Are You Saved?
Jesus The Humble
God Who Cares
Who Is God
Take time to visit the scriptures to the descriptions of the names of God below.
True spiritual joy will come to all of God’s children when they enter into His eternal kingdom.
There is not a lot that we know about Heaven; oftentimes we make speculations, but God has chosen not to reveal too much to us here on earth. I do love verse 25, especially now that I am older and can appreciate what it is really saying.
25 His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.
Have you ever wondered what our heavenly bodies will look like. Verse 25 tells us that our flesh will be young like a child’s; we will return to the days of our youth. For some of us, that was quite a while ago! My favorite years were my 20’s and 30’s, when I had seemingly endless vigor. My teens would have been even better if I had my teenage body and the maturity of my 30’s. In Heaven, we will have complete maturity as well as a body unmarked by sin. How amazing is that?
Notice in verse 26 the phrase, For He restores to man His righteousness.
What does this mean? none of us attained our own righteousness while in this life. How can He restore what we never possessed in the first place? Actually, we did! Adam and Eve were both created in complete righteousness, so that, through Adam, we were originally created in complete righteousness. Through Adam’s sin, we all became sinners, and through Christ’s righteousness His people were cloaked with righteousness again.
In Heaven, however, we will have our perfect, sinless, righteous bodies restored to us. We’ll have no pain, no sickness, no injuries, no tiredness, no sadness, and the list goes on! We will pray to God and He will delight in us! We will see His face with joy! Only in our perfect bodies will we be able to actually look into the face of God.
It is good for us to ponder Heaven; we must always remember that this world is not our home! As a Christian, all of the troubles and sorrows we have in this life will completely pass away. Remember that as you go about your duties today, and don’t forget to thank God for the bright future you have ahead of you as a child of God.
When God Turns Away
Will God’s grace be available to all people forever? What happens when God no matter where you look God is nowhere to be found? In the passage above, Paul has gone to the Jewish leaders, as was his practice, and explained Jesus to them beginning with the Law and the Prophets. His “sermon” lasted from morning until evening!
And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
Paul, who was also Jewish, had a great love for his people, desiring that they should all come to the knowledge of the truth. In frustration at their disbelief, he quotes Isaiah 6:9-10, shown above. Then look at the sobering words of verse 28.
“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”
Why is this sobering? The implication is that there is a time when unbelief is so great that God turns away. The Jewish people, even when Christ walked upon this earth ministering to Him, largely rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this case, when God turned away from the Jewish people, He sent Paul to the Gentiles, because they will hear it!
Our world is filled with spiritual blindness; this blindness has even reached into the church of God. Satan’s deceptions are so crafty that even God’s very own people would be deceived without the intervention of Christ. On what are you depending? Yourself? Even as Christians, we must always remember that it is through the power of God that we are kept faithful to Him. Let us always found our beliefs and faith to be founded upon the Word of God. Gods Word is true and faithful!
Pray today that you are not deceived and that you will never experience a time when God turns away from you.
What is blindness that is spiritual? Jesus, when delivering the sermon on the Mount, described it this way.
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Isaiah 59:10 gives this description.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places.
However, there is a marked difference between physical blindness and blindness that is spiritual. A blind person knows that they are blind; people who are spiritually blind do not know that they are blind. They walk about in a world of their own making with their own rules not knowing that they are stumbling about as dead men in desolate places.
There is only one reality, and that reality is defined by the Word of God. Through Christ we do not have to grope about in darkness.
1 John 1: 7 says, But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Do you seek the wisdom of the world? Remember that without Christ the people of the world are walking about spiritually blind. The truth they perceive is not reality.
Pray today that God would shine His grace upon you this day, and that you would walk with the true Light of the World, Jesus Christ and not in the blindness of the people of the world.
Like Abraham, Exodus 34 shares with us the story of Moses’ Adoption by God. In verse 8, Moses pleads with God to go with the Children of Israel who God has placed under Moses’ care. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance. Moses did not just want God’s leadership, He wanted God’s inheritance.
