LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

One hundred thirty years after the resurrection of Jesus, a stoic philosopher named Marcus Aurelius came to power in Rome as emperor. He brought a degree of civility to the people and allowed the citizens to speak freely without fear of retribution. It was a time of peace for the nation, and people began to thrive.

In less than three hundred years the nation would collapse. Much has been written about the fall of the Roman Empire, and many reasons are given, including one that blames Christianity. But in all humility, recognizing that I am not an historian, there is one thing that guarantees the collapse of all man’s efforts – pride.

When we attempt to create empires of any kind – from family to financial, from political to personal – and then maintain them according to our own standards, we have set ourselves up against the very nature and heart of Almighty God. When we attempt to deny the existence of God our pride will end in destruction.

Just look at the prophecy that is spoken by God through Isaiah to the nation of Babylon.

Isaiah 13:11 and 14:10-11  “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.They will all respond, they will say to you, “You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us. All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.

 Its ruler will join all the previous rulers of pompous political powers in the hopelessness of the grave. They will have to face the fact and admit the truth that their pride ended in destruction.

The same is true in our personal lives. The things that we do for self will cause us to ultimately suffer. The things we do for the Savior bring us security. The treasures we build on earth will all be lost. The treasures we build in heaven are safe – eternally safe.

The key is to be humble and submit to the will of God, not the will of man. It all starts in our minds. The Apostle Paul said, “And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:1-2 New Living Translation)

If only the people of the Roman Empire had held on to this truth. They had it, you know. And not only from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, although that should have been sufficient. They were also challenged by the words of their emperor, Marcus Aurelius, to be humble and guard their minds and thought life from pride. He wrote, ‎”You are what you think – not what you think you are…….Think as a man who acts, and act as a man who thinks. The most important things in life are the thoughts you choose to frame.”

So, how’s your thought life? Maybe you think it’s irrelevant to your life. Maybe you have just accepted all the thoughts that speed across the back of your eyes as a part of the human experience. Do you not understand that according to God we are responsible for every thought? The Apostle Paul made it clear that we are when he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

It is our pride that makes us pretentious and sets us up in opposition to God. We must take responsibility for our thoughts and bring them under the control of the Holy Spirit. When we do, we will be able to experience the perfect peace of God because we are living in the perfect will of God.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

“I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind
and it’s closer now than it’s ever been

“I can almost hear the trumpet as Gabriel sounds the chord
at the midnight cry we’ll be going home.

“I look around me, I see prophecies fulfilled
the signs of the times they’re appearing everywhere

“I can almost see the father as he says “Son go get my children”
at the midnight cry, the bride of Christ will rise.

“When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call his children
the dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air

“Then those that remain shall be quickly changed
at the midnight cry we’ll be going home.”

These are the lyrics from a song I first heard sung by David Robertson. It captivated my heart. The thought that at any time of any day now we who are children of God will hear the sound of the trumpet of Jesus as He returns to the earth to take His children home to glory. Hallelujah! Let it be today!

Soon – very soon – we will hear the sound of a mighty army of angels led by Jesus Christ himself as He calls us up to meet Him in the air. Then we will become a part of a mighty army that will return to earth – people from every land, nation, tribe, and tongue – and we will watch as Jesus conquers the world with His spoken Word. The Day of the LORD is coming, and those who know Jesus as Savior will be on the winning side of the war.

Isaiah 13:4-6, 9  “Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war.They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens—the LORD and the weapons of his wrath—to destroy the whole country.Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty…See, the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.”

But wait. If you listen carefully in your heart, you can already hear the trumpet of Jesus. You are already under the influence of a new song. You already march to a new drummer with a new beat. As followers of Jesus, we are already listening to the trumpet of Jesus, just like an old song the Imperials sang years ago…

I listen to the Trumpet of Jesus, while the world hears a different sound
I march to the drumbeat of God Almighty while the others just wander around
I’m a member of the Holy Ghost traveling band, we’re moving on up to a better land
I hear the voice of a Supernatural Singer like only those who know Him can.”

So march today to the drumbeat of God Almighty. You are a member of the Holy Ghost traveling band. And as you march…keep listening for the Trumpet.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, June 5, 2023

Isaiah 13:2  Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.

The first time it happened was 23 years ago. It had taken 32 years of trying to see it for the first time. During that time, I had tried over 4,000 times to do it and had never accomplished it. What a moment it was when I was successful for the first time.

Then it happened again after 1200 attempts. I thought my odds were improving. But it’s been 15 years and still no third hole-in-one. But I will keep trying. I am that persistent about things that I love.

