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

Blessed is she who has believed…

The First Songs of Christmas by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is one of my reads for the month of Christmas.  The focus is on the songs of Christmas.  Years ago, a Titus 2 lady in my life encouraged me to ask the Lord for some new thought each holiday season. That has become my habit each year since.  This little devotional book has given me so much to think about.

I’ve also been thinking about how to wrap up my year with my one word for 2021, believing. The entry in the devotional for day 5 has provided much food for thought for me during this season.  

“The word translated “blessed” in Luke 1:45 is a different word than the “blessed” of verse 42, the one that equates to eulogy. This one (“Blessed is she who has believed”) is the Greek word makarios, meaning “one whom God makes fully satisfied”—not because of favorable circumstances, but because God Himself provides the satisfaction. To be makarios is to be fully content, even in situations that are less than ideal, solely because God lives in us through Christ. In other words, it’s the state of being saved. No matter what we are called to endure as Christians, we have all we need … because we have Jesus.”

“Blessed is she who has believed…” 

After meditating on something, I often write a paraphrase.  You could say, God has made her who has believed fully satisfied with Himself.  As I thought about this, I began to see some evidence of it in my life over this last year.  One of my verses for the year was Matthew 21:22. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  Many times I have cried out to the Lord while not necessarily believing that I will receive.  I have been convicted about that and working on changing it.  One result of that is that I have found myself talking to the Lord more and more.  Another result is that I can see that I have received.  I’m not talking about the Lord giving me everything I thought I needed or wanted.  He hasn’t answered every request the way I hoped or in the timing I desired; however, I am finding that the dissatisfaction of past “unanswered prayer” is fading and that I am becoming more satisfied with God Himself.  I have all I need because I have Jesus! 

As I was thinking about the correlation of believing and the blessing of satisfaction in the Lord, I couldn’t help but notice something.  Every time I make the choice to believe that God is good, I see more of His goodness. Every time I make the choice to believe that God is faithful, I see more of His faithfulness.  Every time I make the choice to believe that God will provide, I see more of His provision. Every time I make the choice to believe that God loves me, I see more of His love for me. This is God blessing the one who has believed. This is the joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).

We know that Mary experienced this satisfaction because of her beautiful song in Luke 1:46-55.  Most scholars believe that she was around 16 years old!!  Marvel over all that she believed about her God as you read.

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold,
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham,
and to his seed for ever.

How about you?  What thought are you meditating on during this Christmas season?  Do you have a sense of God making you more satisfied with Himself?  Why not spend some time meditating on Elizabeth’s words about Mary, “Blessed is she who has believed…”

Stranded at World’s End

Stranded at World’s End


“How wonderful to find Him always there, when we have unexpected need of Him! That living touch with Him is so precious; it makes Him so real; it obliterates the line between the earthly and heavenly; it is so humbling to find Him waiting there.”

“There are many apparently needless trials in life, but the Lord stands with us through all of them.  ‘May you lose nothing in the furnace but your dross,’ said Samuel Rutherford.  The Lord will preserve everything else for us.”

“Stranded at world’s end?  Maybe. But if we lean back we will find ourselves on the bosom of Christ—sweet, familiar place.

Sometimes on the Rock I tremble,
Faint of heart and weak of knee;
But the steadfast Rock of Ages
Never trembles under me!”

~from pages 78-80 of In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn

Psalm 91

The group memorizing Psalm 91 at Do Not Depart is finished according to the schedule.  I am still working on it.  I’ve been struggling with the last few verses.  I’ve also been struggling with the meaning behind some of the verses.  We know that God allows pain and suffering to those who love Him, so what does He mean when He says, “No evil shall come nigh thy dwelling.”  I have done some study on my own, read my study Bible notes and notes in a commentary.

You may remember that I have been pretty much confined to a chair due to a recent injury.  Today I took the time to go back and read the posts that were written about each week’s memory verses.  I would encourage you to do that even if you didn’t memorize the chapter.  They were such a blessing to me and gave me much to think about.  We live in such tumultuous times.  God is our peace.  It is my prayer that we will all run to Him for protection.

Here are a few of the most thought-provoking statements in those blog posts to me.  I wanted to write them out for my future reference and thought I would share them with you.  If you read the posts or have been meditating on Psalm 91, please share some of your thoughts in the comments so we can encourage one another.  I linked to each post in the Bible reference.

Psalm 91:1-2, “Regardless of the devastation that the coronavirus threatens us with, we can rest assured that if we stay in our shelter, once the storm passes, our souls will have survived.

And we will still be with God. Together.

He’ll help us pick up the pieces and put our lives back together. Then, as now, He will remain our refuge, our fortress, our God.

In Him we can trust.”

Psalm 91:3-4, “The mouse had taken the bait. And lost his battle.

We, however, don’t have to take the bait of worrying, of panicking, of complaining. We can go higher. Call for help. Avoid the traps.

God knows where our traps have been set, and if we’ll shelter in His nest, we will be safe. He’s got this. Let’s let him fight this one for us.

Count on His faithfulness.
Trust His goodness.
Rest in His love.”

Psalm 91:5-6, “We have a safe place in Jesus, despite our vulnerability in the world.

Ultimately, vulnerability isn’t our weakness. It’s our opportunity—to run to safe refuge in God.

It’s in God’s shelter that we are finally safe.”

Psalm 91:7-8, “While our bodies are just as susceptible to destruction as any other, our souls are not as susceptible. They are protected.

Our immunity doesn’t rest in the physical (although God can still perform miracles there also). Our advantage comes in the peace of God’s presence in us and around us.”