How did God answer Moses? Not only am I adopting you, but I am making a covenant with you! Your part in the covenant is (verse 14), Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Does God give the same command to His children today? What does it mean to worship another God? Is God only talking about false idols and gods that many people worship in our world today?
Anything that comes between you and God is an idol or god! What is the most important thing in life to you? Has it become your god? God is truly a jealous God; He desires our worship, love, and obedience above any other thing this world has to offer. Is it a sin to have fun? Absolutely not! But the “fun” we have must never take precedence over God.
Just as Moses, who was adopted by God, understood exactly what God was telling Him, so, we too, need to understand the significance of being adopted by God. It is not possible to accept Christ as your Savior without making Him Lord of your life. The very nature of His adoption means that everything in your life has changed. Whatever is important to Christ is now important to you.
I am reminded of a chorus I sang as a teenager (a long time ago).
Things are different now,
Something happened to me,
When I gave my heart to Jesus.
Things are different now,
Something happened that day,
when I gave my heart to Him.
Things I loved before have passed away.
Things I love far more have come to stay.
Things are different now,
Something happened that day,
When I gave my heart to Him.
Go, today, and think of Moses Adopted by God. Then live as God’s adopted child. What an amazing privilege we have to actually be called children of God. What an amazing God we serve!
Moses Adopted by God. Like Abraham, Exodus 34 shares with us the story of Moses’ Adoption by God. God said, “Not only am I adopting you, but I am making a covenant with you”
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes,” he said, “then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
10 Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amirites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perruzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exodus 34:8-14, NIV
What actually transpires in the verses shown above? What does God mean? In reality, we see Abraham adopted by God and being promised a new nation. God makes a covenant with Abraham promising to bless him and make his descendants as the sands of the seas and the stars in the skies.
How has God kept that promise to Abraham even to this very day? The Children of Israel knew that they were Children of Abraham, but they only seemed to understand the physical relationship to Abraham. God was speaking of a spiritual adoption not only to Abraham, but to all of his spiritual descendants after him.
God reached down and plucked Abraham from Haran and said to him,
“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
In other words, God said, leave your country and your gods behind you because from this day on I will be your God. I am adopting you as my child.
Think about the significance of that. We are adopted by God to leave this world and its gods behind us and from this day on to serve and worship only Him. He is our God and we are His adopted children; our only desire is to please and honor Him by being obedient to His commands. Whatever your calling in life, as a Christian your number one calling is to worship and serve God using whatever abilities and talents He has given you.
Pray today that you will not be a rebellious son or daughter, but that you will love and serve God, knowing that as a Christian He has adopted you to receive His inheritance forever.
Abraham Adopted by God. What actually transpires in Genesis 17? What does God mean? In reality, we see Abraham adopted by God and being promised a new nation.
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 17:3-8, NKJV
The story is told in the Old Testament of a man, actually just a boy, who was the youngest and most loved and favored son. His older brothers were extremely jealous. When the opportunity arose, they sold their brother to slave traders heading to Egypt. Suddenly, this young man’s life had been turned upside down.
Joseph’s troubles did not end here, however; after serving a man faithfully for several years, the wife of his master tried to seduce him. He ran from the house, leaving his cloak behind. The enraged wife then accused him of trying to seduce her causing his angry master to throw Joseph into prison.
God faithfully protected Joseph in the prison, but it was many years before he was miraculously released from prison to become the second highest official in all of the land of Egypt. A great famine brought people from surrounding countries into Egypt to buy grain. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain, Joseph recognized them. Here was his opportunity to get back at his brothers; their life was in his hands! That is not the way, however, that Joseph reacted to them. Love is not irritable or resentful!
When Joseph finally revealed his true identity to his brothers, they were afraid for their lives. They knew that they deserved retaliation for what they had done. Joseph, however, was a faithful man of God and held no resentment toward his brothers for what they had done. Do you remember Joseph’s words to them?
“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:19-20
Love is not irritable or resentful. I have often marveled at Joseph; even though his brothers had committed the unthinkable to him, his love for God and his love for them removed any irritation or resentment he may have felt toward them.
