Posted by: dhkrause | May 28, 2017

Renewal of First Love

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  My wife Marla writes, “In cultivating Kingdom standards and values, things that deflect us from putting God first are like hard rocks in the soil of our hearts, that must be tossed aside.  The test of blessing is to be thankful every day in everything,  loving God’s Presence more than our preferences, and letting go of whatever crowds God out.”  To love God with all your heart means to put Him first in everything.  He is our first love.

First Love

When you truly love God with all your heart, there will be plenty of love overflowing from your heart to others.  The Apostle John even writes, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4  NKJV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Jesus connected these two commandments: loving God with all you are, and loving your neighbor as yourself.  A certain lawyer tried to narrow down the meaning of “neighbor”, which led Jesus to give the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10 NKJV
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

King David had a heart after God, but at one time he drifted away from his first love, committing both adultery and murder.  He repented before God and was graciously forgiven and restored.  Psalm 51 records his prayer of repentance.

Psalm 51  NKJV
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

David’s heart for God and love of His Presence is seen in Psalm  27.  His exuberant declaration of faith concludes, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Psalm 27 NKJV
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord

In Revelation 2, Jesus lovingly admonishes the church of Ephesus:

Revelation 2 NKJV
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Return to Your First Love

Returning to our first love, we rejoice in singing songs like these to the Lord:

To you my heart is an open door.
Step right in and make it Yours.

True worship from my heart
Is what I bring to You.

Your heart is my home.

Our Pastor, Caleb Klinge, recently led the congregation in this prayer:

Lord, I receive the renewal of first love.
Holy Spirit, I receive the love of the Father
pouring into my heart.  I receive, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you, Lord.

David Krause,, 5/27/2017

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