a package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it — to find a book entitled, “The meaning of dreams.”
How did Valentine’s Day get started?

A priest named Valentine lived about 250 years after Christ.
– He lived in Rome when Claudius, a very cruel man, was the Emperor of Rome.

People didn’t like Claudius — nor did Valentine.

Claudius wanted a big army. He thought men should volunteer to join.

Most guys didn’t want to leave their girl friends and wives to go off fighting wars.
– There weren’t many volunteers for the Roman army.

Claudius got angry and decided if men weren’t married, they’d be more inclined to join his army.

– Claudius decreed there’d be no more marriages.

– Young couples thought this law was cruel — Valentine thought it ridiculous!

– One of his favorite priestly duties was to marry people.
Claudius passed his law — Valentine kept right on marrying people – but secretly.
– He’d whisper the ceremony, while listening for soldiers outside.

Today I want to talk about “How Christians Should Celebrate Valentine’s Day”.

1. Stand up for the Truth and proclaim God’s Love — Psalm 40:9-10

Sometimes it’s dangerous to stand against injustice, hatred, and prejudice.
– It’s difficult to oppose worldly views and proclaim the Truth of God’s Love.
– St. Valentine did!
– We’re called to do that too! — 1 Corinthians 1:18

We can expect opposition from the unsaved! — Our message is foolishness to them!
– The world is growing more and more intolerant of the Christian message.

It’s not easy to stand up for Jesus!

– It’s gotten even harder in many parts of the world! – Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, ect.
– It won’t always be easy to tell of His love here in America!
– That doesn’t give us an excuse to be silent! — Romans 1:16

God gives boldness to proclaim the Truth — Romans 5:5

It was the Power of the Holy Spirit and agape love for Jesus that turned those scared disciples into bold Gospel proclaimers.

Tradition holds all Jesus’ disciples except John died horrible deaths rather than deny Christ.

– John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he didn’t die. He was then banished to Patmos.

– They all faced dangerous conditions… to spread the Gospel.

Paul wrote Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of Christ. — 2 Timothy 1:8

– He told Timothy what he’d have to face! “Share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel”

– Not everyone wants to hear about Jesus!

– Some try to stop us — others avoid us!

One thing’s clear!

– We should tell people about Jesus! But not ram Him down their throats! — John 3:17

– What a wonderful message to tell them to confess their sins and be forgiven……..

Too bad many Christians think they’re doing right by shaking their judgmental fingers at lost sinners!
They hit sinners over the head with a bunch of Bible verses trying to convince them they’re going to Hell if they don’t change their ways!

– Gary was a fellow in my Church in Grand Coulee, Washington.

– We were calling on a man that was an avid hunter and had some stuffed animal heads on the wall of his den.

– I was trying to invite him to church when Gary blurted out, “One day you will be just like these animals – dead! – only you’re going to burn in Hell!”

– I wonder why that gentleman never showed up at Church!
We won’t reach people for Christ by being mean-spirited and hateful!

– God’s message is Love! — God loves sinners! He wants to save them not condemn them!
– John 3:17
Jesus loves sinners so much He died for them (you)!

– You won’t convince people God loves them…if they don’t see love in you!

– It’s like anything else – you won’t convince people to buy your product if you don’t like it and use it yourself.
St. Valentine kept doing what he felt God would have him do.

One night, Valentine heard footsteps at his door. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was arrested, thrown in jail, and sentenced to death.
– He’d die for his convictions.

2. We must be willing to Die to self for the sake of others. — John 15:13

Jesus says genuine love is when a person’s willing to lay down his life for his friends.
Ayrial’s pastor asks couples during pre-marriage counseling if they’d be willing to die for the other.

– They always say, “Yes!” they’d die for the one they love.
Most of us won’t face life or death situations in our daily living.

– We may never ever get a chance to die for another person!

However, every day we have opportunities to die to self.

– We’re presented with situations to sacrifice our wants for the wants of another . – 1 John 3:16

– This doesn’t have to be physically dying for another person!

– It can mean sacrificing what you want for another’s need!

It can mean putting other people’s feelings above your own!

– So many couples have problems because they think marriage is 50/50 — It’s actually 60/40
or more – Galatians 2:20
– Paul explains — Galatians 5:24

That carnal nature that controls us and makes us selfish must be crucified!
– The Holy Spirit helps us think of others! — Ephesians 5:2
– You can’t “walk in love” and be selfish at the same time!

This Valentine’s Day — Sacrifice what you want for what your loved one wants.

St. Valentine tried to stay cheerful.
– Young people came to the jail to visit him. – They threw flowers and notes through his window to let him know they believed in love.
One of the young people — the prison guard’s daughter was able to visit Valentine in his cell. .

– They’d often sit and talk for hours.

– She believed he was right to ignore the Emperor and perform marriages.

– Valentine belonged to Jesus and was going to stand by his convictions no matter what.

The day’s coming when we’ll have to make the same choice.

3. Give your life to Jesus — John 3:16

We claim to be saved! — But do we really love God and do we love people? — 1 John 4:8-9

– If we’re walking with Him we’ll walk in love! — 1 John 4:16
If you’ve given your life to Jesus then you’ll abide in Him!

Giving your life to Jesus makes you a new creation! — 2 Cor. 5:17

– A truly “born again” Christian wants to please Jesus!

1 John5:3
5 – And what commandments is this talking about? — 1 John 3:23
So, we believe Jesus is the Son of God who came to save us through His death on the cross and we choose to love one another!

– This “love” the Bible talks about is the sacrificial “agape” love that wants nothing but the best for others!

God is love and the source of true love.

Actually, When I let God’s Love permeate my life, I have more capacity to love my wife, my family, and other people.

