The Perfect Dinner

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Years ago, when my husband, Terry, and I were dating, I set
about to fix what I called the “perfect dinner” for Valentine’s Day. On the
menu were Terry’s favorites: baked pasta with marinara sauce smothered in
cheese, salad and buttery garlic bread. How difficult was that? In a word, highly!

You see I was a woman with an unsavory “kitchen past” and a
long list of disasters to prove it. My most recent one was when my popovers
(containing too much baking soda) exploded like hand grenades in the oven!

“Well, never mind,” I told myself, as I braved the kitchen
to fix the perfect dinner. Terry didn’t
need to know about my hidden disasters, just tonight’s grand performance of
undaunted love revealed perfectly on a red linen tablecloth.

I began chopping the lettuce and slicing the Italian bread,
making sure to slather it generously with homemade garlic butter. No disasters
yet. Perfecto! Filled with sudden
confidence, I began to sing in a bold falsetto voice. Throwing my pasta into
the pot, I phoned Terry to give a progress report. “Prepare for a surprise!” I
trumpeted. Terry announced that he’d rush through traffic and be there in 30
minutes flat. Bravissimo!The
Culinary Diva was on a roll (no pun intended)—look out!

After minutes on the phone with Terry, I returned to the
pasta pot and stared inside. No water! No pasta noodles! Just congealed white
goop! “Uh-oh!” All singing stopped.

With no time to spare, I moved from diva mode to disaster
mode. What to do? Carusos—the small
mom-and-pop Italian takeout store on the corner. Disaster averted.

In 25 minutes the doorbell rang. As I opened it, I felt my
cheeks flush. Facing me were two men: the deliveryman (arriving late) holding a
steaming Carusos delivery box and Terry (arriving early) holding flowers and
sporting a grin that told me he saw right through all the pretense.

I fought the urge to slam the door and announce, “Sandra
doesn’t live here!” Sheepishly, I invited them in—both, by now, were grinning
and chuckling.

Since that night, my beloved Terry and I have celebrated
more than 30 Valentine’s Days—some fancy, others simple. On Valentine’s Day, we
usually recount the memory of the “perfect dinner.” We often reflect on how,
with the passage of time, we have gained some wisdom and perspective on what
true love is. It is not a grand
performance, a parade or a charade. Rather, it is mutual respect for each other
and unconditionally giving kindness and caring (see 1 Cor. 13:4).

You and I might feel at times that we fall short or fail in
our attempts to express love smoothly and eloquently, but God’s Word assures us
that true love itself never fails (see 1 Cor. 13:8). After 32 years of
marriage, Terry and I have discovered that true love is not something conjured
up by any one man-made event. It is a good and perfect gift coming from above
(see James 1:17), a gift from God—who is
love (see 1 John 4:8).

In this season when thoughts turn to hearts and flowers and
presenting things “just so” for our loved ones, let’s remember that the Lord,
the only perfect One, expressed His unconditional and undying love for us when
He went to the cross.

We don’t have to perform or try to be perfect to express or
receive His love. We can receive His unconditional agape love just as we are and, as His ambassadors, embody
His love and spread it to others (see 2 Cor. 5:20). Our God has taken us beyond
the short moment of one day’s celebration—into an eternity of rejoicing.

PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 2/14/2012

This week thank the
Lord that He loves you unconditionally and because of that love you can love
others without expecting anything in return.  Thank Him that His love sustains and satisfies your deepest
need for acceptance and approval. 
Ask him to give you opportunities to share His love with others who
desperately need it.  Pray that
God’s love would permeate all of us so we could stand in unity against
unrighteousness and work harmoniously toward bringing righteous change to our
nation and the nations of the world. 
1 Cor. 13; 2 Cor. 5:20

To enrich your prayer
life and learn how to strategically pray with power by using appropriate
scriptures, we recommend the following sources by Apostle John Eckhardt:
Prayers that Rout Demons, Prayers that Bring Healing, Prayers that Release Heaven on Earth and Prayers that Break
Curses. To order any or all of these click here.


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