Category Archives: 1 John

Zechariah 2-5; Psalm 93; 1 John 3

I love the idea of moving forward in my journey of faith with a balanced spiritual growth. Unity is one of those crucial success milestones that is expressed when I have love for others.

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another, unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered[j] his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?

Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. – 1 John 3:11-18 HCSB

If loving others were only as easy as giving a hug then I would excel in love. Love is a bit more difficult than that, there is continual effort and hard work because it is about putting the other person ahead of myself – that is where the battle lies. My default is not to love. This is why John is exhorting me to love the family of God.

John must have gone through this transformation – from one of the Sons of Thunder to the Apostle of Love. Love characterized his life and love was his prevailing message.

In fact, the church father, Jerome, said that when the apostle John was in his extreme old age, he was so weak that he had to be carried into church meetings. At the end of the meeting he would be helped to his feet to give a word of exhortation to the church. Invariably, he would repeat, “Little children, let us love one another.” The disciples began to grow weary of the same words every time, and they finally asked him why he always said the same thing over and over. He replied, “Because it is the Lord’s commandment, and if this only is done, it is enough.”

John did not originate the idea of loving others – love originated with God and it was uttered through the lips of Jesus.

Father, this gets really messy in real life. It requires an incredible amount of spiritual maturity. It requires me to have the wisdom of God, the mind of Christ, in all matters. I want that, I want to be the man you need me to be and I ask the Holy Spirit to do the work I need done. I choose to grow in my walk with You. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 John, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Uncategorized, Zechariah

2 Chronicles 1; 1 John 1; Micah 7; Luke 16

Solomon started his leadership with the right kind of prayer, a prayer I still use every day – asking for wisdom, knowledge, discernment and to remember in all things that I do to honour the name of the Lord.

God replied to Solomon, “You have made the right choice. Instead of asking for wealth or treasure or fame or the death of your enemies or even for long life for yourself, you have asked for wisdom and knowledge so that you can rule my people, over whom I have made you king. – 2 Chronicles 1:11 GNT

John reminds me not to forget to pray for other followers of Jesus, to be an encouragement to them and to ask God to keep us all walking in His light. I know that comes to a place where I can be strengthen, however wisdom is what I really want for me and others. With that gift comes fellowship, forgiveness received and given, joy and deep relationships.

But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin. – 1 John 1:7 GNT

It is my desire to watch, wait and hope in my Saviour and for others to do the same. No matter if I or others lose our way, even in darkness, the Lord is my light.

But I will watch for the Lord; I will wait confidently for God, who will save me. My God will hear me.

Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light. – Micah 7:7-8 GNT

I know that everything I have is from God and I continue to pray for Him to guide me. I am reminded to continue practicing to be faithful in the little things, preparing for the moments when I will be called upon to be faithful with more important matters. I will trust my walk to God and expect Him to answer my prayers for wisdom.

Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones. – Luke 16:10 GNT

Father, I need wisdom. To be the leader You have called me to be, and to be attractive in the sense that those around me know that I walk in Your light, it is important that You walk with me. I know there are days I will fail to that end, but again, I know that all is not lost – You will be there to pick me up. Help me take each step, enjoying the moments of faithfulness, but understanding without You and without Your wisdom, I could fall just the same. Thank You for Your mercy and grace.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Numbers 35; Psalm 79; Isaiah 27; 1 John 5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:1-5) NLT

Being a Christ follower requires such faith! It is one thing to believe there is a God, it is totally an act of faith to believe that I am his child. Believing Jesus is his child, that I can believe! But me? Sinful, broken, imperfect me? It took a long time to grasp that.

My journey with God has been a process to deepen my faith. It seems like he patiently led me from one step to the next. I know some people have experiences where God changes them instantaneously. That was not what he chose for me. It was a very big step to believe I was his child. That was no easy feat! I knew what the bible said, I’d memorized the verses, heard sermons, and did multiple bible studies. I had accepted Christ; I had all the head knowledge. But I had so much shame and brokenness in me, it took many years for him to get under all the layers of walls I had built up around my heart. One by one they came down. Then he had to put all the shattered pieces of my heart back together. I had so many people pour into me over the years, but I liken it to pouring water into a cracked cistern. The water drains out and the pot is never full. He continued to pour love into me. He let me go at my speed until the time came I knew. I knew deep in my soul that he loved me and I was his. I knew because of his consistency. I learned to trust him. I learned to believe I am who he says I am because he is who he says he is. I knew I was his adopted child.