– With Christ at the center of my life and home, I avoid all kinds of problems and negative selfishness based emotions.

For just a moment I want to look at Ephesians 5:22-31

– So many men think this is saying, “Wives remember I’m the boss and you have to obey me!”

If this is what you feel friend, you’re reading her mail.

– She will respect you when you follow the directions given to the husband – “Love your wife as Christ loved the Church.”

– Christ didn’t bully the Church – He loves and cares for the Church’s every need –He laid down His life for the Church.

– That’s the kind of love a wife will respect and obey.

Valentine was in prison and the guard’s daughter would visit him.

On the day Valentine died, he left his friend a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty.

– He signed it, “Love from your Valentine.”
That started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day.
– It was written February 14, 269 A.D. — the day he died.

Every year on February 14, people remember.

– Most importantly, they think of love and friendship.

Emperor Claudius tried to stand in the way of love — only to find that love can’t be beaten.

God loved us enough to die for us!

– Valentine loved God enough to die for his convictions.
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to commit your life to Jesus knowing things will get better? — 1 Corinthians 13:12.

– Love’s the greatest thing Christians have — and it lasts!

In Grade School, we took valentine cards to school.

– Popular boys and girls received more valentines.

Some kids got lots of valentines! Others got a few. Some didn’t get any.

Valentines from God aren’t just for a few — they’re for you…for me… for everyone!

And they aren’t just for February 14th..but for every day of the year.

Everyday’s Valentine’s Day when you know the love of God!

Love Beyond Compare

1 John 4:16-21

God’s love is an everlasting gift. We can do nothing either to deserve it or to cut it off. The Father’s love simply is; no amount of good or bad work causes it to change. What’s more, we must realize that when we try to pay someone back for a gift freely given, we frustrate the giver and reveal our own lack of self-worth.

As long as we feel we must deserve the Father’s love, we cannot fully experience it. Believers can be so busy trying to do something lovable that they fail to think about being still and simply allowing God’s nature to settle their mind and heart. And what is His nature? God is not simply loving; the Scriptures tell us that He is love (1 John 4:16).

In addition, God’s love is sacrificial—the kind that puts aside one’s own desires in order to meet the needs of the beloved. In our case, the need is salvation. We are sinners, incapable on our own of relating to a holy God. Divine justice required payment for our sin debt. And yet, to express His love while staying true to His justice, God determined that a substitute would pay the penalty in our place. And so He sent His Son to die on the cross; there, Jesus was allowed to endure the agony of separation from His Father. As a result, everyone who trusts in the Savior’s sacrifice never has to experience His pain.

God has loved you since before you were born—so much so that 2,000 years ago, He sent His Son Jesus to die in your place. Stop trying to earn the gift that is already yours. Instead, follow this command: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

Sweet Naamah

“Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.” (Song of Solomon 1:16)

These words begin King Solomon’s tender expressions of love to his beautiful young wife. Solomon wrote a thousand and five songs (1 Kings 4:32), but apparently this was his favorite, for he called it his “song of songs” (Song 1:1), and it clearly centered on his beloved, whom he called “my sister, my spouse” no less than four times (Song 4:9-12; 5:1), thereby intimating both their spiritual and marital relationship.

Rehoboam was Solomon’s only son, as far as recorded, and his mother’s name was Naamah (2 Chronicles 12:13), meaning “pleasant.” Since he was 41 years old when he inherited Solomon’s throne and since Solomon had only reigned 40 years (2 Chronicles 9:30), the marriage of Solomon and Naamah must have been formalized when Solomon was quite young, long before he was married to Pharoah’s daughter or any of his other 700 wives. Naamah was then and always his one real love, in spite of his spiritual defections in old age. His counsel to young men near the end of his life was: “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days . . . of thy vanity” (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Note that Solomon called her “fair” and “beloved” in our text, and then “pleasant.” The Hebrew word for “pleasant” is very similar to “Naamah,” as though Solomon were calling her by a shortened form of her name as a term of endearment. The same word is occasionally translated “sweet.” Naamah was surely a sweet, pleasant maiden, but also a capable woman in mind and heart, fit to become a queen.

Solomon’s song for and about her is an inspired ode to true marital love and thus can even be a figurative testimony to the love of Christ, the “greater than Solomon,” for His church. HMM

Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory

Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.—1 Thessalonians 2:12.

AMID our most trivial duties, on days, which are passing in the usual round of uneventful routine, He may speak to us as never before. A quiet word may be dropped by a friend,—a sentence read in a book,—a thought lodged, we know not how or why, in the mind. We are laid under obligations to a new and more imperious view of life and duty. There is, of course, room for self-delusion of many kinds in the supposed visit of the heavenly call.

We are tolerably safe if two conditions are observed,—if, first, the duty or line of life prescribed is unwelcome to our natural inclinations; and if, secondly, it does not contradict what we know God has taught us hitherto, To listen for the footsteps of the divine Redeemer passing by us in the ordinary providences of life is a most important part of the probation of every man. How much may depend upon following when He beckons us to some higher duty, to some more perfect service, we shall only know when we see all things as they really are in the light of His eternity. H. P. LIDDON.

I will charge my soul to believe and wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.

I am thy part and thine inheritance

I am thy part and thine inheritance. Numbers 18:20

Whom have I in heaven but thee! and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. — The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is … Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

My beloved is mine, and I am his.

Psalm 73:25,26. Psalm 16:5,6. Lamentations 3:24. Psalm 119:111. Psalm 63:1,7. Song of Songs 2:16.

Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness

Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. — The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. — Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. — Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Psalm 40:8. Matthew 5:17,18. Isaiah 42:21. Matthew 5:20. Romans 8:3,4. Romans 10:4.