Happy Valentines Day to everyone. I decided to share this simple image which transforms John 3:16 into a “sorta” acrostic. I think it is cool that this worked out because it truly is the best message of love; and best yet, it is for everyone.
Growing up Mom told me a story of a young girl that was in her class at school. She described the girl as very poor and dirty. (That must have been terribly poor, because my mother grew up poor). Anyhow at this time in history every kid did not get a trophy and teachers didn’t force everyone to “bring something for everyone” Mom recounted that on Valentines Day only the popular kids got Valentine’s and gifts placed in their bags or boxes at school and for several years this poor girl never received any. I don’t mean to tell you a sad story on a holiday but this girl’s house burned and the young girl was killed. Mom explained that all of her classmates felt badly as they remembered no one was kind to her.
Good! They should have felt badly. Kindness is free and Jesus called for us to be kind. We are most like God in our acts of kindness. Yesterday I was privileged to visit a dear woman. She was alone. Her husband had died, her mother, and all of her siblings. I visited for a short time and sang a few hymns. She was so happy. As I left I shook her hand and she asked me for a hug. Of course I leaned forward and put my arms around her neck. I promised to come again, and I will.
Give your candy, send your cards but in the weeks to come “keep sending Valentine’s”, as you are careful to “show kindness”. Go out of your way to find those who really need a visit or a kind word. Serve them, pray for them, and be sure to tell them how much God loves them and the message of the John 3:16 Valentine.
Remember God’s Valentine wasn’t crammed in an envelope. He hung on a cross so that we might be reconciled to the Father, and have eternal life.
God Bless You and Happy Valentines Day
PS Remember St. Valentine was a missionary. Pray for a missionary, send a kind note, give, and pray for those around the world who have so much less than we do.
Today I was working with my friend Bruce. As I arrived he was very excited, “I have a pretty cool story to tell you,” he said. I had come over to help him paint his bathroom. “Years ago, when I was a young dad we took our children to the aquarium. It was so crowded that day that I actually was carrying my son. I clutched him tightly to my chest as we made our way down the crowded corridor. It was so packed that there was literally no way I was putting a toddler on the floor. At that time in my life I had a simple gold cross that I used to wear. It was very special to me.”( He went on to explain that he knew many had conflicting beliefs about wearring crosses, but at that time in his life it held great significance.)
“Well,” he said, ” as we were walking down that crowded hall my son saw the shiny cross, hanging from my neck, and playfully he grabbed at it. As he grasped it pulling it towards himself it broke free from my neck and flew from his grasp. Without knowing it he had flung it across the hallway somewhere in the midst of the slow moving line of visitors. The crowd kept inching forward. There was no way to even stop and look for it; it was lost.” Bruce went on to tell the story, “Later that day the crowd had thinned. I didn’t even realize we were standing in that same hall. We were looking at the beautiful fish through the thick glass and I happened to glance down at the floor. There between my shoes was my cross.
I stood in that bathroom unaware of where Bruce was standing or what he was looking at, or why he was telling me the story about the aquarium. He continued, “I brought the cross home and wore it for many years. Sometime later the cross disappeared again. Once again, it was lost. I never knew what happened to it.” Then Bruce pointed to the electrical outlet. There hanging from a screw on the exposed outlet was a beautiful gold cross. “Today when I removed the mirror the cross fell and caught there. I don’t ever remember putting it up there, but one day I must have placed it atop the mirror as I prepared to shower.”
We both rejoiced, “God is so good”, I said laughing. “That is a really cool story.
I do think it’s an amazing story and I do think God was good to Bruce TWICE and helped him find something that was lost. I think we overlook it but God delights in showing us His goodness every day. It’s why we stop and “say “Grace”; a simple prayer reminds us daily that our God is good to us….Soooo good.
But as I stood there this simple story reminded me of something more powerful. “Have any of us “lost our cross?” Maybe it slipped from our grasp in the midst of a crowded time in our life. Maybe somehow it got lost or misplaced in the midst of our daily routine. Obviously I am not referring to a physical cross that you wear around your neck.
In I Corinthians 1:18, Paul speaks about this. He says, “now you and I know the message of the cross is important and powerful, in fact to those if us who are believers, it is the MOST important thing of all.” When we become believers the message of the cross, what our Saviour did there for us, and the power that flows from that cross to change our lives is unparalleled. The cross changes everything, and our lives reflect that.
We walk about “wearing” the cross, displaying “The Cross”, and stopping anyone we can to tell them “our Cross Story”. But as important and valuable as it is, sometimes in the business of our life…it gets lost or misplaced and although we know it’s missing, somehow life goes on. We start living again without “wearing our cross”.
With the glorious season of Resurrection approaching let’s all “find our Cross”….and wear it proudly. It is a beautifully horrific symbol and the love story it represents is matchless . When properly worn the cross is not a small trinket. It isn’t light. Its symbolism is powerful and to recall the Story is disturbing, unsettling, and life changing. It is meant to evoke such response. In 2 Corinthians 4:10 Paul says we are “Always to Bear About, the body of our Dying Lord Jesus”, in other words carry the message and story of His cross with us, daily, wherever we go. Be ABOUT the cross. We are called to be “cross-bearers”. Not sure how you are going to do it. Pray about it and as he says in Roman’s 1:16 let’s not be ashamed of His most beautiful story
Find it,brush it off and proudly wear your cross.
PS: Pray about it. Ask God to show you how to tell others this Spring. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you opportunity cities to talk with others about the Cross. Feel free to post your stories here. Resurrection Challenge 2019