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February, 2015 - Issue #124
Real Love is Action
by Marlon Saunders
It is not until we evaluate God's love for us that we begin to understand what real love looks like.
For so long, many of us have believed that love is a feeling or an emotion. However, when we look at God's love for us, we discover quite the opposite. Love is not a feeling or an emotion but rather an action.

The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave..." Notice how God put His love into action. God loved us so much that He did something about it. Love is not love until it is put into action and begins to give. It doesn't just give anything, though.

That verse in the Bible continues to read, "...He gave His only begotten Son..." So, love not only gives, but it gives something of value - something near and dear. God gave the most precious thing that He could give.

Love always stretches beyond comfort zones to give the most precious thing that it can give. The most precious thing you can give as a demonstration of love is yourself. Knowing how He would be mistreated and unappreciated, God still gave Himself because real love does not give based on what's safe or what feels good. It gives based on the fact that it just is.

Love is love whether it is received or not. I challenge all of us during the month of February, the "love month," to give love away. Find someone and give out of your comfort zone. Don't wait on conditions to be ideal. Don't wait on the love to be reciprocated. Just give love away knowing that real love simply looks to give even when it may not receive in return.
Real love is not things. Real love is action.
Marlon Saunders is the senior pastor of Valencia Christian Center. 296-4VCC (4822)

"Give love away knowing that real love simply LOOKS TO GIVE even when it may not receive in return."
Every Day is God's Valentine's Day
by Debbie Sperry
I don't know about you, but I've never really fallen head over heels for Valentine's Day. I like the idea of sharing how much I care with those I love, but I'm not one for the hype and commercialism that says it should all happen on one day.

Each relationship matters every day, not just on the 14th. We show our love through commitment, loyalty, honesty, compassion, intentionality and respect - all of which are proven over time.

One highlight of Valentine's Day is mindfulness that we should do something to show our love for others. One thing I've learned about God's love is that it's active - it's about what we do. To love like God is to give of ourselves, to be vulnerable, to share honestly, to forgive regularly, to show up when others won't and to see others with eyes of compassion and understanding.

God's love goes above and beyond - not in terms of spending, but in terms of how we share our hearts and our lives with those around us - both to those who are closest to us and those we consider strangers.

When you think about love this month, think about how you might let those around you know how much they matter, in word and in deed. Think about how you might share God's love with a stranger or even an enemy. How might you show love even if you don't feel love? Maybe you share a meal with someone on the street, maybe you pay it forward in the Starbucks line, maybe you take an appreciation gift to the fire department or the hospital. Or maybe you offer forgiveness - giving a second chance to a family member or friend. Whatever you do, may you be inspired to love like God.
Debbie Sperry is the lead pastor at Valencia United Methodist Church. 255-1301
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