Psalm 91:9-10, “By trusting in God as our refuge, we not only are protecting ourselves, we’re also protecting those ‘near our tent.’

God’s protection ripples out.

When you stay close to God, others around you also benefit by His shade.”

Psalm 91:11-12, ” He doesn’t always stop the catastrophe from happening to us in the physical realm…Even when we can’t see God, He sees us. We are always on His mind and always in His works.”

Psalm 91:13-14, “Getting to know God more doesn’t have to be complicated. But you do need to consciously choose it.

Loving God more means spending more time with Him, being more aware of His presence, learning more who He is, talking with others about Him, talking more in person with Him.

The more you know God, the more you’ll love God. You’ll then hold on to Him in love because you want to, not from guilt or fear or obligation.

You’ll know Him by name.”

Psalm 91:15-16, “We often don’t see the gifts. Our blindness causes us to miss out on God’s good gifts.”

I think, perhaps, the fact of God’s presence is the dearest truth to me next to His love.  It is something that I dwell on continually. God reminds me of it when I don’t. This psalm is full of reminders of His presence.

Thank you, Lisa, for allowing the Lord to use you in this way.  The time spent in this psalm was exactly what my sore, anxious, weary heart needed.

The Little Things


We serve a wonderful God that cares about the little things!  

I love teacups!!  There were 2 particular ones that caught my eye and I wanted to add them to collection.  Every time I went to the store, I went and looked at them. One day one of them was on sale, so I put it in my cart. After shopping around for awhile, I put it back. I had the money, but there were other things that were more important.

To continue reading, click here.

An Answer and a Desire

God promises us that He hears our prayers.  He also tells us that if we commit our way to Him, He will give us the desires of our heart.  Sacrifices are required when we serve Him, but He knows and He blesses.  The last time our English ladies’ Bible study met, we specifically prayed that the Lord would bring more attenders to our English service and add a lady to our Bible study.  Two weeks ago, we had 5 visitors:  a family of three and a young couple.  The family returned and today, the wife attended our Bible study!  Praise the Lord for answered prayer.

On another note, I’ve been wishing I could attend a quilting class or guild of some sort, but didn’t know where to find one.  I was also concerned about language ability in that kind of a setting.  A friend recently posted about a free online quilting class.  I checked it out and signed up!  It runs for a year.  You can interact with the teacher and other members and post pictures to see others’ projects.  I had no idea there was such a thing online.  I watched the first lesson and I’m making plans to get started this week.  Can’t wait!  If you’d like to join in, click on the photo below.  This class is at the end of the list and the price should be posted as free.  Hope to see there!

Life is preparation…

…for eternity.  I heard these words this spring when a dear friend lost her husband.  As his final days were being lived, she kept saying, “We have spent our life preparing for this event.”  It was hard to wrap my brain around at the time, but the more I think on it, the more I understand.  Now I hear the words again in the post I am about to link to.  Make sure you read with tissues near by and your thinking cap on.  Maybe even take a moment to ask the Lord to speak to your heart as you read.  If you haven’t already begun to make your own preparations,  I pray that you will begin today.

From Amy in The Valley of the Shadow of Death

A Reminder of God’s Blessings

I woke up to this beautiful white stuff this morning!

I love when God gives us little reminders of His past blessings.  Today it was in the snow that I have longed for…

We moved to this part of Japan the week of Thanksgiving 2005. This is not the time of year that most of us would choose to make a life-changing move, but we knew it was the Lord’s perfect timing.

We arrived and spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws and then went to our new home. We hit the ground running. While others were decking the halls, we were painting, wallpapering, putting in a new floor, laying carpet and all the other things that needed to be done before our container arrived.

The container arrived the week before Christmas. My husband, his two brothers and a national friend spent 2 days at the port negotiating. We were getting concerned. We thought that we paid everything in the states. The port officials here were telling us otherwise. The price was climbing and we did not have the money. Finally, they agreed to let my hubby and his brothers unload at customs for the inspection and then reload it. This would save us a lot of money. We still had to get through the inspection.

I thought I did all the paperwork right, but found out later that I went a little overboard and it could cost us a lot of money. I e-mailed many of my friends and my home church to pray on the day of inspection.

The night before, it began snowing hard!!! My hubby was helping a neighbor with their car that was stuck in the snow when he said that he didn’t think it snowed like that here. The neighbor who has lived here for all of her 50+ years replied that she didn’t know it did either! All I could think about was the inconvenience of unloading and reloading the container in the snow. If all went well, the container would be delivered the next day which meant another day of unloading in not so good weather. This was all happening 5-6 days before Christmas which was on a Sunday.

When the men went to the port, the customs official told my husband that since it was snowing there would be no inspection. He asked him to step into his office while he processed the paperwork to release the container. There was no inspection and no taxes!!! We found out later that this snowfall was a 60 year record for our area!! God certainly intervened on our behalf.

Another miracle was the hooking up of my American gas range. We were told that it would be weeks before they could get to us. I was doing all my cooking in the microwave, with the electric skillet or on the gas burner over at the church. It was getting old. I prayed. On Christmas Eve, the gas man came to see what needed to be done and called for help. They hooked it up that day!!

I was so far away from home without any of the trappings that normally make up our Christmas celebrations, but that was what I needed to see the miracles and remember WHO Christmas is all about. I will never forget…

60 year record-breaking snowfall, December 2005
60 year record-breaking snowfall, December 2005
60 year record-breaking snowfall, December 2005

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
~Matthew 21:22