As 1 Corinthians 13 continues to unfold before us, we begin to understand more and more, that the Christian is called to live a life completely opposite of what we normally see around us. The world thinks that Christians are weak; but in reality, living the Christian life is hard work. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to live the Christian life as we are called to apart from the help of God.
Pray today that God would fill you with His love and give you the ability to let go of irritations and resentments that you may have held onto for years.
A distinguishing mark of Jesus’ ministry is inclusivity. He doesn’t leave out anyone!
Have you ever noticed this?
A few years ago I studied the Gospels, paying careful attention to ways Jesus was inclusive. Here are some of the things I discovered:
👉 Jesus kept his message and methods simple, yet profound, so ordinary people could understand. For instance he distilled hundreds of laws into one sentence! (Matt. 22:38-39).
👉 Jesus selected and trained not only Type A’s, but also Type B’s who were laid back, gentle, soft-spoken, and compassionate, like Andrew (John 1:40-42, 6:8, 12:20-22). More than half of the twelve were so much in the background that they are barely mentioned in the Gospels. Only three of the twelve were “pillars” (Gal. 2:9).
👉 Jesus trained women like Mary Magdalene, Joanna (wife of Herod’s manager), Mary the Mother of James, and Susana to be disciple-leaders. They traveled with him and provided him with hospitality, financial support, and encouragement (Luke 8:2-3, 24:1-7). There were many other women in his inner circle of leaders in training like Mary and Martha of Bethany (Luke 10:38-42, John 11 and 12:1-8), Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), and his own mother Mary (John 2:3-5; 19:26-27).
👉 Jesus received many foreigners and minorities into his group of disciple-leaders, like the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Samaritan leper (Luke 17:11-19), Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5-13), Gadarene demoniac (Mark 5:1-20), Greek woman (Mark 7:24-30), and Simon from Africa (Mark 15:21).
And here’s the best part: Jesus’ inclusivity extends to YOU too!
You too can live your life with Jesus under God’s loving rule in the kingdom of the heavens. And you too can invite others to join in.
No matter who you are, the risen Christ is here now in Spirit to embrace each you in Abba’s love, empower us with his Spirit, and guide you into real, abundant, eternal living today
Our world tells us, “You’re only as good as your last performance” and “You have to make yourself stand out.”
But these are not healthy motivational sayings — they’re destructive self-talk. They’re lies from the enemy (John 8:44).
Believing our worth is tied to what we accomplish or what people think about us gets us stuck on a never-ending performance treadmill.
No matter how good you look, how much you achieve, or how much recognition and attention you get you’ll never feel loved and significant. It’s your ideal self that’s being applauded. Nobody knows the real you. You’re left feeling insecure and inadequate, even ashamed and worthless.
When we believe the lie that we are “not enough” we are being chocked by an un-Christly, anxious yoke. We’re missing the experience of Jesus’ easy yoke.
Jesus’ easy yoke is a secure attachment; it’s God’s unconditional grace. God accepts and loves you freely, not because of your works or performance (Eph. 2:8-9).
If you’re on a performance treadmill or feeling anxious, receive Jesus’ Easy Yoke Gospel. He’s looking right at you, smiling, and saying:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matt 11:28-30, MSG).
Jesus welcomes you! Lay your burden down. You don’t have to be ideal. You don’t have to do everything right. You don’t have to please everybody. You are loved and accepted for who you are!
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
Sometimes there are no words. We may be in pain, we may be utterly fatigued, we may be totally confused. We reckon we ought to pray for that situation or that person. But the words don’t come. Or if they do come, they are jumbled and make no sense. And all this may cause us to despair at our lack of prayerfulness.
Which is where this most wonderful text comes to our aid. The effectiveness of our prayers does not depend on our powers of expression or clarity of thought. It depends on the working of God’s Spirit in us. He gets the right message through to the Father even when we don’t really know what the right message is.
