Monday, December 11, 2017

the whole thing

There's just so many things that stuck out for me in this chapter.

Just read the whole thing - there's too many things that stand out as pivotal truth.



1 John 5

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. 

And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

2 We know we love God's children if we love God and obey his commandments.

3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, 

and we achieve this victory through our faith.

5 And who can win this battle against the world? 

Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.



  6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God's Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. 

And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.

7 So we have these three witnesses—8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree.

9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. 

And God has testified about his Son.

10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. 

Those who don't believe this are actually calling God a liar 

because they don't believe what God has testified about his Son.



  11 And this is what God has testified: 

He has given us eternal life, 

and this life is in his Son.

12 Whoever has the Son has life; 

whoever does not have God's Son does not have life.


13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, 


so that you may know you have eternal life.

14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.

15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.


  16 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, 


you should pray, 

and God will give that person life. 

But there is a sin that leads to death, 

and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it.

17 All wicked actions are sin, 

but not every sin leads to death.



  18 We know that God's children do not make a practice of sinning, 

for God's Son holds them securely, 

and the evil one cannot touch them.

19 We know that we are children of God 

and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
  


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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

loving

Tax collectors & other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisee & teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people - even eating with them. Luke 15:1-2


Are we so filled with the Holy Spirit & model the love & personality of Jesus so much that the "notorious sinners" of pour day & time want to be around us?


And how would that happen? Maybe John can tell us...



1 John 4

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, 

for love comes from God. 

Anyone who loves is a child of God 

and knows God.

8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, 

for God is love.



  9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world 

so that we might have eternal life through him.

10 This is real love—not that we loved God, 

but that he loved us 

and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.



  11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, 

we surely ought to love each other.

12 No one has ever seen God. 

But if we love each other, 

God lives in us, 

and his love is brought to full expression in us.



  13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, 

and they live in God.

16 We know how much God loves us, 

and we have put our trust in his love.



  God is love, 

and all who live in love live in God, 

and God lives in them.

17 And as we live in God, 

our love grows more perfect. 

So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, 

but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.



  18 Such love has no fear, 

because perfect love expels all fear. 

If we are afraid, 

it is for fear of punishment, 

and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

19 We love each other because he loved us first.
  


20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, 

that person is a liar; 

for if we don't love people we can see, 

how can we love God, 

whom we cannot see?

21 And he has given us this command: 

Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.



There you have it.

Read & heed.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

seeing & refusing

1 John 3:17


 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help—how can God’s love be in that person? (NLT)


But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? (Amplified)


Suppose a believer who is rich enough to have all the necessities of life sees a fellow believer who is poor and does not have even basic needs. What if the rich believer does not help the poor one? Then it is clear that God’s love is not in that person’s heart. (ERV)


But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? (ESV)


 But as for the well-to-do man who sees his brothers in want but shuts his eyes—and his heart—how could anyone believe that the love of God lives in him? (J B Phillips)


 If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. (The Message)


If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (NIV)


If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? (The Voice)



How does our basic attitude today toward low income & no income people stack up against this verse in 1 John?


The current thought is that they are that was because they are lazy, or losers, or "working the system", or just plain sorry, & we are simply not responsible for such low life people.


All I know is what this verse says.


And the very next verse only adds to our responsibility...


Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. (NLT) 1 John 3:18


Think about it today...

Friday, December 8, 2017

obey is the operative word

1 John 2

1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. 

But if anyone does sin, 

we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. 

He is Jesus Christ, 

the one who is truly righteous.

2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins;

and not only our sins 

but the sins of all the world.
  


3 And how can we be sure that we know him?

By obeying his commandments.

4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments,

 that person is a liar 

and is not living in the truth.

5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him.

 That is how we know we are living in him.

6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.



If we say we belong to God, we will obey what He says to be or do, no matter what.


Sometimes obeying doesn't make sense.

Sometimes it's really hard.

And sometimes it does make sense & is relatively easy to be & do.

I've experienced both, & everything in between, it seems


But the bottom line is that no matter what the situation is, if we say we follow Jesus, we are mandated to obey.


obey is defined as, "to comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of"


Yeah, that sounds like what we're supposed to be & do as followers of Jesus.


Let's obey Him, no matter what happens.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

quiet, steady words

Quiet, steady words in a time in a world where we have neither...



1 John 1

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus 

and now declare to you: 


God is light, 

and there is no darkness in him at all.


6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; 

we are not practicing the truth.

7 But if we are living in the light, 

as God is in the light, 

then we have fellowship with each other, 

and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.



  8 If we claim we have no sin, 

we are only fooling ourselves 

and not living in the truth.

9 But if we confess our sins to him, 

he is faithful 

and just 

to forgive us our sins 

and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

10 If we claim we have not sinned, 

we are calling God a liar 

and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

keep on

This is Jesus speaking here...



 Luke 11

9 "And so I tell you, 

keep on asking, 

and you will receive what you ask for. 

Keep on seeking, 

and you will find. 

Keep on knocking, 

and the door will be opened to you.


