Happy Valentine’s Day

I hope each of you has a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love from family and friends. I especially pray that you will realize, as far as humans are capable, the love of God. A love so very rich and strong that He sent His only very beloved Son, who was with Him from before there was time, to earth to live a perfect life so He could become the perfect Sacrifice for your rebellion and mine against God. Then Jesus took all that horrible amount of sin upon Himself on the cross and died to pay the price to redeem you and me from hell, so that we might live eternally with Him and God the Father in heaven. Not only for our eventual life in heaven did He die and rise again, though, but also for the rest of our lives on earth.

Yes, that life we now have in Christ Jesus counts while we still live here on earth too! It’s not just an escape-from-hell ticket but a ticket to full, abundant life here on earth. Such tremendous love as this humans can’t truly understand, but we can take in a large amount of it if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our spirit to help us grasp just how great it really is. This piece isn’t nearly long enough to go into detail about it but just to skim the surface and give us a hint of the love-filled and joyous life Believers have the right to live.

Although we’d need the whole Bible to really detail that great love our Father God has for us, Ephesians 3:17-19 tells us partially about it. Please do notice first, though, that it requires us to have faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to begin to know and experience that love. Without it, we simply have no option to feel such fantastic love because we are rebelling against God, who gives the love. (Like its name says, the Amplified Bible explains the verses in detail, so simply read all the words and ignore the parenthesis marks; they are synonyms for the preceding word.) I also have The Message Bible version, which states it much more simply, but I think both help get the idea across of how great Father God’s love is for YOU and for ME.

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:17-19 Amplified)

And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19, THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Once we begin to grasp how great God’s love is, then we want to show it to others. We tell them about it but our lives also demonstrate that love. I’ve often thought of it like a sponge totally soaked with water so that it can’t contain it all and just leaks out wherever it is. That’s the way I yearn for God’s love to be in me, and indeed Paul writes that he prays it will be in all who believe in Jesus Christ.

May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the lovod’s e so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11-12, THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

If we can begin to grasp these two portions of the Bible, we will not only have a wonderful Valentine’s Day but will celebrate it all year because we will know we – YOU and I – are the love of God’s heart. Then that will pour out to all those around us. I pray you will experience the many rich blessings of God’s love today.