May 31
Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 4
     Psalms 86-87
     Isaiah 32
     Revelation 2
''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 lampstandfrom its place - unless you repent." (Revelation 2:4-5)
       The church at Ephesusseemed to have everything going for it. The very nameEphesusmeans ''desirable." They were known for their labor (Revelation 2:2). The Greek word is kopos, which means ''the toil which exhausts." They were known for their patience (Revelation 2:2). He uses the Greek word hupomonewhich literally means ''endurance.'' The church at Ephesus, historically, was a leading First Century church. This was a church in its early days that was totally committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
       You can study these churches prophetically, for each one of them represents an era in the history of the church. You may study them practically, for each one of them was an actual local church in the First Century. You may also study them personally, because each one of them has a strong and powerful message for every believer.
       With all the wonderful things that could be said about the church at Ephesus, this was a church that began to leave its first love. The tragedy is that churches are not institutions. They are bodies of believers. It is not a building, an organization, or institution that has left its first love; but it is a company of believers. This makes it very personal. Could it be that you, in your personal life for the Lord, have left your first love? Have you lost that devotion to those things that matter, and find yourself today cold and indifferent to reaching out to the lost around you?  What must you do? Our memory verses provide a three-fold exhortation that is guaranteed to bring you back to your first love.
       Remember- It is essential that you think back and remember where God has brought you from. By His grace, you have been delivered from Hell and given Heaven. He has taken your misery and given you joy. He has replaced your guilt with forgiveness.  Remember where He has brought you from.
       Repent- Even the saved are exhorted to repent. This means that whenever He puts His finger on sin in your life, you are to change your mind, heart, conduct, and your conversation about that sin. You are to turn around and move in another direction. Could it be that God is moving on your heart today to move away from some habits, some ways - anger, gossip, indifference to spiritual disciplines, temper, lust, greed -whatever it is that God puts His finger on in your life to be sin, be willing to forsake it and turn away from it.
       Repeat- The Lord Jesus exhorts us to do the first works. Many believers will discover that God wants you to return to those basics that made you strong in the beginning - things like daily Bible study, prayer, faithfulness in witnessing, and devotion to all activities in your church. Your daily quiet time used to be a priority and now it has been placed on a shelf. The head of the church, the Lord Jesus, exhorts you to repeat the first works. These basics will once again rekindle the fervent fire for our Lord in your life. If you refuse to do it, He will quickly remove your lampstandfrom its place. He desires to give you His best blessings. ''He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church'', and we are the church. Hear Him today. 
       Pray for the Republic of Kazakhstanin Asia, with its more than 16 million souls. There are at least 65 groups, 43 with populations over 1,000, in this country. Six languages are spoken here with the official language being Kazakh.  Literacy in this country of Kazakhstanis 97.5%. Right now, there is great spiritual warfare here as the missionaries representing the Christian community and Islamic fundamentalists are both vying for the soul of Kazakhstan. So pray for young, trained leadership preaching a sound doctrine, holy living, and mission’s vision, flexibility to adapt from the days of persecution to this day of open door, and coping with the mass exodus of emigrating Christian.  Pray today for Kazakhstan.
''Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom