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

I Stand Amazed at God’s Mercy, 5th Sunday of Lent

Lent is a time for reflection about our own sinfulness and prayer and thankfulness for God’s mercy. One of my most precious verses is Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. As you meditate on the truths from Colossians we uncovered this week, let your heart turn to Him in thankfulness. We have so much because of God’s mercy and Christ’s willingness to die for us.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,

I can know Christ, be indwelt by His Holy Spirit and have a relationship with Almighty God through the power of Christ Alone! Colossians 2:16-19 “So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. 18-19 Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.”

I am affirmed in Christ and can ask for His guidance and wisdom from His Word. Colossians 2:20-23 “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.”

I can have a new nature with a new mindset as I seek to live for Him each day. Colossians 3:1-2 “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

I have a life with Christ that is assured, protected and expectant as I await His return! Colossians 3:3-4 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory”.

I have the power of Christ within guiding me to act in a manner that is pleasing to God for my good and His glory! Colossians 3:5-8 “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.

I can seek to love others wholeheartedly and impartially. Colossians 3:9-11. “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”

Here is our Psalm of Praise for this week,

Psalm 103:1-6 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Have a blessed Sunday that is filled with Praises!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 6: God’s Word has Absolute, Eternal Truths

1 Peter 1:23-25 has a powerful message for us today. Peter was writing in this chapter about our Living Hope, which is Jesus, and he calls us in faith to live holy lives. He concludes his message with these powerful words. “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers,  and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

God promises that my new imperishable life in Christ comes from a living, eternal savior. God also promises that His Word will never fade or fail but will stand forever, our eternal truth. We live in a world that is constantly changing in complexity and variability. Nothing is absolute in our world. But God is saying that His Word is eternal and the truths we find there are absolutely true, unchanging for all eternity. What a comfort that brings to our volatile lives. God and His Word are absolute truths we can count on now and forever. That is indeed good news!

Take heart from these words and their truths. Let the absolute truth of God’s Word and His eternal promises create in you a spirit of true thanksgiving today. Good news brings smiles, hope and thanksgiving that come from knowing God and trusting in His Word.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 4: The Lighted Pathway

Today’s verses from 1 John 1:5-7 cause our hearts and minds to lean in to Jesus with thanksgiving. “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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin.”

These verses hold a promise from God: walking with Jesus puts us in fellowship with one another, brings purity from sin and places us on a lighted pathway in life. The light Jesus brings to our life shows us His truth and helps us to live in harmony with one another. Who doesn’t want to live without strife and turmoil in their relationships? Who doesn’t want to be clean, pure and presented holy before Holy God? Who doesn’t want to know that Jesus brings us harmony, peace, and assurance, so our lives can be stable and grounded when trials or troubles come? We do not live in a protected bubble but in a sin-filled world. Sin and its temptations are always around us and seek to lead us from the pathway of truth that we find in Jesus and His Word. Entanglements are Satan’s specialty as he seeks to keep us from the peace God truly desires for our lives.

I give thanks today for His light in my life, the purity that comes from knowing Jesus and His guidance. I can stand firmly rooted in God’s promises and His Word of truth. No doubting! God’s Word is true and Jesus is our Savior. Let Him shine His light of truth into your heart, your relationships and your future as you seek Him today with a heart of thanksgiving.

Linda

God sighted on the Road to Emmaus, did you see Him?

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Friends walking towards Emmaus.

One of my favorite post-resurrection appearances is the encounter of the two on the Road to Emmaus.  Overcome with grief over Jesus’ death and disbelief over what the women said about seeing Him alive,  these two followers of Christ were walking along the Emmaus Road discussing all these things.  Jesus joined them on their journey without disclosing his identity.  As they walked they were surprised that this man did not know about all the events that had just occurred in Jerusalem.  They shared their hope that Jesus, the one crucified,  had been the long awaited Messiah.   Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

IMG_0692Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there and listened to Jesus explain all about Himself?  A little later in the story when they were sitting down to eat, Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread and began to give it to them.  Right then, their eyes were opened  and they recognized Jesus.  He then disappeared from their presence.  Even though it was late they quickly returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples about their encounter with the risen Lord Jesus.

