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Susan Bunts Wachtel
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As I was driving to Bible study tonight…little did I know that God had prepared a message for me. As Dave Dunn was teaching out of the book of Revelation, chapter 2…I found myself very aware that this message was directed to me. I felt that good old conviction of the Holy Spirit…tugging at my heart and saying, “Listen up girl…time to remember and repent.”
“1"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: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which 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. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:1-7
If you were to watch my life from afar…you probably wouldn’t think that I had forsaken my love for Jesus. After all I'm in church every Sunday and attend Bible studies each week. With the number of years in Bible study…I’m pretty well grounded in the Bible. I can spot false doctrine and can usually mount a defense or offence when I feel it necessary. My car stereo usually has a sermon coming from the speakers as I work my way though CD albums. If not a sermon…then you’ll likely hear worship music cranked up loudly…as I drive by. If you were to examine my book purchases and DVD’s you would find material that is in keeping with my Christian faith. Sermons, music, books and movies meant to build me up in the faith. Keep me rooted and ground in the word of God. And indeed it does.
However…as Dave taught tonight…I found I have forsaken my love for my Savior Jesus Christ in the midst of all my pursuits. Without Jesus…it’s all for naught…whether it looks good or not.
The church of Ephesus had a solid background…with great leaders and solid teaching. With the likes of Paul, John, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquilla, Apollos, Onesiphorus and Tychius…how could they go wrong? I guess they struggled with the same things that I do today. They left their first love and exchanged it for a theology that became mechanical. Church was routine…and they stopped walking in love. They lost sight of the person of Jesus Christ. They opted to be purpose driven, not Person driven. Jesus became secondary to them. And I’m afraid to admit…He has to me too.
But thankfully my Savior is the Good Shepherd…and He walks among His flocks…tending them and protecting them. He is holding out His staff and stopping this little lamb from straying in thicket where untold danger lurks. He calls me and tells me that I need to remember. Remember where I came from and that I’m only here because He chose me. Not out of my worth or good works. I must call out to my Savior and confess that I have forsaken my first love. I must repent…and indeed I do.
Coming from a household where the words of “I love you” were not uttered and hugs and kisses were few and far between…if not non existent…I struggle with that thing called love. At times…I wonder if I truly know what it means. That struggle…impacts my ability to know or feel the love of God. Recently I posted some scripture verses talking about the love of God for each us. I think I need to read that daily.
Jesus knows my frame…He knows I am but dust and weak. I cry out to Him and ask Him to “Take me back, take me back to where I first believed.”…as the Andrae Crouch song says.
The Bible tells us that nothing is impossible with God. So that gap that seems impossible for me to bridge is not only possible for God…but it is certain. For He is faithful.
So it is my prayer…that God will do whatever He has to do…to help me know the heights and depths of His love for me…and that I might love Him in return. That I might walk in love toward others.
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