14 02 2015

I am writing this article on Valentine’s Day. I admit that I am and always have been a hopeless romantic. I remember singing the Beatles song, “All My Loving” to the cute girl named Jenny that used to put her rug next to mine when we had nap time back in Kindergarten. She hugged and kissed me after my performance! I thought even then that I could get used to this! Fast forward to my Catholic School days in Second Grade when I was yelled at by Sister Margaret Mary for kissing the beautiful Theresa in the parking lot during recess! It was only on her forehead because I was much taller. It was lots more fun than kickball! Then there was the huge Fifth Grade Crush I had on a classmate named Gayle who sadly didn’t even know that I was alive. I would imagine me singing Partridge Family songs to her while walking on the path leading up to our school. I never did get the nerve to sing to her in person. But I never stopped dreaming that one day love would come my way to stay in spite of my severe shyness and low self-esteem!

My courage and confidence would come sometime later while I was in high school. My heart came alive the day that I surrendered my heart fully and wholly to the Author of love. When I fell in love with Jesus, I knew it was a forever thing! Even though I knew that the Lord was wise to everything that I had ever done and thought- God still loved me and wanted me to be with him! I wanted to let the whole world know about this love and how it won’t let us go! The presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart raised the standard of how I would go about communicating love in the days to come!

My wife Terri and I have been married 33 years! I have written her many love songs along the journey and she too has kissed me and made my soul smile! Love is all about commitment and sacrifice and giving and desiring the best for another, before ever thinking of how your own self can be served. Love is not easy and it is far the fantasy that our culture has painted it to be. I choose daily to love my wife in a way that will build her up and let her know what an amazing cherished treasure that she is to me. I also have two adult daughters and I have always prayerfully and carefully wanted them to both know how loved they are, not because of what they did or didn’t do, but simply because they were Leah and Abbie! Love is not about using or abusing a privilege. It is about literally laying down your own flesh so that others can taste and see that life is a gift!

So along I come with my biblical values and moral compass and I hear others tell me that it makes me intolerant and politically incorrect. But I look at the fruit of the seeds of love that God’s grace has allowed me by his mercy to plant and I’ve got to say that the product that I behold is lots healthier than anything the current culture tries to sell me! Sex is at its best within the boundaries of marriage. Living together is no substitute for committing your life to somebody in the eyes of God and making a lasting vow that promises you will not bolt for the door at the first sign of heartache! You have got to have guts and strength to stick it out through better or worse, sickness and in health until death do you part! But in the make believe land of our instant gratification society, we have made lust a national pastime and left the real deal rotting in the dust.

Unless you live under a rock, the buzz in our backwards media this Valentine’s Weekend has been all about this movie based upon the erotica book series, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The tales glorify and romanticize such self-centered driven violence of men against women that includes bondage, domination and masochism but all in the name of good fun of course. Are you out of your ever loving mind? Hey Fathers, is this the hope that you have for your little girls? Hey Women, have you become so disillusioned with dating that you will settle to become nothing greater than the fleshly object of a twisted man’s every whim and desire? Come on People! We have got to want more than this! Don’t try to sell me on this being art! It is nothing more than horse manure wrapped up in catchy packaging and we have got to hope and pray that our children aspire to greater goals than these!

As for me, I will take the one shade of the color of love that is tried and true! When Jesus died on the cross for you and me, he knew what he was taking on himself. Left to our own devices, men and women both can let their deviant and depraved shades of sinfulness run rampant. But the red blood that flowed for you and me from that cross on Calvary assured anyone who believed that he or she would be washed whiter than snow! No man or woman has to settle to be treated like trash. God rescued us from the refuse and has redeemed us to become what he always intended us to be. God created sex and within the right context it is worth celebrating. Read the Song of Solomon Chapter 4 if you don’t believe me! But sex outside of the lines can become deadly and a weapon and an addiction and a prison. Don’t try to substitute sex for love! Sexuality is one wonderful God given way to express love for another but it isn’t the only way! The ways God says “I Love You” are wonderful clues to the variety of life giving exercises that we can all use a little more practice in! Expand your horizons not by reading and watching smut, but by learning how to give and in giving becoming acquainted with the true color of love.

Let me close with words from the great hymn, ‘At The Cross.” It was there that Jesus taught us all that the color of everlasting love is blood red! But because he gave his life for us, the rainbows or auras that await us are beyond our wildest imagination. But love did not come cheap. It never does! Here are the words of one of the verses:
“Thus might I hide my blushing face- While His dear cross appears-Dissolve my heart in thankfulness- And melt my eyes to tears. At the Cross- At the Cross where I first saw the light-And the burden of my heart rolled away- It was there by faith I received my sight- And now I am happy all the day!”
And that’s a love that nobody needs to be ashamed to see. It’s a shame though so many never will. I want the color of God’s love to be clearly seen in me! How about you?



2 responses

15 02 2015
Barbara Crouthamel

Thank you, Pastor Rudy, for your calrity and boldness. Proud to call you our Pastor. Standing with you. Tom and Barb in the D.R.

15 02 2015
Ken Eicher

Beautiful, Rudy. That’s how Jo and I feel too.

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