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DAILY Devotion

Don't Forget Your First Love

By Lori D'Augostine
Guest Writer -- Valentine's Day has always been a special day for me. I can remember as a kid, being the one to spend days on end picking out my favorite cards and candy for my loved ones and secret crushes. I've never been one to wear black in revolt. To me, Valentine's Day is one of the most "spiritual" holidays of the year.

Last year, in attempt to spread my cheer, I wrote an article called A Valentine's Day Survival Guide, in hope that both couples and singles might view the day as half-full. There is no need to check out or check into the Lonely Heart's Club.

I decided to take my own advice. If you ever wonder if the authors of these articles practice what they preach, I am hear to say yes, I didn't just survive the day, it was actually one of the best days of my life. Like a scene out of a movie, this is how my evening played out...

“You’re getting closer,” I shouted.

[I marveled in my ability to restrain him with a blindfold, even if just for a few moments.] The same man, who was keen to his senses in the presence of pending attacks by the insurgents in Iraq, had let his guard down. He was ambushed by love. And, I was freezing cold.

“I surrender,” he cried. The anticipation in his voice was almost comical. “Where are you taking me?”

“To the place where our love began,” I exclaimed.

I remembered the many times he told me that he was fighting for me in Iraq. I couldn’t grasp how someone I had never met could fight for me, but I knew it deserved my utmost appreciation.

“Surpise!” He opened his eyes to find a monument called the “Purple Heart Trail,” commemorating the “Purple Heart” award given to soldiers who give their lives and are wounded in battle.

“For fighting for and winning my heart,” I continued.... “Although, it’s not the Purple Heart, I give you my heart.”

I knew my pure heart and Devotion was the most worthy medal he could receive. I kept it only for him and knew that God had given the permission to open it. It was that night, Valentine’s Day of 2007, I knew he was to be my husband. For it was only my husband who could have won my heart, like this man.

Okay, let's hit the pause button on this movie.

Now one year later, my fiancee and I are returning to that memorial. It has been quite a year, to be so in love. The love we share began way before last Valentine's Day though.

[Rewind]... It began back in 1996, when we both discovered the Source of True Love.

[Play]... I was a college freshman, torn by the prospects of a dating culture that lent itself to heartbreak. I knew I desired a husband but realized that within my heart lies a much greater need, to be enthralled by my Maker, my Heavenly Husband.

"For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth." (Isaiah 54:5, NLT)

"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord." (Psalm 45:11, NLT)

My freshman year, I decided to go on a dating fast. After reading the book, Knight in Shining Armor I committed six months to going out on "dates" only with my Heavenly Father. Friday and Saturday nights were spent at the prayer chapel, soaking in the Word. It was out of that time, that the Lord began to give me a heart for my future husband. He was preparing us for each other. The Lord had shown me that my future husband was a warrior. He gave me this verse:

"My heart is with Israel's warriors, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the LORD!" (Judges 5:9, NIV)

[Pause]... FYI, I met Larry shortly after he came home from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before I knew him, I prayed many a night, when I could have gone out with my friends, that he would be safe and protected. I was falling in love with my future husband, even before we met. How cool is that?

This Valentine's Day, I praise God for His love. Even though my fiancee and I have plans to spend the day together, I cannot love the gift more than the Gift-giver. I am planning on going out on a date with my Heavenly Father too. I am going back to the prayer chapel where we used to go together in days of old. This will include getting all dressed up and writing a love letter, as my gift to God. I want to spend time with my first love.

In the book of Revelation, John relays a message from God to the church of Ephesus. It is a good reminder for us, especially this day:

"These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." (Revelation 2:1-7, NIV)

For those of us who have been blessed by a special earthly love, it can be easy to forget our Heavenly Love--the Lover of our soul. Or on the contrary, for those of us who are feeling neglected of earthly affection, consider this. Put your life on pause, and get ready to watch one of the best movie scenes you've ever seen. Real life is always better than techni-color. You have a Valentine waiting for you. Will you go out with Him? Do not forget your First Love. He is a Gentleman and will not impose. Its your choice. Will you accept His invitation today?

Lord, I thank you for this special day. It is a reminder to me of how much You love me. No one has or could ever love me like You. Lord, thank you for persuing, fighting for, and dying for me. You have my heart. I honor You today. I will spend time with You and remember You as my first love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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