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Category Archives: 1 John

1 John 1:8-2:2

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
1 John 2:1-2

Dear God, thank you. The “verse of the day was actually just 1 John 2:1. I just wanted to keep the others around it for context, but my first thought when I read verse 2:1 this morning was, “Thank you!” Thank you, Jesus, for pleading my case.

Funny, but I just got this song going on my head by For King and Country. It’s called “Priceless” and pretty much describes how you see me thanks to Jesus. I’m just so grateful. Thank you.

Now, here’s an interesting question: Why don’t I share more with others this thing for which I’m so grateful? Maybe I’m not as grateful as I think I am.

Father, first, thank you. Second, I’m sorry. Help me to take your message into my day and share it with others and give them the joy and peace you give me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in 1 John

 

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Revelation

Dear God, I was speaking to a young man in my office yesterday who is heavily influenced by pastors that focus on the rapture and tribulation. He gave me a website to check out and a DVD to view. I watched a little of the DVD and looked at the cover of the website. I’m thinking about writing the young man today with my thoughts.

My first thought is that any time anyone around Jesus was afraid he told them to fear not. Jesus didn’t sell his message using fear. He offered mercy. If I believe what I say I believe and if I share that with others then the rapture and the tribulation will take care of themselves. My job isn’t to scare anyone into Heaven. That isn’t much of a sales pitch anyway.

While we were in my office, he referenced the fruits of the Spirit and said that the first one is love. I agreed with him, but then we listed through the others and I tried to point out peace to him. I’ve told you this many times before, but peace is the one thing that I can’t fake. I can pretty much put up a facade and fake the other fruits. To other people, I can make myself look loving, joyful, kind, gentle, etc., but I am unable to fake peace. When I am truly in you is when I am at peace, and if I am not following you then I have no peace.

Father, I could go on and on, but I guess the thing I really want to say is that I am grateful that you take away all my fear. Your love drives out all my fear. (1 John 4:18). I don’t have to fear the rapture, the tribulation, a one world government or the anti-Christ because you are my God. You have this. I am in you and you are in me. You gave me a great bridge to reach you through coming to earth through the part of your essence that is your son, Jesus, and showed me not only how much you love me, but also how to love and live. Thank you for all of this. I need you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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1 John 5:14-15

1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)
14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

 

Dear God, what does it look like to ask for things that please you? The NIV states verse 14 as asking for things according to your will. So what does that look like?

I think the first thing I have to come to terms with is that you are more interested in my soul than my comfort. You are more interested in who I am becoming as a person that what I have. You are more about how my life can be used in your world than you are about what this world can do for me. So when I make my requests, I need to be mindful of this before I start.

So as I pray for my own life, or for my children, or my parents/siblings/friends/etc., what do I pray for? What will please you? I think there are a few things you want me to pray for:

  • My ability to commune with you and see the world with your eyes (Love the Lord your God…)
  • My willingness to love and serve others (Love your neighbor…)

From there, it is about what I hope for for others:

  • That they would commune with you and see the world with your eyes (Love the Lord your God…)
  • That they would willingly love and serve others (Love your nieghbor…)

Finally, there are situations in each life that I hope you can cover. Health issues. Financial provision. Meeting human needs. Relationships being restored.

So when I pray, especially on this National Day of Prayer, I suppose I should pray like this:

My Father, who is in Heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give me this day my daily bread, and forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who sin against me. And lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. For yours in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2019 in 1 John

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 5:13-21

1 John 5:13-21 NIV
[13] I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. [14] This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. [16] If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. [17] All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. [18] We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. [19] We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. [20] We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. [21] Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

Dear God, These are all interesting last words. If I were to bullet point this last section of 1 John, I guess I’d do it like this:

* Through Jesus you get to be saved.
* Pray according to God’s will and it’ll all be good.
* Pray for others about their sin (I want to come back to this one in a minute).
* Beware of Satan.
* Keep yourselves from idols (fascinating last words that seem to kind of come from nowhere).

Praying according to your will is an interesting thing. In a recent speech, a politician referenced the gospel verse that talks about praying for something and you granting it. But he left out the part about praying for it “in your name” or “according to your will” so the passage was used completely out of context. It can be very hard to pray according to your will because your will might call for suffering. It might call for us to go down a road down which we do not want to go, or see our friends or family go. But that’s the encouragement—that we pray according to your will.

The other thing I really want to touch on from this passage is praying for others. Every week in the Catholic Church, the penitent prayer includes asking “you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God.” I always try to take that moment to pray for the people around me, whether I know them or not. It’s an interesting request to put into a prayer that is said every week. I’m sure that the person who originally decided it should be inserted was thinking about this passage.

Father, one of the things I want to do today is spend a little time in worship. I was thinking about it while I was driving last night. I have been spending time in scripture. I have been spending time praying for others. I have NOT, however, spent time just worshipping you and proclaiming how great is my God. So I endeavor to do that today. You are so great and powerful. Who can possibly stand in your presence. I love you, Father.

