where love is alive 

With Valentine’s Day this week, hopefully there are lots of messages of love and affirmation going about. Even if there is not a person of “romantic interest” in your life, Valentine’s Day can inspire you to affirm the people you love and tell them that they matter to you.

One of the ways Christians should stand out in our world is by encouraging the people around us. We live in a culture that easily criticizes and points out the negative. Too often, jeers and sneers outnumber cheers. Undoubtedly it is easier to put people down rather than build them up. Yet God calls us to a higher way. The Bible gives God’s people a far better commission:

       Encourage each other and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

If you have bought or sold real estate you know the meaning of appreciation. A property or item that appreciates is increasing in value. When you express appreciation for people, their value also appreciates. And your view of them is closer to the way God sees them. Our Heavenly Father considers every person of such great worth that Jesus died for him/her.

While flowers, cards, candy, and dinners are traditional Valentine’s Day expressions of value, here are some other ways we can affirm the people in your life.

Notice them, especially when they accomplish something positive. It may be a routine task or chore, or it may be an accomplishment of great significance. Everyone wants and needs to hear that he or she makes a difference.

Listen to them. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ Galatians 6:2 (NLT). Listening ministers to another person by showing that you care. When you listen to someone it says “You matter. I value what you have to say. I value who you are.”

Pray for them. You are helping us by praying for us. 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT). In some cases, the areas of someone’s life needing prayer are obvious. But there is much to gain simply by sharing this question: How can I pray for you? Even unbelievers appreciate people praying for them. And by asking them to suggest places of need, you grant them a double blessing: first by praying and second by letting them know you are praying.

Right now, think of some new people to whom you will notice, listen, and pray for. God wants to use us to build people up and let them know we appreciate them.   Jay

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