Glancing over a few recent posts, I just saw one from the end of January where I was “hoping for more snow”…! The snow banks beside our driveway are now to the point where it’s really an effort to lift a shovel up that high. I’m not complaining though… too much. We are into that annual discussion about not shovelling any more, instead just packing it down. As Rej says, if we keep letting it build up on the driveway, maybe we’ll be able to reach the top of the snow banks again… :P I’m thinking we should perhaps wait until March at least, before we stop shovelling.
Anyway, we’re looking forward to a “Winter Fun” weekend at my brother’s this coming Sunday. (Thank goodness it’s supposed to be a bit warmer.) He lives right beside Gatineau Park, where there’s some pretty nice cross-country ski trails. Some might do snow-shoeing. Others will just stay inside where it’s warm! Of course, there’s hot chocolate and hot food in the plans as well.
OK, now that I’ve started with some “regular talk”, I can switch to yesterday’s sermon. Pastor Jay was in fine form, as usual. I’m pretty sure he didn’t purposely call his new series “The Bride”, because it started on Valentine’s weekend. The series is about the letters to the seven churches (from Revelation).
I can’t remember how it fit in to the sermon (but it did fit for Valentine’s), but there was a moment where he said something that you could just feel it “touch deep” into people. Specifically, female people, especially teenagers. In fact, he said it was an aside for ladies. Because ladies are always more concerned about their appearance than men, and society is constantly constraining them to be so. I don’t have his exact words in my mind (though I felt at the time that I would want to find them again on the website), but he tried to say it very clearly and forcefully: “You. are. beautiful!” There was spontaneous applause.
Of course, I’ve suggested that was mostly for teenage girls (remember those days of worrying about every pimple?), but even when you get to my age, you still think about your appearance a fair bit (my hair is too thin); even my Mom likes to look beautiful. It’s a woman-thing, but it’s highly expected/encouraged!
Anyway, back to the main point of the sermon, which was based on the first letter, to the church at Ephesus (Revelation chapter 2). These Christians were praised for their hard work, persistence, and for sticking to the truth of God’s Word. BUT–they had “lost their first love” (how fitting, AGAIN, for Valentine’s Day).
As Pastor Jay said, it’s hard to truly keep up that passion that you have at first though. But what it means is that the actual work–programs, etc.–has become more important than your relationship. And what’s critical to relationship? Spending time together. We so easily forget the importance of just sitting and spending time with God. In other words, doing has become more important than being (“personal devotions”).
The meaning of “first love”, is to love God vs loving the work. All your praying should start with worship, with recognizing/reminding yourself, who God is (see Revelation chapter 1). While you’re loving God, you’re sensing his love for you–voila: you’re spending time together. (And don’t forget to use scripture both for the praying/your part, and the listening/God’s part.)
“I’m A to Z. I’m the God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.” (Revelation 1:8)
Urge us often, to remember these simple things.