“Faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” – Hebrews 11:1.
One of those verses I memorized at a very young age. My sister and brother used to tease me about always having my prayers answered, to the point that if they wanted something, they would say “we should just have Andrea pray for it.” During a Sunday school class, we were learning about tithing, and one of my friends asked, “Well, what if you only had a dollar?” Without even skipping a beat, in a very matter of fact tone, I blurted out, “Well you give the dollar,” like duh? During the summer between my 8th grade year and my 9th grade year, I begged my parents to send me to Calvary Chapel Murrieta High School. I know it must have pained them to tell me no, that there was no possible way we could afford it. I petitioned the Lord, praying earnestly. I felt with all my being that is where I needed to go to High School. I don’t know how the Lord did it, but He made a way, and I started my freshman year of high school at Calvary Chapel Murrieta and it was a life changing, life alternating decision for the good. Not only did the Lord provide for me to go, but the next year he provided a way for my brother and sister to attend as well. Why do I share these stories? I’m trying to paint a picture for you. Having ‘faith” was never something I struggled with. I took the Lord at His word. If He said it, I believed it, and there was nothing that could detour me from believing Him.
After getting saved, people often expect to be magically transformed into model Christians overnight. This is a prevalent, but unrealistic expectation. So what, then, should a daily walk with Christ look like? Without daily immersion in the Bible and the fortification of prayer, it quickly becomes discouraging trying to decipher if we are in God’s will. Ever reach a point where you can’t figure out if God is in working in your life at all? How do we know if we are in the faith? 2 Corinthians 13:5 teaches, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified”(NKJV). How can we do this successfully?
Valentine’s Day was first instituted in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I in commemoration of the Christian martyr of Saint Valentine. February 14th has since morphed into a celebration of love and romance, characterized by the exchange of roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and ostentatiously oversized stuffed bears. While this holiday is often spent indulging in excessive sweets or proffering Disney princess and Transformers themed valentines to friends, let us not neglect Scripture’s description of true love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reminds us of the enduring, God-honoring ways we can show love to one another. Here are fourteen valentines that don’t come in a Hallmark card, flower bouquet, or jewelry box: