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Candy Cane Heart Suckers  

I know lots of people have made these, but I just made them for my Bible class and thought I'd share for the one person who hasn't seen it yet!
I used miniature candy canes. I've seen people use higher temperatures, but I wanted to retain more control over the results, so I used 250 degrees. You can bake them on parchment paper, but having none, I sprayed with Pam and it worked fine. At 3 minutes I started checking every 1 minute and using a dinner knife to gently adjust the shapes. For some weird reason, the tips started to pull apart as they softened, so nudging them with the knife was good. When I was happy with how they looked and they were sufficiently softened that they would be joined when they cooled, I pressed sucker sticks into them and let them cool a little on the cookie sheet. Then I gently loosened them with a spatula and removed them for cooling. Hope you enjoyed it!I wrapped each in regular plastic wrap.
They disappeared immediately at the fellowship dinner! Now I've seen someone else's idea where they filled the centers with melted white chocolate and sprinkled valentine sprinkles on them. That's sooooo much cuter. Wish I'd thought of that. Oh well, next time!

Happy Valentines Day! And now to what matters - Our minds turn to thoughts of love and romance and maybe that "special" gift from our certain someone. Our dreams are so glorious! Most of us spend most of our Valentine's Days really let down because life just doesn't always work out the way we wish it would. As long as our dreams of love and romance depend on another person's participation, we can pretty well figure we are going to be let down most of the time, because - we are all just human.

Have you ever considered that you might be looking for love and romance in the wrong place? How about if there were a completely risk free way to have our dreams of loving another and being loved in return come true - forever?! No need to fear rejection or that we will be let down or taken advantage of.

There is one who declared His love for you before He even created the world you are living in. He actually fashioned this entire world just to give to you, that you might have all you need. He didn't buy you a bouquet of flowers that soon die, He filled the world with countless varieties of them in a never ending supply for you! He didn't write you a sonnet that lasts for a few minutes, He filled nature with the music of birds songs and flowing waters - for you! He didn't buy you a dinner and a box of candy, but filled the world with good things to eat - for you! He didn't paint a painting for you, He has painted the skies every morning and every night since your birth, to give you pleasure! He didn't give you a puppy with a bow on it's neck, He created countless creatures to be your companions and bring you love and joy!

It's a done deal. He cannot disappoint you or let you down, because it's all completed already. He filled this created world with nothing but magnificent declarations of His undying love for YOU! He wants nothing more than an intimate love relationship with you, right here in this life and even more in the next!

He is holy and those who are to be with Him must be holy too. He knew mankind would sin and fall from grace, spiritually separating us from our loving Creator who had done all this, made all this, only so He could love us and we would love Him in return. He knew we would need a way back to Him. He designed a way for us to be restored to grace so we could again be His children and fellowship with Him eternally.

He designed this plan in such a way to fully demonstrate His love for us for all time. He would give us laws to teach us good from evil so we would have the chance to choose between them. He taught us about Himself through the prophets and patriarchs of old, and later by His apostles, so that we would understand that He is holy and righteous and pure. This served to teach us how evil sin is and how we are to strive to be holy and righteous like our Heavenly Father to fellowship with Him and have happy lives.

To demonstrate to us how evil sin is, He gave the law that without the shedding of blood, the source of life, there is no forgiveness of sin. He had them sacrifice animals to repent of their sins and have them rolled ahead for one more year, but not forgiven, because the blood of animals isn't holy.

Then at the right time, He gave His only begotten Son to be born of a virgin. Jesus willingly left heaven and the Creator took on the form of the created. Fully God and fully man. He lived among us to teach us and show us God and the way back to Him, and lovingly tell us the penalty awaiting us if we don't. He was in all ways tempted as we are so that He could be the perfect High Priest for us, compassionate because He too has experienced it all like us. He lived His life without sin, and willingly gave His own life on the cross to be the perfect blood sacrifice for mankind's sins, once forever.

I've heard people speak of what a horrible god our God must be to require the brutal and bloody death of His own son. Ahhh...but look at it correctly, it is as you have read here, all a plan from before there was time to show us how evil and harmful sin is and HOW MUCH HE LOVES US! Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the greatest demonstration of love for us that is possible. The greatest gift of love there ever could be. A wooing that began before creation and continues today as He knocks at the door of your heart, an Ardent Lover pleading for you to accept His free gift of love - salvation - and ask Him to come in to your life and your heart and fellowship with Him!

Isn't that just fantastic? This is love that cannot fail you! This is TRUE love! Love that does not change when you grow old, when you fail, when you are sick or injured - love sealed with His own blood for eternity! But you say, I'm lonely here and now. I need a mate to hold and love, one that I can see and feel. I don't mean to propose that you not meet and marry here, that is God's plan for most of us and it is good. I'm just saying that in your often painful search for love, realize that you can have all that here and now with the only one who will fully and permanently love you and never reject you as long as you don't leave Him. When you have taken Jesus as your Savior and are also filled with the Holy Spirit, seeking Him with all your heart, you will find that there can be such intimacy with Him, even the ability to physically sense Him, that He can very truly be with you here, in this life as well as eternally. He is the true Lover of your soul. Happy Valentines Day!

Today's freebie is a valentine in the truest sense of the term that I gave here last year. It's all about God showing His immeasurable love for us through the gift of Jesus on the cross, His blood that bought the new covenant of grace for us in God's Word. The hearts mingling with His blood remind us that it was only love holding Him on that cross. The mourning dove in my back yard represents the precious Holy Spirit He has given to us as our Comforter and Teacher. You get a 12x12 overlay and I thought you might also like the finished jpg with a dove in it. Today's freebie is part two of a two page layout.

If you download, leave me some love at the bottom of the post and God bless your use of it!
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