This year, the first day of Lent is Valentine's Day, which is quite appropriate given that God is the author of Love.

I John 4:7 says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God."

When we love one another, we are obeying the Lord. 

We tend to use the word "love" freely in the United States. We "love" pizza, we "love" someone's new look, we "love" our new car.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines love as, "In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification ... In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things..."

We know there are many types of love; the love I feel for my husband, Jim, is different from the love I feel for my friends and pets. The love I have for the Lord God is deeper than the love I feel for my parents and siblings.

Love for each other shouldn't be taken lightly. Think of what a wonderful place this world would be if we all practiced love towards each other. The ultimate act of Love was God sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and redeem us.

Many of our Crestview area churches will have an Ash Wednesday service. During the service, the pastor will take ashes and form the shape of the cross upon one's forehead or hand as a reminder of what Christ did for us upon the cross with the words from Genesis 3:19, "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Ash Wednesday can be a day of fasting as well as repentance for many.

Lent lasts for 40 days and is a time of preparation, repentance and reflection for those of us in the Christian church. We are to repent from our sins and spend more time in Scripture reading and prayer.

It is always beneficial to spend more time in the Word and prayer.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.