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Valentine Dreams

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Valentine Dreams
Philippians 2:1-2
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and many couples will take the step of matrimony.

Unlike years gone by, few if any will leave their reception with a shower of rice.
By the mid-1990s, it was common knowledge that the uncooked rice would kill unsuspecting birds. The rice would swell in their stomachs, cause them to burst, and cause a tragic death.
So the tradition of rice, superstitiously believed to foster fertility, was abandoned and alternatives like birdseed, confetti, and bubbles were established.
Ironically, there is no truth to the idea that rice is a threat to birds.
Miyoko Chu, a Cornell University ornithologist (awni thologist), has stated there are no documented cases of birds dying as a result of eating rice. She says, "In fact, house sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and bobolinks eat it all the time in the wild."
Weddings and marriage are surrounded by so many myths.
If a whole country can be duped by misinformation about rice, how many more people are being confounded by the idea that when they get married, they will live happily ever after; no arguing or fighting, because, let’s face it, they are madly in love, and they will have the perfect marriage.
Those of us who are married can vouch for this perfect bliss, can’t we?
Many of you are already thinking, “Only in your dreams!”

Alicia thought she had the perfect fiancé. As she was getting to know Michael and his family, she was very impressed by how much his parents loved each other.
"They’re so thoughtful," Alicia said. "Why, your dad even brings your mom a cup of hot coffee in bed every morning."
After a time, Alicia and Michael were engaged, and then married.
On the way from the wedding to the reception, Alicia again remarked on Michael’s loving parents and his mom’s morning coffee in bed.
"Tell me," she said, "does it run in the family?"
"It sure does," replied Michael. "But you should know -- I take after my mom."

When the honeymoon is over, and weeks give way to months which give way to years, the love that once burned hotly has more times than not become a weak flame.

Question: What has happened? Where has the love gone? Many wish they could make the fire hotter, to make it like it first was.

The Valentine dreams are still there.
Valentine Dream
A woman woke up and told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s day. What do you think it means?"
"You’ll know tonight." he said.
That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it - to find a book entitled "The Meaning of Dreams"

And sadly today, more of these dreams are becoming nightmares than ever before, and it is not getting any better.

George Barna
George Barna, statistician, reported in December, "Boomers are virtually certain to become the first generation for which a majority experience divorce."

What can be done to make our Valentine dreams come true? to rekindle the flame in our marriage as it once was?

I believe the Bible provides the answer. Scripture is full of rich insights of rekindling the Valentine dream – and there is perhaps none better in the whole Bible than that found in the 2nd chapter of Philippians.

Paul wrote this letter to the congregation at Philippi, who he knew were struggling in the area of unity. There was friction and bickering between several in the church.

In the 2nd chapter, Paul gives sound advice that will heal any disunity found in the midst of a congregation. Practically speaking, this is also excellent advice for married couples who need help in their valentine dreams.

This morning, lets look at these wise principles that Paul shares for couples desiring to rekindle their love for each other.

I. Principle #1: Encourage one another.

Philippians 2:1a
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,

Question: When was the last time you praised your mate with encouraging words?

Anonymous quote
Someone noted, "Man doesn’t live by bread alone. He also needs buttering up."

George M. Adams has remarked,
There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come through encouragement from someone else. I don’t care how great, how famous or how successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause. —

Stephen Glenn
Stephen Glenn understands the power of encouragement. He is always looking for ways to praise another.
Stephen was at his grandson’s tee-ball game awhile back. A little boy came up to the plate. He swatted the ball off the tee and ran as fast as he could to third base.
The coach went up to the little boy and said "Boy, you sure hit that ball a long way."
The little boy responded, "I did?"
"Yeah, and you ran really fast to third base and surprised the heck out of everybody!"
"I did?" he asked.
"Yes, you did. I have one question to ask you before you come to the dugout to watch the rest of the inning," the coach said to the boy. "When you made the decision to run to third base instead of first, what were you thinking of?"
The boy replied, "Well, everybody that was running to first was getting put out."
The coach took the boy to the dugout to talk to him. "Last time you made the choice of running to third base instead of first, surprised everybody, and made it, but you didn’t get a chance to score. Now you’ve got the same choice again. You can choose to run to third and probably make it okay but you won’t get to score, or you can take the risk of running to first base. You may get put out, but if you make it you get a chance to score. But, whatever you decide, I want you to know we’re right there behind you."

