Daily Archives: November 21, 2016

Ezra 3-4; Psalm 92; I John 1

I John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Wish I could say that about myself. Instead, I regularly confess shades of sin to God and to others whom I have wronged so that God, who “is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” will send His grace and mercy to this repentant heart. (John 1:9). Blatant sin such as thefts, murders, and adultery may not be on my conscious, but the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me of blaming others, acting self-righteous or lacking faith. But what about defenses buried in sin that are unrecognizable until after they bite?

I came home from work the other day, glad for another blessed Friday. My elevated mood sparked my interest in making a real meal, not just the casual, lazy, Friday night fare of pizza and hot wings. Hubby heard me singing along with the radio, and I knew he was smiling before he poked his head around the corner to tell me hello. He let our small dog out of the cozy room among the laundry appliances and linen soaps. Seeing that smash-nosed, bow-legged, 16 pounds of lion-hearted loyalty, added to the promise of peace and harmony for the weekend. Yet when I reached down to kiss his silky head, our family pet violently, and without warning, bit me on the face. The shock of teeth penetrating skin was nothing compared to the painful reality that my 11 year-old friend had turned on me. The rest of the evening was a shambles caring for my wounded cheek and rationalizing the unexpected attack. Was he in physical pain? Is his advancing age a factor? What is the risk of repeated dog biting behavior? My husband and I talked about our fear that the dog would do the same or worse to our grandchild or other visiting family and friends.

Upon awakening the next morning, and after a sickening dream of giving poison to a guinea pig (go figure), the emotional jet lag felt defeating, and I sought consolation through the Word of God. As I meditated, the smog of confusion cleared and I felt convicted of sin – the sin of neglect.

Vignettes of a dog’s life played in my head. Especially over the last three months, I had not spent quantity or quality time with my canine friend. I rarely walked him. He was not allowed to be in the living room with us in our new house. I had developed a low tolerance for frustration which caused me to shoo the little guy out of the kitchen regularly so that he wouldn’t be under my feet or be a nuisance at the table. The story of neglect continued to play. Where once my dog would find a corner to curl up wherever I was, he now chose to stay in his own room. Instead of lying beside me feet, he preferred to be near my husband. He stopped asking for the treats that rarely came from me. I believe that God showed me that the sin of neglect was a contributing factor of my dog, old and blind in one eye, perhaps not knowing me at the moment he literally snapped.

“O Lord, how great are your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever,” (Psalm 92:5-7).  Lord, I can see how the sin of neglect sprang up and is a microcosm of relationships in my life that have long-since dissipated or relatives who no longer expect more than a hastily signed Christmas card once a year. I pray that the sin of neglect is destroyed once and for all by revelation, correction, and restoration. Through Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Zechariah 9-11, 1 John 5

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14

“Mom, how can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die? How do I know I am really a Christian?” As my children grow older and begin putting the pieces of their faith and belief together, their understanding increases as well as the curiosity. They don’t automatically take everything at face value anymore and their questions are endless but come in spurts, mixed with times of thinking. Many of their questions are ones I remember asking, myself. And even today, there are many I still cannot answer.

But this passage in 1 John is brilliant. It’s an answer that brings life and hope. John writes specifically to believers who may be struggling with knowing deep down that they are saved. I have to admit, this is definitely an area that I have struggled with from time to time so I’m comforted by the fact that the early believers were asking the same questions. I recently read a story about John Wesley and how early on in his faith he struggled with the same feelings to the point where he admitted he must not be a Christian!

 

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:1-5

 

Our Savior, Jesus did not come as expected with royal kingship. He didn’t enter the city on a chariot and rule and reign the way our feeble minds would have expected.

 

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River[c] to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

Like the early church, like children, we try to put the pieces of our faith together using our own logic and miss the point completely. Instead of relying on our own understanding, let us look to Him, the author and finisher of our faith. He gave us His Word and the Holy Spirit for understanding. Let us lean on the truth we find there instead of our own logic.

Thank you, Father for your true Word. Thank you for revealing the mysteries of our faith through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for sending your own Son to become our salvation! Help us build our faith by learning your Word and hiding it in our hearts. May we approach your throne with confidence! Amen.

 

 

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Filed under 1 John, Uncategorized, Zechariah