I remember the thrill of the last one as I watched that little white ball plopped into the hole. I shouted – loudly. People from adjoining holes shouted with me and raised their arms in a gesture of success and admiration. My son who was with me shouted. We high-fived. Two men from the next tee box came running over and peaked into the hole to verify what had happened. They wanted to be witnesses of a very special moment for any golfer. They may have also wanted the free beverages I would have to buy in the clubhouse.

I can’t remember how long Josh and I stood on that tee box yelling and jumping and raising our arms, but it was a long time. I will never forget that moment.

The next morning, however, I felt guilty. No, I didn’t lie or cheat. I felt guilty because of the public display of emotion that I showed over a single golf shot and what that says about my life. I felt guilty about the passionate pursuit of a “one” that seems to be more significant than the passionate pursuit of the “One.” I wondered if I stood cheering the golf shot with my arms raised longer than I had cheered my Lord and Savior with arms raised in church yesterday. I wondered if my enthusiasm for the things of God is still more evident than my excitement over a game of golf.

Then I came to this point of puzzlement – have I pursued the one lost soul with the Gospel of Christ as persistently as I have pursued the “one” on a scorecard? Think about this for a moment. How many attempts have you made in the last 15 years to lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ? When did you stop trying? When did the body of Christ lose the enthusiasm of salvation and the persistence to witness no matter how long it takes to win even one? Why is worship in church so casual and non-expressive? Where are the shouts that attract people from adjoining properties? Where are the people running to be witnesses of what is happening? What has happened to us?

My friends, don’t pass this over as just creative writing or a good illustration. This is a serious matter. Every day God does incredible things in us and all around us. Where is the cheering? When I stood on the tee box, I didn’t stop to think for one minute how much attention I was drawing to myself. I didn’t care for an instant what other people were going to think of me. I exploded with enthusiasm over accomplishing something I was pursuing.

So why is it that in church we are so reserved in our worship of the King who saved us from eternal death and gave us the free, fully-paid-for gift of eternal life? Why is it that we so rarely celebrate the victory of seeing one person come to Christ for salvation? Why have we stopped carrying our spiritual golf clubs out into the world’s courses of life to pursue the elusive “one”?

I think it must have something to do with what we really love.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, June 2, 2023

Isaiah 13:2  Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.

Thirteen years ago my wife and I visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum. I also had the privilege to visit the Dead Sea site and museum in Israel on a later trip. As we entered the general display areas in Minnesota, we were immediately overwhelmed with the spiritual darkness that exists there. We commented to each other about the tragedy of a scientific community that denies the existence of their Creator, and how the influence of such a place is affecting the next generation of students that come for a visit. Every display in some way renounces God and promotes evolution. They have even created a display that promotes the use of stem cells from aborted babies.

It was no surprise that the Dead Sea Scrolls display would be primarily treated from a secular humanistic perspective. Don’t get me wrong, the display was very educational and as you will see in a moment very moving, but my heart is heavy because the wonder and awe of this discovery is being packaged in a merely scientific and cultural wrapping. Granted there is much we can learn about the culture of Jesus’ day from these writings, but the primary focus should be on the spiritual truth they contain about the nature and work of God.

As Denise and I proceeded through the exhibit, we were moved by the history of God’s people. We were challenged by the political conflict between the Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus’ day that was discovered in the writings of the Scrolls. They fought over control of the Temple. The winner would be able to impose their standards of obedience and righteousness on the people. The Sadducees were much more demanding and wanted the Law of God in written form. The Pharisees wanted only an oral tradition of the law so that it could be changed easily to meet the lenient demands of a fickle culture. That is why Jesus said the Pharisees were like white-washed tombs, with the appearance of sacred holiness on the outside but filled with death and corruption on the inside.

Finally, the time came to enter the last room where five actual fragments of the scrolls were on display in sealed cases. As we stood outside the entrance and listened to the voice in our headsets introduce what we were about to see, my eyes filled with tears. They were bittersweet tears. The first tears were tears of joy, as I realized I was about to see what the Scribes of Jesus’ day had written to preserve the integrity of the Holy Scriptures. Then tears of pain came, as my heart broke for all the people who would not realize what they were seeing and would only see a scientific discovery with no spiritual value.

The first display of Scroll fragments was from the book of Leviticus, and explained the consequence of offering a child as a sacrifice to the false god Molech. I was overwhelmed with the awesomeness of God’s holiness, and wondered how many parents today are offering their children to the false God of humanistic thought and hedonistic pursuits.

