Hearts for the Lord

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Several years ago, the teaching director in a Community Bible Study I attended asked me to do an opening on Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is not always an easy day for many women, myself included.  Dashed hopes and disappointment can create an unpleasant countenance and attitude.  Envy toward those whose day has been brightened with chocolate, flowers and other delights can turn a day usually decorated in red to many long hours tainted a bitter green.  That day, I strove to lift the hearts of all women in attendance with verses affirming our Heavenly Father’s great love for us.  

 At that time, my two sons were still in school, one in middle school and one in high school.  Being a degreed (but not employed) early childhood teacher, I was known to put my creative teaching efforts into the lives of my family.  That Valentine’s morning, my husband and my sons were greeted by a joyful Valentine’s greeting, homemade placemats (heart fabric) with handcrafted heart-shaped napkins, homemade-with-love heart-shaped pancakes, a red-wrapped gift, and, candy---no kidding!  The sentiments, the cheerfulness, the gifting was not returned, however. 

My presentation to the women began with that true-to-life scenario, certain that many of the gals had experienced that same lack of gifting as well.

Possibly they allowed a spirit of disappointment, sadness, and even resentment to enter their hearts. 

In Jeremiah 17 we read that the Lord says, Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord.  They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future.  Frankly, I have never lingered very long in an actual desert—fear of snakes and poisonous spiders and such.  But, I have dug a pit and clung to the sides of it in what the Bible, continuing in Jeremiah 17, calls a barren wilderness on the salty flats.  The influence of that well-known greeting card company and some very worldly wives, was like salt, creating in me a thirst for what those wives said they had in their marriages, what they said they had received.  Ecclesiastes 5:10 admonishes us that, Those who love money will never have enough.  How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness!  I wasn’t really thirsting for wealth, just one measly Valentine, and, maybe, one rose---with some baby’s breath and ribbon, and perhaps some candy and---you guessed it…happiness and contentment as defined by the things of this world.  But the Lord saw my troubles and cared about the anguish of my soul (Psalm 31:7).

Jeremiah continues by reminding us blessed are those whose trust is in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots deep into the water.  They are not bothered by the heat (aka those “What did you get for Valentine’s Day?” questions) or worried by long months of drought (drought as in no gifts).  Their leaves stay green (and not with envy) and they go right on producing delicious fruit (delicious fruit, made up of the fruit of the Spirit, of course!).

From Romans 5:5, We know how dearly God loves us, He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with His love.

Sometimes that’s the only love that can get us through a day –God’s love, His love for us. 

Paul wrote what we could call a lovely Valentine to his beloved Ephesians, I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love (Ephesians 3:19). 

As we allow our roots to permeate that deeper ground, we can find sustenance from the love of Abba, Father and can even see what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1John 3:1).  We can be encouraged by how much we are loved by our Heavenly Father in a manner far surpassing anything we can experience on this earth from another human being.

Rather than anticipate February 14 with angst because we have to endure Valentine’s Day, let us delight in how much we are loved by our Heavenly Father.  Let us use our time that day not to dwell on what we didn’t receive but rather rejoice in what we have received---the sacrificial gift of salvation given to us because of the love of the Father for us. And let us share that love with those around us who so desperately need it.  

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June Jones has been praying in a Moms in Prayer group since 1996 for her two now-grown sons, Kevin and Brendan, and currently leads a College and Career group. She also serves as the NJ Prayer calendar coordinator. June works full-time in a law office but still finds the time to prepare and present the power point for her church each Sunday. She has been married to her husband, Phil, for 38 years. You will most always see her wearing a hat!

photo credit: Shandi-lee via photopincc

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