We all need praise every now and then, to know somebody is behind us if we fail.

Question: Do you encourage your mate? Do you praise him or her in small things? After all, he or she is a special gift from God to be praised and encouraged in every endeavor?

Hans Christian Andersen
"Blame dulls me, praise give me courage." Those are the words of that great writer of children’s literature, Hans Christian Andersen. Someone has said that next to the New Testament, no books ever written have done more to teach love on earth than those of Hans Christian Andersen.
Andersen’s childhood was not a happy one, though. He was born into poverty. His grandfather died insane. Andersen wanted to be an actor but people told him that he was too ugly. He tried his hand at writing as a young man. His teachers, though, seeing what he was doing, would say, "What rot are you slinging together now." There wasn’t much praise for young Andersen, but as he writes in his diary, it was the little praise he got that kept him going.

It’s the little praise you give your husband or wife that makes the day sunnier in their souls.

Encourage your mate, and watch as your Valentine Dream flickers more brightly.

Not only are we to encourage one another, but notice the second way we can rekindle the Valentine Dream:

II Comfort One Another.
Philippians 2:1
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love,

A magician accidentally turned his wife into a couch and his two kids into armchairs. He started to panic and thought to himself, "What on earth have I done?"
He began to ponder, "How am I going to bring back my beloved family?" So, he thought for a while, and decided a good idea was to take them to a hospital and see if the surgeon could operate and bring them back. He loaded them into his van and off he rushed to the local hospital.
He walked up and down the hospital hall and after some serious surgery, he asks the doctor, "Doc, how are they?"
The doctor replied, "Comfortable!"

Question: How much comfort do you give your spouse in your marriage?

One of the most amazing stories is not a story I’ve read, but that I’ve seen. For going on two years, I’ve watched Lin Brown bring comfort to his wife, Mary who is fighting for her life with cancer. Lin’s life is incredibly difficult. Six days a week, he drives a truck, ten to twelve hours a day. After work, he drives home from East St. Louis to Grantfork, showers, and then heads to St. John’s Hospital, in St. Louis, some 60 miles away, to be with Mary.
She has recently been given a private room and he can stay in the room with her. But, previously, he would sleep overnight in the waiting room or sometimes even in his truck in the parking lot.
And then, 6:30 the next morning, he’s off for another day of work.

And yet, the comfort of love that Lin gives Mary is something that make Valentine Dreams come true.

Oh, that we would bring comfort to those who are most special to us like that.

George Eliot, British novelist of the 19th century knew the meaning of comfort. At the age of 17, after the death of her mother and the marriage of her elder sister, she was called home to care for her father. She learned the true meaning of comfort. Listen to her words: Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Comfort draws two people together like nothing else can. Oh, that we would learn the power of comfort in our Valentine Dreams.

Third Principle:

III. Spend time with one another.

Philippians 2:1
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

Fellowship! Everyone here knows how to fellowship.

But there’s one thing you need to fellowship: Time!

Spending time together is so important for any relationship, including marriage!

A tornado hit a Kansas farmhouse just before dawn one morning. It tore off the roof and picked up the beds on which the farmer and his wife were sleeping. By some miracle, the tornado set them down, unharmed, the next county over.
The wife was sobbing uncontrollably.
"Don’t be scared, Mary," her husband said. "We’re not hurt."
Mary continued to cry. "I’m not scared," she said between sobs. "I’m happy... this is the first time we’ve been out together in 14 years."

David Jeremiah
Listen to David Jeremiah’s insight in spending time: “You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not the quantity, but the quality of time that really counts.” Simply defined, the statement means that one can make up for having minimal moments with his family by making certain that the time he does have is quality time.
On the surface, this concept seems to make a lot of sense. It is possible to spend much time with one’s family that is seemingly meaningless. All of us experience times when we are at home physically but our minds are wandering miles away. I can remember days with the family that could have been “scratched” in terms of “quality.”
So what is the “quality time” myth? It’s as phony as the fake diamond in a one-dollar ring. The fact is, there is no quality without quantity.
Too many parents live with the regrets of abandoned moments. It takes time to be silly, to share a secret, to heal a hurt, to kiss away a tear. Moments of uninhibited communication between child and parent cannot be planned; they just happen. The only ingredient we bring to that dynamic of family life is our availability … and that is spelled T-I-M-E.

