Time Sensitivity: Valentine’s Day February 14


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1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Valentine, Nebraska is a small town with a population of 2,000. The whole town experiences love as they celebrate Valentine’s Day. Everyone becomes more loving, like what happens at Christmas time the world over. It is great when we become more loving to each other.

Churches teach the biblical teaching of keeping the Sabbath. If God is love, like our Bible says, then to keep the Sabbath, we must spend 24 hours out of our week, refreshing and cleansing our lives by becoming love.

24 hours every Sunday, not judging or criticizing, not jumping to conclusions, but giving everyone, including yourself a break. The Sabbath is – a spiritual cleansing of love.

On the main street in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. If you are a romantic person this could be a place to do research.

Robert Ripley reported that the longest and simplest love letter ever written was the work of a Parisian painter by the name of Marcel de Leclur in 1875. The addressee was Magdalene de Villalore. This love letter contained the phrase “I love you.” He had this written out 1,875,000 times (1,000 times the calendar year). De Leclure did not pen this letter with his own hand; he hired a scribe. He was so entranced with the sound of “I love you,” that he dictated it word for word and had the hired man repeat it verbatim. All-in-all, the phrase was uttered a total of 5,625,000 times before it reached its destination. How could that lady turn down that man?

Valentine’s Day dates back six centuries. It is a commonly accepted day that they believe birds chose their mates. This goes back even before we linked it with St. Valentine. It has been hearts and flowers ever since. ANY day of the year that we decide we are going to become more loving to humanity, to our spouse, our boyfriend or girlfriend, and to all the people in our lives it is a true godly act. Valentine’s Day cards are good because they help us express the Divine love that is inside of us and allows an avenue for that love to come forth.

The two great things to hold onto in this world are God and each other. Love is the power that links the lonely islands of different people’s souls, beaten by icy separation seas of ignorance, fear and circumstance.

Wouldn’t it be a glorious service to humanity, to begin THIS day, from this room, a chain of love throughout this entire city, and then throughout this entire nation? We can do this by allowing this chain of love to begin with who? WITH YOU. When you agree to do this, you are saying yes to God. Say, “Yes, this morning I’m going to allow Divine love to flow from me. During the Lenten period of 40 days that will begin with Ash Wednesday, March 2 I’m going to be loving to everyone I meet. For forty days I’m going to suspend my judgments on people – suspend anger, criticism and condemnation – and I agree to be loving for the next forty days. If, at the end of this experiment, I choose to take up anger, hate, and disagreements with others, I can do that. But for forty days I’m going to walk the high path and be a real light to the world. For forty days I’m going to truly follow Jesus Christ whose main teaching was love. I’m going to become a sample of God’s love.”

A chain letter was received that stated the person would be in dire circumstances if they didn’t pass it on to five people. It said they would have horrible things happen if they did not pass on this chain letter to five people.

Why not make your life a living love chain? Why not make your life the link in that chain that can make a difference in this town?

Wouldn’t it be great if just for this week we name this whole town “Valentine, __your town, or city name______,” and what if we become that manifestation and then begin a conscious realization of love for the next forty days? That means loving everybody in our lives – not just the select few who are easy to love – everybody, especially those few who are difficult to love, and keep that wonderful smile on your face to show to everybody.

Make it a beacon for everyone to enjoy, savor, and hold on to. One of the secrets of life is that it’s much easier to love everyone, than to hate some. It becomes like a poison to the soul, which the person holds onto dearly hoping the other person will die. But the effects are the reverse.

Love is the theme song of the universe. It is power of new life, not just in you but in those people who come to you on your path.

We make a great mistake of thinking that love must be returned. To truly be in loving action, love must free, not bind. It loves with open arms and open hands. We must love all who cross our path, and not expect anything in return. Now, some who are hearing this will say, “There the minister goes again talking about that Pollyanna philosophy.” But this is not Pollyanna in any way. Love is not a matter of escape from life. Rather it is a dedication to God.

So many have loved from the basis of lack. What happens when we live on the basis of lack-love?

1. If we are loving from lack, our credo is that we have the idea we lack something and we are incomplete.

2. We are searching in our life because we need something to compensate for that lack. Only by looking outside of ourself can we find a person who will fill that lack in completeness.

3. From the foundation of lack we become dependent on that relationship.

4. In time, they do not fill our needs. This results in resentment and hostility inside of us.

Many relationships are like this. We need to realize that we have God’s love with us and they do too. In God’s love we lack NOTHING.

If we are coming from the foundation of God’s love:

1. We know we lack nothing.

2. We know there is no necessity to search outside of ourselves for a special relationship.

3. Because we radiate love, we attract special relationships into our life from a higher level – not needy ones, but special relationships sharing that which is God’s love; sharing that which we each already have.

To go to a new level of awareness of sharing – not really wanting anything from anyone else – is what we see during the Olympics. We watch many differing people coming together in a celebration of love. Yes, we look at each other and realize we are different, but we don’t care. We don’t ask anything of someone else, we find joy in sharing. Holding hands in spirituality, and standing up for the very best, of what is best in humanity, as a people. We are many different races, and faiths becoming one people.

