Valentine’s Day

Some have known great love in life. This day is bittersweet. A time of cherished memories.

Some enjoy great love now. This day is a day to celebrate that blessing.

Some look forward to a great love. This is a day for joy and anticipation.

Let us all take the opportunity to show love to those God places into our paths on this day.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT)

The Doll

She was a beautiful doll made of delicate porcelain. Her face was painted with the utmost care. Her dress was taffeta and was edged in delicate french lace. Beautiful red hair fell in delicate ringlets around her shoulders. The utmost care had gone into her creation. She was exquisite, not a blemish of any kind could be seen. The squeals of delight could be heard throughout the house as the little girl opened the box and saw her special gift.

At first, the little girl was careful with her gift. She held the doll carefully and just gazed at her beauty. As the days passed, her excitement began to wane. She was no longer content to just look at the beautiful doll. A tea party was setup for all of the toys with red fruit punch and chocolate chip cookies. In the blink of an eye, the beautiful doll’s dress was smudged with chocolate and stained red from the punch. She was still beautiful, just not quite perfect.

As the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months, the beautiful porcelain doll was hard to recognize. Her once beautiful ringlets were gone, cut-off with the snip of little brother’s scissors. What was left of her hair covered a large crack caused from falling off of the bed one night. The beautiful painted face was now smudged with the remnants of crayon “lipstick” and sharpie “eye-shadow”. Her beautiful dress was in tatters and had been removed so the poor doll was covered only by the blanket wrapped around it. And then one day, in a fit of temper, the once beautiful doll was thrown against the wall and her right leg was broken off at the knee. She was no longer special, no longer perfect. She was soon left in the closet, forgotten by the little girl who had seemed to love her so much.

Years later, the little girl grew into a young woman and had her own little girl. While searching through yesterdays toys, the once beautiful porcelain doll was once again discovered amidst squeals of delight. The doll was carefully held and gazed at once again. The young woman remembered the special doll and wished she had taken better care of it. She took the little doll to an expert in restoring dolls. The doll was cleaned, repaired and dressed in a beautiful new dress. When the young woman once again gazed upon her precious gift, she was amazed to see the beauty had been restored. There were still marks that evidenced the lack of care the doll had received, but she was once again a beautiful and delicate doll. A doll that deserved a special place on the display shelf in the young woman’s home. Never again would the doll be subject to not so gentle hands or be left out in the weather. She was special and to be protected.
———-
Is there a “porcelain doll” in your life? Have you been given a beautiful gift that you abused and cast aside? No matter what we do, God still cares. He is still there. He is the great Restorer.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:8-12

Fear

Fear. We all suffer from it. We all deny it. Too often, fear dictates the decisions and choices made throughout life’s journey. Fear may be judged rational or irrational, but it is still fear.

I have a phobia (a PC word for fear) of phones. Not talking on them, but calling others on the phone. I don’t know why. For as long as I can remember, dialing a number to call someone on the phone made my stomach hurt and my hands sweat. I love to talk on the phone. As long as I’m on the receiving end of the call, I can talk for hours. Part of my fear is getting a wrong number. Part of it is disturbing the other person. But, mostly its an irrational fear that the person on the other end is just being polite and doesn’t really want to talk to me and is making bored/annoyed faces on the other end of the line. I’m sure there have been many lost opportunities in relationships because I avoid making those phone calls. This carries over into my life today. I can TEXT anyone. And, I still avoid actual phone calls.

Although it is not often addressed as a fear, most people avoid failure. As I was growing up, I was very careful to only attempt things that I was pretty certain would be a success. I made every band for which I ever auditioned. I didn’t play sports because I didn’t think I would be good enough. I probably missed out on some fun experiences because I didn’t want to fail or look silly.

One big fear that I see in almost everyone is fear of the pain caused by rejection. We all want to be liked. We pursue love and acceptance throughout our lives. The fear of being rejected can inhibit and greatly hinder interactions with others. We build walls to protect ourselves. We may allow others into our sanctuary, but even then we restrict how far they may go. Very few people have ever made it behind my walls. Unfortunately, some of the people I invited to peek behind my walls were not good choices. They left damage in their wake. And, as a result, I’m more guarded than ever.

The only way to avoid being rejected or being hurt or failing is to never allow the opportunity to exist. Life can be incredibly lonely and boring if you do this. Some of the deepest hurts I’ve ever experienced were from the same source as some of my greatest joys. To eliminate the hurt and pain inflicted by others, you often must forego the joy and happiness also. The trade-off isn’t equal and it’s not worth it. I have to conquer my fears. I must move forward and take risks in order to live my life fully. I will not always succeed and fear will still exist, but. . .

I must try!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18