I pray all of this in Jesus’ name and ask that you make all of the answers to my prayers according to your will,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 5:6-12

1 John 5:6-12 NIV
[6] This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. [7] For there are three that testify: [8] the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. [9] We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. [10] Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. [11] And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Dear God, in doing this series on Peter and John it is sometimes hard to find the line between praying through what the truth is in the scripture I am reading and what it is about who John was that caused him to write what he wrote. In this case, I am trying to get at the heart of who John was at any given time and how he changed over time.

In the case of this scripture, he was taking the time to write down his truth for people. A lot of this letter is simply, “Believe. It’s real.” He was there. He was as close to Jesus during Jesus’ earthly life as anyone. He learned. He grew. He repented and changed. He sacrificed. And now he had some wisdom to share.

My wife and I were just talking over breakfast about how, as adults who have had children, we have a perspective on life that people who don’t have children don’t have. For example, if two people get married and they have different faiths like Protestant and Catholic (although I contend these aren’t as different as many think) then they can give each other space for that, but what they won’t realize until they have children is how important that faith actually is to them. She told the story of a Protestant woman who married a Catholic man and they had four children. The first three were fine to go to church with her, but the fourth really wanted to go to the Catholic Church with his dad, and that was very hard for the mom. Harder than she ever considered it would be.

In the case of this passage and this book, John is giving his truth from his experience. He was judgmental and self-righteous, and Jesus taught him to be loving and forgiving. That’s his message here. People challenge the veracity of what Jesus did and why He did it. Well, John was there, and he is ready to tell anyone who will listen that it is real and that reconciliation to you and relationship with you, even unto Heaven, is possible.

Father, help me to love others through my own weaknesses and reality. Help me to teach from a place of humility and to learn from others who have much to teach me. Make my heart open to your instruction and your voice, whether it comes to me through prayer times like this or it comes through the voice of a friend or even a stranger.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 5:1-5

1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

Dear God, reading this letter, I can see where I have lived most of my life thinking of John as the promoter of love. I guess that’s why it caught me so off guard when I isolated the stories about him in the gospels and found that he was actually not very loving at all. There was something that Jesus saw in him that made him one of the “Big Three” in terms of the 12 disciples, but it’s never apparent what that was. Perhaps Jesus could see beyond what John was and look forward into what a redeemed John would look like.

It’s a little like Paul. As Saul, no one would have foreseen who he became as Paul, but your redemption turned his zealousness for you as a Jew to the truth of your oneness with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I wonder how much of our greatest strengths as Christians are the things that defined the evil part of our nature pre-Christ. That’s an interesting thesis to consider.

As for me, how do I consider who I was before your redemption and who I am now? I guess, a lot like John and less like Paul, the thing you seem to be hammering out of me is judgmentalism. Not that I don’t still judge people. But I used to really judge people for not being who I thought they should be and not acting the way I thought they should act. Now, the more I learn from you about myself the more I am willing to extend mercy and love to others instead of judging them. I am better at looking for what they see as their righteous motivations in the moment instead of judging them as having sinister motives that are meant for my detriment.

That leads to how I evaluate others. Do I see someone’s sin, or do I see a character trait that can be redeemed and used for your glory? Do I take the time to see them with your eyes, or do I just judge them and cast them off?

Father, to quote a song, give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see everything that I’ve been missing. Give me your love for humanity.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 4:14-21

1 John 4:14-21 [NASB]
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Dear God, love, love, love. What does perfect love casting out fear look like? “Fear involves punishment.” “The one who fears is not perfected in love.”

Of course, the closest thing I can think of to “perfect love” from the human perspective is that of a parent and a child. I might get angry with a child. I might hate what they do. But I will ALWAYS love that child. There is something in my soul for them that keeps me coming back for more. I remember marveling at my daughter when she was on stage in different theater productions, and I also noticed how it didn’t matter what else was happening on that stage—my eyes followed her every move. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and what she was doing. It didn’t matter if she had the smallest bit part off to the side, that is where my eyes went. Of all of the people, kids and adults on that stage, she was mine and I was completely interested in everything she did.

But I have not loved her perfectly. I have made many mistakes. There have been times when I punished too harshly and times when I didn’t discipline enough. There have been times when I gave her too much as a parent and then there were other times when I withheld too much. I took out anger on her that was meant for someone else, and I didn’t show her anger that I should have. I made many, many mistakes, and the fact that I completely love her as much as I can wasn’t perfect enough. That is frustrating to me. Why couldn’t I have been better? Why do I still do the wrong thing sometimes?

Then there are the other people around me you have called me to love perfectly. Not just my wife, but my family of origin and my in-laws. My coworkers. The clients of the place where I work. Friends and fellow church members. My community. My country. What does perfect love look like for all of them?

Father, I think a lot of it starts, even with my daughter and son and graduating up to everyone else I’ve mentioned here, with loving you, accepting your love and forgiveness, and then trying to see each person around me with your eyes. Help me to see beyond the veneer and to look deeper. Help me to be patient. I know it’s grammatically incorrect, but help me to love more perfectly.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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