The cynic might say Valentine’s Day is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal of money. I walked into a local supermarket yesterday, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display. On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy. How about God? How does God express His love for us? Here is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
How much more love could God show towards us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf? He loved us that much. He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned. Only sinless Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.
When you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card, note, flowers or someone simply saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, think about thanking God too. Thank Him for sending Jesus. Thank Him for making a way for your salvation and eternal life with Him. That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now throughout eternity.
Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.
When we think about blessings and what it means to be blessed, one of the first things that comes into the mind of the believer is salvation. Truly being spared the wrath of God in judgement and being able to live with Him forever in heaven is a BIG blessing. Scripture tell us exactly that in Psalm 32:1-2.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
We are spared from the wrath of God (God’s anger over sin) because Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10-12) His blood provides the atonement for our sins as He covers us so that when God looks at the believer He sees Jesus’ atoning blood not our sin. “God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.” Romans 3:25 We are forgiven and God promises to not hold our sins against us. I love these verses in Micah about God, His forgiveness and the fact that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea. Praise God once confessed, our sins are gone forever! Micah 7:8-10
Lord, who is a God like you?
You forgive sin.
You forgive your people
when they do what is wrong.
You don’t stay angry forever.
Instead, you take delight in showing
your faithful love to them.
19 Once again you will show loving concern for us.
You will completely wipe out
the evil things we’ve done.
You will throw all our sins
into the bottom of the sea.
How blessed am I? Because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God forgives my sin and casts it into the depths of the sea. Because of Jesus, I can continue to walk with Him each day and have His light to shine for others. 1 John 1:6-7 puts it this way. “Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. 7 But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin.”
May your day be filled with joy as you reflect on your treasured state of being- forgiven, all your sins are gone out of God’s sight forever, you are able to walk with Jesus in His light each day and saved for eternity. Now there are eternal blessings we can count upon!
During this Advent Season, I journeyed each day using Handel’s Messiah as my guide. On Christmas Day I ended with the Hallelujah Chorus which seemed so fitting for the celebration of our Savior’s birth. The third and last portion of the Messiah focuses on Christ’s return and reign. I could not leave this wonderful piece without including a few more days in Part 3. It begins with Job 19:25-26. Job is in discussion with his friends who encourage suffering Job to curse and reject God. Job however, relies upon God’s justice and speaks these words of encouragement to his friends that echo throughout the ages.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,”
How has your year gone? How did you face the trials that the year brought? Did you see time like Job as a journey that is led by hope in your Redeemer? Or did you get bogged down in the daily struggle and lose sight of who was walking with you each day and who was there for you to lean upon? Job had confidence that He served a living God that will someday reign on earth. Even if he dies before this happens, he has the faith that he will live to see God. Do you share that conviction with Job? Peter shares our hope in Christ and echos Job’s conviction in 1 Peter 1:3-7. Trials of life come but our hope remains steadfast in Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Let’s end this year by turning our focus back upon God, claiming the assurance and Hope of Job, that our Redeemer truly Lives!
Handel used this next portion in Psalms 16 to remind us that our long awaited Savior would conquer death. David penned the words of this psalm as a prayerful plea to God for His protection, guidance and victory over death in the many battles and struggles he faced. How much more these words applied to our Savior during His life! Both Peter and Paul quote these verses in speaking of Jesus as he faced death and died, but that the grave could not keep Him and He rose from the dead.
Psalm 16:9-11 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
God did not abandon Jesus after death as He rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Peter preached these words about Christ in Acts 2:26-33 as he spoke to the crowds at Pentecost. Paul preached with these words in Acts 13:35-37 at the synagogue in Antioch. These words exude confidence that Jesus would not see decay bring us hope. He would not rot in the grave and return to dust but conquer death through the power of God. Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Praise God we have that spirit living within us! Belief in Jesus brings freedom from the curse of death. 2 Corinthians 4:14 “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.” Do you have that hope? Praise Him if you do and seek Him if you do not.
The psalmist also wrote that this risen one would then be seated in heaven at God’s right hand. Ephesians 1:19b-21 tells us of Jesus’ place in heaven “That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Colossians 3:1 also gives this truth “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
The Psalmist’s words foretelling Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and placement in heaven are confirmed throughout the New Testament. What joy and hope they should bring to us! Through the power of God, believers do not see death, eternal punishment and separation from God, but rise to live with Him in eternity. We will see Him seated on His heavenly throne at God’s right hand. What a glorious day that will be!
Praise God today for coming and making all this possible through our faith in Him. Thank you Jesus. You came to seek and to save those who are lost. We can be assured today you will find us and save us for all eternity.