The first letter of John comes as a breath of fresh air to those who are trying to live for Jesus. People around us tell us so much that simply isn’t true. It seems many think if they say something often enough and loud enough that it becomes true! Let’s notice some of the truths that John gives us in the last chapter of this short letter.
“For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith” (1 John 5:3-4 CSB).
Sometimes we hear people complaining that doing what God wants is difficult. Obedience, we are told, is just too hard! So does it really matter, they think, if we obey God or not? Continue reading “Our confidence as Christians”
Life means movement. The dead are still. The living are in motion. The apostle Paul presented the one true God to the Athenians, saying of him: “For in him we live and move about and exist” Acts 17.28 NET.
Spiritual life, or eternal life, as it is often called, also means movement. To start this life, there must be motion — an entering into the place where this life begins.
Eternal life is unlike physical life in at least one respect: a person chooses to possess it. God initiates it, provides it, creates it, calls us to it, but we must move toward it. We must go where it can be had. Continue reading “Get in the zone”
When Jesus went to the cross, it marked the lowest point in world history. From his disciples’ point of view, the unthinkable had occurred, their Messiah had failed. The question that John’s disciples had asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” (Matthew 11:3 ESV) must have seemed quite prescient. The darkness that covered the earth must have been felt in every heart that believed in this great man.
What seemed like defeat from a human perspective was truly God’s greatest victory. The cross was the fulfillment of prophecy (see Genesis 3:15). While it seemed like Satan had delivered the death blow, it was God’s plan all along (see Revelation 13:8 MLV, YLT), and Jesus always possessed the power to offer up or withhold his life (John 10:17, 18). Like the mystery of the unity of the Jew and Gentile prophesied in the Old Testament, this victory was not seen by man until God revealed it in the resurrection.
Continue reading “The Power of the resurrection in daily life”
Jesus’ popularity was growing due to both his miraculous signs and his teaching. When over 5,000 ended up being out too late to find food, Jesus fed them with five barley loaves and two fish. Then Jesus left.
The next day they caught up with him in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:59). This developed into a conversation with Jesus talking on a ‘spiritual’ level about who he was but the people understanding his words on a ‘physical’ level. They really could not comprehend what he was saying. Continue reading “The bread of life”
“Now a certain leader asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.”’ The man replied, ‘I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.’” (Luke 18:18-21 NET)
Most people that I know want the best out of life and to have the best life possible. The man Jesus was talking with wanted this. From what we can see he was living a good life. He was a Jew, one of God’s chosen people, and he was faithfully, wholeheartedly, following God’s commands. But he was missing something. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asked Jesus. Continue reading “Trust in God or what we have?”
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Men abuse authority. They enrich themselves with it and oppress others with it. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Castro were infamous in the 20th Century. Maduro in Venezuela is but one more in the long list of tyrants. Jesus warned his followers, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors’” Luke 22.25. He showed by example how to be different from despots.
Jesus was given all authority on earth and in heaven by the Father, Matthew 28.18. We in the churches of God have long taught on the importance of recognizing Jesus’ authority. We are right to do so. We ought to continue to do it. Continue reading “The good authority of Jesus Christ”
The early daffodils were spent and gone, and the late daffodils were…well…later than usual. But a friend called Thursday to say that she was about to bring some of her best blooms to the National Convention of the American Daffodil Society.
We were both volunteering at this convention, as members of the host city’s chapter. The reasoning behind amateurs bringing their daffodils was sound. “There will be more entries on the tables, and the winners will feel better,” Evelyn said.
Well, that made sense. As a team member and a fledgling Daffodil Society member, I wanted to be as helpful as I could be. Continue reading “Compete to win!”
The world around us seems to be devoid of hope. In Great Britain many are worried about leaving the European Union – after all, for most people, this is all they have known. ISIS continues to cause people around the world to worry, as well as the unstable situation in Korea. People worry about what is ahead of them in life. Perhaps the problem is that they see this life as all there is.
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, we find Christians who were worried about the Christians who had already died. Paul wrote, “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NET). Continue reading “A people of hope”
“The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance” (Joshua 16:4 ESV).
After conquering much of the land of Canaan, the land was divided between the tribes of Israel. This was to be their inheritance. Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh had already received their inheritance, their land, on the east of the Jordan in the lands they conquered before entering Canaan. In return for receiving their inheritance early, they had to lead the army as they conquered the Promised Land. Continue reading “Our imperishable inheritance”
God had set the Israelites free from being slaves of the Egyptians. As they camped at Mount Sinai, they were being formed into an orderly nation. As we will see from the census in Numbers 1, there were over 600,000 men, aged 20 and over, who were able to go to war. Conservative estimates, taking into account that there are generally more females born than males, plus the elderly who couldn’t bear arms, those under 20, and the tribe of Levi, would give a nation of at least two to three million people. That would place them around the same size as Lithuania, Nambia or Slovenia today. But they did not yet have land and were living in tents in the wilderness.
To prepare this new nation to enter the Promised Land, God made promises to them. These were conditional on their obedience and living by the commands he gave them. And for a budding nation, these were quite powerful promises. Continue reading “Promises and blessings”