First Love

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.”
-Revelation 2:4

First love…I’ve done a lot of pondering over those two words in recent months.  It’s a concept that we don’t often think of.  When we hear or read Revelation 2:4, it may cause us to squirm a little.  We may think, “I love the Lord. I haven’t left Him.” Revelation 2:4 doesn’t say that we left Him.  It says we left our first love.

When I am studying something, I like to look up words in the dictionary.  I use the Blue Letter Bible app to look up the meaning in the original language.  I also like to read different translations.  One translation says, “You have abandoned the love you had at first.” Sometimes those of us who have walked with the Lord for a long time get bogged down with life.  We get settled in our relationship with the Lord.  Maybe it even becomes routine. We don’t like to think of the words left or abandon. But when we allow life to crowd into our relationship with the Lord, that is what we are doing.

For the last several months, I have had the privilege of being around a young man who has that first love. This young man has no Christianity in his background or in his family.  He received no gospel witness from a Christian or a gospel tract.  God took this man to the end of himself.  At that point, God gave him the desire to pick up a Bible and start reading it. He led him to visit our church in December.  He kept coming back.  He had to have surgery that required hospitalization.  During the hospital stay, he read his Bible for 12 hours a day!!! He is thrilled to have met Jesus Christ.  He has been gloriously saved. This was all the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!! (Psalm 118:23) It has been a privilege to watch the Lord draw this young man to Himself.

As I watched all of this unfold, I also watched what being around this young man did for the members of our church and me. There is something contagious about being around someone with that first love.  There were several things I noticed in this man’s life that gave me pause to consider my own spiritual life. 

First, he cannot get enough of God’s Word.  He is faithful to every service at church.  He meets with my husband for weekly Bible study. He reads and studies his Bible every free moment. He has started memorizing some of God’s Word.  

This young man has a tremendous burden for those who don’t know the Lord.  His first prayer request after his salvation was for family members that do not know the Lord.  He makes sure his two-year-old daughter is at church. He wants her to grow up knowing the true God. He has a heavy burden for his wife and his parents.  He wants them to know the truth. He is so excited about the peace that God has given him and the change that God has wrought in his life, that he wants everyone to know.

He had two huge tests for a young believer in this land where we serve. The day before his baptism, he had to take a stand against ancestor worship. He did it without hesitation. The day after his baptism, his boss told him that he needed to move to another city to keep his job. He declined. As a result, he is looking for a new job. He told my husband that he did not think it would be good for his spiritual life to relocate at this time.  He went on to say that this is a good time for him to learn to trust the Lord.  

As I watched all of this take place, I saw the people of our church get excited at what God is doing in this man’s life.  There is a new fervor among the people. There is a new zeal to pray for unsaved loved ones.  We have been reminded that God is still working to draw people to Himself. 

In my own life, I have seen areas where I am not trusting God as I should. I have had my burden for others increase. I have meditated on the changes God has wrought in my life with thanksgiving. I am praying for God to increase my desire for His Word and He is answering. 

What about you? Have you left your first love? Meditate on all the things God has done in your heart and your life.  Spend more time in His Word and prayer with thanksgiving. As you do that, see if you don’t return to that first love!

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul for which long I have sought,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

I have ceased from my wand’ring and going astray,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And my sins which were many are all washed away,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

There’s a light in the valley of death now for me,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And the gates of the City beyond I can see,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

I shall go there to dwell in that city, I know,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And I’m happy, so happy, as onward I go,
Since Jesus came into my heart! 

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.
~Rufus H. McDaniel

Our Church, Pt. 2

On the last post, I had some questions asked in the comments. Rather than answer them in the comments, I thought I would take the time to answer them in a new post.

We do not own our building.  The church pays rent.  There is also a house on the property that we live in and pay rent to the church.  It is beneficial to both of us.  They could not maintain the property financially without our rent.  We could never rent anything similar to this house for the rent we pay the church.  If the day comes that we have to move, unless the Lord performs a miracle, we will most likely be living in an apartment.

We have been posting our services live recently.  Japan is on a little different schedule than other parts of the world with the virus.  We have had two Sundays so far with no attendees and will most likely have at least two more.  After that, we don’t know.  My husband uses his iPhone and Facebook to post the messages live.  He then downloads them and posts them on his YouTube channel.  We have high speed internet service, so that is not an issue for us.  One problem we do have is that some of our people do not have internet and are limited in data use on their phone, so they can’t tune in.

