Category Archives: Wednesday

The Confidence of Being Heard

1 John 5
13 I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
14 And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made
16 If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.
17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.
18 We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. RSV

13 You may know that you have eternal life
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.
14 He hears us.
if we ask anything according to his will
And this is the confidence which we have in him
15 We have obtained the requests made 
if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask

16 Ask, 
If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin
God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal
There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.
17 All wrongdoing is sin 
but there is sin which is not mortal

18 We know
any one born of God does not sin
He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him
19 We know that we are of God
the whole world is in the power of the evil one.
20 we know that the Son of God has come
and has given us understanding, to know him who is true;
we are in him who is true; his Son Jesus Christ
the true God and eternal life

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols

The Poetry of Love

1 John 4
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. NIV

God is love
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them
In this world we are like Jesus
This is how love is made complete among us
so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment

The one who fears is not made perfect in love
because fear has to do with punishment
But perfect love drives out fear
There is no fear in love
We love, because he first loved us.

By This

1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

We have confidence before God
if our hearts do not condemn us
because we keep his commandments
and do what pleases Him.
All who keep His commandments abide in Him and He in them
and we receive from Him whatever we ask.
This is His commandment,
believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ
and love one another
by the Spirit He has given us.
By this we know that He abides in us.

The Cure for Lawlessness

I John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he [Jesus] appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 

Excerpted from God’s Deliberate Sacrifice
first Posted on September 29, 2019

“…the Jew was always quite clear, when thinking at his highest, that the sins for which sacrifice could atone were sins of ignorance. The deliberate sin did not find its atonement in sacrifice.”  William Barclay

None of the diligent and and rigid rules of sacrifice had the power to deal with the full capacity of a broken human being to choose to sin on purpose.  Jesus was appointed by God to represent the people in matters related to God in place of those sacrifices.  He became God’s deliberate Sacrifice that could remove the deliberate guilt of all sin when He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Consider Reality

Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realized it? Here and now we are God’s children. We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!

Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.  J.B. Phillips New Testament

Catch 22

1 John 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.  I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.  I write to you, children, because you know the Father.  14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.  I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.  15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Faith is the catch 22!  It’s not our faith in God that strengthens us – it’s our awareness of God’s faith in Himself and His own creation AND His own faithfulness to what He’s already done.  God created this world. He has never relinquished control of His operational plan for it, nor abdicated His responsibility to the people who inhabit it.  God’s own faith in what He has already done IS His will for us.  His “will” for broken people in a broken world is that His faith, not ours, will enable us  to learn to live “completely in this world” recognizing Him “unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures.a

“I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Practicing Truth

I John 1:5 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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

__________❤️__________

MANIFEST;
To show or demonstrate plainly; reveal.  Clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious. Evident to the senses, especially to the sight; apparent; distinctly perceived, prove or make something clear.

Practicing truth requires an understanding of the purpose of light. On the very first day of His creative masterpiece God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”  He knew it was light that would separate night from day.  In the beginning that was the truth.   God began with light and then He practiced His own truth and life came into being.  Jesus was practicing truth when He spoke to us, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  Paul was practicing truth when he wrote “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. 

It took me a beat to catch the incredible truth pulled out of Paul’s Word.  What might have seemed too simple to catch became very personal.  Light is not a reflection of anyone else’s intellect or truth.  We’ve been given all the visible signs of light around and in truth we ARE light.  That’s truth that takes a lot of practice to become personal experience. I wonder if the reason so many of us do our Bible study early in the morning is because intuitively we understand daybreak is a perfect object lesson.  Those early hours are when we clearly see the difference between artificial light and “real” light.  We are in fellowship with God as we see light come to life before our own eyes and experience practicing truth that really does overcomes darkness.

The Big Answer

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose…31 What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ESV

I would guess most of us read and ponder the Bible for answers so it seemed like a remarkable thing that there was a question to be answered in every single verse of this passage.  I had planned to skip right over the familiar verse 28 and get right to the “What shall we say to these things?”  But what things?  Turns out these simple questions are related to some very big things from verses 28 -30.  Things I wish I knew more about so I had better answers for them. Things like love, foreknew, predestined, conformed to the image of his Son, called, justified, and glorified.  Impossible things, really.   

Then I spotted the footnote [h] to Verse 28 [Some manuscripts; God works all things together for good, OR God works in all things for the good] for those who are called according to his purpose.  Both of those footnoted translations made a simple change that drew my attention away from those “things” I don’t know to the BIG answer to “What then shall we say to these things?”  God works! 

Definitions

Romans 8:22-25 RSV
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail [painful or laborious effort] together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits [the first installment of our future glory], groan inwardly as we wait for adoption [taking another’s child and bringing it up as one’s own] as sons, the redemption [the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil] of our bodies.  For in this hope [feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.] we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience [to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.]

Obligation

Romans 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Jesus’s Part:
…to give life to your mortal bodies” that overcomes sin because “the spirit [of Christ in you] is alive because of [His] righteousness.”

Our Part:
…“We are under obligation” to live being “led by the Spirit of God,”

What does that look like to you?  I’ll bet you dollars to donuts you’ve fallen into the same trap I have – it looks like doing the right thing at the right time in the right place. That’s certainly a good look but it’s the least valuable part in God’s eyes.  Remember all the venerated people from the Old Testament who did the wrong thing at the right time and in the right place?  God led them and saved them despite the evidence they were often careless, broken and flawed people.  They have their place in the Bible because of one simple thing; they were willing to be reminded by God of their need to pursue their relationship with Him despite having only the slightest inkling of what He really desired from them.

For most of us that’s still the reality of what we have to offer God today.  It’s true we have much more knowledge, we have the Bible and we often have true shepherds who lead us.  Sadly, we have have turned those things into our “obligation” instead of recognizing our magnificent and determined Creator has given us those things as His graces.  Our obligation is still the same simple one from long ago; that we be willing to pursue our relationship with “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead” and He will lead us and save us despite the repeated evidence we too are often careless, broken and flawed people.