My whopping big Valentines giftLeave a comment
February 13, 2014 by John Nicholas Prassas
What would you say to a bunch of high school kids on Valentine’s Day if you were speaking at their chapel service, just before they left for a weekend retreat?
This has been my challenge since being invited to speak by a friend who works at a Christian Academy in our area.
My first thought was to share the story of St. Valentine, the minister who was martyred on February 14th in the late 3rd century back when Christianity was outlawed by the Romans and Christians could be killed for almost any reason.
That would surely get their attention. And provide some historical perspective on the warm and fuzzy love-fest that is now Valentine’s Day. And possibly alert them to the dangers lurking when society rejects the good news of Jesus Christ.
And probably drive the poor kids into despair!
Yikes, what was I thinking? Must be all the cold and gloomy weather around here lately. Anyway…
My second thought was to lighten the mood with some Valentine’s humor, but I soon discovered that’s a rare commodity, unless you LOL over gems like, ‘What do cavemen give their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day? Ughs and kisses, of course!’
Finally I landed on the idea of a Valentine’s card from the apostle Paul, imparting the most precious gift he could offer.
What would it be? What would he say? What gift would help these kids the most?
Suddenly my spirit leapt as I recounted one of Paul’s favorite themes, a theme that has become alive and real in my own heart, as well.
Yes, I’m talking about God’s long-overlooked and little-understood Spirit of adoption.
It’s what prompted Paul to change his name and switch sides – from stoning believers as Saul to imploring them to receive God’s grace, as Paul.
It’s what caused him to write believers in Ephesus,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…In love he predestined us to adoption through Jesus Christ to himself.”
And to remind believers in Rome,
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but the Spirit of adoption as Sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!'”
And to amplify what Jesus meant when he promised to send the Holy Spirit and said, “I will not leave you as orphans.”
It’s what Paul knew was radically different about embracing Christ versus worshipping pagan gods or even following Judaism – it was a supernatural gift unlike anything in creation.
So this is the Valentine’s gift I’ve decided to deliver on Friday – a gift we can all receive and enjoy every day of the year, every day of our lives when we allow the Holy Spirit to change who we are and ignite our true and highest selves.
This spiritual gift fills us with faith, hope and love, and turns us into history-making, life-changing, culture-shaping children of God. Wow, what a whopping big gift!
I’m praying for help in delivering this gift and praying for open hearts to receive it – and would covet your prayers for that exchange, as well.
If you’d like to explore this gift for yourself, click the cover at right or click here and you can buy my mini-book on this subject, via Kindle or Amazon for just a few bucks.
…Now to think of something for my wife!
Thank you Father for stirring our hearts every day that we allow you to, for filling us with supernatural love that makes us peace-makers, healers, forgivers, deliverers, comforters and encouragers. We ask for the whopping big gift of your Spirit on this Valentine’s Day, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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