Category Archives: 2 John

Num. 36, Psalm 80, Isaiah 28, 2 John 1

At the urging of a friend, last year I began the practice of seeking God to reveal to me a word – one word – that would be meaningful for me throughout the year. RESTORE was the word He gave me last year. It was His promise to me to heal some deep wounds that I had been nursing. Time and time again, God would remind me in a song or a scripture passage that He would restore my heart and mind so that I could serve Him effectively. When the end of the year came, I didn’t want to give up my word. While the restoration process had come a long way, I wasn’t ready to move on. But God had a different plan for me. He wanted me to go deeper. Rather than focusing on myself, He wante me to move outward.

The word that God gave me this year was LOVE. Initially, I fought this word. Love is too generic, I thought. Too fluffy. Too easy. Too Christian. However, I began to see that I had a lot of work to do in that area. Was I allowing God to love me? How was I loving my family? How was I loving my community? But more than anything, how was I loving those who are hard to love? or those who are different than me?

I was reminded just how essential love is for a healthy walk with God when I read today’s I John passage:

And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning,his command is that you walk in love. 2John 5-6 NIV

By loving one another, we are revealing Christ to the world. Deceivers and charlatans are plenty these days, telling us not to associate with those who think differently, or vote differently. The media fills our minds with accusations and negativity.  I have come to understand more than any other time in my life, the importance of fixing my eyes on Christ. If I do that, LOVE becomes a natural outpouring. God still has a lot of work to do in me, but I am making progress. I am taking steps to love more – To more consistently consider what Christ would do if he was in my situation. I have found myself serving when it wasn’t convenient, opening my home to strangers when it was out of my comfort zone. My prayer is that God would continue to work in my heart to help me LOVE better. If we all loved better, imagine what a different world we would live in.

Lord, help us to love well. Help us to obey your commands, even when it isn’t convenient or easy. As we seek your will for us, show us ways – big and small –  that we can love those around us so that others can be drawn to you.

Ann (naturelady)

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Zechariah 12-14; Psalm 94; 2 John

And the clans of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The people of Jerusalem have found strength in the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, their God.” Zechariah 12:5 NLT

I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.” Zechariah 13:9 NLT

Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked. The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession.” Psalm 94:12-14 NLT

Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, you comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:17-19 NLT

He delivers me

He refines me

He disciplines me

He comforts me

He loves me and commands me to love others….

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded. I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. That is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. I say this because many deceivers have gone into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an Antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 1:7-9 NLT

How do I stay discerning while loving others who are far from him?

Because, sometimes I worry that I will be deceived.

Jesus says to remain in Him. According to Websters, the word Remain means…

‘To stay in the same place or with the same person or group; to stay behind.’

When I am not doing this my heart gets restless. I start to doubt that God’s plans for me are good. I become ungrateful, unforgiving and discontent. I am critical, instead of loving. I miss out on his peace. But, if I am abiding, my eyes are open to how he is working around me. I get to be a part of seeing prayers answered and hearts changed. When I ask for wisdom, he gives it. I can love others out of faith and not fear.

But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” Psalm 94:22 NLT

Father, I pray that I would wait on you and seek you first. I pray that you would show me how to love others with the love you have shown me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Zechariah 12-14, Psalm 94, 2 John

It was so funny to hear the refrain spoken by my granddaughter this week on the glossing over of Thanksgiving to usher in Christmas at the stores. It seems that every generation is disappointed in the commercialism at this time of year. Even Sally on Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving (1973) says, “I know what you mean. I went down to buy a turkey tree and all they have are things for Christmas.” Black Friday has turned into a month of advertisement and pre-sales to draw money out of your pocket and to turn your mind away from being grateful for what you have today to ‘how I can I get more for less’, tomorrow. Nothing new. Soon we will bemoan the loss of money ‘that we didn’t have to spend’ but that was compulsively handed over for Christmas presents this year.

How do we reign in these runaway holiday routines and reposts? Do we even want to? Isn’t the answer just as traditional as the traditions? That is, we can learn to live the continual theme in Messiah’s kingdom – thanksgiving. Zechariah 14:16 says that the Feast of Tabernacles is the only feast that will continue in the new kingdom. This is a feast that is celebrated at the fall harvest and is a time of worship and thanksgiving to God.

So what have we to be thankful for? Again, little Sally voices my own tired suspicion: “What have I got to be thankful for? All it does is make more work for us at school” [or in my case – in the kitchen, decorating the house, shopping for food, clothes, gifts, gifts, gifts]. Okay, now I sound like the Grinch.

