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

The Blessing of the Lord…

…it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

~Proverbs 10:22

My DD is now a junior at a Christian university studying music.  Her proficiency is flute.  She had to have her flute serviced this week.  When the lady returned it to her, she kept raving about what a wonderful flute she had.  She also said that if it is well maintained, it should last her for many years to come.  We were thrilled to hear that.  It was a reminder to me again of how the Lord answers prayer above and beyond what we could ask or think.  Below is the link to the story of how we acquired the flute.  I hope you will take the time to read it and that it will encourage you to take all of your needs to the Lord.  He is ready and willing to meet them!

The New Flute

A Miracle!

I want to share the following e-mail with you for different reasons. First, there are those who don’t believe in miracles and this is one! Second, I know this couple and they have had many hardships while serving the Lord in Africa, but they do not quit! Third, it was a personal encouragement to me of the involvement of God in our lives as we serve Him. Sometimes I get fearful of the things here that I don’t know or have confidence in, but my confidence must be in God. He will take care of my family and me as we serve Him here.

*Please note: Dr. R is a Christian surgeon that graduated from a Christian university before going on to medical school. The names and places have been edited to protect this couple’s privacy. If you know them, please do not leave their name in a comment. Thank you!

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever………But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works. Psalm 73:26 & 28

This whole passage in Psalm 73 is [my husband’s] favorite, but verse 26 is [his] life verse. I count it a privilege to share this verse with you as I also try to explain in my feeble words the mighty works God has performed in [his] life.

As you know, in the early morning hours of March 18, [my husband] woke up with severe abdominal pain and a very high fever. He was in the African hospital for 10 days on IV’s. The surgeon there said [he] had not ruptured, even though [he] was sure he had felt it burst, causing his fever to become high so quickly. Had he been in America, he would have been in surgery that morning. After the 10 days in the hospital on antibiotics by IV, he spent the next 20 days at home on oral antibiotics, but not getting better. He remained on a very limited soft diet, then nothing but clear liquids until his surgery yesterday. He has lost 35 lbs. since March 18, according to what he weighed right before surgery yesterday morning.

While [he] was in recovery yesterday, Dr. R explained to us the mighty works of God that had kept [him] alive during the past month. [His] colon did rupture on March 18. After the rupture that caused him to have such a high fever, the antibiotics began to do their work on the initial infection that entered his body. Evidently God wanted him to have further protection until we could get him home for surgery. The small intestine moved over and covered the rupture of the colon, preventing more infection from escaping. The small intestine then fused itself into the rupture of the large intestine. This partially-blocked passage kept [him] from being able to eat this past month but it also saved his physical life. Having seen this rare situation in surgery, Dr. R told us that it finally explained why [my husband] was still not getting well after so long on antibiotics. Therefore, the surgeon made two reconnections yesterday since a section from the large intestine and also a section from the small intestine had to both be removed.

The doctor said that it is likely that [he] will be in the hospital closer to a week. He is allowed only a minimal amount of ice chips today. I imagine that his recovery will be slower because of his already weakened condition. He entered the hospital yesterday with a temperature of 95.8 degrees, but warm blankets brought it up to 98 degrees, in order to go to surgery.

The nurses and doctors here at [the hospital] have been so wonderful. Having spent so much time in the hospital in [Africa], the contrast is amazing to us. Dr. R asked Dr. K to assist him in surgery. Dr. K told [my husband] how honored he was to be asked to assist in the surgery of this missionary because Dr. K, a [Christian college] grad, is looking forward to the day when he will be a missionary surgeon in Togo, West Africa. He is married into [a missionary] family [that has served in Africa] for generations. He just came in the room and said that he and his family prayed for [my husband] last night. He said that he told his father, also a doctor, how [my husband’s] colon had perforated in Africa a month ago. His father said that it is a miracle that he is still alive.”

God is not finished with this man. What a testimony he will have when he returns to Africa to continue the work there that God has called him too!