happy valentine’s day

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Valentine’s Day:  A holiday that some love and others love to hate.  A day where your Facebook and Instagram feeds will be filled with pictures of happy looking couples and posts about gifts and probably even an engagement or two.  Seeing all of this can ignite negative emotions for some.  If you’re in a relationship, it may make you feel upset because someone else’s partner did something more than yours.  If you’re single, it may make you feel alone, insecure, or unwanted.

I thought a lot about what to write for a Valentine’s day post.  So I’ll just start with a confession:  I’ve never had a Valentine.  There have been times when I’ve bemoaned that fact.  I’ve sat at home feeling lonely and upset more times than I’d care to admit because all my friends were out with their significant others.  But over the years, I’ve truly begun to learn and lean on the love of Jesus.  The only real, true, and flawless love we will ever know.

One of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Hosea. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it.  In the story, the Lord asked Hosea to go and love a promiscuous woman.  To bring her to himself and love her as God loves his people.  He had him do this as a parallel to His love to “promiscuous” Israel.  So Hosea married a woman named Gomer, who many scholars believe was a prostitute.  Gomer had a few children by Hosea and was unfaithful to him.  At first, God seems very harsh in how he punishes her.  He speaks of taking away everything He’s given to her because she doesn’t realize that it is the Lord who has given her everything she’s had until now (Hosea 2:8).  So there’s half a chapter dedicated to everything the Lord is taking away from her(and when he is speaking of “her” he is really referencing his own rebellious people in this parallel).  Then, halfway through chapter 2 in one of my favorite verses, he flips the script.

 “Therefore, I am going to persuade her, lead her to the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14).

 He goes on from there to say that he will give her everything back and will take her to be His wife forever.

 “I will take you to be My wife forever.  I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion.  I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.”  (Hosea 2:19-20).

This is the kind of love that is hard to even fathom!
And certainly not a love that is able to truly live in the flesh of men.  This type of sacrificial, sometimes unrequited love is only able to come from the true lover of our souls.  Our Savior, our Messiah, our Lord.  Gomer in this story is every single one of us.  She is the one who has been unfaithful to her husband.  She is the one who has made idols of work and legalism.  She is the one who has put her love life or her marriage on a pedestal above her true King.  She is the one who has sat at home on Valentine’s day bemoaning her single life instead of reveling in the Love she already has.

Gomer is all of us.

My challenge to you this Valentine’s day, no matter where you are or who you’re with, is to remember this story.  Remember the love that our God has for us, that no matter what we do, how we behave, He is ready and waiting to lead each of us into the wilderness to speak tenderly to us. So while you’re getting ready for your Valentine’s dates or girls nights, put on some worship music and praise Him.  If you’re home alone, consider spending at least part of your evening in prayer and reading about the immense love God has for you. That is what earthly men can only ever strive for.

 You will never know a more sacrificial or righteously jealous love.
You will never know another lover who will want you back,
after you’ve turned so far away from Him.
You will never know a love so great as the love of God.
Let Him love you, dear sister.
On this Valentine’s day and every day.

Love,
Ashley

Try It Out Tuesday!

We proudly present to you our very first resource of online devotionals! Whoot!! The RARK sisters respect the Word of God as Truth. Diving into it regularly is one way of nurturing our relationship with the God of the universe. If you don’t know where to begin when you pick up that big intimidating Bible, these resources below will guide you and make reading the Bible fun, more convenient and exciting!  

 

She Reads Truth: This is a community of women who pursue Jesus and get in the Word daily! You can become part of the community. Visit their site and get plugged into one of their reading Plans, available in paperback as well in case you like flipping those pages or smelling a fresh new book. You can follow SRT on social media and connect with other women who thrive in God’s good book.  *Cool perk: SRT provides a pretty image for your phone’s lock screen so that you can see it often, read the truth throughout the day or even memorize it.

 

Hebrews 4:12 ‘The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’

 

First 5: The app that will transform your time with God. It’s a totally free, very modern and very beautiful app that takes you through a book of the Bible(currently Joshua). The short daily studies look deeply into Scripture and make it come alive with videos and great writing. *Cool perk: In the app you can write a private thought in ‘My Moment’ or even write out a prayer. Then you can look back at your moments as a journal and see glimpses of your faith walk. Also, there is a section for public ‘Comments’ which you can share with the general First 5 public. Reading through the comments gives me encouragement just as much as reading the First 5 teaching sometimes.

 

John 1:1 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’

 

The Bible Project: This very modern movement specializes in making videos, podcasts and series to help make the Word come alive! Their main goal is to help believers grow in Bible literacy. They also have an app. *Cool perk: Entertaining, thought provoking videos which would be great for a family Bible study! The breakdown of the stories make it obvious that the Bible is one continuous story that points to Jesus.

We’re just getting started with this list of FREE resources for Bible-reading-women. Check back for more when you’ve gone through all 3!

Happy reading!

Much love,

KJ