Walking in the Light

And the journey continues… into 1 John Chapter 1. This letter was written by the Apostle John and shares the same style as the gospel of John. He wants to assure the readers that he has seen Jesus, experienced his life and death, and wants to share Christ with us. Sharing Christ with us will make his joy complete.

The reason I love this chapter is the words of truth John gives us about the light we have in Christ, the contrast of life without Christ which in one in darkness and how to know for certain one has the light of Christ in their life! 1 John 1:5-10 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

This passage teaches us these truths:

God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Believing in Jesus brings us into the light and allows us to have fellowship with God and be cleansed from our sins.

If we think we are sinless, we are not being truthful.

Getting right with God, being in His light, requires we confess our sins, accept His forgiveness in our lives.

God is always faithful.

If we claim we are without sin, we are calling God a liar and Jesus does not live within us.

I love this passage for it’s straight forwardness about who God is and what He does for me. 1 John 1:9 was one of the first verses I memorized long ago, and God brings it to my mind often as I need to continually repent and depend upon His faithfulness to forgive and cleanse me. May the truths of this passage sink in and cause you to see God through His light, Jesus, and may you know His love and forgiveness in your life anew today. May you also have joy in sharing the good news of Jesus with someone.

Linda

Wow! God did all this for me! Thank you.

Paul succinctly sums up what God did for us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross and be raised from the dead. Colossians 1:13-14. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” God gave us a way to escape the darkness of sin and move into His kingdom of light. The light of Jesus is a light that overcomes, redeems and forgives. Praise God for His great mercy and love!

Here are some verses to add depth of understanding to Paul’s words to the Colossians- the light. John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” His light brings life not death and darkness. John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Saved out of darkness into His kingdom of lightJohn 3:17, 19, 21 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” 19 “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

RedemptionRomans 3:23-24 describes this perfectly “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, I also love Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”

Forgiveness of Sins– these powerful words are remembered during communion as Jesus spoke in Matthew 26:28 “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Acts 13:38-39 “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed  from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

May these words and phrases sink into your heart and soul today. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am saved out of darkness and brought into the light of Christ fully redeemed and forgiven! Praise God!

Linda

Advent Reveals How Persistent Faith Brings Results

Another confirmation from God came from elderly Anna. She was a widow of many years and was undoubtedly allowed to live in one of the rooms at the temple used for various things. She spent her days worshiping, fasting and praying. Anna was called a prophetess which was not as common as her male counterpart, prophet, of which there were many in the Old Testament, like Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah…. However, she was not alone as Miriam, Moses’ sister was called a prophetess in Exodus 15:20, Deborah the mighty leader in Judges 4:4, Huldah in 2 Kings 22:14 and Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:9.

Here is her encounter with the baby Jesus from Luke 2:36-38. “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”

What does this encounter with baby Jesus show us? God requires us to be diligent and patient, persisting in our faith. Anna took every opportunity to worship and pray. She was open to hear from God about the future. Her message to Mary, Joseph and all of us about this child is one of Hope. She saw in Him one who would rescue her people. We may not be prophets or eloquent preachers but we too have a message of Hope from Jesus to tell others. God’s indwelling Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we belong to Him and have the Words of light, hope and salvation to give in Jesus’ name. Light John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Hope1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you Salvation- 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Will you persist in faith even when things get hard? Will you lean upon Jesus as your source of eternal light, hope and salvation just as He would want? Patient Anna was rewarded with seeing Jesus and knowing the truth of God revealed to the world. Take encouragement from her today and persist in your faith with diligent prayer and worship. You too will be rewarded by God just as He promises in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Linda

Back to the light, shine for Jesus

Do you ever wake up some days and feel like you missed a day?  Somehow I wrote on Ephesians 5:15-20 before writing on Ephesians 5:9-14.   So today I’m going back to our discussion of light and dark and Paul’s admonition to us to be ‘Children of the Light’.     In verses 9-14 Paul gives us more information about what living in the Light of Christ means and what we can expect in our lives because of the light He gives us.

For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

ephesians 5 14Paul instructs us that right living pleases God and that we should expose,  avoid  and to try not to take part in anything ungodly.  The light of truth in Christ will expose the things of darkness and make everything visible.  He concludes with a common hymn of the day to illustrate his point.  The Ephesians (us too) were dead without Christ but coming to faith in Jesus brought them (us) into His light.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, His light can be seen in me.

Strive to do what is good, right and true in the name of Jesus knowing that those behaviors, deeds and actions are pleasing to God and will shine His light into the world around you.  Be that light today!

