In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And his commands are not burdensome for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:3-5
What is it that is weighing you down today? All people struggle with something, either from the past or the present that weighs on them. Perhaps it a particular sin, or a situation or a person. I am going to tell you how to overcome all things that weigh you down and seek to steal you joy, believe in Jesus Christ, the One who overcomes the world and He will take on your weighty thoughts and situations and overcome them in you!
It is the same with sin in my life. I can struggle with a particular sin, such as anger, but when I am doing as God has commanded, anger has no place. When anger has no place, then I don’t have to feel guilty when I explode. When I don’t feel guilty I have overcome sin and now have joy in my life. It all stems from when I follow God’s commands.
When I am following God and His commands, I find there is no room for the world in my life. No room for sin, no room for hate, no room for discouragement and no room for Satan or his minions to get a foothold. And it is no burden to me, because through faith I understand the joy it brings to follow the Lord and his commands. I know I don’t always do it perfectly, but that is what repentance and forgiveness are for in our life.
Repentance and grace are exactly what John talks about later in the chapter. He understands, and God understands that we are not perfect and wont but, hence the need for Jesus. And so, He offers grace in our moments of weakness; forgiveness in our failure so that we may not go on sinning thinking we are doomed. No instead He says to repent each day and grow and come back to His way and find that joy again.
To God be the Glory,
The swift cannot flee nor the strong escape. In the north by the River Euphrates they stumble and fall. – Jer 46:6
This was the judgement poured out against Egypt in the time of Jeremiah when the Lord’s people had been defeated and scattered. Egypt was a place of worshiping other gods and the people of Israel had been led astray. Now God has poured out judgement upon them because Israel tried to do things on their own, they tired the phrase, “You do you.”
This phrase, “You do You,” has been popping up more and more in our culture. And it sounds pretty good at first. The phrase speaks to the individual and tells them to just be themselves. Just go out and do what makes you happy and what your heart desires. Well, this is just what Israel had been doing, and they had been laid waste before God.
All of our actions have consequences. If we all just go out and “You do You,” we will all fail in this world. We cannot just go about doing whatever makes us happy because it brings about consequences for other people. For example, what if I really like to just go around and be drunk all the time, or I love drugs. This affects others around me and creates chaos.
No, we must do things in God’s way and in God’s time. When I do me, I run out of strength and I tire. Then I am stuck in my sin and my addictions and cannot flee them either. It is only in God that we find true strength to live a life that brings joy and peace. It is only with God that I can find the strength to do what is right in my life.
So, today I will no go out and do me, no I will follow the will of the Lord. I will not give into my flesh and lose heart. Instead I will follow the Lord and His ways and gain peace and contentment in my life. Today I will go out and love others that they too may have the strength to find peace instead of the “You do You,” attitude which just leads to heart ache and pain because it is of the flesh and has no strength to sustain joy.
To God be the Glory,
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor 12:10
Paul is discussing boasting and false prophets. He is educating the people on what they ought to boast about. In doing so, what Paul has done is to make Christ higher and himself lower. He boasts about his weakness and his struggles because he knows that in these weaknesses is found the Lord’s work.
The Spirit works in me what I cannot work in myself to accomplish. When I allows the Spirit to be strong, I am strong in the Lord and strong in deed for the Lord. However, when I allow my flesh to lead, I am weak. For it is only through the Spirit, which is sent by Christ that I can find the power to serve in great things to the Lord, it is only in the Spirit which I can endure hardships and persecutions.
People ask all the time, “Why is Christianity the ‘right’ religion, how do I know they have it right and not someone else?” This is why, in my weakness I am strong. The Bible goes against all human wisdom and thought and is proven true. It goes against everything we are ever taught or believe because its true. Only in Christianity does God die for the people, only in Christianity does God offer eternity for free, and only in Christianity is weakness celebrated. For God’s wisdom is above men and makes men seem foolish.
So, I will boast in my weakness so that I may be wise. I will boast in my weakness that I may become strong. I will boast in my weakness in order that God may be made more and I that I would become less. I will boast in my weakness so that the Spirit, through my weakness, can do mighty works in the Kingdom.
Won’t you join me today in boasting about your weaknesses? And in your weakness, allow God to become powerful in your life? We have to become weak to be strong. I am always amazed at how God continue to use me to preach, when I have a horrible fear of public speaking, and yet the Spirit overcomes that fear and gives me strength, so I will boast in my weakness so that He become the focal point and people will praise the Lord.
Through God’s Power,
But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. – 2 Cor 10:17-18
What do I have to boast in? Do I boast in my own work and for my own accomplishments in this world? If that is where my boasting resides, then I must repent for my boasting should only be in the Lord. My boasting should be in what God accomplishes through me in this world. It is not that we cannot boast, but that we ought to boast in what is being done in the Kingdom and not in the world.
