Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone
A Crush On You
I have a crush on someone. I’m sure the grown-up way of saying it is: “I’m interested in this guy” or “I have feelings for a certain gentleman.” Nope, I have a crush on a boy.
It sounds juvenile because it feels that way. A crush has an inexplicable way of taking me back to my most primitive social behavior. Suddenly I’m in junior high again.
I can’t speak. I stare at the floor. I’m constantly fidgeting.
This guy probably thinks that I hate him because I can’t muster more than three words in his presence. My usually friendly disposition shrinks away to something hopelessly awkward and ill at ease.
The prospect of a new romance can render us pretty useless sometimes, can’t it? We’re overcome with daydreams, and we smile compulsively. Yet at the same time, it can allow some ugliness to surface.
I prayed about my crush situation the other day. It was not the typical, “Oh please God, let him like me.” That kind of prayer is reserved for the moments when I’m nervously shaking his hand while reminding myself to breathe.
My prayer was more like: “God, a crush is supposed to feel good. Why am I so miserable?”
His answer: “Because what you’re really feeling is two parts excitement and three parts insecurity.”
“Insecurity?” I said to myself, “I am totally confident. I am a pillar of confidence. I have confidence oozing out of my ears.”
At least that’s what I thought. The deeper I dug inside myself, the image of me as an adolescent was more accurate.
I was very much like any other kid at 13-years-old. I was self-conscious, shy and couldn’t take a compliment to save my life. And forget about boys. I remember once having a crush on a boy at church and literally running out of the sanctuary when he started walking towards me.
Apparently, not much has changed. I was insecure then, just as much as I am now.
What gets me with insecurity is that it is rooted in the belief that says, “I’m not good enough.” It is the complete opposite of how God sees us. We are His beautiful creation that He formed before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). We are His beautiful bride, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we can’t even walk down the street without subconsciously hanging our head.
God forbid we might look someone in the eye, and they see who we really are. They might want to get to know us and eventually learn that we’re not that fast or that smart or that pretty without makeup. We spend painstaking amounts of time and money to cover up our flaws. The idea that someone could actually know us is terrifying.
But the Father already knows us. Jeremiah 1:5 says that God knew us before we were even a thought in our mother’s mind. Not to mention that, while it’s man’s job to emphasize the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Not only does He know you, the Father has a crush on you. He cannot stop thinking of you. What’s more is His crush goes beyond empty infatuation to a real deep longing. It’s a love that’s wild, passionate, and a little embarrassing.
So when I think about how God Almighty handpicked me from the crowd and called me His own, that’s enough to make me hold my head high. I can look anyone in the eye and know that no matter what they think of me, I am already loved beyond my grandest imagination. I pray that kind of holy confidence rests in you today.
The Month of Love
by Shawn McEvoy, crosswalk.com
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. – Ephesians 5:25, The Message
For once in my marriage, I really did something right.
My wife’s name is Valerie – Val for short – so she’s always held Valentine’s Day in even higher esteem than most women. Not only that, but her birthday is March 15, so she’s always believed (with a smile, of course) that February 14 through March 15 equals “The Month of Love” equals “it’s all about her” for one-twelfth of the year.
One year, I decided to agree. Each morning for 31 days when she woke up, there was a small hand-made red envelope (amazing what useful skills one can learn watching children’s programming) stuck on some wall of our house. Written in sparkly marker (chicks dig the sparklies) on the outside of the envelope was one of her top character qualities. Inside the envelope was a Bible memory verse related to that quality. Embedded in the memory verse was a clue to where a small hidden gift could be found in or around our home.
I just thought this could be a nice little way to tell her I love her. Boy was I short-sighted. I could have bought her the Taj Mahal and she wouldn’t have appreciated it more, been more thoroughly impressed. “He went to Jared”? No way. He went to PBS and Hobby Lobby with a detour to Wal-Mart. But already Val is considering how to pass this story down to our grandchildren. She says I will never top myself. And she was saying these things before she even knew about the surprise at the end, where all the envelopes could be arranged so that the first letter of each character quality would spell out the grand prize: that she had her choice of a new wardrobe, upgraded wedding ring, or vacation, any of which would be shopped for together, ’cause she’s big on that. Even so, she never took me up on the grand prize. I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit disappointed, but she was definitely exercising the wisdom of foresight. And anyway, to her, the biggest gift had already been received.
Valerie thinks this took me ages to dream up and hours to prepare, but it took me about 10 minutes per day, plus a weekly trip to the store to stock up on a few minor gifts. But the outcome net me – if not crowns in Heaven – at least major returns in this life. Anytime a group of gals gathers together and asks each other, “What the best gift you’ve ever received?” that ends up being a fun day. Several times during the Month of Love itself I was told to take an evening to myself and go see a movie. And I learned something I thought I already knew – diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend. Her husband is, if he even shows a rhinestone’s-worth of interest in her.
Not every wife speaks the same “Love Language.” I know some who truly would have preferred a simple one-time big purchase, while others would be thrilled to see him voluntarily wash dishes and dust shelves. But this I can be fairly sure in saying about wives: what all of them really want is a husband that makes an effort to understand them and speak their language, whatever it is, without being told. Yeah, I know, and all one has to do to make millions in the majors is hit a curveball. But unlike the major leagues, in marriage, most of the time, simply making the effort is appreciated.
Streams in the Desert
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4).
It is a good thing to “rejoice in the Lord.” Perhaps you have tried it but seemed to fail at first. Don’t give it a second thought, and forge ahead. Even when you cannot feel any joy, there is no spring in your step, nor any comfort or encouragement in your life, continue to rejoice and “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2). “Whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), regard it as joy, delight in it, and God will reward your faith. Do you believe that your heavenly Father will let you carry the banner of His victory and joy to the very front of the battle, only to calmly withdraw to see you captured or beaten back by the enemy? NEVER! His Holy Spirit will sustain you in your bold advance and fill your heart with gladness and praise. You will find that your heart is exhilarated and refreshed by the fullness within.
Lord, teach me to rejoice in You – to “be joyful always” (1 Thess. 5:16).
The weakest saint may Satan rout,
Who meets him with a praiseful shout.
Be filled with the Spirit… Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.
In these verses, the apostle Paul urges us to use singing as inspiration in our spiritual life. He warns his readers to seek motivation not through the body but through the spirit, not by stimulating the flesh but by exalting the soul.
Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings.
Let us sing even when we do not feel like it, for in this way we give wings to heavy feet and turn weariness into strength.
–John Henry Jowett
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and signing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
O Paul, what a wonderful example you are to us! You gloried in the fact that you “bear on [your] body the marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). You bore the marks from nearly being stoned to death, from three times being “beaten with rods” (2 Cor. 11:25), from receiving 195 lashes from the Jews, and from being bloodily beaten in the Philippian jail. Surely the grace that enabled you to sing praises while enduring such suffering is sufficient for us.
Oh, let us rejoice in the Lord, evermore,
When darts of the Tempter are flying,
For Satan still dreads, as he oft did before,
Our singing much more than our crying.