Then was a display of fragments from the book of Genesis, where Jacob, now named Israel, meets Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim for the first time and chooses to bless them. I was reminded that no matter what happens in our culture, God is in control and His covenant cannot be broken. It is a covenant that has now been sealed in the blood of Jesus and guaranteed by His resurrection from the dead. I rejoiced in my heart that no scientist or professor can stop the plan of Almighty God, no matter how strong their arguments or loud their voices.

But then I realized that my voice has not been loud enough. I was convicted that the voices of millions like me around the world are not loud enough. We have been silenced by unjustified fear of what is weaker. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world! So it is time to raise the banner of Jesus Christ. It is time to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. It is time to once again let the world know that truth shall prevail – the truth that Jesus is Lord! Let your voice be heard and let your life back up what you say.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, June 1, 2023

God promised that the day is coming when He will establish His King and Kingdom on the earth. His people, who have been scattered all over the earth for generations, will be reclaimed and reunited in Israel and become a great nation again under the reign of Jesus Christ.  All enemies will be cut off. All competition for recognition and prestige will end. Israel will become the most powerful and dominant nation of the world. God will make the way easy for them to return to the Promised Land. It will be the time of God fulfilling His covenant to Abraham as a testimony to His faithfulness.

In Isaiah 12 we have songs of praise that the people will sing when the promise has been fulfilled.

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

The people will proudly and boldly proclaim the marvelous works of Almighty God to save them and bring them into the Promised Land permanently. The whole earth will be overwhelmed with the greatness of God.

That’s the historical and prophetic picture of what happens in God’s chosen people Israel. But there is a bigger picture for us today. Notice the spiritual applications to our lives today:

  • People are living in the bondage of sin, held captive by its deceptive influence on the fleshly desires we all have to seek acceptance and recognition. They are scattered all over the earth seeking fulfillment in a myriad of ways, all of which drive them deeper into sin and further from their true homeland in Christ.
  • Jesus has raised up a banner for all the world to see, so that people can be reclaimed and reunited in God’s true family. That banner is the cross, where Jesus died to pay for the sin of the world and reconcile people to God. Jesus declared that truth in John 3:14 when He said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Then in John 12 Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 
  • God has made the way easy to come home. He has prepared every path of your life with crossroads that lead to Him. You may have ignored them or been so focused on the path of self-fulfillment that you didn’t see them, but they have been there. If you will open your eyes and look you will see the path of God leading you to the cross where your life can begin.
  • Once you come to the cross, the joy of salvation will so fill your heart that you will burst forth in words of praise so that others will be able to hear about God’s greatness. No longer will your heart be filled with complaints or criticism. No longer will resentment and bitterness rule your thought life. There will be no more grudges harbored in a heart of unforgiveness because you will have experienced ultimate forgiveness from the Lord and will be ready to do the same for others no matter what they have done.

Everyone reading this today can relate to one point on this path. Maybe you are the one who is still living on your own path, rejecting every crossroad that would lead you to Jesus so you can fulfill your own desires. I have news for you – God never gives up designing crossroads in your life to draw you to Jesus. You will come across one even today.

Maybe you are the one who has started toward Jesus, but the desires and influence of the world are distracting you. Don’t stop moving to the point of repentance and surrender to Jesus. Consider how unfulfilling and literally deadly the pursuits of the world have been. Now consider what you are missing by not having the fullness of Jesus Christ the Lord living in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Choose life, not death.

Many of you have already met Jesus at the cross. Why has the singing stopped? Why has the proclamation of the greatness of God been replaced with the pursuits of personal well-being in the world? Why are we living like we don’t believe the truth of these words from Isaiah?

“Surely God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

It is time for the followers of Jesus to stand up and do what Isaiah says we will do when the day of salvation comes.

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

This week I am making final preparations for the first camping trip of the season with my family. All the kids and grandkids will be there at one time or another. We will share meals and spend time on the beach. And of course we will have campfires. I love campfires. It’s the best time of the day, so as much as possible, we keep the fire burning all day to make the whole day great. Anytime there’s any stress at all you can just go sit in a lawn chair by the fire and relax. It’s therapeutic.

But fires take fuel. I have a large firewood pile at my house, so part of the preparation is to fill my transport tubs with my share for the weekend. Everyone brings some so we always have enough. But it takes a lot of work to get that wood cut and split and stacked so it’s ready when I need it.

Yesterday I was thinking about fire and fuel. It reminded me of this passage from the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 10:17-20 “The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.”

Years ago I read something from a friend on Facebook, and I’m more convinced than ever of the truth I heard from him. He said, in my paraphrased version, that “we have no right to ask the refining fire of God to come upon us unless we are willing to become the fuel!!