I can boast in the salvation that I have freely received. I can boast in the Spirit’s defeat over temptation in my life. I can boast in my participation in the family of God. There is much to boast about; however, I especially boast in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I boast, HE is THE Truth, THE way and THE life that has rescued me from sin and darkness.
There is nothing wrong in this sort of boasting and it is encouraged in much of Paul’s writings. Our boasting in Christ should be encouraged so that others will see our good works and glorify the Lord. When we boast in Christ and His works people will not see us but Him. They will see what good things are done through me and ask, “Why do you do what you do?” Then I can say, it is for the Lord and because the grace I have already received.
For in this grace, I have not received what I deserved but have received the gift of life. In this grace, I have brought Christ to others, and they have come to know this grace and mercy too. In this grace we have worked as a family of God around the Globe to spread the message of Christ, everywhere. To God be the glory, always and forever for what I can do in Him.
Won’t you join me in boasting to someone about what the Lord has done. Perhaps you know someone who is drowning in sin and sorrow and they need a way out; boast in the Lord for He is the rescuer. Or maybe you know someone lost in depression; boast in the Lord and His light, which drives away the darkness. Whatever the case is and when temptation comes a knocking, boast in the Lord and the Devil must flee.
For God is Great,
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him – 1 John 3:1
This is a great passage, but I think our translations have missed the mark in a couple of places. The overall language is satisfactory, but in a few places, it falls short of the Greek and the tone.
For example, the word “See” means, to know or to have knowledge of something. For we know or have knowledge of the Love God has poured out. This should not be a surprise for anyone reading this or understanding His love for we are His children and know that love.
Secondly the word here “Lavish,” which is great but misleading a bit, in the great it is, granted or allowed to have. Even in the KJV it says bestowed, but this would indicate a way that was not voluntary or asked for. The best translation would be to has granted or has allowed.
Finally, is the phrase, “Should be called Children of God!” This phrase is interpreted from the Greek word, “Kaleo or καλέω” which means to be summoned or called to something. So the word isn’t being called something but being invited to join as children of God.
So that the verse could be written:
We understand God’s great love that He has granted to all who would choose to be called children of God. And so we are!
Because we have accepted a love we know and understand, because we have heard the call of the Shepherd and answered that call and because we understand the Son was given as a sacrifice, we are now called the Children of God. He has granted His love to us who have chosen His way and life. He has provided a love that is beyond our comprehension. He has called us children, sons and daughters!
Finally, we now take this love out to the sons and daughters of the word and we show them a better way. A life that does not revolved around the sinful flesh, no, we show them a better way. We show them the life of Love that is in God, for “God is Love.” (1 John 4:18) In this they come to understand and know the love of the father that has been offered through His Son, Jesus Christ. May that love be in our minds and hearts, may it prevent us from following the flesh and may it be forever written in our hearts that we may always love one another.
God’s Love be with You,
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. 1 Pet 4:12-13
Peter is speaking of the persecutions the Church was facing and the martyrdom which was to come his way shortly. It is amazing what the Christians of the first century faced compared to the little that we face now. They remained resolute and steadfast in their belief, just another reason I am a believer in Jesus and what He has done.
We do face persecutions today as well. There is a baker and a florist in our very country who have been pushed out of business and professional lives destroyed over their faith and living up to that belief they have in Jesus Christ. While we do not yet face death for our belief in this country, we cannot be surprised when we face trials in the world.
We must also remember to pray for those who do face death in countries like China and most middle eastern countries who are hunting down and murdering Christians for what they believe. For telling the truth of this world. And then we must count it as joy when we face these realities in life. We count it as joy when we stick close to the truth in the face of adversity.
For the Lord never forsakes or leaves us. Sometimes our life must be the example that saves others; our persecution and joy through it, the light for someone else to see the truth. So, remain steadfast in the love of the Lord. It reminds me of Jeremiah, he faced all sorts of troubles, even being through into a cistern and beaten. And yet the Lord rescues him, and his life becomes the testimony that the remnant of Israel will follow.
So, today face persecution with joy and love. Face persecution of all kinds and count it joy. Take pride in persecution because you are a Christian and stand for Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. The worst thing they can ever do to me is torture and kill the body, but he Spirit goes on to live forever in eternal grace, peace and joy. Death has no power over me, life is for Christ and to live for Him and stand for Him is my joy.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. – 2 Cor 9:12-13
What is the best act of evangelism we can partake in? Is it not being generous and hospitable with the people we come into contact with? This is truly the message of God, for he gave all of what He had in His son Jesus that we may know the everlasting life of eternity in peace and love. Jesus generously gave of all that He had and never withheld from anyone in need.
Generosity and hospitality are two of the easiest traits to take part. However, these simple acts can have such a profound impact. One of the greatest acts of charity we can do is to be generous with is our time. Our culture has gotten so busy and cram packed full of things and stuff, that when someone takes just a few minutes or an hour to stop and listen to another person, it is seen as one of the greatest acts of kindness.
