My Thoughts

A Day for Love

By on February 14, 2017

A Day for Love

Each year, we set aside one day wherein we focus on love. In an effort to express our love, billions of dollars are spent each February on cards, flowers, chocolates and jewelry. Couples head out on the town for a date, school age kids exchange Valentine’s with their classmates and toddlers make homemade crafts covered with glitter and hearts to share with grandma and grandpa. We’re encouraged to really show love to those around us at home, work, play, etc. While it is a great idea, too bad it’s only focused on one day per year. Just think of the impact that we could have if we focused on loving people every day of the year.

The Father Loves Us

Loving people starts with us first understanding how much God loves us. From before the foundation of the world, our Father in heaven knew our name. He loved us so much that when we became estranged (through the fall of Adam and Eve), He made a way back through the finished work of Jesus Christ through the cross. Jesus, the exact image of the Father, came to show how much the Father loved us. In fact, in his epistles the apostle John writes that we can love God because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).

Jesus Says: Love as …

It might surprise most Christians that Jesus only gave one command during His earthly ministry. In John 13:34 (as well as John 15:12 and John 15:17) Jesus says “a new command I give you: love one another as I have loved you.” He is, in essence, saying this is the heart of the new covenant. We are to love as He loved – all people equally, perfectly and unconditionally. (Of course, I know he referenced the two great commands of love God and love others. However, He did not reissue them as commands of the new covenant.)

Bottom Line – Love!

1 Corinthians 13 says that love will endure forever. It is the greatest gift that God has given us and the greatest gift that we can give to others. Our goal is to be a person of love as we are empowered by the Spirit to do so. Paul writing in his epistles says in 1 Tim 1:5: “the goal or our instruction is love”. In other words, the 66 books of the Bible, which cover over a thousand pages, express two things. First, how much God loves us. Second, for those of us in relationship with Him (Christians), we are to love just as He loved.

No Valentine This Year

 I realize that for some of you, Valentine’s Day is actually very painful. Perhaps you’ve lost a spouse through death or divorce. Perhaps you never found a partner with whom to share your life. I’m not being trite when I say it is a good time to make Jesus your valentine. He promised He would love you forever, never leave you, guide your life, and be your best friend. What’s more, He promised in Matthew 6:33, if we “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness”, He would give us everything that we need. This is an incredible promise from our loving Father!

How can you extend the love of the Father this Valentine’s Day?

Love Your Spouse

My wife, Dianne, has been the love of my life since our first date, December 10th, 1969. When I looked into her eyes, I knew I had found a pearl of rare value and price. Our 45 years of marriage have served to strengthen our love in many ways. I cannot imagine what my life would have been without the love she has shown toward me. Can I encourage you to learn to listen? It will amaze you how much your partner has to say. Try to understand what they are thinking and what they are saying. Finally, I have found that serving your spouse is foundational in healthy relationships.  Years ago, God told me to serve Dianne and build her into the woman that He created her to be. God gave her all the needed materials, my job was to bless and serve her in every way that I could.

Love Your Family

God’s plan for us is that we would have healthy, vibrant families. For some, it is easy to love your family, but for others this can be a challenge. Some families are ripped apart with divorce, estranged children and angry feelings among family members. Can I encourage you today that the Father’s heart for your family is full restitution in your family? Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you with His power to see your family members as He sees them. He is for you and He is for your family!

Love Your Friends

Generally, we love our friends; if we didn’t they don’t stay our friends for very long. However, God is asking us to enlarge our circle of friends. As we love as Jesus loved, there is no room for judgment, bias, distinctions based on equity or ethnicity. We are simply to love those we relate to on a daily basis.  Send an encouraging note or text to your friends, bless them with a surprise or simply pray for them this Valentine’s Day.

Love Your Community

Christ calls us to be light to everyone around us. As our world is becoming more broken and polarized, this challenge stands out brighter than ever. God is asking us to be a people who see the image of God in every other person. We then share the glorious joy within us that they might join God’s growing family. Love is what compels us to others that live around us. Extend love to your neighbors, the teachers of your children (or your teachers!), and the people that you work with.  If we want to change the world with Jesus, we have to love those he has placed right in front of us.

Love Your World

Bottom line, Christians are the hope of the world. Not because of who we are – but because of who lives in us and has transformed us. When we are filled with the Spirit, we indeed are the hope and the light of a dark world. We have the solutions that will make a difference both now and for eternity. Our goal is to love the entire world regardless of what they’re doing, where they live and who they are. Jesus treated all men and women with the same love that came from the Father.

What a privilege to be in a body of Christ that loves one another, loves the community and loves the world. Let’s keep pressing our love into new and radical dimensions so that we can be more and more like our big brother, Jesus Christ.

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HAPPY LEMAN
URBANA, IL

Hi and welcome! I'm Happy. My wife Dianne and I are the founders of the Vineyard Church of Central Illinois, a multi-site church with 6 campus locations. Over the last 30+ years, I have learned alot about leadership in life and leading a church. I have made some mistakes and had some successes. I look forward to sharing the wisdom I have learned with you. I strive everyday to see Jesus as bigger, better, and more beautiful. And I am wholeheartedly committed to the ministry Jesus promised his followers in John 14:12: to be able to do the same and greater works through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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