Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Bought By Blood T-Shirt

In exactly six days, the dreaded “V” day will be upon us. People will scramble dreadfully to remember to get cards, and chocolates, and flowers. The level of commitment in relationships will be measured out in gifts and tokens, and those that forget this day will have some rough times ahead.

It is rather glaringly hard, to miss the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming. Stores are chock full of red, white, and pink stuffed animals, and piled with boxes shaped like hearts holding chocolate bonbons. But, who or what is Valentine?

(Other than a rather well-developed character of mine with his own fan base who hates his own name)

The name Valentine means  “Strong, vigorous, healthy” according to Behind the Name

A little bit of research on St. Valentine will bring you into a swirling, whirling vortex of controversies. Some people will claim that he married lovers in secret, in Rome in the third century when marriage was being outlawed. Others will tell you that he was a tutor to a wealthy Roman patron’s daughter and dared to share his Christian faith with her as well as teaching her to read. He was summarily executed but left her a note farewell signing it “Your own Valentine”.

While there is precious little evidence for any of these stories, I like the last one, best. However, there is proof that Valentine or Valentine’s existed according to the Catholic Church record of martyrs.  You’ll find a synopsis here, of what I think is closest to the truth.  Chaucer is mentioned in this history of Valentine and also in the Wikipedia entry on him.

While people will probably never agree on the origin of the day, or why it came to mean expressing romantic love, one to another, I have been doing some thinking of my own over the idea of Valentine’s Day. I’ve never had a sweetheart to run madly around, trying to find the perfect gift for on this day, and it really has never bothered me. In fact, it’s been a bit of a relief to not have the pressure I see others struggling under on February the 14th, but it’s also a bit of a pain to tell to those who ask on the 14th “No, I don’t have a Valentine” and then smile tiredly through their assurances that “One Day You’ll Have One, Dear.”

Last year, I bought a  t-shirt from a new t-shirt company called Bought By Blood, and I love it. In fact, I’m planning to wear mine ON  Valentines day this year. It features the image at the top of this post. Those words got me thinking which is always dangerous. The thought ran along these lines.  Since Jesus is my True Love, and He has given me all of Himself as a life-long Valentine, what can I give Him as a Valentine?

Immediately, the words What good are you if you only love those who will love you in return, even the heathen do that? I yelped, and grabbed for my Bible.

The whole passage runs like this in the ESV: Luke 6:32-35

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those that love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful.

And then of course I had to go looking at the cross-reference which is even MORE specific.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said  ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ But I say to you  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those that love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Talk about asking for a specific thing. I shut my Bible and said “There is just no way I can give this to you for Valentine’s Day. You’re asking for the impossible here. And I know You, You want this gift for more than just a day.”  I could almost feel Jesus smiling. Waiting. Oh, there are days I know His eyes twinkle when we talk.

So, here is the resolution I have come to: From now until Valentine’s Day (six days) I am going to live and on purpose love those who don’t love me. I’ve selected several I know would like to see me vanish completely from their lives (like you don’t have those people in your life) and not only am I going to pray for them, react in love when they attack me, but I’m going to actively seek their best. For six days. Only six.

I’ve also roped my True Love into helping me with this project. His idea, He gets to help me pull it off. That’s how it works with He and I.

If want to join me on this insane journey which will, I’m certain, make Valentine’s Day very memorable, leave me a comment below. Loving enemies has got to be the hardest thing to do, for me. I’d appreciate prayers. On Valentine’s Day, I’ll repost this, with an update. Also, if you’ve got any interesting ideas about Valentine’s Day I’d love to hear those too. Stick them in the comments.

Coriam Deo

This is the Hebrew for Yahweh (actually the Tetragrammaton), the name of the Lord found in Genesis 2:4, and then expressly introduced to us in Exodus 3:14. This is His name. This is the name that He promises is the one that can be called on from generation to generation. This is the name that He gives Moses, the one that He gives to Moses as the pass-key to gain the Hebrew people’s trust. “Tell them I AM THAT I AM” sent you.”  Over the generations, this name of His, this personal name, was considered so holy it was never to be spoken. It was written without vowels (that’s why it’s called tetragrammation, literally ‘the four letters’) as a way to protect its holiness. So that it would never be profaned. Unfortunately, because of this caution, no one now living knows how to pronounce His name.

