Monday, November 14, 2011

I John 2:9-11

I John 2:9-11 If anyone says, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves other Christians is living in the light and does not cause anyone to stumble. Anyone who hates a Christian brother or sister is living and walking in darkness. Such a person is lost, having been blinded by the darkness.”
It matters what we think about others, what we feel towards them. Some people hurt us and sometimes very deeply. It may be physical, emotional, or mental. However it may be, we sometimes get hurt and it may alter our lives completely. For some, the damage is so severe that life becomes very difficult and it affects our ability to live in victory in Christ.
Yet, John tells us that we must love and not hate those who hurt us. It is not impossible to love those who hurt us, otherwise God would not have instructed John to write it. Our biggest hurdle to move from hate to love is our will. We do not want to change. We like to live with an attitude of hate because it somehow makes us feel in the right. We have been wronged and the other party is guilty. We want to take matters into our own hands and see that justice is served. We want revenge. Therefore, we savor our feelings and resist the need to change. However, if we are to be right with God we have no choice, we must move from hatred to love. The question is, “How is that possible?”
God is love. The only way we can love those who hurt us is for us to immerse ourselves in God. We must determine in our hearts that we need God. We must know that it is impossible for us to change apart from a deeply rooted connection with God. We must seek God. We must enter into His presence as often as possible. We must consistently draw near to God until we know that our heart changes. We must first experience the love of God for ourselves before we can love those who hurt us. There is no other way to move from a hate-filled heart to a love-filled heart.
A true child of God does not linger in the darkness of hatred. In fact, he is incapable of living in hatred. God is love and when God is in us, we become vessels of love. As long as darkness envelopes the soul, God is not there. God is light and love and where he is they fills up his dwelling place.
Dear friend, if you are struggling to forgive and love someone today in your past or present, spend all the time you need in the presence of God. Do not shortchange yourself. Wait on the Lord and he will change you. He will fill you with a heart of love. Pray about this until you pray through.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I John 2:3-6

I John 2:3-6 And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying his commandments. If someone says, “I belong to God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth. But those who obey God’s word really do love him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did.

Being saved is more than just saying you are. A true child of God will obey the Word of God. There will be a conscious and determined decision to strive to live according to the teachings of Scripture. There will be a desire to learn and understand the Word so that the Word can have its proper affect on how life is lived. It’s not too hard to figure out those who are trying to obey the Lord from those who aren’t. The difference between the ways of the Word and the world are like night and day.

One of the sure proofs of a life lived in obedience to God is the love that comes from the heart. We obey God because we love him. We love Him because it is the natural response of a heart who has been forgiven and filled with the presence of Christ. We love Him because we are so grateful for his forgiveness and willingness to adopt us as his children. We love Him because of his willingness and efforts to change who we were into a people like him. We love Him because of his loving provision for our needs now and for all of eternity. If we are true children of God, we cannot resist the urge to love him back, for he first loved us. He sought us out to save us. He is the one who prepared us for the day of our salvation. There is no greater love than the love of God for us and then the growing love we have for God.

He who claims to know God and yet does not love God and obey him is a liar. The Truth is not in him. Are you telling the truth when you say that you love God?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I John 2:1-2

I John 2:1-2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely. He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
The Word is given to us to help us to know what is sin and how not to do it. God does not want any of us to sin, even though he knows we will. Knowing our spiritual weaknesses that causes us to sin, God provided for us a Savior who not only can forgive us, he can help us to not sin. Jesus is on our side. Whenever we do sin, He is there to stand in-between God and us so that God in his anger will not destroy us. Jesus pleads the case before God for all who are in his care and sins. He does not go to the defense of those who are not his, they are on their own to answer to God, they have no protector. In Christ there is forgiving grace. He honors those before God who honor him. There is no sin that He cannot and does not forgive if there is genuine sorrow for it. If we are genuinely sorry, we will change and not continue to live in our sin.
Jesus pleases God completely. He did what he was sent here to do. He lived a sinless life so he could die a sinner’s death. He became the perfect sacrifice for sin. There was nothing left undone that had to be done for us to be forgiven by God. He forgives us, but not just us. He forgives all who come to him for forgiveness. There is forgiveness for everyone in the world if they want it. No one is beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness and love. No one.
God is not happy one bit when we sin. He hates it. But, when we do sin, we have someone who can appease the wrath of God, Jesus our Savior. God can only forgive us through Christ Jesus our Lord.