Jesus came to these two when they were in grief, despair and confusion, and He cleared up their thinking, encouraged and enlivened them.  Can you remember a time when Jesus came to you in prayer or through the actions or words of another believer to give you hope and encouragement?  Jesus promises that He will be with us wherever we go.  Just like these two, we need to look and recognize His presence with us and the hope that He brings.

Thank you JesusI pray that my Lenten Blogs have brought you hope and encouragement these past 6 weeks.  I have been mightily blessed by being with you and in the scriptures each day.  I am still pondering the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and all the truths I have gleaned from the book of Ephesians.   I will continue writing on the post-resurrection appearances leading to Pentecost (40 days after the cross).  Christ appeared many times, before His ascension, to many individuals and groups.   They are affirming and touching encounters that teach us more about the depth of His love and care for us.

Be on the lookout for God sightings this week.  Be assured He is with you!

Linda

Are you using your Sword effectively? Take a lesson from Jesus.

Ephesians 6:17 lists two weapons – the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.  As Paul reminded us in verse 16 these weapons are to be ready in all circumstances.  The helmet of salvation is an offensive weapon like the breastplate of Ephesians 6-17 Swordrighteousness, shoes of the gospel and the belt of truth.  However, the sword of the Spirit is our only physical weapon that can be used both offensively and defensively.   “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”   

The Sword of the Spirit or the Word of God is a weapon for close combat one to one or for group warfare.  The Word of God includes the physical words in the Bible, the message of the Word, their intended meaning and the actual saying of the words out loud.  Jesus gave us a perfect example of the use of God’s Word in combat when He was confronted by Satan in the wilderness.  Jesus did not try to reason with Satan or argue with him.  He simply used God’s Word and its truth to thwart him.  He answered his questions with the Word of truth. (See Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13 for the account of Satan confronting Jesus in the wilderness.)

We can take a lesson in how to use the Sword of Spirit from Jesus.  We need to learn to use God’s Word when we are confronted with indecision, confusion, difficult circumstances, temptations, fears, etc.  The reason Jesus was able to use God’s Word to rebuff Satan was because He knew the Word of God.  That should lead us to the conclusion that we need to hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we will be ready.  Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Memorizing scripture has eternal value as once you put it into your mind, the Holy Spirit will use it to shape and mold your mind so that you will be stronger in faith, less led into sin and confidently face situations.    We also need to study and immerse ourselves in God’s Word to know more about who God is and what He has for us. Jeremiah 29:11 reveals God’s heart towards us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Studying God’s Word is essential for growth towards maturity as a believer.

Hebrews 4:12 describes God’s Word  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  hebrews 4 12God’s Word is active and alive, remember saying or using the words of God has power to effect lives for Him.  God’s Word helps us to discern God’s truth and discover our hearts intentions.  God’s Word has power and should be treated with reverence as it is God’s defensive gift to us for use in our struggles here on earth.  Know it, use it  and be transformed by it!  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead I have access to the living Word of God that can and will defeat the enemy.

Wield your sword in battle today.  Have God’s power in your hand and on your lips.

Linda

Holy Week- Thursday was the day of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples.  He spent considerable time comforting them and praying for them.  They went to Gethsemane where Jesus prayed,  arrested and led off to trials throughout the night.  Matthew 26:17-46, Mark 14: 12-42, Luke 22:7-46, John 14:1-16:33

Truth and Right Living, Armor up with Christ

Do you suit up properly for life’s battles?  Here are the first pieces of armor in Paul’s list- the belt and  breastplate.   Ephesians 6:14 “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness”,  The first things we are to put on involve our godly ephesians 6 14-beltcharacter- the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.  The root of the believer’s strength is the character he/she has in Christ.  Godly character is based on the truth of God, who He is, and how you are bound to Him through faith in Christ.  Jesus is truth and knowing Him brings truth into your lifeJohn 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  His Holy Spirit brings believers truth “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 and His Word is truth “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  John 17:17.   The truth of godly character is base on Christ, the Holy Spirit and His Word and are the essential building blocks for godly character in our lives.