If we are unwilling to love the expression of life called human which we have seen with our eyes, how are we going to love the source – God – which we have not seen? Some people say, “I love God, but it’s people that I can’t stand.” How can we love music and not harmony? How can we love the morning and not the day? Every individual is an inlet and an outlet for the complete love of God.

We can’t possibly love anyone or anything unless we first love ourselves in a spiritual way. We have to know that if we are going to love, we have to pour that love through us (like a hose). As that love comes through us, what does that do to us (to the inside of the hose)?

It cleans us out to the core, too. We become infilled with love.

But, if I’m standing here and I realize that God’s love has to get through me to get to you and I say, “Oh, I’m no good today. My hair doesn’t look good today. I look tired. This isn’t my good suit. How can I effectively talk about love because I have the wrong tie on? What was I thinking about?”

I am the hose of God; it has to flow through me to you.

In the world community, love is the only safe emotion there is.

It is the only safe way in which we can live as a people with our fellow humans and with ourselves. Love gives all, but it also demands all. Love is the toughest taskmaster and hardest discipline in the universe. Why?

Because we also have the baggage, we carry right above our eyes in our human minds.

We, so easily, can slip back into saying, “Well, wait a minute. You did this to me last Valentine’s Day. I remember.” We have to rise above our past. Life, to be alive, has to consent to live above yesterday. It is not held down; it is freed today in a brand-new life in a brand-new awareness of God.

I want to quote a very famous African-American by the name of Booker T. Washington.

As I quote him, realize the time in which he lived, and realize he had the right to hate if anyone did. He said this: “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”

It has been said that as soon as you begin to condemn them, you become one of them.

Psalms 127:1 states: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Here it’s talking about more than a stick-built structure. It’s talking about the HOUSE OF YOUR LIFE. If God is building your house, what materials does God use? Divine love!

Joel Goldsmith has written: “Illumination dissolves all material ties and binds men and women together with golden chains of spiritual understanding. It acknowledges only the leadership of the Christ. It has no ritual or rule, but Divine love. No other worship than the inner flame that has ever been lit at the shrine of Spirit. This union is the free state of spiritual brotherhood, and sisterhood. The only restraint is the discipline of the soul. Therefore, as we know liberty without license, we are a united universe without physical limits, Divine service to God without ceremony or creed. The illumined walk without fear but by love and grace.”

Allow me to share a story with you. This is a story that takes place in England. It is the story of William Dixon. He was a widower who had lost his only son. One day he saw that the house of one of his neighbors was on fire. Although the aged owner was rescued, her orphaned grandson was trapped inside in the blaze. Dixon climbed an iron pipe on the side of the house and lowered the boy to safety. His hand that held onto the pipe was badly burned.

Shortly after the fire, the grandmother who lived with the boy died.

The townspeople wondered among themselves, “Who will care for the boy?”

Two volunteers appeared at the town council, wanting to care for the boy.

The first was a father who had lost his son and wanted to adopt the orphan as his own. Then there was William Dixon who was to speak next. Instead of speaking, instead of saying anything, he merely held up his scarred hand.

When the vote was taken, the boy was given to him.

Love cannot just stay inside of us. It has to be expressed. We have to go the extra mile. People are children of God, but orphans of society are waiting for our love.

I ask you, for the next forty days, to hold with me a cease fire – to anyone in your life who has harmed you, has spoken against you, or that you have harmed or spoken against. I ask you to replace it, for forty days, with love.

You say, “I’ve tried; I can’t do it. I just don’t have it in my mind to do this.” Ask for Divine love, God’s love, to come through you. Your mind is not alone. You are immersed in God and God is love.

I’d like to share with you a place in the Bible you are familiar with (John 3:16). You’ve heard it before, but let’s take it to a new depth today. “For God so loved the world … ” I like that. It doesn’t say God just loved or cared for or kind of liked the world. It says SO LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Let’s talk about the size and the scope of God for a moment. The breadth of God – for God so loved the world. The length of God – that he gave his only Son. The depth of God – so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish. The height of God – but may have eternal life.

I believe eternal life is not just a hereafter proposition. I want life today.

I want it so full, so dynamic, that there are no dips in it. And I want it tomorrow and the next day. I want joy and happiness overflowing, and more love than I’ve ever had in my life. That, to me, is eternal life.

I’ll talk about the after-death proposition later, but right now I do not want to perish into my moodiness or another person’s moodiness. I want eternal full life.

Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

Martin Luther called John 3:16 the heart of the Bible. He said it was the gospel in miniature. He said:

God – the greatest lover,
So loved – the greatest degree,
The world – the greatest number,
His only Son – the greatest gift,
That everyone who – the greatest invitation,
Believes – the greatest simplicity,
In Him – the greatest person,
May not perish – the greatest deliverance,
But – the greatest difference,
May have – the greatest certainty,
Eternal life – the greatest possession.

