Weekly Devotional 021224

Celebrating God’s Love

By Amy Ruiz

“We love because he first loved us.” —1 John 4:19

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that brings mixed reviews and various emotional responses. Some couples use it as a time to celebrate their love for each other and are excited for a time to openly celebrate their love. Kids can enjoy the commercialism of the holiday with candy and silly cards or simply celebrate friendships. But for many it brings anxiety and sadness for a lost love or a longing for a relationship they wish they had.

A couple years ago I remember seeing this acrostic for the word “VALENTINE.”

I love how this literary device places God’s love for us at the center of what celebrating love is all about. After all, it is only because of God’s love for us that we can love each other (1 John 4:19).

If you are feeling depressed at the thought of being alone on Valentine’s Day, or you feel your relationship is not what you’d like it to be, consider this—the most special Being in the universe loves you. In fact, He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. This isn’t some temporary or short-term love because He has known you since before you were born.

Also, let’s remember that love isn’t just about romantic love. Brotherly love and the love found in friendships are equally as valid and important in our lives. God created us for relationship with Him and with others and that’s why he created families and friendships in the first place. I love reading about the relationships Jesus had with his disciples and friends like Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. He truly cared for his friends and loved them deeply.

My husband is from Honduras, and I lived there for almost ten years. I love the country’s take on Valentine’s Day. They call it “Dia de Amor y Amistad” or “Day of Love and Friendship.” I really enjoyed the focus on friendships when we celebrated this holiday during those years living in Honduras.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, may we celebrate God’s love for us and reach out to show love and friendship to those around us. And if you’re feeling lonely and down, turn to Jesus. It’s normal to cry, but don’t forget God is with you and ready to fill you. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” He cares for your hurting heart during this season.

Dear God, thank you for loving us first and help us to love those around us. Heal the brokenhearted and surround them with your loving arms. Amen

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