Linda

It is your Choice, light or dark?

Paul gives us a list of what characterizes a non-believer in contrast to true believers.  The Ephesians were new converts, still learning and growing in faith.  They had recently come out of idolatry and had many old habits to rid themselves of as they endeavored to grow more and more like their Savior, Jesus.  Paul was very forthright with them letting them know what behaviors were OUT and would not be tolerated or found in God’s Kingdom.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 

ephesians 5 8For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

In the midst of this list of things to avoid you find verse 4b let there be thankfulness and 8 be people of the light!    Paul wants them, and us, to know that belonging to Christ, being a believer involves a life filled with thankfulness and light!  Praise God!  God does not want us to cling to old sinful behaviors and attitudes but to shed them and walk in His light.  Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  He is the light that dispels all darkness and evil.  I love 1 John 1:5 and 7 “This is the message we have heard from him and 1 john 1 5proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  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.”   There is hope, forgiveness and life in the light of Jesus.  Choose to walk in it and be ready to be clean, whole and made right with God.

Paul wanted them and us to see the contrast between their former lives and their new life in Jesus.  Light and dark, hope and despair, freedom and condemnation, forgiveness and being held by sin, Christ makes all the difference in the focus and direction of our lives.  Listed side by side light overwhelms darkness.  Light is open, pure, holy and welcoming and the darkness of sin brings shame, hiding and imprisonment.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead I can choose light and life with Him.   Choose the light of  Jesus today.

Linda

All-Knowing God provides Victory!

daniel 2 20Daniel 2:20-23 gives Daniel’s praise to God after having received the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.   Daniel and all the wise men of the kingdom were going to be killed if the meaning of the King’s dream was not revealed.   Upon receiving the King’s death threat, Daniel went to his believing friends in the palace and asked them to pray concerning this mystery asking God to reveal the meaning of the King’s dream so they might be saved.  Here is Daniel’s response after God revealed the dream’s meaning to him in a vision.      Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel begins by praising God for who He is- the Sovereign Eternal God of the universe with all things, people and circumstances within His control.  He praised God’s knowledge and wisdom and His ability to reveal things to those who love Him.   He praised God’s purity, and that in Him there is no darkness.  Daniel thanks God for revealing His wisdom to Him and for letting him know what the King’s dream was about, thereby saving him.

who-is-godDo you know who God is?  Do you praise Him for His glorious character  and for how He has kept all His promises?   Try incorporating  praise for who God is into your prayers today.  List His attributes so you can think about Him as you pray.   The more we love and know God the greater our trust in Him will be.

Linda

I AM… the light of the world

Jesus made this claim and it is recorded twice in John.  Once when challenged by the Pharisees in John 8:12 and again in John 9:5 when questioned about the sin of  man that was born blind.

In John 8:12-15 the Pharisees were seeking to discredit Jesus’ claims saying He could not be His own witness to who He really was.  Jesus’ answers are straight forward and He John_8-12_2_turns the statements back to them so that they will examine themselves. 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”   Jesus’ statement is bold and shows purpose and direction.  He knew where He was going, what He was doing and why.  He assures us that if we follow His light, His truth, and His ways we will not walk in the darkness of sin but have a life filled with His light and truth!   What a wonderful assurance.  

In John 9 Jesus encountered a man born blind and His disciples asked, who sinned and made this man blind- his parents or him?  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   Jesus assured them that the blindness did not come from sin but was to be an opportunity to show the works and power of God.  Jesus performed many miracles of this kind during His ministry.  Giving sight was a living example of what Jesus can do for us as He can give us sight.  His light brings salvation, hope, understanding of God’s Word, a pathway to stronger character based on Him, guidance and direction.  He shows us the way to God.  John calls Jesus the Word in John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, john 1 4and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”   Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”   Jesus is God’s Word brought into our lives to bring us to Him and to be the light by which we can come to God.  Praise God for His mercy and grace towards us by sending Jesus to be our light in this dark world.

Ask yourself,  Am I walking fully in God’s light, letting Him guide and direct my way?  Or am I walking part in light and part in darkness trying to live in the world, keeping worldly thoughts and actions a part of my life?   How can I walk more in God’s light and less in the shadow of the world’s darkness each day?  David gave us a glimpse of an answer in Psalm 119:9-11:                                                                                                          How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.               Stay in the Word (Jesus)
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!          Follow the Word (Jesus)
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.                     Keep the Word in your heart. (Jesus)

psalm 119 11Does this describe how your heart looks?

