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

This is My Word

As the snow falls from heaven,
As it comes in swirling showers from the sky,
So is my Word.
As the rains bring the water to the earth that is thirsty and dry,
So is my Word.
And the Word of my mouth, it shall not return empty:
It will bless the earth wherever it is heard.
This is my Word.

As the rain brings renewal
And the tender buds begin to come alive,
So is my Word.
Giving seed to the sower,
And the bread to the hungry ’til they thrive,
So is my Word.
And the Word of my mouth, it shall not return empty;
It will bless the earth wherever it is heard.
This is my Word.

O Lord, when I am weary,
When I feel the days I’m living are in vain,
My God, help me be faithful to the Word You have given to proclaim.
Proclaim the Word, and you will go out in joy,
And be led forth in peace,
And the hills will break before you into song.
So be faithful, brave and true,
For I will go before you,
And when your earthly journey here is done.
I’ll say well done, well done!

As the snow falls from heaven,
And the rain comes in showers from the sky,
This is my Word.

Words and Music by Pepper Choplin

Bow the Knee

There are moments on our journey following the Lord
Where God illumines ev’ry step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes
When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.

Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall,
The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know.
When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.

Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

~Chris Machen

No More Night

This has been a busy month. I am currently back in the states for some time with family before a conference with our mission board. My first week back, I had the opportunity to once again visit the house of mourning. It was a difficult time for all. My youngest son was one of the ones who gave a short eulogy of the loved one who has gone to be with his Savior that he served so faithfully. One thing he said stuck with me. This man finished the work that the Lord had for him to do. Otherwise, he would still be with us. It didn’t seem so to many of us. It seemed as though there was still a lot of life for him to live. He was a faithful pastor, husband, father and grandfather. We fervently prayed for healing, but God had other plans. He chose to use this man’s life and death in a different way. Once again we have had the opportunity to learn that God’s ways are not always the way we might have hoped for. But God’s ways are best. I choose to believe that.

The final song at the funeral was the recording that I have linked below. I’m told it was one that the deceased and his wife listened to often. I don’t ever remember hearing it before. The words are powerful. I can’t get them out of my mind. What wonderful truth! One day, if you belong to Jesus, you will live in the light of the risen Lamb! I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to that glorious day!

The All-Seeing God

This poem is from The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. It was referred to in a podcast that I listened to recently so I searched the web to find it. It opened up a whole treasure trove to me! The third stanza was a particular blessing to me. I hope that these words based on Psalm 139 will be something for you to meditate on this Lord’s day.

Lord, thou hast searched and seen me through,
Thine eye commands with piercing view
My rising and my resting hours,
My heart and flesh with all their powers.

My thoughts, before they are my own,
Are to my God distinctly known;
He knows the words I mean to speak
Ere from my op’ning lips they break.

Within thy circling power I stand;
On every side I find thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.

Amazing knowledge, vast and great!
What large extent! what lofty height!
My soul, with all the powers I boast,
Is in the boundless prospect lost.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

Could I so false, so faithless prove,
To quit thy service and thy love,
Where, Lord, could I thy presence shun.
Or from thy dreadful glory run?

If up to heav’n I take my flight,
‘Tis there thou dwell’st enthroned in light
Or dive to hell, there vengeance reigns,
And Satan groans beneath thy chains.

If, mounted on a morning ray,
I fly beyond the western sea,
Thy swifter hand would first arrive,
And there arrest thy fugitive.

Or should I try to shun thy sight
Beneath the spreading veil of night,
One glance of thine, one piercing ray,
Would kindle darkness into day.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

The veil of night is no disguise,
No screen from thy all-searching eyes;
Thy hand can seize thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.

Midnight and noon in this agree,
Great God, they’re both alike to thee;
Not death can hide what God will spy,
And hell lies naked to his eye.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

*Emphasis is mine.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

 Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet; 
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

~J. Lincoln Hall

Little is Much

January 10, 2011 in South Carolina

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child, well done!” 

Little is much when God is in it,
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.

~Kittie L. Suffield

A Sunday Meditation


Oh, how sweet the glorious message simple faith may claim:
Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same;
Still He loves to save the sinful, heal the sick and lame,
Cheer the mourner, still the tempest glory to His name!

He who was the friend of sinners seeks the lost one now:
Sinner, come, and at His footstool penitently bow;
He who said, “I’ll not condemn thee, go and sin no more,”
Speaks to thee that word of pardon as in days of yore.

Oft on earth He healed the suff’rer by His mighty hand:
Still our sicknesses and sorrows go at His command;
He who gave His healing virtue to a woman’s touch
To the faith that claims His fullness still will give as much.

As He walked once to Emmaus, with them to abide,
So thro’ all life’s way He walketh ever near our side;
Soon again we shall behold Him hasten, Lord, the day
But ’twill still be this same Jesus as He went away.

Refrain:
Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never glory to His name!
Glory to His name! Glory to His name!
All may change, but Jesus never glory to His name!

~Albert B. Smith 

*The photo is from another morning walk in our lovely park.  They are dredging the lake this winter.  It is needed, but I will miss these views.