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Dear Friend,

     How can we keep our relationship with Jesus fresh and lively? How do we restore and maintain that “first love” intimacy that marked our early days of walking with the Lord?

     As we journey in our Christian faith, sometimes we tend to sink into a bland, almost lethargic routine in our relationship with Jesus. We don’t intend to do so; it just seems to overtake us if we are not careful.

      I recently received an email from a friend that reminded me how important it is to stay fresh in our love for Jesus—to be members in good standing of The Burning Hearts Society. This letter will explain what I mean by that phrase.
 

Boundless Joy

     One of the greatest blessings in my life is the friendship I have enjoyed for over 50 years with Tom Hammon, a lifelong leader in Young Life, the organization through which we both came to faith in Jesus Christ. In our regular contact through email and personal visits, Tom and I will often exchange insights from our ongoing study of the Word of God.  Here is one Tom sent just prior to Christmas:
 
     Matthew 2:10 in the J.B. Phillips translation of the New Testament says, “The sight of the star filled them [the wise men] with indescribable joy!” The star pointed these three anonymous travelers to Jesus. Their joy was boundless. The Message says, “They could hardly contain themselves.” Now, that is living….

     Does the sight and image of the Savior fill us with indescribable, boundless joy? I am talking about the Person of Jesus Christ, whom we can know and are known by intimately, right to the core of our being!

     I am reminded that there is nothing more important than to know Jesus deeply. Nothing is close. Nothing else makes sense of life. Nothing else works.

     Let’s reignite the flame and fan it. Drill down deep. I want the heart-racing, pulse-quickening, joy-overflowing, high-anticipation life that only comes from knowing Him and being known by Him. THAT is indeed the good stuff!
 

My Response

     Deeply touched by what Tom shared, I sent back the following email reply:
 
     Thanks for what you have shared in this email. It is very inspirational, and I agree completely that this is the kind of joy and awe that should consistently move us forward in our relationship with Jesus.

     Similar in theme to the verse you quoted, the sentiment that always moves me in the same way took place after the resurrection of Jesus, when the men on the road to Emmaus asked one another in Luke 24:32 (NAS), “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

     I’m hoping to be a lifelong member of the Burning Hearts Society.
 

Renewing Your Membership

     So, let me ask you: would you like to renew your membership in The Burning Hearts Society? Have you suffered some disappointments and setbacks? Have the challenges and demands of life diminished the intensity of your love for the Lord? Please understand, I am not being judgmental. I’m not pointing the finger by asking these questions. I am aiming these same questions at myself in a desire to stay sharp and vibrant in my faith.

     The men on the road to Emmaus are good comparisons for the disappointments that can wear us down. Their hopes had been dashed by Jesus’ death on the cross, what they felt was the end of their dreams for His impact upon the world.

     This is how they expressed the depression they were feeling: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” (v.21). Those hopes had disappeared…until they became members of The Burning Hearts Society.
 

Let Us Return

     Derek Prince knew something about coming out of depression and renewing his love and devotion to the Lord. He spoke about that process in one of his most unusual messages, “Caleb: Lessons from a Dog’s Life.”

     Do you have a desire in your heart to come to that place where you can say, “Christ is all?” Are you tired of the gimmicks? Tired of the sermons? Tired of all the programs?

     Here is what you can say: “Jesus, it’s You I want. It’s You I want. I think I’ve lost the scent. I’ve missed You somewhere in the crowd. I’m going around sniffing here and there. Jesus, it’s only You—only You. Christ is all.” Can you comprehend that? If you have Christ, you need nothing more. He is all. Christ in you—Christ is all.

     I want to challenge you or help you now. You may feel like a dog that has lost its master. You are running around, sniffing here and there, but you’re not satisfied. Our text says, “Let us return to the Lord. Let us get back.” (See Hosea 6:1–3.)

     We spoke earlier about “first love.” It’s a quality. You may feel that you have left your first love. At first you followed, but you missed somehow. You’ve lost contact. I would like to give you an opportunity to make a decision. Simply say, “Jesus, I’m coming back. It’s You I want. Only You can satisfy me. Nothing else in life is worth anything without You.”

     Let us return to the Lord.
 

A Prayer of Renewal

     I don’t think we can improve upon the prayer Derek offered in the section above.  So why don’t we just repeat that same prayer as an expression of our desire to renew our love and devotion to the Lord?

     Dear Jesus, I’m coming back. It’s You I want. Only You can satisfy me. Nothing else in life is worth anything without You.

     Sign me up, Lord, for a renewed membership in the Burning Hearts Society. I offer my prayer in Your precious Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
 

Encouragement Is Available

     I don’t know what spiritual condition you may have been in before you offered the prayer above. Possibly you were doing very well, enjoying vitality in your relationship with Jesus. On the other hand, you may have been languishing in a desert of spiritual dryness.

     Either way, it is always a positive step to renew our love for Jesus. Along with regular prayers of commitment like the one you and I just offered, it always helps to soak ourselves in inspiring teaching like the message we quoted from. It is a great honor for us to be involved in your spiritual progress. Your involvement with DPM through prayer and financial contribution is a wonderful blessing. Thank you for standing with us in such a generous and faithful way. We are grateful!
 

Our First Love

     Three simple words: “our first love.” But they mean so much.

     With the commitment you and I have just made, we have placed ourselves back on track. We have asked the Lord to refresh us and restore our first love. I believe He is always eager and able to answer that prayer.

     Jesus is always happy to renew our membership in The Burning Hearts Society.
 
All the best,
Dick signature
 
 
 

Dick Leggatt
President, DPM–USA