Another element of godly character that we are to put on that provides for our defense is His righteousness as ephesians 6 14-breastplateour breastplate.   The breastplate covers the heart and protects our vital organs. Since we cannot be righteous on our own because of our sin nature, we have to depend upon Christ and His righteousness.  Romans 3:21-24 “ But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”   Jesus made the way for us to be righteous before God and give us (imputes) His righteousness to us.  We are renewed through this righteousness from Christ as Paul reminded us in Ephesians 4:20-24 in The Message translation, “But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”  Righteousness is a key to a life filled with godly character and can only be obtained through Christ.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, only through Him can we have His character.

ephesians 6 14Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have godly character that is based on His truth and righteousness.  These first pieces of armor are crucial to living a life for Christ. Put them on then stand firmly rooted and grounded in Christ.

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

Don’t be a victim of the winds, going to and fro!

In Ephesians 4:14-16 Paul expands on the truth from yesterday, we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him.   But what do we do if new ideas come along that seem to contradict what we know about God?   We are reminded in James to look out for doctrines that would sway us away from the truth of the gospel and lead us astray.  James compares our vacillating on truth to the effect of the wind, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:6   Likewise, Paul concludes in Ephesians 4:14-16 that being grounded and rooted in God’s Word will keep us stable and lead us to lives that contribute to the body of believers. 

ephesians 4 14Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

If we desire to move towards maturity in Christ, we need to be grounded in the truth of the gospel, knowledgeable about what scripture teaches  for righteous living and willing to stand firm on God’s Word of truth.  Paul says that this grounding in truth will lead to fuller, richer lives that ephesians 4 16will build up the body of believers and help the whole body of Christ (the church) be stronger.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can mature into Christians that support and love one another.

What are you doing to grow in maturity?  Do you attend church regularly and mediate on what your pastor is preaching on?  Are you in a Bible Study group at your church or elsewhere?  Growing and maturing in Christ does not happen by chance but requires attention to the Word and study.  Be growing in Christ and open to the Holy Spirit’s leading when He presents you with an opportunity for growth.

Linda

Here are two International Bible Study organizations that have classes throughout the world.  Check them out and see if they are near you.  Right now all classes are on-line due to the virus, but they are still going strong as our God is unstoppable.

Bible Study Fellowshiphttp://www.bsf.org

Community Bible Studyhttp://www.cbs.org

 

I AM…the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus spoke these words in comfort to the disciples as He was preparing them for His death and departure.  Some of the most comforting words Jesus spoke come in John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”   Jesus wanted them to know He was leaving but for them not to fear and know He was going to get a place in heaven ready for them.  Thomas did not understand and questioned Jesus in verse 5, “Lord, we do not know where you are John 14-6 I Am The Way The Truth And The Life blackgoing. How can we know the way?”  Jesus’ answer is profound and complete.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6    He went on to tell Thomas and the others how He and the Father were one and if they had seen Him then they also had see God the Father and knew Him to be true.

What did Jesus mean with His I AM statement?   I am the way– the way to heaven and eternal life,  the way to a relationship with God.   I am the truth– He is the truth of God, the gospel.  He is the Life-He is the giver of life-both physical and spiritual, the one who brings eternal life through faith in Him, the one who provides fullness of life here and now.   The way to God is only through faith in Jesus.   Jesus was God and knew that men would doubt, men would seek to earn their way to heaven, that men would claim they knew another way to get to heaven through faith in another person or things.  Jesus knew what was coming and His answer leaves not room for those thoughts.  He is the only way to God and He knows that way perfectly.   He is the truth of God, the Life giver for now and eternity and the pathway to reach full relationship with God is through Him alone.   Martin Luther had it right in His 5 Solices- Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ 5 solicesAlone, Grace Alone and Glory to God Alone.  Our faith in Jesus rests on His Word, His person and His Work on the Cross on our behalf.  Thank you Jesus.

Have a blessed day as you ponder the narrowness of the Way to God but also the broadness of it’s extent.  Not one is excluded from coming to Him.  All can come to Him in faith and will be saved.  His arms are wide open to everyone of faith.

Linda