It’s just that I’m looking for reasons in place of the next few weeks of blithering excuses for overextending my already tight budget and overtaxing my already exhausted 50++ year old body to the brink of collapse. How can I please others and at the same time focus on what draws me closer to God and Christ? As I’m turning blue from forgetting to breathe, I hear the answer in gentle words of encouragement: 2 John 3 “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” Instead of the shock and awe approach of bombarding family with the latest and greatest contraptions and inventions on the media’s top ten list, I can commit myself to resting in God’s truth and communicating His love.

First truth – “The Lord knows the thoughts of man…” (Psalm 94:11)

Second truth – “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord.” (Psalm 94:12)

Third truth – “Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. (Psalm 94:18b-19).

When I packed away the fading brilliance of autumn, I paused to look at a cute door decoration. The country girl perched on a fence, pumpkins at her feet, had the most cheerful face. Her blushing cheeks, her shiny black button eyes, and her wistful smile beckoned me to take the harvest welcome basket of garden delights from her chubby hand. All I could think was to say, “Thank you for this moment of peace and the years of fond memories you have given.” Perhaps communicating God’s love in this same simple way is the reason to continue the theme of thanksgiving each season and each of the rest of our days.

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Ezekiel 4-6; Psalm 82; 2 John

The older John gets, the simpler his message becomes— love. “And this is love; that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 6.

Then John asks his readers to be careful not to treat Jesus as theory, but to recognize the reality of his physical presence. This has significance for me today. If I fail to recognize Jesus’s presence, I fail to recognize the love of God that wins over everything, past, present and future.

Which brings me to Ezekiel living in a time of judgement and destruction. Why did God roll out such ruthless measures? Because He was calling into account all that which opposed His love.

And somehow I think that is what happens in our lives…all that is not love will have to go. Through the grace I find in Jesus, God comes and takes over more and more of who I am. Everyday I am learning what it means to trust the reality of the presence of Christ in new ways. Thankfully, God is not content to leave me as I am; everyday, He wants my life to be increasingly more about his love.

The transformation is not instantaneous. From my viewpoint, it is slow and at times, painful, but when I look back I can see the steady, patient hand of God at work. The funny thing is that I can see how God has accomplished this in some of the most unexpected ways. I think that Ezekiel would agree that God is the God of surprises. There is no predicting what comes next.

All that is not true, all that is not love, has got to go. So Lord, do your work in my life today, however You choose. Amen.

klueh

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2 Chronicles 7, 2 John 1, Habakkuk 2, Luke 21

2 Chronicles 7:3 “When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, ‘He is so good!  His faithful love endures forever!'”

Love as defined in Websters dictionary is: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.”   Love as God defines it in 2 John 1:6 says, “Love means, doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”

In the beginning: God loved, so very much that He created the Heavens and the Earth.  God so loved that He gave His only son to die upon the cross for my sins. God loved me before there was any human knowledge of my ancestors or my entrance into this world.

I have fallen on the ground many times but it has not always been out of praise and worship!   Numerous times in my life my heart has been pricked during a sermon and I knew I was in need of taking that step forward to make a change in my life, yet I have chosen to remain still out of “peer fear” that someone would see my hand go up or would feel my body move from its’ seat going down front to pray with the pastor.

Luke 21:26 “The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth, because the stability of the very heavens will be broken up.” 

I read my bible and pray daily, teach my children to love and find strength through their trials, yet there I sit struggling with the thought of someone seeing me step forward to make a positive change for Jesus’ name.   In Luke 22:42 Jesus prays, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

Jesus went forward and endured the emotional and physical pain of suffering out of LOVE for me.  I am to be conforming towards His image and although this does not mean dying an agonizing death upon a cross myself, my faith should be that of willingness to do so if it meant taking a stand for Christ.

I want to love in the true meaning of love, be willing to suffer for Jesus’ name, but, until I put aside my fears and become fervently courageous, I will continue to be a stumbling block.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Father, I stumble and I fall, yet you are there each time to raise me back up.  You love me beyond anything I can fathom.  I ask that you humble my heart to be more open to your leading and that I would be willing to stand up for you no matter what the cost. I pray that I can love others as you love me and that I would wait patiently as Habakkuk did to have your visions and plans revealed and fulfilled in my life.  Help me Lord to fall on my face in adoration towards you and be so filled with your spirit that I can’t help but cry out, “You are good! Your faithful love endures forever!”  – Amen

Live2Love4Him4Ever

~Erica

 

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