Summary: Love is one of God's greatest resources available to us for blessings - given and received!

Weekend Message/Devotion

May 20, 2018

John 3:16

The Blessings of Love

Love is a many-splendored thing,

It's the April rose that only grows in the early spring,

Love is nature's way of giving, a reason to be living,

The golden crown that makes a man a king.

Once on a high and windy hill,

In the morning mist two lovers kissed and the world stood still,

Then our fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing,

Yes, true love's a many-splendored thing.

[ Frank Sinatra - Love Is A Many - Splendored Thing Lyrics | MetroLyrics ]

When I originally prepared today’s message, I drew from the gospel reading John 15:26-27, 16:4-15. However, this morning, in my wee hours quiet time of reading, meditating and prayer, I was overcome with this compelling desire to share a word or two about love – biblical love, spiritual love, human love but mostly God’s love.

We had a nephew spending time with us on vacation from his home in England. Naturally, we all arose early and tuned in to the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The wedding was full of pomp and ceremony. However, all that pomp and ceremony took a back seat to the obvious and genuine love of everyone involved from the royal couple, the clergy, the attendants and the guests.

If you were not able to watch it on television, I truly encourage you to view a rerun or video if one becomes available.

Let me share some love from another wedding yesterday. I was honored to officiate a grand wedding last evening at the Treasury in St. Augustine. Laura was every bit as elegant and beautiful as the Duchess and her wedding gown and flowing train were simply magnificent. Chris was also striking in dress and stature. What I want to share most is the obvious love the two of them shared. They could neither take their eyes off each other nor hold back the tears as they exchanged vows, rings and that kiss that we all wait for at the end of the ceremony.

I also received the warmest and loving thank-you from Laura this morning for my small part in their big day.

“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.” Genesis 29:20

Seven years is a long time and a true test of one’s love. Unfortunately, many engaged couples who are separated by time and space grow restless with the waiting and the love fades. I often say, our hedonistic tendencies seeking instant gratification overpower us way too often. Please think about that.

This is not about me or my ministry, but I have another wedding coming up soon. The groom is here in Florida, but the bride is in Germany, serving her country in the armed forces. That puts the engagement and their love to a real test. It appears that Abbi and Hamid have passed that test.

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47

Ahem! Confession time for Howard. I must admit that here is where I do struggle sometimes. I know that saying the words “I forgive you” can come easy. I also know that deep down in the heart there yet often remains a struggle. It is not so difficult to forgive children, grandchildren and siblings for hurtful things that they have said and done because we love them in spite of what they have done. Sure, it may not be easy but that love eventually will bring us to forgiveness.

I don’t struggle so much with that one. BUT, I admit that the hurt and sting of betrayal by a trusted and loved friend weighs very heavy on my heart and forgiveness for some acts of betrayal really put me to the test, especially where lies and deceit are at the core of that betrayal.

Beloved, I am working on it and I welcome your prayers.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13

Memorial Day is coming up on May 28. As a veteran, that day has special meaning to me. However, the significance of that day – memorializing the ultimate sacrifices of men and women throughout the generations of this nation bear our greatest respect and expression of honoring them.

Very few, if any want to die or suffer grave wounds for their country. However, when a man or woman answers the call to serve this country and give of their all, including life, it is an honorable thing and worthy of our love and respect in return.

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