“Don’t merely wait for better days, you must make them," said Pastor Chuck Swindoll. Easier said than done. Can I ask you a personal question? Are you tired of plodding through life? We won’t initiate change until we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Sometimes life seems so regular. Our next steps appear somewhat obvious. We may be bored or feel worn out as we run our routine into the ground.
Like a plane on ‘automatic pilot,’ our prayers can seem repetitive, predictable, and even humdrum, we go through the motions. Wonder if God hears your prayers? The remedy could be as simple as admitting unconfessed sin. Think about how it felt when you first understood how much God loved you. It’s good to be reminded of His presence protecting us even when we were not seeking Him. "We love because he first loved us” (3 John 1:9).
Saul of Tarsus met God on the road to Damascus. Struck down by a bright light, as he was flat on his face, the powerful voice of God asked, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) Literally blinded by the experience; God’s love touched Saul’s hardened heart. Saul received spiritual insight and began to preach about the amazing love of God.
Encounters like Saul’s Damascus Road experience are rare, but first love encounters with God need not be. When we revisit, remember, and return to the passion of our first love, it renews our minds and revives our hearts. "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first" (Revelation 2:4).
This 'first love' truth is meaningful and penetrates even the darkest season of disappointment or loss. Blitz was my favorite family pet, at sixteen pounds and sixteen years old, this beautiful pure white cat and I had survived many trials. Blitz was the king, the tomcat of the neighborhood, always defended our home turf and won the cat fights he started. I often joked he had more than nine cat lives, he must have had at least fifteen. Believe it or not, I was not a “cat lover,” until Blitz encouraged me.
I remember about sixteen years ago, the sweet days after my chemotherapy sessions, he never left my side as I endured the horrible side-effects. During the season of re-entering life after Pastor Paul's sudden promotion to heaven, Blitz cuddled, played, and purred on my lap when I needed it most. My loyal furry friend died from a sudden illness two summers ago. I am comforted by my memories, I must wade through my grief. Over and over, God has reminded me of His presence, even in my loss. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18).
A few years before, I was haunted by feelings of dark depression and needless desperation before, during and after my dad’s funeral services. Although these feelings were very normal and a necessary part of the grief process, it helped when in anguish, I went to God. Shaking and hysterical with grief, I wailed and looked up, I turned my eyes to the heavens, opened hands and poured out my aching, broken heart to God. I expected to be refilled by Him. He reminded me; "I am your first love." I can testify, God met me personally, during this stage of grief. He not only restored our relationship, making it more intimate, but also offered more of His presence. When I think about my Heavenly Father's love, it encourages me that He is waiting to be restored to First Place. And all I must do is ask. "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3).
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for us. Even when we were on the run from You, You sought us and captured us with Your grace. Thank You for offering us new hope through Your Son’s sacrifice. Would You restore our passion, would You return us to the state of our ‘first love?’ Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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