When God’s people had wandered far enough into the ways of sin, the Light of Israel became a consuming fire to purify them. He burned everything so that those who were willing to be refined would rely upon Him alone and not on their own wisdom and strength. That is what God wants to do to each one of us – refine us with fire so His light shines in and through us.

When we sit around the campfire, making sure the kids don’t get too close, we take turns poking at it and moving coals around so that everything burns as brightly as possible. We add more fuel when necessary.

In our spiritual lives we must do the same. We must let the Holy Spirit poke around in our hearts and minds and stir up the coals that are blackened with sin. We must search the entire campsite of our lives for any fuel that has been left behind by past failures – fuel that if not burned in God’s Holy fire will darken our lives. We must want the fire of God’s holiness to burn as brightly as possible in us.

So today, spend some time looking for firewood. Then let the Holy One become the flame in you that burns every log, stick, and woodchip so that you no longer rely upon yourself, but on the LORD!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Isaiah 11:10  In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 

I wish there was a greater patriotic spirit in our land today. I remember as a child the pride we had in our country. We were not all that far removed from the end of World War 2, and there was a sense of national pride and unity that permeated our country. I can’t remember ever seeing a single person sitting while a flag would be carried by in a parade. I also can’t remember anyone ever standing without having their hand over their heart in a personal salute to what the flag represents.

Not so today, is it? There is a disrespectful disregard for patriotism. Some would say it is because we have drifted so far from what our founding fathers designed, so they are excused from honoring what currently stands. I believe that the reason we are where we are today is because we, the generations since those days of honor and respect, have failed to live it and teach it as we should. We became complacent. We stopped rallying around a common banner and hope, and the resulting disrespect for our Republic and the changing philosophies of our leaders is what we should have seen coming.

William Arthur Ward wrote these moving words:

“I believe in America.

“I believe it became great because of its faith in God, its hope for independence, and its love for freedom.

“I am grateful for America’s glorious past; I am awed by its unbelievable present; I am confident of its limitless future.

“I am not ashamed to take my hat off and to stand at attention when Old Glory passes by. I do not apologize for the lump in my throat when I repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. I am not embarrassed by the tears in my eyes when I hear ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’

“Like millions of Americans, I want a free choice, not a free handout. I prefer an opportunity to prove my abilities on the job rather than a license to demonstrate my frustrations in the street.

“I am an old-fashioned American with a new-found determination to do my part to make democracy work.”

Like Ward, I too still get tears in my eyes when I sing the Star Spangled Banner. Just think of what that song meant to the people of that day, and what it should still mean to us. In the midst of a predictably unwinnable war against a vastly superior army from a long-established country, our troops were fighting to preserve our young Republic. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake in the War of 1812, the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. The flag was the rallying point for the army. It was the signal to all around that there was still fight left in the troops. The flag is our symbol of liberty, and it should be held high and in high regard.

As Christians we belong to a spiritual Kingdom. The Ruler of this Kingdom has also established a flag – a banner – that flies over us as our rallying point. It is the cross on which He died for our sins. One day, maybe very soon the way things are going, the banner of the cross will be replaced by the One who hung on the cross. The day is coming when a new Ruler will rise, or rather descend, to power. He will become the new banner for the people of the world. He will be the One to bring true world peace. He will be the One to unite the world again. All nations will bow before Him. All nations will be united in Him. He will bring peace that is glorious.

His name is Jesus, and His banner is to be lifted high and held in high regard.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, May 29, 2023

I was blessed to begin my life in an erawhere people respected and honored the heritage of liberty. I was taught the history of our country both at home and in school. I learned about the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States of America. I understood the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. And I was consistently exposed to the sacrifice of life that paid for my freedom.

I also lived through the era of rebellion when people lost the knowledge of true freedom and returned to the slavery of self-fulfillment. I saw, and even participated in the passionate pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Fortunately for me the Lord Jesus Christ rescued me from that philosophy of life, but I am deeply burdened with the sad state of our country today. Our nation has lost the true meaning of freedom and has again become slaves to an evil governing authority – PRIDE.

Pride and sacrifice are incompatible. Pride promotes self. Sacrifice denies self for the benefit of others. And true freedom is found only in sacrifice.   

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Jesus Christ offers true freedom because He modeled true sacrifice. He left His throne in glory to become a servant of mankind. He made the ultimate sacrifice of His own life so that we could be set free from slavery to sin and death. He rose from the dead to guarantee eternal life and eternal freedom from sin. He indwells His children today so that we might live in the freedom of sacrificial service rather than the slavery of pride.

Yet our nation, and every other nation in the world, rejects Jesus Christ as Lord and therefore has rejected sacrificial service. Instead, governments are ruled by pride, resulting in the exaltation of man’s ways rather than God’s ways.