I cringe at that.  Stars in their places, we can’t even say His name right.  He knows my name, and also how to say it, but I can’t say His.  This is definitely a lop sided relationship. However, that doesn’t stop Him. He knew when revealed it to us, it would get lost. It would get battered, bungled, misused, turned into swear, and  misrepresented.  I still can’t quite wrap my mind around that kind of love, the kind of love that  enters into an abusive relationship (that would be being around me) and commits to it for life, and is so mighty and awesome, that it doesn’t change but instead changes and remakes me. I’m working on it though.

One of the ways that I’m working on it, is trying to live as Norman Geisler says Coriam Deo. The closest that Latin can get to English is “living before the face of God”. Think of it as living without masks, without hyperbole or  guile, being exactly who you are because you are living with recognition that Yahweh sees everything. He does anyway, but the idea here is to live as if you believed that in your heart as well as your head. For me, Coriam Deo moments are the moments when I hear Him the clearest. Even in the middle of this whirlwind of a week, I’ve heard Him whisper to my spirit three distinct times.

1.) At work when I was talking to a gentleman about the LORD calling us by name (Isaiah 41:1-3) and engraving  our names on the palms of His hands  (Isaiah 49:16) which lead to a brief chat about Samuel and what it must have sounded like when the LORD called him, by name and woke him out of a sound sleep. He laughed and shook his head and went about his shopping and I went back to dusting. No big deal. Until. Until the LORD interrupted common place.

I was ringing the gentleman out when he looked at me and said “You know, I wasn’t going to tell you this but when you started about being called by name, I knew that you would get it.” He then proceeded to tell me how he had died, as  1,000 pounds of sheet rock fell on him when he was at a mall. He told me that he had heard the LORD call his name, and welcome him to the outside of the gates of heaven. He said “I perceived that the very air I was breathing was Jesus, and it was holy, holy, holy. Better than anything ever before. And I knew that the saints I had known were queing up on the other side of the gate to welcome me home, if I stayed. Jesus told me, I had a choice. I could go, or I could stay. But in that same moment I knew too without Him having to speak it, He wanted me to come back for a reason and purpose. So I said LORD, I’ll go.”

He’s currently writing a book about his whole experience, getting the documentation from the doctors (he had to have seven different surgeries) and putting his story together. But my Coriam Deo moment came next. I felt the excitement in my own spirit and I turned to him as I finished ringing him out, and laughed, saying “Oh, oh don’t you see? You got to love HIM the way HE loves you! You chose to submit your will to HIS even as HE submitted HIS will to His Father, when He came here and rescued all of us.”  The silence that followed was a holy one. I’d nailed it in one. I knew that the Holy Spirit had given my brother-in-Christ a huge nugget to hold onto, and He had used me to do it. Why? Well because I’m a writer/reader and like a nugget hound I’ve had years of training to latch onto fantastic things in stories. This one happened to be a true-life story with a wild and amazing  supernatural thread.  He blinked several times, forcing tears back and nodded. He took my hand and shook it and thanked me, and said that he’d never gotten that but he’d felt it inside, and now he knew how to write it. I’d helped him find the words. Of course, it wasn’t me really, it was the Ruach Kaddesh that dwells with me who nudged me and him and viola, Coriam Deo moment.

What about you guys? Ever had one of those “AHA” moments? Some people call them Godwinks, others call them divine appointments, still others call them heaven touching earth. If you’ve had one, tell me! You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, just go ‘yup’ in the comments. If you haven’t had one, do you want to have one? Are you looking for one? If you are, let me know too, and I’ll pray that He open your eyes to your own Coriam Deo moments. He doesn’t just do this for me. Nope, He gives good gifts to those He loves (Matthew 7:11).