This morning I drove past a car that had a R.I.P. decal in the window. I knew the name of the person on the decal-Blaine King. He died almost a year ago. When it happened, I had sent out this email to a few friends of mine. I thought I would repost this for others to read. It is always a good reminder for me. (It is a bit long, but well worth the read.)
Let me back up just a bit...A few weeks ago a old friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident. Actually, he was my first boyfriend. We had dated for about a year and half. Anyway, I'm about 90% sure that he wasn't saved. I know when we dated neither one of us was saved and I don't believe that he ever made the decision to accept Christ. Actually, I don't know if anyone had ever told him about Jesus. I hadn't been in contact with him for quite some time. Since Chris and I had started dated I talked to him just a few times. He called once and I was told him that I was getting married in a few months. It took him by surprise. He was a few years older then me and I don't think that he believed I could be getting married already. He was still young, partying and having fun. I told him that I would be praying for him and he pretty much blew me off. That was the last time that I had spoken to him.
A year and a half later I saw him again, but it was at the funeral home. As soon as I
found out about the accident I couldn't help but think that he is probably going to spend his eternity separated from the love of God. He was only 24 when he passed away. He probably thought that he had his whole life ahead of him to "settle down" and get right. His life was cut so short. He always thought he would have tomorrow. Unfortunately, he didn't make it to tomorrow and was never saved. I'm sorry I've said that a few times, but it is a very sobering to realize that you went to a funeral of someone who never knew the awesome love the God wants to give us all.
Fast forward to this week...I have been listening to a two day series from Nancy Leigh DeMoss on her radio program, Revive our Hearts. The title of the series is "Returning to Our First Love". She was actually speaking to a room of women who work in vocational ministry. The verses that she used in her message came from Jeremiah 2 and 3. In chapter one, God comes to Jeremiah and tells him that he will be a prophet. God wants to use him to proclaim his word to Jerusalem. The very first words that he gives to Jeremiah was the main subject of the message. Jeremiah 2:"'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown." God comes to the people and says I remember how much you loved me in the beginning. I remember the devotion of your youth. I remember the love you had. It was like the love of a new bride.
Wow. How convicting was that message. I reflect back to the beginning when I first experienced the changing power of Christ. I remember that I couldn't help but tell other people about Him. I couldn't help but want to spend time with Him. I LOVED to learn and to study. But somehow my heart became numb. I took for granted the changing power of Jesus. Jeremiah 2: 11 Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. 12 Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror," declares the Lord. 13 "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." God is saying that we have forsaken him and chasten after other gods. That god might be busyness, rituals, personal earthly relationships, tv/computer, ministry or many other things. We exchange the Glory that we need to give God for things in this world that don't matter. I have made my own cisterns which cannot hold water.
I'm very thankful that even though God speaks to Israel, and myself, as a jilted lover he still speaks as a lover. He goes on to say in the chapter "12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the Lord, 'I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'" declares the Lord. 14 "Return, faithless people," declares the Lord,"...22 "Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." How awesome is He! All I have to do is acknowledge that I have shyed away from my first love and he can and will cure my backsliding.
I guess that is why I can't get these thoughts from my mind. I need to acknowledge to God and to others that I have let my relationship with God get cold. I forgot about the way it was in the beginning. As Nancy said, "I have let the pace of ministry outrace the intimacy I have with Jesus." I think I was to concerned with wanting to minister to others and do the "right" things that I let the intimacy of my relationship with Jesus dwindle. Ironically, I can't minister to others if I don't have anything to give away! My first love should be with Jesus and then I can concentrate on others. Trying it backwards just doesn't work.
There is even more good news in Jeremiah chapter 4. God says, "1 "If you will return, O Israel, return to me," declares the Lord. "If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, 'As surely as the Lord lives,' then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory." Only when I take off the wig and quit acting and get real with it bring glory to God. He knows the truth. He knows what is in the depths of my heart. The great thing is that turning back to him and my first love will bring others to Him.
As I try to think of a way to wrap this up I changed the title of my subject line. Then an ironic thought came to me. In the beginning of this email I told you of a story of my first boyfriend. Please don't hear me wrong when I say this- I love Chris more then anyone I have ever known. He is a great husband and I am so thankful to be married to such an awesome, loving, godly man. Blaine (that was is his name) was my first puppy love. I can't compare that love with the love I have with Chris because I didn't understand love then. I thought I understood and I guess for what it was it was my first "love". It brings a tear to my eye to know how I let my first earthly love down. I never really got the chance to witness to him. I never told him about Jesus. I don't want to make that same mistake again. I don't want to let God down. I don't want to mess up that first love relationship with Him again.
Thankfully He gives the opportunity for us to change. To his glory, I can only pray that there will be less people in my life that I have to go to the funeral and regret that I didn't get a chance (or make the chance) to talk to them about Jesus. Thanks of listening to this. Please excuse any grammatical errors. I don't want to go back and proofread. I want to leave this as is because it came from my heart.
I'm not sure where you find yourself right now in your walk with the Lord. Maybe you have stumbled across this blog by chance and you don't even know Him. Can I invite you to get to know Him? Can I invite you to rekindle the first love with God again if you do? (If you have any questions you can email me. I have a link to my email address on the side bar.)
I'm going to blunt right now-Hell is real. People are going there. Maybe even people you personally know. They are forever separated from God. Please share the love of Jesus with them. We don't know how many days we will have on this earth.