if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14
Exposure: Read the warning against turning from your first love. Look up the lyrics of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Find at least one other person to sing it with you.
Exploration: Who is your first love? Think back to how your feelings of love change over time. In what ways can you relate to the Ephesian church?
Expression: Write lyrics to your own version of the song as an expression of what you would like to give to Jesus—your true first love. Include in your song the pieces of your life that He wants, the changes He wants you to make, and the things He wants you to take action on.
Experience: Read the passage from 1 John about his great love for us. What gifts has our True Love already given to you?
REV 2:2-5 NKJV – “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 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.
1JN 3:1-3 NKJV – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
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How to UNCOVER God’s Word:
ASK – God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down, inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you.
READ – the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.
REFLECT – on what grabs you. What connections do you see at this point in your life? How might God be speaking to you through these words? Stop long enough to let this take root and thank God for engaging you.
RESPOND – to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered – individually and with your church. And look for ways to bring what you have discovered to others.
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.