Beyond Valentine’s Day

Photo credit: bbc.co.uk

So the very popular Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. I’m sure between tomorrow and Sunday, floral companies in particular, will be in overdrive. I’m talking worldwide.

The reality is, some men feel pressured. They know they would be in the proverbial dog house if they do nothing for a wife, fiance or girlfriend.

I, on the other hand, don’t even celebrate Valentine’s Day. When my husband and I met a few years ago, on our first Valentine’s Day – which was a few months into the relationship – he brought flowers to the house and we went to the local fish fry to pick up takeout. He knew from then though, that while I appreciated it, he ought not feel pressured for future Valentine’s Days. I made that clear. I really don’t care about that day – at all. I’m not in the least fazed.

For the three Valentine’s Days following, neither of us acknowledged it. We both carried on smartly. And Sunday coming will be no different.

What I do love though is when he surprises me – JUST BECAUSE. Like today. He came home and I caught him resting Dunkin Donuts on the bureau. He totally caught me off guard. I immediately knew it was my favourite tea in all the world: vanilla chai. This small, sweet, thoughtful gesture made me smile.




This act of kindness though, cannot compare to what God has in store for me and for you. It pales in comparison to how God wants to make us smile. In fact, when you consider all of the blessings of your life, perhaps you can crack a smile right now!

So for the married, the single, the separated, the divorced, the widowed, the recently broken hearted – whatever your status – rest in the fact that although flowers and teddy bears, candle light dinners and gifts have their place, the love God has for you is irreplaceable. He loved you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He loves you so much that the lamb (Jesus Christ), was slain in the spirit realm before the foundation of the world (Revelation13:8). There is no greater love. Hallelujah!

Photo credit: Pinterest



If you haven’t given Jesus a chance as yet, He’s at the door…knocking. Why not let Him in? He wants to take up residence in your heart. He wants to sup with you (Revelation 3:20). Love beyond measure!

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Are you a lukewarm Christian?

You remember how it was when you started dating someone you were interested in? The butterflies in your stomach on that first, official outing or the racing heart when that number showed up on your phone…the long hours of phone conversations.

Then at some point, that excitement wanes. The mountaintop experiences might be fewer and farther between. And if you are not intentional about reassessing your WHY and pushing the reset button, you can end up just being two people who seem obligated to stay with each other. Those flames become really low and in some cases, only the embers remain of a once burning love.

The reality is, no relationship is on a high at all times. No relationship is perfect. But just as we humans might have – or maybe not – done all we could to revive and save a natural relationship, how much more should we strive to bring in alignment our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father?

Are you lukewarm in your relationship with God? Have you lost your first love?


Recently, my mind has been on Revelation 2:4-5. It is a message to the church of Ephesus and to many of us today. God told them they had “left (their) first love” (4). What’s interesting here is that God did not leave them; they left Him. He continues to want to be in relationship with us.

This state is similar to the church of the Laodiceans in chapter 3, of whom he told in verses 15 and 16 that they were neither hot nor cold – and He would rather them be one or the other – but instead, they were lukewarm. In that case, he would spue them out of his mouth. Very strong, serious language here.

Look, I know what it feels like to be dry in my relationship with God. I recognize that this has happened at times when I am distracted. I get so busy with life. I put God on my to-do list, but He’s not first. I squeeze Him in, but don’t give Him the attention He deserves. And I can tell you that when I’m not getting in the Word in a very intentional way and spending time with God in a meaningful way, I feel empty. I could tell the difference. I become spiritually malnourished. I need food and water. Once I recognize this, I confess where I am and am intentional about getting back on track. Staying in that condition is spiritually dangerous.


Like a natural relationship, sometimes we have to regroup. Revitilization might be necessary. Here are a few tips:

1) Confess to God how you are feeling.

2) Ask God’s guidance on the way forward.

3) Study the Bible in a different way. Instead of trying to get through a whole book right now, perhaps study a particular character. Can you identify with that character? Can you learn from that character’s mistakes and/or triumphs? How about studying who God says you are in Christ Jesus? Maybe study the miracles of Jesus or study all events leading up to Christ crucifixion, comparing and contrasting the details in the gospels.

4) Begin studying with a Christian friend or a small group for new, fresh insight into the Word. Pick a day and time, and stick to it. You might be surprised at what others outside of your regular study crew might reveal through the Holy Spirit.

5) Make it a point to literally stop what you are doing and pray throughout the day. Connect with God, not only when you need Him or during morning and night devotion. For example, I LITERALLY pray audibly when driving. I sometimes have church all by myself! I sometimes intentionally stop what I’m doing at my desk and pray. You can even decide on lunch time prayer meetings with a friend, family member or colleague. It doesn’t have to be in person. Use WhatsApp to voice or video call, or hey, there’s Zoom too! Walk outside, go to your car…whatever is convenient.

5) Play worship music when you can, throughout the day – whenever possible. If not, quietly sing songs or hymns.

6) On your lunch break, listen to a short sermon by one of your favourite pastors.

7) Fast. It’s a way to draw closer to God, as you seek His face. And it’s not just about not eating; it’s more about hungering after God and doing His will. After a focused fast, we should feel revived in our spirits. After all, dry bones can live again.

So just some thoughts worth sharing as I know all too well that there could be some dry spells during this Christian journey. However, there’s an oasis right in front of you. Drink. It’s a well that NEVER runs dry.

Growing in Christ,


Hadassah

Are You Missing Out on Your TRUE Love?

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A line in a song by American singer, the late, Whitney Houston states: “Learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all.”

I disagree.

Of course, we are free to have differing views and that’s fine. Maybe she was just singing the lyrics someone else wrote or perhaps that is how she truly felt. I believe self-love is important, but the GREATEST love to exist in my opinion is certainly the fact that the Great God of the universe sacrificed his ONE, DEAR Son to die on a cruel, rugged cross for your sin…and mine, so we can live a victorious life here on earth and live with him eternally.

Love is sacrificial. You know that if you are a mother, father…spouse. When we love, we give of ourselves. Some parents go without lunch so their children could get the resources needed to build that school project, parents sacrifice vacations to send children to college, wives have left their jobs to take care of an ailing husband or parent…the list goes on.

“True love is not hinged on what the other person does or does not do…what the other person can or cannot do. True love is sacrificial and unconditional.”

But imagine the sacrifice of literally sacrificing your child and doing so for a world which doesn’t deserve it?  That’s what OUR GOD did.

The song which comes to mind right now is a line in my FAVOURITE HYMN in ALL THE WORLD, ‘And Can It Be‘:

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That line just AMAZES me! The thought of God sending His Son, who became God in the flesh, to die for ME – a human who came from dust and shall return to dust – is just AMAZING!!!! This love which God AND His precious Son, Jesus Christ has for us is beyond the chocolates, the perfume, the massive floral arrangements…the diamond ring, the date…it is indescribable. Really!

So my question to you on this Valentine’s Day when so many people pull out all the stops, is Are you missing out on your TRUE love? Do you have a relationship with the One who will NEVER leave you NOR forsake you, even when the flowers have withered, the ring needs cleaning and the spark in that relationship is very low?

If you don’t know the God, whom I know – the GREAT I AM that I AM – I encourage you to come into relationship with Him today. No big words are necessary. Start drawing closer to Him, letting him know that you wish to have a relationship. Trust me – you won’t be embarrassed! He won’t leave you hanging. Once you are sincere, he won’t turn you away.

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Wishing you a lifetime of love, with the ONE who loves you like no other!!!

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

A Small Act of Kindness

When last have you gone out of your way to do something kind for someone – expecting nothing in return?

A few days ago, my friend Tina and I were having a conversation about what I could add to my smoothies to make them sweeter. She suggested pineapple and mentioned how a particular food store was having a sale on them. I told her I saw that in the store just a day before and thought of picking up one, but didn’t.

Later that afternoon, I got a call from Tina, asking if I were in office and whether she could stop by. Shortly afterwards she was there and as she walked in, she told her daughter to hand me the bag.

There was the pineapple!

I was pleasantly surprised and gave her a big hug! I thought of how the simple, unexpected kindness of others really make a difference. This was a pineapple that I believe cost $3.99. The gesture just warmed my heart. And I can tell you, my smoothies now have a sweet kick to them – thanks to the pineapple and huge thanks to Tina!

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” ~ Romans 12:10

I challenge you to do something kind for someone today – expecting nothing in return.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah