Our First Love: Part II

In Part One of this post, we spoke about the end times, how Jesus will come back, what happens when He comes back, and, finally, why whether or not we have lost our First Love for Jesus matters.

I have realized that I have lost my First Love for Jesus… the fire that once burned in me to love Jesus Christ, and the Chibok girls He made, is now much less bright. This is important because of what Jesus warned the church in Ephesus about:

“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
(Revelation 2:5, NIV)

Christ warns the church in Ephesus that their lampstand will be removed from its place—that, if they do not turn back to Him as their First Love, their effectiveness as a church will be removed.

Like the Church in Ephesus, our First Love for Jesus has a crucial impact on the effectiveness of our lives for Christ.

Any of us are just as susceptible to losing our First Love for Jesus. How can this Love be lost?

I know that, at least for me, my First Love for Christ wanes when I lose sight of the gift of salvation He has given me. When I feel or think as though I need to rely on my own works to save me, any service I am led to do for Christ loses its fervor, and feels more like a burden. Without keeping in mind that Jesus does not need me, but rather has given me all I need to spend eternity with Him, any form of ministry or good works becomes merely being busy and legalistic—loveless.

This is not the only way to lose your First Love for Christ. Have you become a person who knows everything there is to know about Christ, but have lost your fervor for Him in the process? Are you seeking and worshipping other people or things instead of Him? Anything from idolatry to apathy can cause us the light that once burned within us for Christ to be nearly extinguished. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to search our hearts and ask Jesus the question, “How did I get to this place? What has caused my First Love to burn out?” As you ask these questions, I am sure that He will make your heart’s condition—and the reason for it—clear.

Consider, Repent, Repeat

No matter how you got to losing your First Love for Christ, Revelation 2:5 also speaks of how to return back. This is what it says:

  1. “Consider how far you have fallen!” Revelation 2:5 speaks about remembering where you once were with Christ. Do you remember the precious closeness you once had with Him? The sweetness and profoundness of realizing that He died for you, spurring a deep gratefulness and profound zealousness in your heart? Think back—consider—how it was when you had your First Love with Jesus, and all of the things you did as a byproduct of that sweet Love.

 

  1. “Repent.” It is not enough to merely remembering your First Love with Jesus… you must make the choice, no matter how you might feel, to repent—“turn around”—and stop walking the way you have been walking. Has your heart been worshipping someone or something else than Christ? Put that idolatry away forever. Whatever is keeping you from burning with zeal for Jesus needs to be done completely away with.
    If you feel as though the things you need to put down are too significant, remember the significant sacrifice Jesus Christ made for you, on the cross.
    Pray that Jesus would help you to put down whatever keeps you from Him; He will be faithful to honor and help you in your request! Asking for help from trusted, Godly Christians of the same gender can also help you to find victory over what you’re dealing with, as well.

 

  1. “Do the things you did at first.” This part of Revelation 2:5 highlights acting upon the choice of repentance you have made. While we all fail and fall short from time to time, our choices to repent should be followed by practical steps toward Jesus and away from our sin. As David Jeremiah wisely says in his commentary of this passage, “Feelings follow actions, not vice versa. Where the will goes, the heart follows.”1 Think about it: Does a person fall more in love with their significant other just by saying they love them, but never actually going back and doing things that spur on that Love (in a date, for example)? No! Similarly, many people think that repentance will come only when we feel a different way; but, throughout the Word, Jesus connects loving Him—something anyone can say—to the action of obeying Him (John 14:15). No matter how you feel, when you do the things you did at first, you will return to your First Love.

As a new Believer—or a Believer who has once again remembered and turned back to their First Love—the fervency, zeal, and close Love with Jesus is something that nothing can be compared to. And so, I ask you: Where are you at with Jesus? How can you return back to your First Love? After all, no matter how mature you are in your Christian walk, we all need to return in some way, shape, or form to simply loving Jesus. I encourage you today to return back to that simple, beautiful, transformative Love; for there is truly nothing like it.

1 Jeremiah, David. Jeremiah Study Bible: What It Says. What It Means. What It Means for You.Worthy Publishers, 2013.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you know Jesus?

The Love of God is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It is precious to know and understand something so simple, and yet so profound: Jesus Loves me, and He proved it by His death on the cross, and resurrection.

If you are wondering today about your worth, or if you feel as if no one loves you, I hope and pray that you would look to the cross, and reflect upon the One who hung on it, for you and for me. Learn more about the amazing, reckless Love of Jesus, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this post, here):

  • The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • The worldwide Church. We need to pray for revival in these last days!
  • For the church in Nigeria. Please pray that a biblical revival would occur!

Thank you for all your prayers!!! May our Love for Jesus grow, and may He come back, soon.

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Our First Love: Part I

A year and eleven days ago, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released. Brought to freedom. Given a new lease on life.

The things happening in this world—in Nigeria, with the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, and all over elsewhere–  are nothing short of fascinating. As seen in this post, prophecies found in various passages of the Bible are coming to pass in a relatively short amount of time. Everyone has said that we are closer than ever to seeing Jesus Christ come back for his bride, the worldwide Church (Believing Christians from all over the world). “This all sounds like a beautiful, great, grand thing,” you might say… but what does any of it really mean? Here are some details about “the end”:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4 says that, upon Christ coming, we will be brought up into the clouds with Him. This is called “the rapture.”
  • After the seven-year tribulation, Jesus will come down to earth, in a way everyone will see and witness. He will set up His earthly kingdom, and reign for 1,000 years (Revelation 1:7; Revelation 20:2-7).
  • It means that satan, and all his cohorts, will ultimately lose. Everything satan has been doing here on earth will come to nothing, as he will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast (the antichrist) and false prophet would be thrown (Revelation 20:10).
  • It means that all pain and anguish will be no more. As we go through the day-to-day pain of a fallen world—such as hearing of the news of the School Shooting at Santa Fe Highschool in Texas— it is vital to understand that it will not last forever, and those who know Christ have eternal life ahead of them (Revelation 21:4; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

As we look at what is happening around us, and how quickly things change, I want to bring one more thing to your mind, as food for thought and soul.

Look for Part 2 of this message, coming very soon! 🙂

In Revelation 2, Jesus says this to the church of Ephesus.

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
(Revelation 2:1-6, emphasis mine)

Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for their good deeds, their perseverance, and their hate for perversion of the truth. They stayed true to the Word, and stayed loyal to Christ through many trials. Yet, there was one thing Jesus was grieved by: they had lost their First Love for Him. They had become a loveless church.

Reading this, I recognize that I, too, have lost my First Love for Christ. My question for you, is, “Have you?”

As you think about these things, I pray that they would stir up your hearts to come nearer to Christ than ever before. Wait on Him, friends—He is coming back again!

Tribute:
This series of posts was written right as the news about the Santa Fe highschool shooting was reported. This blog is in tribute to the children who lost their lives in this horrific Shooting. May these hurting people know Jesus’ comfort, Love, and strength.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus Christ died, just so that we could be with Him, forever and ever. Learn more about who He is, and why He came to earth, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this blog post, here):

  • For the families, friends, and loved ones of those injured and killed in the Santa Fe School Shooting. May the Church, near and far from the location of the shooting, come together and lift them up to Jesus. May He be seen in a huge way, there.
  • For those who do not know Christ. Whoever they may be, Jesus is coming back soon—and He is the only way to the Father.
  • For the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • For a revival in the worldwide church. Jesus is doing a lot, here; may the Church wake up, and be about His business as we await His return!

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

 

 

 

Honestly

“I love the way that your heart breaks/ over every injustice and deadly fate/ praying it all will be new/ and living like it all depends on you.”
— “Again” by Flyleaf

Friends,
As difficult as it is to say, I must be honest: I have lacked zeal, passion, and care for the 113 Chibok girls– not to mention the countless other kidnapping victims– still in captivity. I have gone through the motions; I have let routine get in the way of Loving others.

I write this with tears in my eyes. I went back to the start; the start of this blog, and the start of every prayer prayed for the Chibok girls, Nigeria, and it’s people at large.

What did I find? I found Nehemiah 1:1-11.

A prayer to God the Father, from a broken and wrecked individual, for the broken and wrecked, beloved people in his life. A humble prayer, coming from a man whose very heart of hearts had been broken. A man who saw the injustice, and decided, with Jesus as His Guide, to do something about it.

This blog was birthed in August of 2014, for this very reason: broken and wrecked for the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who had been kidnapped, and their community, Jesus put a fire in my heart to do something about it: Let others know, and encourage others to pray.

Over time, though, what started out as a passionate love for these young women, and their situation, became a polished religious activity I did “so that Jesus would be pleased with me.”

I fell into bondage. I lost all the Joy and Life that writing this blog originally gave me.
This has happened a couple  many times since the blog was started. The legalism and bondage got so bad, that now my family is weary of me writing on this blog, at all. They don’t want to see me in fear and legalism again.

I may continue to struggle with this.
And if it all gets to be too much, I will need to take a break, turn around,
and return back to my first Love: Jesus.

But friends, it is really in my heart to keep pressing on, to keep praying for each one of these 276 young women, their families, and everyone affected.

So, please pray. Please pray for me, that I would “not become weary in doing good,” and not turn this into a game of a works-based relationship with God.

Because there is still much to be done. And breakthrough for these people– those victimized and crushed by Boko Haram– is right around the corner.
There are still 113 young Chibok women who have not tasted freedom, yet.
And there are 163 young Chibok women still reeling from their loss.
There is much to pray for, and much to be done, in this nation. In this city.

And out of a Love that could only come from Jesus Himself, I will press on, in compassionate action, for these young women. Will you join me? ❤
_______________________

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Forgive me for turning this beautiful, amazing thing that You have done in and through me into a dead, stale pile of ‘good works.’
I know that NONE of my own ‘goodness’ can save me from the sinner I am.
Jesus,
I pray, with all of my heart, that this would not be about me. Not about perfection, or striving, or numbers and times and bad religiosity. Remove this pharisee-like heart for the Chibok schoolgirls, and replace it with a burning passion to see their freedom.

Dear Jesus,
As long as this blog stays centered upon You, please bless it. Bless those who pray and wrestle in prayer with me. Give us hearts that break for what breaks Yours!
Let us not stop until each one of these captive, beautiful human beings are saved.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”



Do you know Jesus?

No, really. Do you know Jesus? personally?
You may smirk at this question. You may mock it. But it will be the most important question you ever answer.
Learn more about who Jesus is, here.