Lent Reflection: Where love really comes from


The story of Saint Valentine, for whom the holiday is named, is a vague one. It’s one that has several mixed up tales, understandably so as it’s from the year 269. A Pope established Saint Valentine’s Day in the year 496, saying he was among those “…whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” Some tales speak of a man who secretly married people whilst it was forbidden to wed.

While I am not married, I do wear a symbol of marriage on my hand. Not many people recently have remarked on the ring I wear on my “wedding finger.” While abroad I was asked about it many times, including one comment, “How is your husband?” I laughed and told the man that God was great. I took off my ring and held it in the air to show him the symbol that can be found in the middle: the trinity symbol. I told him that there is a verse in Isaiah (54:5) that says, “For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name…”. This guy had a lot of questioning looks and words. “So you don’t want to get married?” I explained that I do, but that God is the most important thing in my life, and the ring helps me to remember that. He still said that it scares away men when I wear it, but I told him that the man I marry is going to have to be brave enough to go through God to get to me. I am not ashamed of the fact that Christ is first and foremost in my life.

On a day like today when love is a cultural focus, we as Christians need to remember where love really comes from. God is love. Not only that, but he longs to be known by us. He is jealous for us. And our time. In this season of Lent, don’t forget to learn to love Christ more and more. Luke 10:27 tells us to love God with all of our heart (and soul and mind and strength). Can you imagine what our lives would look like if we truly loved like that? WOW. Lord, help us to love you!
Jesus’ words go on to tell us to love our neighbors as well. We’ve all heard the talk before about how the neighbor here does not mean the person who lives next door. It’s anyone. Anyone at all. I encourage you to take the time to show one random act of love today to a neighbor.

In all likelihood, when this holiday was established more recently, it was not meant to become this commercial form of love that it has become. In fact, when people started really celebrating it, it was set as the beginning of mating season for birds. While there is much uncertainty in the origins of this day of love, there is no question as to the origin of the one place we should seek for love on this day: in Christ.

Jean Komline is a former summer staff member who has spent several years serving as a World Gospel Mission missionary in Uganda. She blogs at Jean’s Joyful Journey. Image credit: Sandra Lee, via CreationSwap

Lent Reflection: What’s in a name?


One of the best songs that I learned in Uganda was the song “He Knows My Name.” It meant so much to me to know that God will go with me wherever I go and always know my name. It amazed me that I didn’t have to worry about the children in my classroom because HE knew their names! Every time I heard that song it brought me to tears, but overwhelmingly joyful and touched tears. My parents gave me the name of Elizabeth Jean before I was born, but decided after I had come into the world that I should be Jean Elizabeth. There were too many Elizabeths already.

Although in today’s society we might think that there are too many gods, there still remains just one God, and ONE GOD ALONE. He does however have many, many names. This is not to say that we can bow down to Sri Krishna and say that that is the one true God, because he’s not. One only has to look at Deuteronomy 6:4 to see that “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Isaiah 43:11 also confirms this fact.

However, it can get confusing. So I would like to pose the question to you: What do you call God? There are so many words to choose from and in all different languages. Some popular ones from ages of old are Abba, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (not to be spoken of course), Jehovah Jireh, Alpha & Omega, and El Shaddai. A few of my favorite more common English ones are Bread of Life, Ancient of Days, Friend of Sinners, Good Shepherd, Rock, Prince of Peace, Teacher, and one of my personal favorites, I AM.

Say them slowly and let each one, different aspects of our most Holy God, soak into your soul.
Songs have always moved me, so I am going to throw another one out there for you to listen to: “I AM” by Nichole Nordeman. It shows us how we can relate to God through different names throughout our entire life. It doesn’t matter who we are, but who HE is!

When Jesus said the following in John 8:58, people wanted to kill him for proclaiming these words: “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” It was a bold statement, but the truth!

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his followers “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” As Jesus then explains, this was not revealed to him by Jesus, but by his Father in heaven. God made his name clear down through the centuries many times and in many ways. Even when Jesus was being baptized, the Spirit of God descended on the Christ saying, “This is my Son, whom I love” (Matthew 3:16). Again and again throughout history God reveals himself in marvelous ways. But what does this mean for us?

His name has power. While on earth he did great things. But he told us that people who do things in God’s name will do even greater. How could that be? It’s HIS name that gives the power. Look at these verses:

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all the things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” -John 14:12-14, 26

Those who think that there is a lack of miracles in the world today are closing their eyes to the wonders that God wants to perform. It’s up to us to listen and attend to what God wants us to do. If we use His name in a way that will advance His kingdom and reveal His glory, it will happen! We must trust in His holy name.

Too many times people throw around God’s name as if it were a small thing. People say “Oh my God” all the time without actually intending the comment for our heavenly Father. It’s wrong, it’s one of the 10 Commandments even: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. IT HAS POWER, and we should not think of it lightly.

May you be unafraid today to use the power of God’s name to help those around you, to bless, to heal, and to learn. Let us praise His holy name! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever.” Ps. 145:1
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” Ps. 118:26

Jean Komline worked on staff at Delanco Camp as a horse wrangler, where she learned about World Gospel Mission and later served with them in Uganda for several years. Image credit: Greg Simmons, via CreationSwap