The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     As Valentine’s Day was approaching a few years ago, my wife saw a recent college graduate – a young man who was also a newlywed – at a store carrying a handful of yet-to-be-arranged long stem roses. She told him “Good choice!” Valentine’s Day is a day well-promoted as a time to celebrate one’s love for spouse or other special people with gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and cards issuing an invitation to “Be my Valentine!” Against the backdrop of celebrating love, this edition of From Daniel’s Den is presented with a focus on God’s love as recorded in John 3:16. Employing the word “L-O-V-E” as the foundation for reviewing this verse, helps underscore the:

*    L=Liberty that is found in Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” When God loves, He loves a world. When God gives, He gives His Son. The apostle Paul offered a reminder to the recipients of his Galatian letter that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).
     Jesus confirmed the liberty or freedom found through Him. After reading from a scroll the words of Isaiah“The Spirit of the Lord …has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives…and to set free the oppressed…,” Jesus asserted “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18 & 21). 
*    O=Opportunity that is found in Jesus Christ. “Whosoever believeth in Him….” As my children moved through childhood, adolescence, and now into young adulthood, I have regularly reminded them that God offers special and unique opportunities along life’s journey and I have encouraged them to avail themselves to such opportunities. The most significant opportunity to which God desires everyone to avail themselves is to respond to Him and His redeeming love through faith in Jesus Christ. “Whosoever” highlights the inclusive aspect of this opportunity (see also 2 Pet. 3:9).
*    V=Victory that is found in Jesus Christ. “Shall not perish….”Although our sin is deserving of death and separation from God [“For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23)], death is not the final answer for anyone that avails themselves to the opportunity to receive liberty through a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. John wrote, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (and) “…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:1 & 4-5).     
     E.M. Barlett expressed the victory experienced by those who trust Jesus when he wrote the hymn “Victory in Jesus.” I often sing this powerful hymn devotionally as a personal testimony of God’s love for me and the victory that is mine through Jesus Christ. The chorus summarizes this victory with:

 O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever,

He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;

He loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him,

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.
*    E=Everlasting. When God loves, He offers everlasting life. “…whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus spoke of eternal/everlasting life twice while speaking with Nicodemus (John 3:15 & 16). The last verse of John 3 also records “Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life…” (v. 36) and Paul echoed this truth with “…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

     My wife commended the young man for his “good choice” in selecting roses as an expression of love for his new bride. The best choice or decision that anyone can make in response to God’s love is to trust Jesus and receive liberty from sin, victory over death, and everlasting life. When God loves He issues an invitation to “Be Mine!”

     Dear God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving the world in such a way that you gave your only Son to die for sinners like me. Thank you for eternal life that I have through Him.