Of course on many occasions we do know what to pray for and find the words. We don’t kiss our brains goodbye when we pray. But for those incapable of speech or thought, those who really don’t know what to pray, then those groans and sighs and inarticulate wrestling’s find some meaning. The Spirit is our great interpreter.
Prayer is meant to be a release from burdens not yet another burden. We are not to see ourselves as failures if we don’t know what to pray on occasions. Just because our words might fail does not mean our prayers fail.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
We generally suppose that courage and fear are opposites. They may be contrasting emotions but they actually belong together. Courage only becomes a meaningful concept if there is a threat which causes us to be afraid.
When the Israelites gathered on the far side of the Jordan prior to occupying the Promised Land they faced a threat. It was not going to be easy. Therefore they needed courage. If occupying the land was a piece of cake, no opposition or hardship, then courage was not required. The only time we need to talk about courage is when there is something that causes fear in us.
The Bible commands us not to be afraid—it is the most common command in the Bible. It does so because it is aware there is much which threatens us. Fear is not some exceptional sign of weak faith: it is common to the human condition. If there is no fear, there can be no courage.
We can be thankful that though our fears are real, our God is more than equal to them. The Israelites could have courage not because they were brave and ignored their fears. They had courage because they faced their fears realising God was with them.
I have a note in my Bible that says: A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
The wonderful thing about the Psalms of David is the opportunity we have to see the heart of this mighty warrior. Many chapters in our Bible are given to the stories of David as a shepherd, as a leader in battled, as a man pursued by Saul, and as a man anointed by God as the King of Israel. Many Psalms, such as this one, were written in response to these events and allow us to see why God calls David, A man after my own heart.
We see in Psalm 18, David’s overwhelming love of God, as well as his understanding that God is the One who grants him victory in his conquests. Compare this attitude to other famous conquerors, such as Alexander the Great, or Napolean. They were men of great pride, who relished in receiving praise and glory from the people around them.
David never speaks of his own greatness and glory in battle, but rather gives all the glory and praise to the Lord. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:16-19
Imagine that! He delivered me because He delighted in me. As true believers, God DELIGHTS in us! We are His children; He loves us, takes care of us, and delights in us! Take the time to read Psalm 18 today, and think about the many ways God takes care of you and delights in you.
Here is David’s conclusion: The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; you have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.
Scripture Reading — Matthew 25:31-46
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” — Matthew 25:40
In today’s reading we learn that we need to “see” Jesus in other people in order to live faithfully.
We must learn to see Jesus where we least expect to find him. Jesus explains it this way in his parable: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . I was a stranger and you invited me in . . . I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Notice that Jesus does not say, “There was a stranger who came to your community. . . .” Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Jesus also anticipates some confusion that people could have while hearing this story. So he has the people in the story ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry . . . or thirsty . . . [or] a stranger . . . [or] sick or in prison . . . ?” And he says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Jesus identifies with people who are disadvantaged and marginalized. The Lord cares for all people in need, and so should we. And we should not be involved in oppressing or discriminating against anyone. Faith helps us to see Jesus in people who are hungry, sick, imprisoned, strangers in our midst, and more—and he calls us to provide the love and support to those in need.
Jesus, thank you for showing us how much you care for people we easily overlook. Help us to share your love and care faithfully. Amen.
My dad has bees. Today I went to his house and he showed me all of the honey he had gotten from the hives. He took the lid off of a 5 gallon bucket full of honey and on top of the honey there were 3 little bees, struggling.
They were covered in sticky honey and drowning. I asked him if we could help them and he said he was sure they wouldn’t survive. Casualties of honey collection I suppose.
I asked him again if we could at least get them out and kill them quickly, after all he was the one who taught me to put a suffering animal (or bug) out of its misery. He finally conceded and scooped the bees out of the bucket. He put them in an empty Chobani yogurt container and put the plastic container outside.
Because he had disrupted the hive with the earlier honey collection, there were bees flying all over outside.
We put the 3 little bees in the container on a bench and left them to their fate. My dad called me out a little while later to show me what was happening. These three little bees were surrounded by all of their sisters (all of the bees are females) and they were cleaning the sticky nearly dead bees, helping them to get all of the honey off of their bodies.
