Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s February 14th…and love is in the air.

But love is not only in the air…it’s also in our wallets. According to Yahoo!, in 2009, American’s spent over $17 billion on Valentines Day gifts. Yes, that is billion – not million. In fact, that same year American’s spent $367 million on Valentines gifts – for their pets!

Obviously Valentines Day has been “Americanized” just like all of our other major holidays. It’s another commercial success for American businesses. And to be honest, it’s good that we have holidays like this to help boost our economy. But when you start to think about the amount of money spent, do you think that maybe we are losing the value of the holiday inside all of the commercialism?

It’s a little like Christmas. We’ve begun to lose the real meaning of the holiday in all the materialism. There is nothing wrong with buying things for the people that you love. Nothing at all. But when “things” become the focus, then it’s wrong.

Take Valentine’s Day for example. It’s a day to celebrate love – love for your spouse or significant other – love for your kids – student’s love for their teachers. Even love for our pets. And when you look at this, you realize what this day is really all about. It’s about the most powerful of all human emotions – love.

Love is so incredibly powerful. In fact, love is so powerful that it “conquers all.” As much damage as hate has on humanity, love is so much stronger. Love can melt the most hardened heart. Love can heal the most broken person.

And that is what motivates us at the Hope Center. Love. Love for others. Love for those in need. Love for all. And it’s not just the “love” that can be easily printed on a Hallmark card. It’s not the same love that can be found in a box of chalky, heart-shaped candy. It’s God’s perfect love.

Sin has destroyed every good thing on this planet, including love. Love has become selfish. Love has become jealous. Love has become lust. Love has been trivialized. But one thing that Satan could never have really understood about God is His pure love for His creation.

This love is what sent Christ to earth. He didn’t come just to be a prophet or a teacher. God’s love sent Him to be our Savior. God’s love wasn’t in the form of a greeting card. It was in the form of His Son, beaten, broken and dying for our sins.

And as sad as that story seems, it was also God’s love that brought Jesus back from the dead. It was His love that rolled that stone away. It was His love that conquered death. It was His love that gave us hope.

And it’s that same love that commands us to be different in this world. As Christians, we should be the example of that perfect love. We need to be the ambassadors of the love that wasn’t destroyed by sin.

As Jesus said in John 13:34 & 35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As followers of Christ, we should be demonstrating that love each and every day. This is where the unbelieving world will see the difference in us. By our love. This is the hope we have in Christ. That God’s love has completely and totally won. And His love for His creation is so pure and powerful that we need not fear death, hell or Satan.

And this is the love that is used each and every day at the Hope Center. As we see lives destroyed by sin. Relationships in total shambles. Kids hungry. Men and women enslaved by drugs and alcohol. This is where God’s pure love is alive. People, discarded by society, just like in the story of the Good Samaritan. It is love that changes lives. It is love that makes the unbelieving believe.

Each day as you watch TV, it just seems like there is so much hate and anger in the world. From news programs to reality shows to politics, it just seems that our world is running on nothing but hate. This is probably the best time to be the witnesses that we should be. Talk about a light in the darkness. For every hateful act, Christians counter with love. For every mean word spoken, we speak with love. Let’s show the world what really separates us from them. Let’s bring people to Christ by loving the way He loves – unconditionally.

Fortunately for us, God doesn’t have just one day a year to celebrate love. He celebrates everyday. So let’s join in the celebration. We’d love to have you start giving in any way that you can to the ministries at the Hope Center. Help us show God’s love to people that feel totally unloved. Help us mend the broken with God’s love. Help us fight hate with the only weapon known to beat it, God’s love. To find out how you can help share God’s love, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

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