Giving is not just a suggestion but a command by God. He has asked for this demand on our resources in order that others may take part in the blessings of Christ and in doing so, turn their faces toward Him, offering up prayers of thanksgiving. Do we realize that people see what we do, even when we think no one is watching? They see our acts of kindness and that very thing could be the spark in their life they need to see Christ for the first time.
So today, I must ask, “How do I plan to be generous?” Seek God’s wisdom in this, seek His strength and loving heart in this. If you ask, He will provide you with opportunities to show His love to someone who is in need. Let us keep our eyes and ears open for those who need to talk, let us see those who are in need and provide. Let us give generously of what we have, for we have already been blessed beyond measure and comprehension.
“The Lord your God decreed this disaster for this place. And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would.” – Jer 40:2b-3a
The Israelites have just been taken into captivity and Judah burnt to the ground. God had declared this would happen if the people did not repent and turn back to the Lord. They ignored Jeremiah and the Word of the Lord. So, God follows through with what He says in order to discipline Israel and turn their faces back to Him.
Whether it is good or bad in our sight, God will always do as He says. God will always follow through with His Word in every situation. Thankfully, we now have Jesus Christ who has proclaimed that if any would believe in Him and walk in His way, then they will be saved in the end. There is the message of hope that is a promise from God and God always follows through with what He says.
People ask me all the time; how can you trust what the Bible says? I tell them because its reliable. God has never let me down, He has always followed through with what He has said. Never once have I been able to prove God wrong, even in all of my mis-deeds, He has forgiven me and brought me into the family.
God has always taken care of me and my family as we have become faithful to Him. God’s Words are always true, when I listen to them and follow His way, my life is never better. Now, that’s not to say that outside things don’t come in or that bad things don’t happen. However, God delivers us through them with joy and peace in our hearts.
God promised he would never leave or forsake His people and He has always followed through. How about you? What are you trusting in today? Is it money or people or is it God? There is only one source that can be trusted in this life and that is God. For God is the only one in all of history who has never changed, never swayed and has always followed through with what He says. Let’s trust in Him today!
My Trust is in the Lord,
And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – 1 John 4:21
God is love (1 John 4:16) If we claim to be in God but do not have love, then we are liars in the eyes of the Lord. But what does it mean to love, well to love means to do what is in the best interest of the other person. Love is not what the World thinks, but it is what God thinks. Love means we have to show people who Christ is and sometimes have to show them just how far away from Christ they are.
Love isn’t always easy and it isn’t always the mushy, gushy stuff we see on TV either. No love takes work; it takes a conscience effort every single day. If we say we love and yet take no interest in each other except for on Sundays, then we are lying to ourselves. No, instead love transcends and moves outside of worship into the very life of people.
One of the hardest things to do in life is to love a person who does not want to be loved. However, for their own sake I must love them. I have to be patient and love them through whatever it is they are facing in life, with the struggles and with the world. I have to love them through sin and temptation, giving glory to Father through that love.
When I do this, after the trial or the struggle, then the good stuff comes, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ. They have been lifted up and encouraged. They have seen the light and moved away from the darkness and that is the great reward in all things, to be in the light of Christ and in the love of Christ.
So, today’s challenge is to love each other. To do what is in their best interest, sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is tough, but in the end, it is always worth pushing in and loving your brother or sister today. Let not one us slip away for the lack of love, but let us encourage and love one another today, so that the Devil, temptation and sin may be defeated by the power, grace and mercy of the Lord.
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as Je commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. – 1 John 3:23-24
The whole them of 1 John 3 is to love not to sin. For love is greater than sin and assures the believer that they are doing the right thing in this life; that they are abiding in righteousness and love. So, if we are busy loving people and acting like Christ, it is hard to be running around sinning.
People ask me all the time, Pastor, how do I know God is near? Or, why can’t I feel presence of God close to me? I usually ask, who are you loving on right now? If I want to know Christ and feel His presence in my life, then I must be out loving on people. I must be loving my broken brothers and sister, loving the lost and loving anyone who is willing to accept the love of Christ.
Jesus did not win people to His message because He was tough or because He was so tall and handsome, no its because His message was love, it was about others, not Himself. His willingness to always place Himself between danger and people; His willingness to always give of Himself in order that others might be healed. This is the true message of redemption, love.
So, today if you want to feel close to Christ, love on your brothers and sisters in Christ. “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, love one another.” (1 John 3:11) See to their needs, be an ear and shoulder to listen and lean on, be their laughter they need today or just be close to them, knowing they are not alone. Or go out and share your testimony with the lost, love them by being a true story of redemption. In either case, I guarantee you will feel the presence of Christ through the Spirit.