There is only one God. Love is the only God there is. All else must be dissolved and love, in reality, stands forth. The Biblical statement “God is love” is accurate in every way. God is not a superman dishing out love to you and expecting it in return. No, God is love and you are God’s instrument of expression. To love God is to experience the feeling of love and to let love flow through you.

God is love, and in that love, there is no condemnation, disapproval or fault-finding. Love always welcomes its children back into the fold.

Love always approves of its creation regardless of the stage of unfoldment it is in. Love, God, approves of you as its child or self-expression.

The approval of love never varies, unlike the sliding scale of human values.

Allow me to share one more story with you. This is a dynamic story of how God loves. God works through many situations and many peoples’ minds.

I’m taking you back to England for this story.

I’m telling you the story of William Cowper who, at age 32, passed through a great crisis in his life. At the end of this crisis, he tried to end his life by taking an overdose of drugs, but it failed. He thought he would outsmart the power of God. He thought, “God cannot take away my right to kill myself,” so he hired a horse-drawn carriage and ordered the driver to take him to the river. He was intending to throw himself from the bridge.

It was one of London’s foggiest nights. They drove around for an hour without reaching the chosen spot. Cowper was disgusted and decided he would get out and walk to the bridge. When he got out, to his surprise he found he had actually gone in a circle and he was back at his own doorstep.

The next morning he decided he would fall on a knife, but the blade broke and his life was spared. Then he decided to hang himself. He did lose consciousness, but he was still alive and well when he was brought down.

The next morning something strange happened that had not happened for a long time – he felt a strange cheerfulness. He opened up the Bible and read a verse in a letter to the Romans. In a moment he received the strength to believe and he rejoiced in the power of God’s love. Sometime later Cowper summed up his faith in God’s love dealing with him in a great hymn that has become a favorite to the church community. I wanted you to know the story behind this hymn.

God moves in mysterious ways,
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in the unfathomable minds
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Heed, fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In the blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His love and grace.
Behind a frowning providence
Hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain.

The greatest conversion experience is the love of God flowing through us.

Where before we might not have liked ourselves at all, now we care and have respect for ourselves. Where before we might not have liked other people, now we’re seeing with new eyes. We see the good in them and we rejoice in it. We’re not separate any more. We’re not on an isolated island on an icy sea. We’re holding hands in consciousness and we’re standing as ONE HUMANITY together.

I ask you to join me in saying this affirmation of positive prayer for the next forty days of Lent. It is simply this: “Divine love, manifest Thyself in me.”

I’m sure you will have disagreeable people coming to you in the 40 day period before Easter, people who it would be easy to dislike. You just step back for a moment, step on the right foundation of God’s love, and say in prayer: “Divine love, manifest Thyself in me.”

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by using this time to make a commitment. Join me in this prayer practice. Join me in a cease-fire for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Join me in a chain of love with all humanity around you as an experiment. I don’t think you’ll ever leave it behind.

I love you. God bless you!

PRAYER/ MEDITATION________________________________

This prayer is a celebration of the love of God. Relax now into the presence of God.

On this week celebrating love, I consent to become the manifestation of Christ love as I rest into the loving nature of God.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Dear God, create in me this day a desire to mend a quarrel, to seek out a forgotten friend, to dismiss suspicion and replace it with loving trust.

Inspire in me this day to write a love letter or share some treasure or give a soft answer instead of a hard response.

Help me today to encourage youth to manifest loyalty in word and deed, and to keep promises. Help me to find the time to help another and give the gift of forgiving a grudge. Help me, dear God, to forgive an enemy and help me to listen.

Dear God, give me the words to apologize if I am wrong so I can try to understand others. Help me to scoff at envy, to examine my demands on others, and to think first of someone else.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Help me, dear God, to appreciate everything and everyone around me.

Help me to be kind, to be gentle, to laugh a little more. Help me to know that I deserve confidence, that I can take up arms against malice, that I can stop complacency and express our gratitude.

Help me to remember to go to You, dear God, in prayer every day so I can have Your Divine love and manifest Your Divine love out of the strength I receive during my prayer time.

“Divine love, manifest Thyself in me.”

Rest in the silence of prayer …

The true church of Christ is inside of me so that wherever I go I will be God’s love in manifestation. I will be kind to strangers, and I will gladden the hearts of others. I will gladden the heart of a child.

Help me, wherever I go, to show my love, to speak it, and to live it.

These are simple things, but as I meditate on them in prayer, I realize that their influence has never fully been measured. Love is a celebration of life. There is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning.

There is a sudden stirring in my heart. I extend myself now to the core of life, and I grasp the significance of Divine love. I hear the wild, sweet music of the angel choir. I pray as I realize what is going on inside of myself that I can take action to love my world and everyone in it.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Divine love, manifest Thyself in me.

I dedicate myself, all of myself – my emotions, my attitudes, my speech–to the Spirit of God’s love. I want to make a difference. I choose to make a difference in the world because of the life that I have lived. I know that my one life can make a difference in the lives of others. So, I dedicate myself to love this morning.

In the love of Jesus Christ I pray.

I am so thankful because I am in ACTIVE love with God and with humanity.

Thank You, God. I love You … Amen.

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