Category Archives: 1 John

Deuteronomy 1; Psalms 81-82; Isaiah 28; 3 John 1

It’s not difficult to adopt the arrogant mindset that I am master of my future and commander of my fate. I may not say it with words, but in my head, I am thinking, “Move over God and let me get things done. I know best.” I am not alone in this. God describes his relationship with the people of Israel:

I said to you, “Have no dread or fear of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place. But in spite of this, you have no trust in the Lord your God who goes before you on the way to seek out a place fore you to camp, of fire by night, and in cloud by day, to show you the route you should take.  Deuteronomy 1:30-32

The only person I am fooling is myself. Isaiah describes this lack of trust:

Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the Lord, whose deeds are in the dark and who say, ” Who sees us? Who knows us?’ You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay? Shall the thing made say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, “He has no understanding?”  Isaiah 29: 15-16.

The disciple John, the “one whom Jesus loved” describes a different way of living. In his first letter, he uses the term “abide” (NRSV) or “live-in” (NIV) 15 times. Because of this beautiful redundancy, I am getting the message, “ABIDE. LIVE.”   I “abide” in God and he “abides” in me. I may not understand how the process works but I submit the crude clay of my being so  that his hands transform me. I can stop white knuckling my way through life and let go, for God’s will for me will win.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. what we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  1 John 2:2

Lord, help me let go and submit to you molding and shaping.  Forgive me for when I demand that life go my way and that other’s meet my needs. Holy Spirit, live in me and may I live in you. Amen

Klueh

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Numbers 33; Psalm 78:1-37; Isaiah 25; 1 John 3

Children are so important.  It does not matter what age of the world we look into, children play an incredible role as we see them as a gift to our families.  When I think of the one and final plague in Egypt – the one that finally turned Pharaoh decision – it was the loss of every family’s first born.

They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the passover the Israelites went out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. – Numbers 33:3-4 NRSV

Being a Christian Education Coordinator in my church helped me focus on the children and their families.  It was there that I learned how weak our education perspective was compared to other faith traditions.   I spent 17 hours a year with my kids in direct biblical education while the others were closer to 400 and 600 hours.  I lot of that had to do with traditional celebration periods, but still, it was engagement with God’s Word.  So it is no surprise to see this call to action in the Psalms —

He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their ancestors, stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. – Psalm 78:5-8 NRSV

Here I am today – I am called a child of God.  I know I need to spend time getting to know my Father.  This world is not where my hope lies, it lies with my Him.

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. – 1 John 3:1-3 NRSV

My prayer today is similar to the one Isaiah prayed —

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. – Isaiah 25:1

As Your child Lord, I yield myself into Your hands that you may shape me and mold me and then may I be used by You to glorify Your name. Amen.

evanlaar

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Numbers 32; Psalms 77; Isaiah 24; 1 John 2

I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! …Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” Psalms 77:1-15 NLT

How many times do I default to thinking that something will not work out. Especially when it’s not going the way that I thought it would. Instead of living with hope in expectation that God is in control. And that He will work it out in His way and His timing… working all things together for my good. Why is this so difficult sometimes? I am thankful for His word today. Shedding light on areas of my heart that I need to change. Reminding me of His faithfulness. That there is always a “But, God.” And He will make a way that is better than anything I can dream up.

Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters-a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds” Psalms 77:19&20 NLT

It’s so hard to let go of things that I hold so dear. My expectations and the places in my heart that I don’t want anyone to see. Because letting go doesn’t mean my hands are empty. It means that I am trusting God with it. What do I need to let go of so that I cling more tightly to Jesus?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:15 NLT

Thank you Father that you are not afraid of my questions, you welcome them. You meet me there, but prod me on to change. Help me to live in close fellowship with you everyday. Forgive me for when I rely on myself. I praise you for who you are. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Numbers 31, Psalms 75 & 76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1

One of my favorite songs circa 1995 starts off with some hard to swallow truth. “I keep trying to find a life, on my own, apart from you.” Independence instead of dependence. Pride instead of humility. John begins the chapter  sharing the importance of fellowship with the One True God. From the beginning, it’s always been about relationship with Him and yet our human nature so frequently wants independence.

We focus on ourselves. Day in and day out we deceive ourselves. Our minds and hearts are put to ease when we compare to ourselves others and think, “I’m doing better at ________ than _________”. I have read the following passage probably one hundred times in my life but there are always new little pieces that stick out with each reading.

Deception. Selfishness. Pride. Forgiveness. Redemption.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. John 1

 

Simply put, this passage reminds me of my incredible need for a Savior! As much as a I want to walk in the light at all times, there moments, days or even seasons when the lights are dim. As I was sitting here this morning reflecting on this passage, the Holy Spirit brought a few questions to my mind.

  1. Is there any area where I am walking in darkness opposite from fellowship with the Lord?
  2. In what ways am I lying to or deceiving myself and not practicing truth?
  3. Are there areas of deception that I need to confess to the Lord?

Confession of sins not only leads to restoration of fellowship with the Lord but also one another. It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from our sin and wanderings in the dark. Each and every day I must ask the  Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of sin that are not acceptable and spend time in self reflection and repentance. Naturally, on my own, I may not see my sin but the Spirit will reveal it.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us with a desire for relationship. Thank your for making a way through Jesus Christ to be in fellowship with you forever. Holy Spirit, would you reveal to me those areas where I may be walking in darkness and help me to turn and run to your light! Amen. 

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Numbers 7; Psalms 42-43; Song of Solomon 5; Hebrews 5

I understand longing. It’s this unseen force that calls me to seek out God. I feel it when I wake up in the morning. It’s this desire to know and be known… to understand and be understood, especially when life is swirling with activity, noise and distraction. It’s wanting everything make sense and be well in spite of the injustices of this world. It’s longing to be wrapped in the beauty and presence of God himself.

David captures it, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” Psalm 42:1-2.

Solomon describes that poignant ache, “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and was gone; My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but did not find him; I called him, but he gave no answer.” Song of Solomon 5:6

When David doesn’t sense the presence of God, he becomes distraught, “My tears have been may food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?” Psalm 42:3   

 

Jesus understands all our yearnings, hopes and dreams. He, sinless and one with God, knew the unobstructed presence of God and gave it up on our behalf. Paul writes of the pain, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10 

In the end, Jesus offered up his life as a prayer, as THE sacrifice. He embraced obedience, tore himself away from God and submitted his life to the rules governing sinful people. His sacrifice broke down the wall of Death that stood between us and God.

So the yearning continues. I feel that magnetic pull towards the one who made me, loves me and gave his very life for me. Emotions, cares, disappointments and my limited understanding of reality may seem to put a veil between God and I, but ultimately, that veil is just a mist. One day, because of Jesus, I will see him face to face and all that yearning for him will be satisfied. The joy that I get a taste of here, will be complete.

Until then, David tells me what to do, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 43:5

Lord, keep hope fresh in my heart and a song about you on my lips today. Make your joy complete in me in ways only you can do.

Kathy

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