We came back a short time later and there was only one little bee left in the container. She was still being tended to by her sisters.
When it was time for me to leave we checked one last time and all three of the bees had been cleaned off enough to fly away and the container was empty.
Those three little bees lived because they were surrounded by family and friends who would not give up on them, family and friends who refused to let them drown in their own stickiness and resolved to help until the last little bee could be set free.
Bee Sisters. Bee Peers. Bee Teammates.
We could all learn a thing or two from these bees.
Bee kind always.~
art: Autumn Skye Morrison
She was a prophet, a wife, a leader of Israel. A Biblical version of today’s “Wonder Woman!” What was her secret? How did she keep her priorities in line while doing something so bold for God as leading an army into battle?
There are a few things we learn from her story when it comes to being a modern day “Wonder Woman”…
1. Deborah prioritized her relationship with God- She was a “prophet” someone who walked so closely with the Lord that she would often have messages from Him for the people. She attuned her heart to listen for His voice. Deborah was full of biblical wisdom, grace, and justice. She was an instrument of peace and people came to her with their problems and she settled them. All this happened because Deborah made her relationship with God the most important thing in her life.
2. Deborah was ready to be used by God- There was a problem that developed in her country and the Lord gave her a burden to do something about it. She was sensitive to his prompting and acted on what He was telling her to do. She was able to influence the commander of the army in such a way that he didn’t want to go into battle unless she went too. Everything about the way she loved and led made her someone God could use.
Following Deborah’s example seems intimidating at first. But with simple steps to make sure we are walking with Jesus, knowing his word and hearing His voice, we will grow in biblical wisdom, grace, and justice! We will be instruments of peace for those who know us and come to us with problems. Ultimately, by prioritizing our relationship with God, we will be ready to be used by Him.
1. What steps can you take to make sure you are spending time with Jesus, prioritizing hearing from Him?
2. What’s holding you back from being used by God? Is there something He wants you to do for Him?
He closes with this final warning. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. Do not go off to something else. Do not give your attention to your interests, your time, your energy, or your money so that those things become what you live for, what you get excited about, what enthuses you. That is your god. What is it with you? Is it Jesus Christ, or is it something else?
In our travels, my family and I were privileged to be in various parts of the ancient world, where we visited many temples dedicated to idols. Though these temples had fallen into ruins, in every place a certain god such as Apollo, Venus, Bacchus, or Zeus had been enthroned and worshiped there. It suddenly struck me, after returning home, that though these temples have been abandoned, the worship of the god has not ceased. We have changed the names, but the gods, the idols, are exactly the same.
There is the worship of Narcissus, the god who fell in love with himself. Is this not perhaps the supreme god of humanity: the worship of self, the exaltation of humans? The idea that we constantly hear set forth is that humans are so tremendous, so smart, so brilliant, so clever; they can do so many things. Yet we deny the continual evidence of our senses that the world is crumbling to pieces around us. Isn’t it amazing how we worship humanity? The manifestations of it find expression in the worship of race or country. We have the worship of Bacchus, the god of pleasure, wine, women, and song; the worship of Venus, the goddess of love, enthroned in Hollywood and all that Hollywood stands for; Apollo, the god of physical beauty; Minerva, the goddess of science. Everywhere we have enthroned science.
John writes and says that these things will destroy you, they will rob you of what God has for you. Little children, watch that you do not drift off into the worship that the world around you is constantly engaged in. Do not let these things become important in your life, for God has set you free that you might live as God intended people to live. No wonder His word comes Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. What makes you enthusiastic? To what do you give your money? For what are you saving up now? What is it that you regard as supremely important? It is with this question that John closes this book.
Love sets our God apart from the gods of every other religion. Other religions say strive, our God says, “Love.” Everything He made and everything He’s doing flows from love. When we see love in the world, it’s a reminder that we were made in His image. Love exists among us because it’s part of God’s character.
