New Hope In The Lord
       International Ministries

Office Hours: M-F 9:30am-5:00pm
PO Box 418 Valhalla,
New York, USA 10595

brotherjoe@newhopeinthelord.com              Phone: (914) 948-4481

Newsletter                                                                              February 2020


Dear saints,

February is traditionally the month for Valentines. This custom of sending a note to your “Valentine” adorned with a red heart, a personal poem, an inscription that declares your love, grew in popularity in England and France during the Middle Ages. It became associated with Valentine's Day when through a conventional belief that on February 14, halfway through the second month of the year, the birds begin to pair and select their mates. For this reason, the day has been considered specially consecrated to lovers. It is a proper occasion to write love letters and send lovers' tokens declaring or affirming one’s love for that special person. This act of choosing one to love, of selecting a mate on St. Valentine’s Day, as the birds do each year, is romanticized by the poet, Drayton, who wrote “To His Valentine,” in which he expressed this most basic desire in God’s creatures to love and be loved: “Each little bird this tide, Doth choose her beloved peer, Which constantly abide, In wedlock all the year.”

This custom continues because we somehow understand the sanctity of wedlock, this relationship between one man and one woman. Marriage is blessed and has been from the beginning, where '…God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” ' Genesis 1:28.

Few have been able to walk in the fullness of this authority and experience the power that God has given through this simple act of joining together in love. The reason for this is that love is not just a word, a poem or a card sent on Valentine’s Day. Love involves action. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. It is this kind of ACTIVE, SELF-SACRIFICIAL love that was the real beginning of Valentine's Day. God displayed His love in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son.

Officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, this third century saint of God was persecuted because he was a Christian and interrogated in person by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him to convert him to Roman paganism to save his life. Valentine would not renounce his faith, but instead tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. As a result, Valentine was executed. However, prior to his execution, it is reported that a miracle was performed at the hands of Valentine. He prayed for his judge’s blind daughter, Julia, and sight was restored to the girl. This judge whose name was Asterius along with his entire household came to believe in Jesus. It is also said that on the eve of his execution, Valentine wrote the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to Judge Asterius’ daughter, who was no longer blind, signing it as "Your Valentine”. Because of Valentine’s obedience to God, Asterius and his family and servants experienced God’s redemptive power. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” John 15:13.

There are many around us, like Claudius, who was with Valentine that are “…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” Ephesians 2:12. We have this account to give to them that “… God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:16–17. This is the true message of Valentine's Day and every day: that God loves us and has declared His love for us saying, He is “our Valentine” and asking us, “Will you be Mine?”.

Happy Valentine’s Day: there is no greater love than to give your life for another.

Serving Our King Together,

Eric Ross for Rev. Joseph

Please make your tax-deductible check to: The Master’s Hand Christian Fellowship, c/o of the above address.