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Loving God- A Valentine’s Story

Theme: We show we love God by keeping God’s Commandments.

Verse: Matthew 22:37- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Phil and Ashley Story:

          Valentine’s Day was coming up. Phil was glad they no longer exchanged valentines in his sixth-grade class. He didn’t want any girl to think he liked her, because he didn’t like girls. Not at all.

          His little sister Ashley, though, could hardly wait to pass out valentines in school.

          Sunday morning, Phil followed Mom and Dad and Ashley into the church foyer where they hung up their coats.

          Through the doors came a family Phil had never seen before. Dad shook the hand of a tall, well-dressed man and his stylish wife. Behind them stood two girls. One had a freckle-covered nose, and the other…

          Phil’s mouth went dry, and he felt warm all over. The other was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Her eyes were the color of Mom’s turquoise Indian ring, and her cheeks were rosy. When she smiled, two dimples framed her perfect white teeth. Her shiny brown hair cascaded over her shoulders. She was tall and slim and looked about his age.

          “Welcome,” Dad said. “I’m Carl Denton, and this is my wife Jan and our kids, Phil and Ashley.”

          The man said, “I’m Jordan Harrington, and this is my wife Sara and our daughters Jessica and Maddie.”

          Jessica smiled at Phil. His face turned beet red.

          They stepped into the sanctuary where praise music played softly. Phil’s family sat in the row behind the Harringtons.

          Phil feasted his eyes on pretty Jessica. As they stood for the first praise song, Phil mouthed the words, but he wasn’t thinking about praising God. He was only thinking about Jessica.

          He watched as she smoothed the back of her dress before sitting for announcements.

          They sang more songs, but Phil couldn’t have named them. He didn’t hear one word of the sermon. Instead, he dreamed about getting up the courage to talk with Jessica.

          Other people greeted the Harringtons after the service, and Phil had no opportunity to talk with Jessica, which was good. He would have been too embarrassed.

          As they drove home, Dad said, “You know, that was a really good service this morning. I felt God’s presence, didn’t you?”

          “I sure did,” Mom said. “The songs and the sermon were so worshipful.”

          “What did you think, Phil?” Dad asked.

          Phil glimpsed his own startled face in the rearview mirror. He hadn’t heard anything in that service. All he had thought about was Jessica. “Uh, yeah, it was good,” he muttered, feeling terrible that he wasn’t telling the truth.

          Ashley wrinkled her forehead. “How can you feel God’s presence?”

          Dad smiled. “By concentrating on the words of the songs and the scripture and lifting them back in praise to God. When you block out all other thoughts and think only of the Lord, you realize how wonderful He is, and He seems very near.”

          “My mind is always thinking about so many other things,” Ashley said.

          “Mine too.” Phil wanted to be honest this time.

          “When you concentrate, you’ll find the service is a lot more meaningful,” Mom said, “and you’ll also make God happy, for He loves our worship. Did you know that Matthew 22:37 says, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’? We are disobeying God when we allow anything else to be more important in our mind than God.”

          Oh, no, Phil thought as he slid down in the seat. I really blew it today.He had only been thinking about Jessica. He hadn’t thought of God once.

          He turned toward the window and prayed in his heart, I’m sorry, Lord, for not worshiping you today. Help it never to happen again.

          He sat up in his seat, feeling better. Girls! They only caused trouble and made a guy feel embarrassed. He would be better off forgetting all about them.

          But then he remembered how blue Jessica’s eyes were and how her hair curled over her shoulder. Well, maybe girls are okay, he thought, as long as I make sure God is number one in my life.

Application:

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of hearts and love, but who should we love the most? God.

How do we love God? Let’s look at the verse Mom quoted:

Matthew 22:37- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. How do we do that?

You love God with all your heart when you love Him more than anything else. He is your greatest treasure.

Your soul is the real you — your personality, what you think and feel. This is the part of you that never dies. When you die, your body stays behind, but your soul goes to heaven, if you’ve invited Jesus into your heart. To love God with all your soul means you love Him with everything you are.

To love God with all your mind means you think about Him. You don’t let yourself become distracted, like Phil did with Jessica. You learn about Him. How do we do that? By spending time with Him every day reading our Bible and praying, and by going to church and Sunday school.

So, how can you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? Anyone can say they love God, but how can we know if they really love God?

This verse tells us how:

John 14:21- “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”

We show we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind when we keep His commandments, when we obey Him. How do we know what God’s commands are?

1. We have to read the Bible. Make it a habit to read God’s Word every day. I call this having a Quiet Time. You spend time with someone you love. Spend time with Jesus.

2. Memorize verses in God’s Word.

What are some commands you could keep to show God how much you love Him? (Discussion)

Do you love God? The way to show it is to obey God and do what He says. You can also tell Him. This Valentine’s Day (and every day), tell God how much you love Him.

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Beth Livingston

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