Have a blessed day walking in the LIGHT of Jesus.

Linda

Does God provide the light in your life?

psalm 27 1Light   When we say the word light, many things come to mind- glowing illumination, brightness, no more darkness, hope, direction, guidance…..   In Psalm 27 David speaks about the ultimate light of the world, God.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—    With God as his light-                     whom shall I fear?                                      he  knew salvation & no fear
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—       With God as his light- 
    of whom shall I be afraid?                         he knew strength & no fear

When the wicked advance against me      With God as his light-  he knew his enemies 
    to devour me,                                                       would crumble. 
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,                    With God as his light- he knew he would not 
    my heart will not fear;                           break under pressure but live with confidence     though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord                 With God as his light- God would always be             this only do I seek:                                                           with him, making life beautiful
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

How about you?  Is God your light?   Jesus tells us in John 8:12 ““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Having Jesus in your life dispels the darkness of sin, keeps you from living in fear, gives you salvation and strength and makes all things around you to be illuminated by God’s light.  Just like David, we can see God’s light and we can know Him personally through His Son.

David ends this Psalm with a reminder to wait patiently for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

psalm-27 14Knowing God is light and will provide direction so we can see how to proceed,  David admonishes us to wait for the Lord.   I know, easier said than done, but it is a good reminder that our timetable for things is not the Lord’s.  In His light we can walk with confidence and trust His leading as we wait for His perfect timing.

Will you walk seeking God’s light in your life today?  Will you grow in trust for Him as you wait His perfect timing?  If you are struggling with God’s timing, pray and ask for patience and guidance as you wait upon Him.

Linda

4th Sunday of Lent, A Time of Prayer and Praise

40 days is a long time and it is enough time to establish a habit, overcome an adversary or endure a trial.  Do you feel like you are enduring a trying time in your life this Lent?  Then, look to Daniel today and see God from His perspective. Daniel was a Jew who was taken from Jerusalem and deported to Babylon.  He and his friends were smart and resourceful and were a part of the king’s wise men.   The king had a dream and no one seemed to be able to tell him the meaning of it.  He got frustrated and ordered all the ‘wise’ men killed.  Daniel heard about this and ran to tell his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah.  He asked them to pray and ask God for mercy concerning this mystery.  During the night God revealed to Daniel the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Here is Daniel’s praise to God from Daniel 2:20-23.

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
5067135-Charles-F-Stanley-Quote-As-children-of-a-sovereign-God-we-are21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.

Do you share Daniel’s high view of God? Daniel knew from first hand experience that God was sovereign, all powerful, eternal,  wise, light, and worthy of praise.  Where do you need strength or knowledge today?  Ask Him like Daniel did then praise Him even if-the-god-you-believe-in-is-not-a-sovereign-god-then-you-really-dont-believe-in-godbefore He answers.

Linda

Suggestion:  As you journey through this day, keep Daniel’s prayer of praise in your mind.  When you encounter difficulties, pray immediately and leave it to God.  Then wait expectantly for His answers.

Blessed Assurance- Salvation is #1

When we think about blessings and what it means to be blessed, one of the first things that comes into the mind of the believer is salvation.  Truly being spared the wrath of God in judgement and being able to live with Him forever in heaven is a BIG blessing.  ps32Scripture tell us exactly that in Psalm 32:1-2.

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

We are spared from the wrath of God (God’s anger over sin) because Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10-12)   His blood provides the atonement for our sins as He covers us so that when God looks at the believer He sees Jesus’ atoning blood not our sin.   “God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.”  Romans 3:25    We are forgiven and God promises to not hold our sins against us.  I love these verses in Micah about God, His forgiveness and the fact that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea.  Praise God once confessed, our sins are gone forever!  Micah 7:8-10 

Lord, who is a God like you?
    You forgive sin.
You forgive your people
    when they do what is wrong.
micah 7 19You don’t stay angry forever.
    Instead, you take delight in showing
    your faithful love to them.
19 Once again you will show loving concern for us.
    You will completely wipe out
    the evil things we’ve done.
You will throw all our sins
    into the bottom of the sea.

How blessed am I?   Because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God forgives my sin and casts it into the depths of the sea.   Because of Jesus,  I can continue to walk with Him each day and have His light to shine for others.  1 John 1:6-7 puts it this way.  Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin.”   

alive blessedMay your day be filled with joy as you reflect on your treasured state of being- forgiven, all your sins are gone out of God’s sight forever, you are able to walk with Jesus in His light each day and saved for eternity.  Now there are eternal blessings we can count upon!

Linda