May I add, that’s also important with couples as well.

Couples must find time in their busy schedules, to get away from the kids, and just spend time together—have a date night every week.

Without time together, the Valentine dream will not flourish.

IV. Fourth Principle: Be Tender to one another.

Philippians 2:1
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

What is tenderness?
This word literally refers to our insides. The Jews saw our inner parts as the source of the more tender affections, like kindness. Being kind to one another is so important.

I understand there is now a "Husband Shopping Center" where a woman can choose from among many men, for her husband. It is laid out in five floors, with the men increasing in positive attributes as you ascend up the floors.
The only rule is, once you open the door to any floor, you must choose a man from that floor, and if you go up a floor, you can’t go back down except to leave the place.
So, a couple of girlfriends went to the place to find men.
First floor, the door had a sign saying "These men have jobs and love kids."
The women read the sign and say "Well that’s better than not having jobs, or not loving kids, but I wonder what’s further up?" So up they go.
Second floor says "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking"
Hmmm, say the girls. But, I wonder what’s further up?
Third floor: "These men have high paying jobs, are extremely good looking, love kids and help with the housework."
Wow! say the women. Very tempting, BUT, there’s more further up! And up they go.
Fourth floor: "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak." Oh, mercy me. But just think! What must be awaiting us further on!
So up to the fifth floor they go. The sign on that door reads, "This floor is just to prove that women are impossible to please."

No marriage has ever been perfect except one.

Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve had the world’s only perfect marriage. She couldn’t talk about the man she might have married and he couldn’t complain that his mother was a better cook.

But most marriages would be a lot better if both spouses would flavor acts of kindness into the mix of every day life.

Sophocles (C. 496-406 B.C.)
As the Greek dramatist, Sophocles, once remarked, “Kindness will always attract kindness.”

Being kind to your spouse might be difficult to do at times, especially in the middle of an argument, but the more kindness you give, the closer your Valentine Dream will come true.

Fifth Principle:

V. Be Compassionate to one another.

Philippians 2:1
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

Compassion conveys the idea of showing pity and mercy on the individual.

Clara Null
Few would think of a baby demonstrating compassion, but that’s exactly what happened to Clara Null. The young single mother was having a horrible day as everything seemed to go wrong. She didn’t feel well, the washing machine broke, and an unexpected bill arrived in the mail.
After tearfully lifting her one-year-old into his highchair, she leaned against the tray and began crying.
Without saying a word, her son took his pacifier out of his mouth and stuck it into her mouth

There are times when we all need to be babied, when we all need to be shown compassion. Valentine Dreams come alive if when we begin showing pity and mercy to our mates.

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? To give encouragement, comfort, fellowship, kindness, and compassion to each other in order to invigorate Valentine Dreams.

Paul continues:
Philippians 2:2
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

To complete the Valentine dream, couples are urged to be like-minded.

Paul exhorts the Philippian congregation to complete his joy.

He says, "Make me glad when I hear of how much unity you have with one another."

I believe that’s good advice for every successful marriage.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, "Is my behavior right now the kind of behavior that would put a smile on the face of my pastor?

Being “like-minded” doesn’t mean couples have the identical personality.

We become like-minded when Christian couples have the same values and loves, being one in spirit and purpose.

It speaks of unity going in the same direction. There is nothing superficial about it. It comes from the core of one’s being.

Two Businessmen
Two businessmen had a significant encounter in an airport baggage
claim area. One was a family man and the other was unmarried.
The single traveler watched with great curiosity as the family man was engulfed with hugs and kisses by his wife and children. They embraced and smiled as though the man had been gone for weeks.
The skilled salesman was taken back by their abundance of affection so he asked the family if they had been separated for a long time. The man affirmed he had indeed been away on business for two whole days.
In amazement at such a strong knit family, the fast-track single businessman stated, “I sure hope I can have a family like that some day.”
The other man turned from his family and replied, “Don’t hope, my friend. Decide!”

Each day, you decide on whether to enrich your marriage, or tear it down. Valentine Dreams can come true. It’s really up to you!

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