Summer is a time of renewal!
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (New International Version 1984, Revelation 2:4-5).
Perhaps you remember youth camps, revivals, vacations or just free time from school and great weather as an occasion for enjoying summertime?
Most of my recent articles have been about the great blessings God is pouring out on our ministry through your faithful prayers, service and support. It is always a challenge in the midst of blessings to remember the Blesser. This article is an attempt at that.
What does personal renewal look like? You may have a hard time describing it but you would say, “I know it when I see it.” Or, “I know it when I feel it.” Paul gives a clear and compelling description in Galatians 5:22-23 when he writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
But how do you get to love, joy and peace?
I have found that there are vital behaviors for spiritual renewal that are based upon the challenge of the revelator to “do the things you did at first.”
There are six behaviors (clear actions that lead to results) that I have found I need to practice to ensure a fresh, daily walk with God. They are:
̶ Read Bible daily – Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16
̶ Pray without ceasing – Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17
̶ Claim identify in Christ – Romans 6
̶ Obey what I know – John 14:21; Romans 12:2
̶ Confess sin promptly – 1 John 1:9
̶ Serve God by serving others – Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 4:5
Legalism is a constant foe in our walk of freedom in God’s grace, but this checklist works for me. I have memorized each of these verses and meditate on them regularly. I can enjoy a daily walk with God through practicing these behaviors. If I sense I have drifted from the Lord, usually, one of these actions has been skipped for a period of time.
Join me in allowing the Holy Spirit to heat up your summer with these vital behaviors whether as some new disciplines or in doing “the things you did at first!”
One additional note, I do have more blessings from God to report. Larry Heikkila, long-time volunteer at the Cleveland County jail is now our site chaplain there, replacing Bill Farley, noted in last month’s newsletter as our new development director.
Unleashing the captives,
OJPM currently has work in ten facilities in nine counties. We have 68 counties to go!