The best valentine of all

Celebrate God and show love to the people you love.

  • By DAN WIESE FOR THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
  • Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:00am
  • Neighbors
Dan Wiese is pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. (Courtesy Photo)

Dan Wiese is pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. (Courtesy Photo)

I recently returned from visiting the Lower 48. I noticed the stores were decorated red and filled with seasonal hearts, flowers and candy to help people celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s is a day to celebrate love and show love to the people you love. This brought me to thinking about the best valentine of all — Jesus Christ.

I was thinking about different people’s perspective of God and wondered how many people truly comprehend how much God loves each and every one of us.

I have met people with different beliefs about God. A girl I went to college with thought God was an old man with a long white beard and a big club just waiting for her to mess up so he could punish her.

Someone else thought of God as a sort of Santa Claus who keeps a nice and naughty list. God doesn’t love those on the naughty list and bad things happen to them.

[Celebrate and grieve relationships, don’t replace them]

Some see God as only a set of rules to follow or a list of good deeds to earn his favor or his love.

Others see God as they see their own flawed human fathers who are sometimes cruel, abusive and harsh.

There are some who cannot understand how God could ever love them because they feel so unworthy. Or maybe because they have done too many bad things and haven’t been good enough to earn his love.

I learned a lot about God’s love when I became a parent. I loved my kids very much and would have done anything for their safety and protection. I wanted the very best for them, and though they may not have understood it at the time, I always sought that which would always be for their ultimate good. Sometimes I had rules for them to follow (like stop and look both ways before crossing the street) for their safety and protection. Sometimes I would have to say no to their requests because the consequences would not be for their highest good. I would and did sacrifice much for them and love them with all my heart.

[When the going gets tough, the tough celebrate holidays]

I then realized God loved me that much and so much more. I knew I didn’t deserve it. And I knew I could never do enough to earn his love or ever be good enough to deserve his love. But then I realized he loves me anyway. He loves me just as I am, but he also loves me enough to change me to become more and more like Jesus.

The Bible says God lavished his love on us (1 John 3:1). It also says he loved us enough for Jesus to die for us. He so wants to forgive us — even while we were yet sinners. (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8). And what he wants most from us is to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). The Bible has so much more to say about how much God loves you. God is love. (1 John 4:9) And we love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

It is always great receiving a valentine from someone because you know that someone was thinking about you and willing to express love and appreciation to you by giving you a special valentine or a gift. God loves you and gives you his son, Jesus, because he loves you so much. Jesus really is the best valentine of all.


• Dan Wiese is pastor of the Church of the Nazarene.


More in Neighbors

Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)
Living and Growing: Be a blessing

Years ago, I learned a great acronym, B.L.E.S.S. “B” stands for “Begin… Continue reading

Salad ingredients ready to assemble. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Mexican corn and bean salad

Several years ago, I ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Los… Continue reading

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park on Dec. 7, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Join interactive design meeting for Jackie Renninger Park on May 21 CBJ… Continue reading

A new online dictionary features Lingít, X̱aad Kíl, Shm’algyack and English. (Mircea Brown / Courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: Sealaska Heritage Institute debuts multilingual online Alaska Native dictionary with audio

Platform includes resources for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages.

Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)
Living and Growing: Your room is waiting

Thursday, May 9, is a very special day. Although most calendars don’t… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Living and Growing: Twisting Scripture to suit themselves

Ever wonder why so many different people say so many different things… Continue reading

The Ward Lake Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Neighbors: Public input sought as Tongass begins revising 25-year-old forest plan

Initial phase focuses on listening, informing, and gathering feedback.

Sister Sadria Akina, Elder Tanner Christensen and Elder Bronson Forsberg, all missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, collect litter on April 22, 2023, in the Lemon Creek area. It was their first time partaking in Juneau’s communitywide cleanup. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Annual Litter Free citywide cleanup on Saturday Saturday is set for Litter… Continue reading

Tortilla beef casserole ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Tortilla beef casserole for Cinco de Maya

When my kids were growing up their appetites were insatiable. Every night… Continue reading

An aging outhouse on the pier extending out from the fire station that’s purportedly the only public toilet in Tenakee Springs in August of 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Gimme a Smile: Is it artificial intelligence or just automatic?

Our nation is obsessed with AI these days. Artificial intelligence is writing… Continue reading

Adam Bauer of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’ís of Juneau.
Living and Growing: Embracing progress while honoring Our roots

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that we are… Continue reading

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Ever have to say goodbye unexpectedly? A car accident, a drug overdose,… Continue reading