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Chosen & precious in God’s sight” (1 Peter 2:4)

“For He chose us in Him” (Ephesians 1:4)

“In love He predestined us for adoption” (Ephesians 1:5)

Happy Valentine’s Day! In case you haven’t heard – you are LOVED! That’s right! You are loved with the everlasting, undying, endless love of God our heavenly Father. So many songs are written about love that it would take volumes to note them all. But love songs come and go. I’m talking about a love that lasts from here to eternity!

A love that chose you. I can remember being in 5th grade gym class and dreading being picked for a team! Sometimes people overlook you, ignore you, or underestimate you. Not so with God. We are God’s special possession, chosen, approved, and loved by the Master Builder. You have been chosen to be part of God’s family. A living stone, being built into a spiritual house. God’s house. I love the sound of that, being a part of God’s family.

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” These words are more than lyrics to a song. They are a declaration of faith. I KNOW that I am loved. I KNOW that I am valued. I KNOW that I am God’s Valentine! God’s funny, flawed, faithful Valentine.

So, when the world tells you that you’re nothing, open up this card from Isaiah 43:1-4:

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,

they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.”

Take that, Hallmark! That’s the language of love – real love. A love that flows from Heaven straight to your heart. Believe it. Trust it. The Bible is God’s love letter to you. Look through its pages – it’s all about love. It’s a beautiful Valentine’s Day card straight from the heart of God. So, Happy Valentine’s Day! From the Lover of your soul, God.

Worship with us online LIVESTREAM this Sunday at 10:00am here on the website!

We will continue to talk about being chosen by God.

On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, I will do the imposition of ashes outdoors, socially distanced (on the back of your hand), from Noon to 2:00pm. Also, we will have a special Porch Drop collection during that time for comfort bags for staff on Covid floors at St. Luke's Hospital. We hope to assemble 100 bags! We are collecting granola bars, energy bars, gatorage, lip balm, hand moisturizer, and chocolate!

You can also pick up your communion elements and join us that evening at 6:00pm as we livestream Ash Wednesday service with the celebration of Holy Communion.

Lenten Challenge: Take 13!

It’s been said (by our Leadership Board chair & others) that it only takes 13 minutes a day to read thru the Bible in a year! That’s it, 13 minutes a day. So, here’s the challenge – read (or listen to) your Bible for 13 minutes every day between Ash Wednesday and Easter. And let’s not take Sundays off for this one, just read every day. For 13 minutes. Take 13. How about it church, are you in? Let’s Take 13 for Lent! There will be more info and some helpful resources on the website.

Don’t forget to join me on Mondays at 8:00 am for 15 minutes of prayer and devotion on our prayer line. The phone number is: (727) 731-7163. This is also a great way for those without internet to stay connected with the church and hear the voices of friends, so please spread the word to our senior saints, and to those who may live alone.

Church, we give thanks for the life of Wanda Theriac, who made her transition to glory on February 5. Please keep her family in prayer. I have heard so many wonderful memories of Wanda. She was truly loved and gave so much love to all she met!

On this Valentine’s Day, please know that I love you, but God loves you even MORE! Be blessed in His name, Amen!

With Love,

Pastor Linda

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