Category Archives: 1 John

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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Haggai; Zechariah 1; Psalm 138; 1 John 2

I remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 so well – it’s been drilled into my life through so many different kinds of prayer meetings. What a surprise to find the same message in Haggai this morning. When God is not a priority – it matters to Him!  I find myself meditating on His challenge.

Think about what I have said! – Haggai 1:7  CEV

While I might have been challenged this morning, it matters nothing unless I heed it.  What I love about God is that His grace was extended to me like He allows does.

The Lord’s answer was kind and comforting. – Zechariah 1:13  CEV

So what does that mean in my life today.  What can I expect?  Turning to the Lord, making Him my priority, gives me amazing blessings – love, protection, safety, kindness.

I worship at your holy temple and praise you for your love and your faithfulness.  You were true to your word and made yourself more famous than ever before.  Though you are above us all, and you keep a close watch on everyone who is proud.  I am surrounded by trouble, but you protect me against my angry enemies.  With your own powerful arm you keep me safe. You, Lord, will always treat me with kindness. Your love never fails. You have made us what we are. Don’t give up on us now!  – Psalm 138: 2, 6-8  CEV

Quite a journey this morning – repentance, Lord responds with grace, embraces me with blessings – how do I respond to that kind of cherishing?  A different kind of challenge ends my morning devotion.  God has called me to love Him, to have close friends who do the same, love others and in all of this, I cannot even give a small room in my heart to love the world.

We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don’t cause problems for them.  Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. – 1 John 2:5,7,10,15

Lord, this morning You are speaking right into my heart. As much as You have challenged me, You have made me come alive as I realize that I feel so connected with You. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the courage to be the follower of You that You have called me to be.  I do not want to live the life of a bored Christian.  May those I connect with see the passion in my life that You have put there.  Thank you for challenging me to make You a priority. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Ezra 3-4; Psalms 92; 1 John 1

“When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets.  And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed.  With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:  “He is good! His faithful love for Israel  endures forever!”  Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.  But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seem the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation.  The others, however, were shouting for joy.  The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.”  Ezra 3:10-12 NLT

Restoration has been a theme in my life for the past few years.  I can understand the feeling of joy mixed with sorrow.  The grief over what was and the hope for what will be.

These verses encourage me to…

Press On (the rebuilding of the new temple didn’t start until 50 years after the old one was destroyed).

Expect opposition.  Satan is a very real enemy, who wants to take me down. (“The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel…Than the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. ”Ezra 4:1&4 NLT)

Anticipate what God is doing.  Wait on him and be watchful. Listen to his voice.  Even when things don’t look like I thought they would, know that he can be trusted.

But the godly will flourish like palm tress and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” Psalms 92:12-15 NLT

No one can stop the work that God has begun.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you that you are working eveything for my good.  That you forgive my sins. For your promise to always be with me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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