There are many people that question whether or not God is real. Return to Your First Love is an inspirational story about one woman’s life that will give an atheist second thought. Author, Teresa R. Jones is a woman that has believed in God her entire life. She was a zealous for God has a child. However, as she embarks upon adulthood, she commences a part-time relationship with God to indulge in the lures of the world. As a result, she suffers the consequences of carnality. By the time Teresa reaches her late twenties, she is weary and battered by the struggles of the world and the instability of living a double life. At this defining moment in her life, she repents and embraces the close walk with God, she relished as a child. As a result, she experiences a vicissitude of blessings.
Teresa’s life is not absent from trials in struggles, but as she continues to seek Jesus Christ, she grows and evolves and discovers that life is much sweeter.
Return to Your First Love is not the typical self-help/relationships book filled with anecdotes and quotes from experts.Readers are invited to sit in the front row to experience actual events that dig deep and expose carnality and misconstrued ideas about Christianity, which will in turn guide them to a path of true intimacy with God.
My story begins on the Southside of Chicago, in the Woodlawn Neighborhood - an area of the city where poverty and despair are prevalent.The kind of neighborhood that might cause one to ask, "Can any good thing come out of Woodlawn?"To add to my dilemma, I'm a member of a dysfunctional family where my father often neglects his paternal responsibilities in favor of gambling, drinking and other women.A tumultuous relationship with my mother intensifies my troubles.In the midst of pain and strife, I'm aware that God is extending His loving hand toward me and comforts me through the ordeal.I find peace as I travel with Him down my stony pathway.
As I embark upon adulthood, I escape my childhood barriers, to discover that new obstacles have been set before me - impractical men, counterfeit friends, malicious employers, challenges with finances, and even abandonment by my siblings.I exhaust precious time and energy fighting the wrong battles.The allurements of the world ignite a war between my spirit and my flesh.As a result, I adopt a part-time relationship with God.I continue to attend church every Sunday, read the Bible, and pray.However, I lose my zeal that I had for God as a child, along with my childlike faith.I'm unaware that I have also lost my joy and peace, which sends me on a downward spiral toward depression.By age 27, just about everything that could have gone wrong in my life has.It is at this low point in my life that I make the decision to return to my first love.
My pastor, Bishop Smith posed a question to the congregation one Sunday
afternoon. “If you had a chance to be one of Jesus’ disciples, which one would
you choose to be?” he asked. I thought, “I believe I would want to be Paul.”
Think about it. Paul wrote about two thirds of the New Testament. Paul
reminds us that no matter how bad we are or what dreadful things we have done
in our lifetime, God's love endures forever and that God is always willing to wipe the slate clean (1 Tim 1:15,16). Paul is a prime example and a reminder of God’s love and willingness to receive me as His own. Paul is the “Good News” disciple of the Gentiles; therefore, we know that we all have access to the Holy Spirit and
everyone can be made in the righteousness of God. I am sure that most would agree that Paul was most effective of all the apostles, especially regarding propagating the Gospel. To say that Paul was simply a martyr for the Gospel would be an understatement. The Scriptures tell us how Paul was stoned, beaten,
shipwrecked, and left for dead several times (2 Cor 11:24-26) and eventually
died a violent death by decapitation. Paul was mortal, but he had supernatural
influence, and even demons respected his spiritual authority (Acts 19:15). I
personally admire Paul's fighting spirit. To answer Bishop Smith's question, “Paul is the most distinguished of the apostles. Yes, I would choose to be Paul.”
I assumed Bishop Smith's response would follow suit, but he surprised me
when he said, “I would choose to be John.” I thought, “Why John?” Bishop
Smith went on to explain that Paul was definitely the most profound of all the
disciples, but it was John who truly understood the love of God, which is
reflected in many ways in his account of the Gospel. John is known as “the
disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 20:2). Immediately, I reflected on my previous
pastor’s favorite passage of scripture; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).
Bishop Smith continued saying that John was the disciple who received the
blessings and the one caught up in the spirit realm to witness heaven and write
the book of Revelation. John was also the only disciple that did not die a violent death. John had grasped the depth of God's love for His creation called “man” and understood how man was to respond in love to God. I listened and thought, “Bishop Smith is onto something, but I would still choose to be Paul.”
I pondered the concept of truly understanding God's love, and man's love for Him. To be honest, most of us, especially Christians, probably have not truly grasped agape love. The Bible tells us that without love we are nothing (1 Cor. 13). One could argue that the root of this world's problems stems from the lack of understanding God's love for us, let alone the love we should have for Him.
Deuteronomy 6:5 states: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all
thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Jesus reminds us that this is the greatest of all the commandments (Mt 22:37,38).
The premise of this book is my humble attempt, inspired by God, to help
someone that has an ear to hear and a heart to understand God's love and the
importance of our love toward Him. Throughout this book, I will share with you
my life experiences and lessons learned that have made me the person I am
today. This book perhaps will spare you some pain or some may find direction
toward the road of healing and restoration.
I don’t claim to be all that I should be, but I'm not who I use to be. I have just learned how to position myself to become the individual that God has
predestined me to be before the foundation of the world.
Walk with me through the pages of my life as I share with you how I returned to my first love.
“As I perused the pages of this book, it quickly became clear that this is the soul Teresa laid bare, an invitation to glimpse the intimate truths and depths of her life and heart. The soul of this woman evolves, growing, learning, changing, and becoming wise as her life unfolds as she deliberately chooses her path. Her intimacy with God and ability to hear his voice of comfort and counsel becomes more intense with each turn of the page. We should all possess her uncomplicated faith, knowing without a doubt, that He is able, He is on our side, He will fight for us, and we will be victorious… if we listen and allow Him the freedom to move in our lives.
“My heart laughed and cried as her words challenged me to love my God with childlike abandon again, to be honest and bare before Him, because He knows our frame. She challenged me to pursue the truth in myself and in every life circumstance, and be passionate toward my relationships with people and God.”
Teresa is a champion of the written word, determined to please the Lord, and fearlessly vulnerable. Return to Your First Love will inspire the hearts of men and women of every age, if you will receive it.”