10 For everyone who asks, 

receives. 

Everyone who seeks, 

finds. 

And to everyone who knocks, 

the door will be opened.



The operative words in those verses are "keep on..."

iow, don't stop,

don't give up,

don't get discouraged & quit,

move forward no matter what happens,

don't.... whatever.


Who needs to hear that right now?

Who thinks quit looks good?

Who's ready to roll over & die?


DON'T!!!


Keep on...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

LGLO

Luke 10

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: 

"Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"



  26 Jesus replied, 

"What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"



  27 The man answered, 

"'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, 

all your soul, 

all your strength, 

and all your mind.' 

And, 

'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"


  28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"




Here's another account of the very essence of life being boiled down to 2 concepts, & just four words.


Love God, love others

LGLO


Everything else is just window dressing.


Think about that today.

All day today, no matter what happens, remind yourself that you paramount role is to find expression of this basic fact...

our job is to love God & love others.


We don't have to be any number of things, or do any number of things.


We just have to focus on loving God, & loving others.


I wonder what our individual lives would be like if we did this?

I wonder what our world would be like as a result?

Monday, December 4, 2017

letting go

This pretty much says what it says - it doesn't need me to explain...



Luke 9

23 Then (Jesus) said to the crowd, 

"If any of you wants to be my follower, 

you must turn from your selfish ways, 

take up your cross daily, 

and follow me.


24 If you try to hang on to your life, 

you will lose it. 

But if you give up your life for my sake, 

you will save it.


25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world 

but are yourself lost or destroyed?


26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, 

the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person 

when he returns in his glory 

and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.



iow, if you let go of your life & follow Jesus, 

you will connect to the life the God of the universes dreamed up for you a gajillion years ago.


Think about that today...

Sunday, December 3, 2017

so...

As I stumbled across the house to the "holy room" (lol!) where I read "& be holy" (LOL!!!)each early morning, I kinda thought to myself, or maybe kinda said to God, how nice it would be to have some answers.

For the last 7+ years, I've been pretty clueless about my/our life up here in Blairsville. I still am, but here's what stood out on the pages today in the places I was supposed to read today.

A mere coincidence that I read these places today?

No.

This has happened to me too many times over the past almost 14 years.


RTBEDWF



Luke 8 16 "No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. 

A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

17 For everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought out to the light & made plain to all. 

18 "So pay attention to how you hear. 

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. 

But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them."

Every time I've ever read this passage, or heard it in a sermon, I've always thought verse 17 implied that all my secret sins & dark places would be exposed one day.

And they probably will be!

But this morning as I read it, the thought dropped into my head that maybe this verse also could me that one day (probably in heaven) many of the things in our lives that we didn't understand, or the times we were so clueless, will all be explained?


Here's the other verses that stood out this morning...



Don't be afraid. Just trust me. Luke 8:50b

Jesus said this to Jairus right after Jairus' servants had told him his daughter had died.

Maybe that dead thing in our life Jesus wants us to trust Him to resurrect?


Give all your worries & cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. 1 Peter 5:7


Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly - not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2

That "eager to serve God" part kicked my butt this morning.


So humble yourself under the mighty power of God, & in His good time He will honor you. 1 Peter 5:6


After you have suffered a little while, (God) will restore, support, & strengthen you, & He will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10b


...the grace of God is with you no matter what happens. 1 Peter 5:12c

"no matter what happens" are 4 words that God has poked me in the eye with for the last 7+ years. Those 4 words are part of the verse He used that started our odyssey of moving to & living in Blairsville.



So there you have it. 

I'm still clueless, but I feel like God poked me with these verses.

Maybe He was just saying He's still in charge?

Maybe He was saying He knows where I am?

I don't know...

One day, all that is secret or hidden will be revealed?


I do know one thing - if I didn't read the Bible every day without fail (RTBEDWF), I probably wouldn't have read this this morning.

Just sayin'...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

1 Peter 4

What Peter writes here would seem to poke holes in current thinking about religious freedom...



1 Peter 4

1 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. 

For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.

2 You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, 

but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy:

their immorality and lust, 

their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, 

and their terrible worship of idols.



  4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. 

So they slander you.

5 But remember that they will have to face God, 

who will judge everyone, 

both the living and the dead.

6 That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead, 

so although they were destined to die like all people, 

they now live forever with God in the Spirit.*


 7 The end of the world is coming soon. 

Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, 

for love covers a multitude of sins.

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.



  10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. 

Use them well to serve one another.

11 Do you have the gift of speaking? 

Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. 

Do you have the gift of helping others? 

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. 

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. 

All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.


12 Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, 


as if something strange were happening to you.

13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, 

so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.



  14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, 

for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people's affairs.

16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. 

Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!

17 For the time has come for judgment, 

and it must begin with God's household. 

And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God's Good News?

18 And also,

"If the righteous are barely saved,
  what will happen to godless sinners?"



19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, 

keep on doing what is right, 

and trust your lives to the God who created you, 

for he will never fail you.