It is really hard to give to others what I do not have. I am only able to give love and serve his children because of his constant love for me. I am able to obey his commands because I trust his goodness. They aren’t burdensome commands—they are life saving. I realize I live in an evil world—that has not changed in all these years since John penned those words. I have an enemy who is out to destroy me. It truly is my faith in Jesus as my savior that enables me to have any victory over that enemy. I have had to learn to dig deep inside of me to find that faith. I have had to believe him and know his voice over the voice of the deceiver.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (1 John 5:20-21) NLT

I still don’t always get it right. I can easily turn to the right or the left unless I am intentionally staying in daily relationship with God. There is so much in this world that seems like it might fulfill me. In those times of emptiness, it really takes calling on the Holy Spirit. I can never let my guard down for without the Spirit, my flesh is weak.

Lord, I thank you for the patience you have with me. You gave me enough light to take the next step in our journey together. There were times that was the only light I saw—I was surrounded by darkness. But as time passed and my trust grew, I was able to look back and see how far we’ve come together. You are my loving Father, and I am your dearly loved child. Help me love others as you have loved me. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Job 19-22; 1 John 5

1 John 5:1-5 (NIV)

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This chapter challenges me in so many ways. As I read through it, so many questions fill my heart and my mind.

Am I loving God’s children? It’s so easy to become frustrated and irritated with fellow believers due to various wrong expectations and selfish motives. Here I must ask myself, am I showing my brothers and sisters in Christ love through patience, kindness, and prayer? Am I showing that I love them in the way that I speak of them and with them?

Am I loving God? The evidence of my love for God is in my obedience. Am I choosing to do the right thing at the right time regardless of how I feel? Am I making my relationship with God a priority through prayer and study? Am I interacting with others in a way that glorifies God? Am I sharing His good news with those around me? Am I walking in integrity, honesty, and proving myself to be His child in what I say and do?

Are God’s commands burdensome to me? Or do I recognize the benefit of obedience and find joy in serving Him even when I find it challenging? Do I complain when I must love others? Do I get angry and resentful when God asks me to serve? Am I hiding from sharing Him with others because I’m afraid of what they will think of me?

 Am I overcoming the world, or is the world overcoming me? Have I let myself become fixated on myself and the world around me? Or has my relationship with God empowered me to walk in victory over my own sinful desires and the temptations of the world around me? Am I walking by faith or by sight?

Far too often I catch myself walking by sight, burdened by the things God asks of me, fearful of the cost of obedience, and as a result, failing in love towards others and, ultimately, God.

I especially find myself struggling during the holiday season. There’s so much going on, so much to do, so many obligations and demands on my time and attention, that I often catch myself trying to live on “cruise control” when it comes to my relationship with God. But when I fail to make my relationship with God a daily priority, everything else in my life begins to breakdown. His commands become burdensome, people become obstacles, and I find myself overcome by fear, insecurity, and the circumstances of the moment.

I know that if I want to walk in victory, I must be deliberate in my love toward God. As I make spending time with Him a priority, everything else begins to fall into place. People become opportunities. Things that were cause for fear are now material for hope. Irritating circumstances become a launching pad for prayer and dependence on God’s grace. And my life becomes much more victorious, not just in the big moments, but in the everyday moments that fill my day.

Father, forgive me for letting the world around me overcome me and overshadow my relationship with You. Forgive me for walking by sight instead of faith, fear instead of love, and obligation instead of relationship. I choose to make You my priority. Renew my love and passion for You, and let it overflow into my relationships and into my perspective of the world around me and the circumstances you place in front me. Help me to honor you by walking by faith in every moment, choosing love over annoyance, peace over fear, and joy over anxiety. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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Zechariah 9-11; 1 John 5

Periodically I hear people criticize Christianity because they say it’s just a bunch of rules you have to follow. And the Apostle John sort of agrees with them in this passage. And yet in the middle of these verses you find an astounding statement. See if you can find it.

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. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—sour faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5 [ESV])

Did you find it? I think the second sentence in verse three is astounding, “And his commandments are not burdensome.” I am reminded of some of the world class athletes we know. Michael Jordan never complained about the rules in basketball. He never complained because the basket rim was at 10 feet. He never complained about the 3 second rule or the length of the court. He was world class while playing within those constraints and excelled.

The rules and commands we find in the Bible are for our good. They protect us and give us freedom. They are not there to control but to bring freedom to our lives. They are not oppressive but freeing.

How bout you? What command are you having trouble with? Have you thought about the fact that obeying that command will bring you freedom. Try it and see if it works.

Oh and by the way. By keeping these commands in no way gets us into heaven. The Apostle John addresses that later in the chapter and takes all the guess work out about the heaven thing. Read below:

13 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. (1 John 5:13 [ESV])

So he gives us that answer right there in the statement. We enter into an eternal relationship with God by putting our trust in Him alone for our salvation. Simple believe in what He has done for us on the cross.

So where are you in all this today? Are you believing in Jesus alone for your salvation? Do you understand that it isn’t a bunch of rule keeping that gets us there? But on the other hand do you realize how freeing it is to live by the rules and commands God has given us? Think on these things today.

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized, Zechariah