June 1 Devotional

Opening Prayer: O Lord, our God, forgive us when we run off and chase lovers other than you. Forgive us when we have left you, or first and truest love. Help us to repent and to return to the only true Lover of our souls. Amen. 

Scripture Reading: Revelation 2:1-7

Journal: How are you like the church at Ephesus? How do the words to the church at Ephesus speak to your heart? What ways do these words disturb you? How do they challenge you? What does it look like to keep Jesus as your “first love?”

Reflection:  It is amazing how easily love can turn into duty if we are not careful to keep the fires of romance alive deep in our hearts. Not that duty is a bad thing mind you, but if that’s all we’ve got, it is far from the passionate love that is what our hearts most deeply long for in relationship; particularly in our relationship with God.

I wonder if that’s what happened to the church at Ephesus? I wonder if over time their relationship with God has turned from loving romance to routine duty. I wonder where, when, and why they just started going through the motions rather than allowing themselves to be seized by the power of the Great Affection. Don’t get me wrong, duty is very definitely a significant part of the commitment of love, but if our affections are not engaged as well, it will quickly digress into something not resembling love at all.

It seems like that’s what God was asking of the church at Ephesus. He wanted not only their actions, but their affections. He wanted their hearts, not just their behavior. For he knew if he had their hearts, their behavior would follow. He wanted the attention and affection and passion and intensity with them that he’d had “at first.” He wanted them to return to the days when all they could do was think about him and long for him and yearn to be with him in an intimate embrace. So he called upon them to repent - which does not seem like a particularly romantic word, but is - and return to their Lover of their souls, who continually longs for intimate union with his creation.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Dan and Shelly Owens live in Atlanta where Dan works with Sixty Feet. This organization focuses on ministry in Uganda in three categories: relief, rehabilitation or development. The Owens left Atlanta this year and moved their family to Uganda. Pray today for all of them as they settle into their new home.

 Choices Resource Center is a Christian, life-affirming pregnancy resource center offering services to help people facing decisions regarding pregnancy, parenting, purity, and post abortion healing. Pray today for each young woman who will visit this center this week. 

 Closing Prayer: “I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.

“But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!

 “Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.

 “You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.

 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.” (Revelation 2:2-7, The Message)