The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day reportedly was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD in honor of the Christian martyr St. Valentine. This day is well-marked on calendars and represents a focused opportunity to express our love for family and special people in our lives. Typically these expressions of love include offering heartfelt, albeit non-sacrificial, gifts of chocolate, cards, and flowers.     
      When I think of the sacrificial manner in which God expressed his love for me, however, I recognize that a box of chocolate or a vase of flowers pales in the light of his glory and grace. While numerous scriptures highlight the vastness and richness of the love of God for the world, little debate would follow the assertion that John 3:16 is the most well-known and memorized of these verses. Bill Reynolds was a friend of my father who extolled the incomparable nature of God’s love in a song entitled “Share His Love.” In writing this song, Reynolds captured the essence of God’s love as presented in John 3:16 with these words:  “The love of God is broader than earth’s vast expanse, ‘Tis deeper and wider than the sea. Love reaches out to all to bring abundant life, For God so loved the world His only Son He gave.” 
  1. Campbell Morgan, preacher and theologian of an earlier generation, once said about John 3:16, “this is a text I never attempted to preach on though I have gone around it and around it. It is too big. When I have read it, there is nothing else to say. If we only knew how to read it so as to produce a sense of it in the ears of people there would be nothing to preach about.” With this statement, Dr. Morgan asserted the truth that simply reading the verse projected the breadth, depth, length, and height of God’s love for you and me.
      Echoing Campbell Morgan’s sentiment, Ralph Smith illustrated the appeal of John 3:16 by stating, “One of my minister friends has made more than 600 outlines of John 3:16 whose central truth is the immeasurable, unfathomable love of God for all mankind.” Smith commented further by noting, “Henry Morehouse began to preach when he was sixteen years old. Although he died as a young adult, every time he stood to preach he gave as his text: `For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.’” Personally, I am convinced that if the entire Bible was destroyed except John 3:16, anyone anywhere could be saved by believing this oft-quoted and treasured verse.     
      A popular song of yesteryear asserts “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” May I submit that no shortage of God’s love exists. Why? Because when God loves, he loves a world. When he gives, he gives his son. Thus, for “whosover believeth,” the mandate and mission is to “Share His love by telling what the Lord has done for you; Share His love by sharing of your faith; And show the world that Jesus Christ is real to you ev’ry moment, ev’ry day.”


Dear Heavenly Father, On Valentine’s Day, may I reflect on the demonstration of your love for the world as your son died for sinners like me. May I avail myself to opportunities to share your love with others by sharing my faith and telling what you have done for me through Jesus.  Amen