I thought I would share with you a love story….This is for all the ladies to say “Awww” and for all the men to step up their game.
In 1988, two young people who lived thousands of miles away from each other would meet on a missions trip that would cover multiple countries, including France, Belgium, and Austria.
Two sets of parents would not know at the time, but they were instrumental in their sacrifice for this girl from Connecticut and this boy from Florida to meet and begin a friendship.
Now the truth be told, the odds were in my favor on this trip. There was a total of 30 students participating, and 25 were girls and only 5 were boys.
I remember the first time God talked to me about Crystal. It was in our very first church service in Vienna, Austria where the choir was singing.
I was in the audience and saw this girl playing the keyboard. My prayer to God was, “I need a wife that PRAYS LIKE THAT.” Although her keyboard playing was amazing, that is not what first drew me to her. It was her worship. It was her obvious love for God.
Somehow, Crystal managed to lose her camera (wink, wink), I offered to share my camera, and we decided to combine our film. I came home to Miami with two hundred pictures of a girl from CT!
We built an incredible friendship–visiting each other’s homes, and eventually attending college together.
Yes, we were still JUST friends until….
It was the end of the school year, and my friend asked me a question that stirred up something in me that is still alive today. He said, “I was thinking about asking Crystal to the year-end banquet, what do you think?”
That lit a fire inside of me and I thought to myself, “No. I am taking her to that banquet and from that moment on it was LOVE.”
That was in 1990, 33 years ago and I love her more today. Even more than I did when I had that first love realization back in that dorm room in Dover, DE with my friend.
Maybe that story can help someone’s marriage today. No matter how long you have been married, you can stir up those early days when you first fell in love.
But this isn’t a post about marriage.
I want challenge you to stir up your memory when you first fell in love with Jesus. I want to challenge you to ask yourself, “Do I love Him like I did when I first fell in love with Him?”
Now I grew up in and around the church from the time I was born. But it wasn’t until I was 16 that I really fell in love with Him.
I can pinpoint the time in my life and give you vivid memories of how I felt when I made the decision to follow Him. I can tell you moments in an altar at a youth camp and the messages I heard. I can tell you about the moments in my car with Christian cassette tapes while I drove 4 hours home from that camp where God had spoken to me. I can tell you about the times in my home church in Miami when God begin to push me towards the front of the church and to worship with my hands raised, not ashamed.
Those altar calls were life-changing. I didn’t care about what anyone else was thinking about me. It was just ME AND JESUS and we were in love!
I remember like it was yesterday (I can even tell you what I was wearing) when God called me into the ministry on a Wednesday night mid-week Bible study. I WAS SO IN LOVE WITH HIM.
The enemy tried to do everything he could to rip me away from Him. The temptation to cheat on Him was at an all-time high as a teenager. I wish I can say I was 100% true to Him from the moment I first fell in love with Him but that just wouldn’t be true.
The world was after me. The enemy was trying his best to break my covenant with God. It was a fight to stay in love with Him and to be fully committed in everything I did.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to be faithful and committed in our relationship with Him.
That means loving Him with everything that is within you. That means there is NOTHING on this earth that we should love more than him…no material item, no relationship, no job….NOTHING.
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37, 39-40 NLT
The temptation we face is to justify how much we are doing and to defend or excuse what we are not doing.
That doesn’t work in your earthly relationships, and it surely doesn’t work in your relationship with God.
Your low percentage of unfaithfulness should not validate your loyalty to Christ.
What do I mean by that? I mean don’t be like the Pharisees where you look the part on the outside, but inside, where people cannot see, you are a whole different person. It’s like coming to the altar, worshiping, posting scriptures on your social…doing all of the things in public, but living a whole different life in private. That’s is called unfaithfulness.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
If you have lost your love for Christ, this is the time to get it right and repent.
If you have never had a relationship with Him and wonder what this love thing is all about, let me just tell you this–He loved you first!
He loves you with an everlasting love…a love that is bigger than anything you can imagine. He’s waiting for you with open arms. Give falling in love with Him a try.
“Write a letter to the leader of the church at Ephesus and tell him this: “I write to inform you of a message from him who walks among the churches and holds their leaders in his right hand.
“He says to you: I know how many good things you are doing. I have watched your hard work and your patience; I know you don’t tolerate sin among your members, and you have carefully examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but aren’t. You have found out how they lie. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
“Yet there is one thing wrong; you don’t love me as at first! Think about those times of your first love (how different now!) and turn back to me again and work as you did before; or else I will come and remove your candlestick from its place among the churches.” Revelation 2:1-5 TLB