God is often described as our Heavenly Father. For those of us who had loving fathers growing up, seeing God as a loving dad is an easy way to comprehend His love for us. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. God doesn’t just love us; He is love (1 John 4:16). Love is not just what God does, it’s who He is.
It is one thing to be loving. It is infinitely more significant for God’s character to be the source of all love. Love is patient, kind, humble, and eager to serve others (1 Corinthians 13). Because God is love, He is by His nature all these things as well.
God cannot be indifferent to what happens to us because it’s not in His nature. We can take comfort in submitting to a God who is love. We can bear any circumstances knowing we walk through them with a God who loves us and wants the best for us.
How does understanding that God is love affect your ability to have faith in tough times?
What’s one way you can show God’s love to someone today?
When we trusted Jesus as Savior we became children of God, entering into eternal union with Christ, a relationship that can never be broken. Having been born into God’s family through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we enjoy a union with Him that can never be broken. Once we are in union with Christ, we can also commune with the Father and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.
Only those who through the Spirit of God have been born again into this beautiful, eternal union with the Lord Jesus, can enjoy sweet fellowship with our heavenly Father. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all – but no true fellowship with the Father is possible when we allow the shadowy darkness of sin to cross the threshold of our heart.
Union with the Lord Jesus can never be broken but fellowship with the Father can be broken when we allow sin to snatch control of our lives or when we choose to live in carnality – which reflects the values of the world and not the truth of God. Close communion with God is severed and sweet fellowship with our Father is fractured when sin infects our heart – and we are not walking in spirit and in truth.
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. – 1 John 5:11
Lots of times in our busy online world of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, we forget to think about what it really means to have eternal life. Eternal life isn’t just something to glance over. It’s really pretty great. Eternal life is life that’s better. It’s life that exists both in the here and now, and in the life to come after our mortal bodies are done with this sin sickened world. Eternal life means relationship with God forever. A relationship with God is not just something we have with God after we are done with life. It is the life we have with him in today’s moments as well. We are inviting him into all things.
My favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Before Reese’s, I’d tried chocolate and I’d tried peanut butter. When eating a Reese’s, I realized that something really great happens when you combine peanut butter and chocolate. It just tastes better than either ingredient does on it’s own. Eternal life is the same way. It’s a way of living that is way better than life was before Jesus.
Eternal life is a way of life that’s all about letting God live and breathe and work through you. It’s getting to know God and His word. There’s so much power available to you, if you just take the time to get to know and have a relationship with God. So take some time today to set aside you phone, iPod or TV and get to know God. He’ll show you what’s really so great about eternal life.
God’s Love For Us
The first thing I wanted to take a look at today is how the text answers the question of “How is/was God’s love presented to us?” There are two verses in particular that sort of address that question today:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
What is so special about these two verses? They both show the initiative of God. Who loved first? God loved first. This isn’t meant to be a dive into predestination or whatever, but to really take a look at the initiative that God takes in his love. And it’s significant, because it shows that God is not passive. He doesn’t just sit back and leave us alone to figure this sin problem out, but rather, he takes and is taking an active role in the redemption of his people. Let’s think back to the first couple of the books of the Bible and recall some of the events and characters there.
Noah and the ark. Who initiates there? It was God.
Abraham and his covenant. Who initiates there? Again, it was God.
Moses and the burning bush. Who initiates there? Once again, God.
And once we realize this pattern in the Old Testament of God initiating and taking an active role, we can recognize that it doesn’t end there. As we keep flipping through the pages, God’s active role continues in the sweep towards the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross.
“Let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.” John was a man who understood the weight of this seemingly simple instruction. He was perhaps 90 years old when he wrote this, so he was speaking from about 70 years of experience. John’s faith had endured much, including Roman imprisonment on the “hard rock” island called Patmos, a few miles off the southwestern shore of Asia Minor. Yet even banishment to a quarry island didn’t seem to weaken John’s faith one bit. And the reason it didn’t was because John had been Jesus Christ’s disciple for 3.5 years. He had walked with, talked to, listened to, eaten with, and touched Jesus Christ. When John faced difficulties, it was the words of the Savior that he fell back on over and over again.
