Friday 30 November, 2018

1 John‬ ‭3:19-24‬ ‭‬‬

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Initially this short passage seems quite convoluted and hard to understand. Maybe it is difficult to translate into English, maybe John was just so pumped up about the goodness of God that he was writing in an ecstatic fashion!

I took the following truths out of what John is saying here:

We can be at peace in God’s presence by:

  • Recognising that God is greater than even our own heart or conscience, when plagued by guilt we are to throw ourselves at Him, he will help us sort through these feelings in due time.
  • Seeking to please and obey Him
  • Believing that God’s Spirit is with us

We can be confident in prayer if:

  • We are seeking to please and obey Him

We can be confident of his presence if:

  • We are seeking to please and obey Him

We please and obey God when we:

  • Believe and follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God
  • Love one another

So basically the message to me is simple:

  • Believe Jesus
  • Love one another
  • Don’t doubt God’s mighty presence with me
  • Repeat the above three and PRAY BOLDLY

God you gave your Son to make me your child. You love me, you are with me, you call me to love others. You will answer my prayers as I believe these things. Amen

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Thursday 29 November, 2018

1 John 3:11-18

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 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? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

This passage is about the love of God and how His nature should be evident in us.

The past few weeks, I have been listening to “How He Loves” by Jesus Culture on repeat.  One line that has prompted a lot of consideration says “when I think about how He loves me”. So I have been trying to do that – to pause and consciously think about how the Father loves me personally. I have found it challenging because again I am coming face to face with what I actually believe about the Father’s love towards me.

I find that when I doubt His love, I die on the inside – I get anxious and uncertain. When I doubt, I become like Cain – I try to earn my Heavenly Father’s love. But Father, You know this about me already. You know that I have moments of doubt and yet You continue loving me. When I think about this I realise that You love me with understanding …. and in this, I find my heart at peace and settled.

Father, I thank you for Your unfailing love for me and that it never runs out. I am so glad that You love me personally as who I am. As Your love fills my heart, may it overflow to those around me and bless them.

Written by Gab Martin

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Wednesday 28 November, 2018

1 John 3:4-10

4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

I can see that so much of who I am has been shaped by my parents. From my love of books and stories, to my interest in history, to my fierce sense of standing up for what I believe in, to my sense of humour and my faith… When people meet me they have in part met my parents

In the same way, if we are God’s children and allow Him to shape and parent us, people will be able to see Him in us. God is love, and as His love is formed in us, people will experience it through us.

God, thank you for your love for me and for all humanity. Please shape me and parent me, teach me how to receive your love and share it with those around me. Help me to stay focused on love and not to get distracted by other things. Help me to hug as you would hug, greet as you would greet, make eye contact as you would make eye contact, encourage as you would encourage and see the best in people as you see the best in people. Amen.

Written by Bethany Waugh

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Tuesday 27 November, 2018

1 John 3:1-3

3 See what great love the Father has lavished on 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. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

This passage is about identifying true believers.

But it’s also instructional for us as followers of Christ to ensure that we don’t end up in a bad way.

But tracing back to what John writes is the real key to making sure my behaviour stays pure, it is quite an intriguing statement.

Verses 2 and 3 basically say that if I really, truly have the expectation that I will, one day, get to see Christ fully revealed for who he really is, then I will just be able to keep myself pure!

While there is much more going on here, I love the way that John distills this down.

Lord, may I anticipate a full revelation of who you are so that I can be kept pure!

Written by Ps Justin Ware 

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Monday 26 November, 2018

1 John 2:26-29

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

It’s a simple message that John wants us to hear. If you don’t want to be led astray, then remain in fellowship with Christ.

As John points out to us, we know this message is true, not just because John says it is true, but because we also have the Holy Spirit within us teaching us the same thing – remain in fellowship with Christ.

Is there anything trying to led you astray? Yes. Whenever there is anything – a person or a message, a fear, worry, concern, doubt, trial, temptation, whatever – it’s a long list, all are trying to lead us astray, wanting to distract us, confuse us, dominate our thoughts and time and energy. These things want to be the centre of our world, leading us astray from Christ. We are led astray when Christ is not the centre of our lives.

How do we not let these things lead us astray? Remain in fellowship with Christ.

Simple. It’s easy to forget, and I often need reminding, but I know it’s true.

Remain in fellowship with Christ. Stay in his Word. Stay in community with his people.