Soon, every one of those prideful knees will have to bow before the King of Kings and declare that He is Lord. Unfortunately, it will be at their judgment to eternal death. They will enter into eternity knowing that they had a chance to be free and they chose pride. But not so for those who sacrifice pride and become humble servants of Jesus Christ. We will be exalted in Christ’s presence one day and reign with Him over all creation.

Today, I celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice of life to pay for my constitutional freedoms. They are worthy of our honor. But more than that, I celebrate true freedom found in Christ Jesus who paid the ultimate sacrifice of His life for my eternal freedom from sin and death. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, and He is in me, there is freedom. May my life always be free from pride and self-gratification, and may I always be a sacrificial servant of others. Then I am truly free, for then I am most like Jesus.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, May 26, 2023

My wife and I just returned from a trip to North Dakota to see Denise’s mother. Every time we go there I am reminded of how my kids would make fun of me every time we got close to our destination. You see, I love windmills. If I had my way, I would have a tall traditional farm windmill in my front yard. For some reason they have an aesthetic appeal as my eyes scan the farmlands of the Midwest.

Near my wife’s hometown is a huge wind farm, with several miles of wind-powered generators reaching high into the sky. I love them. They can be seen from twenty miles away, which is about when the joking started. As the distance diminishes, an optical illusion begins. It becomes very difficult to discern the rotational direction of the arms on the tower. From one perspective they look like they are travelling clockwise, but as we get closer and the angle of perspective changes they are turning in the opposite direction. The fact is they always turn in the same direction, but one’s viewing perspective can make them appear to be turning the other way.

Perspective matters. Jesus told His church in Smyrna to look at life from the right perspective.

Revelation 2:9a (ESV)  I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…

From the human perspective they appeared to be in trouble and in poverty; but from God’s perspective they were rich.

This morning in my devotions, Charles Spurgeon wrote this:

“God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.

“Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them.

“Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honor are distinguished.

“But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.”

We are so rich in Christ. Our troubles do not define us as poor. Our lifestyles do not increase or decrease our value. Our earthly treasures will all be lost, but our eternal inheritance is secured and kept by the power of God, ready to be revealed in Christ’s presence. If you are struggling with that truth, maybe a change of perspective is necessary.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Revelation 2:4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

An old Gospel hymn is on my mind today.

There is a name I love to hear; I love to sing its worth;

It sounds like music in mine ear; the sweetest name on earth.

It tells me of a Savior’s love, Who died to set me free;

It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea.

Oh, how I love Jesus; Oh, how I love Jesus; Oh, how I love Jesus;

Because He first loved me.

As I thought about the words “Oh, how I love Jesus,” I was immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit. “Do you really love Jesus all that much? Is Jesus the one true love of your life?”

I had to honestly answer no. At first, I attached a qualifying statement to that answer –“At least not as much as I should or could” – but quickly realized I was only attempting to validate the love I do have. We tend to do that when we answer questions: we defend ourselves rather than humble ourselves.

So the answer is simply NO! I do not love Jesus adequately as defined by Jesus in Matthew 22:37 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” As a result, I also do not love others adequately either, for how can love flow from me when the Source of love is being ignored? I have promoted things of the world to a higher priority than my love for Jesus. Projects have become more important than prayer. Relaxation and recreation have replaced relationships. Personal success often becomes my agenda rather than the mission of Jesus Christ. Oh, how I love myself.

I discovered some interesting truths in Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.  Please read it.

Here’s what I discovered:

  • The people of this church were doing the work of God – vs. 2
  • They were enduring persecution and hardship and remaining faithful – vs. 2-3
  • They were taking a public stand against evil in their day – vs. 2
  • They were carefully holding to the truth of the Gospel – vs. 2
  • They hated the false teaching of Nicolas (Acts 6) that promoted sensual and materialistic living – vs. 6

Yet in contrast to all that Jesus said, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” He says they have fallen from a previous position of honor and needed to repent (vs. 5). And then Jesus says that all the other work they were doing would become meaningless unless they repented, for He would come and remove their lampstand from them.

OUCH! Not loving Jesus has dire consequences. The day is coming, and in fact may already be here for some, when those who have lost their first love of the Savior, who loved them first and saved them from their sin, will become ineffective in the work they are trying to do for the Lord. It all hinges on love.

Love for self and love for the world are opposed to love for Jesus and serve as barriers to the expression of His power in our lives.

Every time the lyrics or melody to that hymn flash across my mind today, may my heart be humbled to realize that it is at that very moment that the Lord Jesus wants me to love Him more than whatever else I am doing. Let the journey of growth continue.

Pastor John