A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Things You Heard At First

1 Jn 2:24

 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

John is talking about the doctrine that they heard in the beginning.

-That doctrine that first brought the revelation of the Messiah to their hearts.
-That doctrine that, once received, changed them from the inside out.
-That name that has power to work miracles in mind, soul and body.
-That message, that brought hope, comfort and an eternal future with God.
-That Spirit that was now abiding in them.

John was speaking about those who had heard but had discarded the message that they had heard. He was reminding them that what they heard at first was the truth and that if they remained in the truth, the truth would keep them abiding in Christ. 

The phrase "what you heard from the beginning" caught my attention. As all Christians do, I battle thoughts from time to time. The devil tries very hard to get my mind off Christ's sufficiency and on to my insufficiency. Every now and then when the he thinks that I may have let my guard down, he tries to sneak in and pollute my mind with old thought patterns, old fears, and old failures and try to convince me that I really haven't changed at all or that I'm not measuring up in this Kingdom walk of mine. He tries to tell me that I've just been "playing" with God and that in the end I will discover that he had deceived me all along. It's a cruel ploy, but hey, he's not known for his manners.

When that happens, I find it helpful to go back to the very beginning, to that day when I first really "heard" the message of the gospel and received it as my own.  

I'd heard the gospel all my life. I grew up hearing it, reciting verses about it and singing about it in a church choir. I knew the drill that in some churches you were going to hear it from 1000 different viewpoints and then be begged and pleaded with to come to an altar and accept it. I had attended a Baptist Vacation Bible School where I heard about hell in graphic detail. I went to the altar then out of fear.  I guess you could say that I got scared into the Kingdom. After a month or so, my decision faded away. All of that had little noticeable effect on me.

Twenty-two years later I sat at the local Assembly of God on a Sunday morning, one lowly figure in a sea of 500 people. I was there alone, or so I thought, my backslidden husband was still running from God. As I sat in the pew during the prayer, a wretched sinner mind you, I heard the Lord's voice say to me "I love you and I want to have a loving relationship with you." It caught me by surprise. There was no altar call that morning, but I made one.  I figured that if God had gone so far to speak to me, then I could go the rest of the way. The call was so strong that I stood up and walked to the front of the sanctuary unaware of the 500 people who were staring at me.  The Pastor saved me from looking like a total idiot by actually giving an altar call. A lovely, red haired lady came and prayed with me and as we prayed it felt as if a 5,000 lb weight lifted off my shoulders. I literally floated out of church that day. My life was forever changed from then on and oh how far along it has all come.

So when the devil tries to discourage me, I think back to the very first thing I heard when I knew that God was speaking to me. I was a sinner. My marriage was failing. I was unhappy in my career. I was a negative, totally defeated, unlovely person. I had already once started to end my life but thoughts of God and "that hell to shun" stopped me. Thank God for Baptists! I remember back to the things I heard at first and I'm reminded that if God loved me when I was unlovely, He still loves me yet today with that same love. I certainly wasn't perfect then and I'm certainly not perfect now but I'm just as loved by God either way.  So no matter what is happening to me, no matter how bad my day is going, and even if I'm allowing the devil to plant bad thought seeds in my head, God's love for me remains the same that it was the very first day when He wooed me to an altar with whispers of His love for me. 

I can return to that sacred place in my mind and I remember that "the things I heard at first" are still true today!
-That doctrine that first brought the revelation of the Messiah to my heart.
-That doctrine that, once received, changed me from the inside out.
-That name that has power to work miracles in mind, soul and body.
-That message, that brought hope, comfort and an eternal future with God.
-That Spirit that is now abiding in me.
-God desires to love me and to be loved by me. What a thought!

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