Father, help me to remain focused on you, focused on Christ, to remain in fellowship with Christ. All the things that would lead me astray, I submit them to you, for you are Lord over all.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Sunday 25 November, 2018

1 John 2:18-25

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

Sometimes we need to stop and get back to basics. John, at the very start of this paragraph, is essentially saying “Folks, let’s cut to the chase,  ‘cause we are out of time.”

It’s time to ask the hard questions…am I a true follower of Jesus? Do I really have His Spirit working in my life? What evidence is there in my life that proves my faith in Jesus is real? Am I actually doing what He wants? Do I know what He wants? Is there a daily friendship with Jesus – is there ‘fellowship’? Do I have this eternal life that He is offering me?

Lord, please work on me today – and keeping working on me until I can say a resounding “YES” to all these questions.   Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Saturday 24 November, 2018

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

These are very strong statements, and I can only assume that the writer has stated this so strongly that it might arrest our attention- “ If anyone loves the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life), love for the Father is not in them.” Strong words indeed.

The Bible warns us that we cannot serve two masters, and yet we live in a world that is continually calling for us to lust after things that are not of God. Our hearts can be so easily drawn away from the love of God.  How do we fight against this?

It has been my experience that I need to regularly be drawn back to this perspective: “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

The best way that I know to keep this true perspective is to regularly spend time with God and His people as I attend church each week. Of course spending quiet time alone with God is important, but there is something special that happens when I am with the people of God together worshipping in church.

Thank you God for the privilege of being part of a church that draws me back to you week by week. I know I need it!

Written by Shelley Witt

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Friday 23 November, 2018

1 John 2:7-14

7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 12 I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 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. 14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. 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 lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Here’s my paraphrase of this passage

You know Him (God)…. who is:

… from the beginning, who created us out of love for relationship with Him and with each other

… who forgave us from our sins and helps us to forgive others

… strength and makes us strong

… the overcomer of evil and makes us overcomers too

… the word to us and is now alive in us….

So to us, who are created, loved, forgiven, strong, overcomers, alive in the word… let’s be His Light. Let’s live his Light! And LOVE our brothers and sisters!

The command (Originally the 10 commandments seen in Exodus 20:1-17 and then repeated to us by Jesus recorded in Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27) is that we must Love the Lord our God with all that we are and love our neighbour as we do ourselves.

The whole of the scriptures from the beginning to the end are littered with reminders to do this one thing; “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34), “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35), Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10), “Dear friends, since Gods so loved us, we also ought to love one another”(1 John 4:11) .. just to list a few examples.

Jesus help us to be who you have created us to be and who you declare us to be! Help us to live out your light and love. May we love our brothers and sisters. Help us to love ALL people. All people are made in your image and you love each person dearly. Help us to forgive those who have offended and hurt us, just as you have forgiven us. Help us to love, as you have loved us. Thank you that you do not ask us to do anything you have not already done and thankyou we don’t have to do it in our own strength but in yours. Thank you for your help Holy Spirit to live out your light and love.

Amen

Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart

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Thursday 22 November, 2018

1 John 2:3-6

3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

John has just been letting us know in the previous paragraphs that if we sin we have forgiveness through Jesus. But this isn’t so that we can live life any way we like – with an easy out. The point is if I am saying that I’m a believer in Jesus, a Christian, then I am to live that commitment. I am to live as Jesus did (v6) –  loving God with all my heart, soul & mind & loving others. Our lives are to be different.

This seems to be a pretty tall order and John is pretty straight in calling us liars (hypocrites) if we don’t change our behaviours & don’t match up our words with lifestyle. John has told us that if we sin, there is forgiveness, as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living within us as the helper – God knows we can’t do this life alone, John is calling me to be different, to honour the sacrifice that Jesus made for me.

Lord Jesus, convict me of the areas where my life does not match up with your commands, where I do not honour your sacrifice for me. Lord may my love for you and others be obvious in my life. Jesus thank you that you know that I will need forgiveness and that you have made that ultimate sacrifice for me.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Wednesday 21 November, 2018

1 John 2:1-2

2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

God solved the sin problem for good! Jesus came so we have an advocate before the Father.  Not only for each of us individually but for the whole world too. It’s hard to believe sometimes when we look at how messed up we make things or how mucked up the world seems.  But God promised and Jesus followed through. What a blessing.

Thank you Lord that You have made a way for each of us. Thank you Jesus that You were obedient and took on the burden of our sin. Help me to remember daily the blessing You have made available. Amen.

Written by Therese Manning

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