"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."                                                                                                                                 - John 15:10-13, NKVJ

As we look toward St. Valentine's Day, the world will be caught up in ecstatic expressions of what it thinks comprises love. There will be flowers and candy, cards and gifts exchanged by everyone from children to classmates, through those in the throes of young love, on into the mandatory exchanges between spouses, seeking to make up for all the times they have taken each other for granted. Ah, yes! The season of l'amore! Or.....more like it.....the season of reasons for sales of everything from cards to cars; from mints to mattresses! Although the sales of candy and flowers come and go, there never seems to be a season when mattresses and automobiles aren't on sale, now does there? The fanfare about love will go on, but none of it has anything to do with the reality of what love is, in actuality.

Jesus told us that love is demonstrated as a person lives in obedience to God's commands and experiences the joy of the Lord that comes with that. Furthermore, He told us that the joy of love is not a feeling; it is forfeiting one's own rights and feelings for the benefit of the person or person who are the objects of that person's love. In John 3:16, the Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave us His One and Only Son. In John 15:13, Jesus said He would give up His earthly life for His friends. That is what love is. Love gives. It gives more than candy and flowers; even more than mattresses and automobiles. Love gives more than the very best Hallmark card. Real love gives all it has.

Love doesn't just give when it is convenient, or seasonal. Love gives when it isn't convenient. Love gives when it doesn't feel like it. Love gives more than should ever be asked of it. Furthermore, love doesn't ask whether the object of its devotion will be proven worthy. A heart that remains intact cannot ever really love. Love only gushes from a heart that is wounded; pierced and bleeding. That is what was demonstrated when Jesus died for us at Calvary's Cross. Jesus didn't just talk about love. He didn't extol its virtues and toss out its trinkets. Jesus opened His arms wide and spread out His hands to those who would spike them to a crossbeam and hoist Him up by those dripping limbs.

When Satan's minions struck and beat Him, spit in His face, whipped His body to shreds and nailed His hands and feet to the cross, that is when God's love flowed from Him. When the Roman soldier pierced His heart with a spear, that is when God's love flowed from His body and poured over us God's grace. You see, God knew it would take far more than a card and a gift to assuage my sin. It took real love! It took the love of a Savior for His helpless, hapless friends. It is that love that flowed into my heart: not to give me warm feelings, but to secure for me a new and everlasting life!

"But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Blessings & Peace, Brother Dan