Our Japanese Sunday School and worship service is in the AM and the English ones are in the afternoon.  We are currently doing both services live.  We are not doing Sunday School.  Our English service attendees are people living in Japan from many countries around the world.  The common language is English.  Currently, we have attendees from the Philippines, Jamaica, the USA, India, and Vietnam.  When we aren’t social-distancing, every 4th Sunday is a combined bilingual service followed by a pot luck meal.

The church has a small apartment on the second floor that was built for a national pastor.  We currently use it as a guest apartment.  We often have visitors from supporting churches or other missionaries, so it is very nice for us to have this available.

We also have a nice size backyard.  Most people in Japan do not have yards since the houses are so close together.  I am especially grateful for this as I love to be outdoors playing in the dirt.  When I took our last child to college, my husband built a large deck across the back of the house.  It was a wonderful surprise!!!  I love sitting out there and we use it often for fellowships and pot luck Sundays.

Thank you for your interest in the facilities the Lord has provided for us.  We are grateful.  We would love to be able to buy this property, but at least we have a 30 year lease.  When we checked into the possibility of buying it several years ago, we found out the value was 1.5 million.  We won’t be buying it anytime soon!


Picture 1-This cross is on the top of our church building.
Picture 2-This is a picture of our deck shortly after it was built!
My hubby did a great job!!


Church Work Day

We had a church work day today.  ChurchWorkDay1The weather was perfect.  We were able to accomplish A LOT during the morning.  ChurchWorkDay2We finished everything on the list.  We were thrilled.  ChurchWorkDay3After all the work, we played.  🙂  ChurchWorkDay4We had lunch with grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and lots of other good foods.  ChurchWorkDay5Some played games and some just sat on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful spring day visiting.  ChurchWorkDay6It was a lovely day!

Church News


Sunday was an exciting day. We had 4 visitors! It looks like at least one will stick. We had a new man join us recently, so our numbers are increasing slowly. Praise the Lord!

We are praying about starting a new ministry for foreigners in the heart of our city. There are many. English is a common language. We may have found a room to rent. We are still trying to finalize things.
I continue on with my language studies. It is hard to find the time I need to devote to them. I keep working on it, trusting that someday soon, God will open my understanding.
Some little interesting tidbit: In Japan, when you do something for someone they always return the favor. It is impossible to do something for someone without them doing something back for you. For example, my DH took some Christmas cookies to one of our neighbors. Their daughter is in the states and we were missing J, so we just wanted to show some neighborly care. She promptly ran to the kitchen and gave us some mikans (a clementine, sort of like a tangerine.) I really don’t think there is such a thing as a free gift here!

I Wish I Could…

I just spent a few minutes reading e-mail and browsing some blogs. I wish I had the time to give book reviews, show all my hobbies, or do a blog on some passion of mine. The truth is I just don’t have the time to read books, do hobbies or write about a passion of mine right now. Maybe I never will. So, I will be content with just sharing what is going on in my life and hope that there are some that receive a blessing from it. We had some very special visitors recently, my dear friend and her two daughters from my home church.
We had a wonderful time with them while they were here.
They were a great encouragement to us and our church people.

The sacred concert was a great success with many first-time visitors.

The weather was perfect for the barbeque afterwards.

We took one day off for our annual trip to the rose garden in Kani.


Today was a great day. We had 4 visitors at our morning service and they stayed and joined us for lunch. Praise the Lord!

I wanted to share a few pictures from my corner of the world with you today.  One is of the cherry blossoms from my recent day out of the city.  The other is from a flower show I was able to attend at the Nagoya Dome.

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart,

in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

The works of the LORD are great,

sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

His work is honorable and glorious:

and his righteousness endureth forever.

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered:

the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

He hath given meat unto them that fear him:

he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

He hath showed his people the power of his works,

that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

The works of his hands are verity and judgment;

all his commandments are sure.

They stand fast forever and ever,

and are done in truth and uprightness.

He sent redemption unto his people:

he hath commanded his covenant forever:

holy and reverend is his name.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

a good understanding have all they that do his commandments:

his praise endureth forever.

~Psalm 111