Basically John is saying here, “When confusion reigns around you in this fast-changing world, stick with the words of Jesus.” He is pointing to the good news and truths of Jesus that never change. If we simply hang onto and live in the fundamentals we learned when we first came to Jesus Christ, then we are in fact walking in eternal life right now. So we must ask ourselves, “How well do we know the promises of Jesus in the Scriptures?” Do we know them well enough to fall back on them when the storms of life rage and the way ahead is unclear? Will we step out into the storm because we are confident of God’s promises to us?
Love and Light
In First John chapter 2 verses 7-11 we see the continuance of John’s plea to the church in Ephesus. This time he presents a proclamation of the love and light of Christ that transforms humanity. His plea is that anyone who lives in love is obedient to God in keeping his commandments, but anyone who does not love is actually living contrary to the ways of God. Their way and their sight is darkened. John potently says in fact that those who do not live in love and light don’t even know the true path of which they must go. The introduction to a longstanding commandment is introduce. This commandment is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. We are called to love one another. We find out that Jesus lived this commandment and John tells the believers they are to live in it as well. Those who live this love makes the darkness disappear. The true light shines forth. Similar to earlier sections we have read in 1st John the contrast of darkness and light, we once again see John making that comparison. We find that the one living in love is the one living in true light.
Are you living in God’s love today?
Are you willing to share the testimony of how you know God loves you with another today?
“As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, may God’s favor and blessing cover you this day.
Our Advocate, Jesus
1st John 2:1-5
The opening of 1st John chapter 2 begins with a call not to sin. Yet it is followed up with a word about what happens if a person does commit a sin. There is an advocate who pleads our case. Jesus is defending us. We no longer walk defending ourselves, he is our defender. He defends us with words and with his life. Earlier we talked about when we obey God it reveals our love for him, in chapter 2 we find that those who obey know God. When we know God we live in his truth. Yet we become liars if we say we know him but don’t obey his truths. When we obey it shows our love for God. How then should we live then. We should live as Jesus did.
How are you doing living as Jesus lived?
Do you know Jesus as your advocate?
How do you feel knowing Jesus is your defender?
How will you seek to be someone’s defender?
Living in the Light
In continuance to verse 1-4 of 1st John chapter 1 from yesterday where we learned that John the Evangelist of Ephesus is proclaiming he believes Jesus to be true and real because he has experienced life and transformation from and with him, he now discusses light. John the evangelist in verses 5-8 teach us us what it is to live in the light. Once again he opens up with a revealing that what he shares is from Jesus himself. There is no darkness in God. He reveals that those living in the darkness are not in truth. Yet those living in the light are made clean, and are purified through the confession and recognition of their own sinful heart.
It is Jesus who cleanses us from sin. No one is without sin. Anyone who says they are without sin is a liar and the truth is not in them.
Those who try to pretend to be perfect are accounting God as a liar since he says all have sinned. This reveals his word is not in us. For his word reveals we all needed Jesus.
Do you recognize your need for Jesus today?
Are you willing to live in the light right now?
If you are not cleansed by Jesus it is not to late to ask him to cleanse you and make you right before him today.
I know Jesus by Acres of Hope
1 John 1:1-4
The Incarnation of the Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
The word proclamation is what we receive in the opening of John the Evangelist of Ephesus book 1st John. The proclamation revealed that John had seen Jesus with his own eyes, and experienced touching the physical being of Jesus. This proclamation was a testimony to the truth that Jesus lived amongst humanity.
John could not deny Jesus for he had experienced him. He was consumed in his presence throughout his time in ministry with Jesus. He experienced his closeness, his love, and his transforming work in his life.
John could not refute that Jesus is who he says he is.
My question to you is, have you experienced Jesus? Have you experienced him in such a way that our life isn’t the same? Does he compel you to testify to his goodness?
If so, sometime this week find one person to share how you have experienced Jesus in your life, and invite them to experience him in theirs.
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