Faith Check

Today is a little bit of a faith check for you in your walk with Christ. 1 John 1-3 is chock full of encouragement to know God by following Jesus and that we can know we are doing this if our lives are evident of it. We can know that we are following Jesus if we are living in the light and if we are then we will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all of our sin (1 John 1:5-7).

John reminded his readers that God is light and that there is no darkness within him so if those who claim to follow Christ are filled with darkness then they are fooling themselves. He also went on to say that IF we are following Jesus “then we will have fellowship with one another” (1 Jn. 1:7). This is expounded upon further when he said that

If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness (1 Jn. 2:9-11).

If anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and anyone who hates a fellow believer is living and walking in darkness then is there a middle ground? Can we be indifferent towards one another and still walk in the light? If gray is a mix of white and black then if we are living in a gray zone can we truly say that we are walking in the light?

We were created to love God and to walk in fellowship with Him and with one another. When we fail to do this we are not realizing the fullness of God’s love for us nor are we able to fully live in the light that God has called us to live in.

1 John 3:18-24
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

Our reflection of the light of our Father is dimmed by the darkness that we live in. When we are not living our lives fully in the light then we become marred by the darkness and our lives are less pure. In other words, when we are in true fellowship with God it will be reflected in our lives.

Living lives that are fully devoted to Christ creates a faith within us that is revealed through our actions, through our attitude, and through our relationships. We will make time for others because of the overwhelming love of God who wants all to come to Him to be restored. We will no longer be indifferent towards others, but we will love them regardless and we will have enough faith to stand in the path of the enemy and to speak life into their lives.

Try as we might, we cannot truly know who God is without each other. Our knowledge will never leave our head to infiltrate our heart and our lives if we try to do it alone and we never be effective in telling others about Christ if we do not love Him with all of our hearts or if we do not love the one in whom we are telling. Love is a choice and our actions are a result of that choice.

What are your actions saying about your choice to follow Jesus? Are they saying that I am just in this for me or are they truly reflecting the light of the Father and saying that the Father’s love is within me and I will do everything I can to share that love with the world and to bring people back into a right relationship with Him?

Life is different for most of us in America because we do not live life in community. The majority of us do not live with our families so we do not understand the strength that comes from relying upon one another, nor do we value one another as much because we are conditioned to believe that if we want something then the only thing that is stopping us from getting it is how hard we work for it. How much more would our lives be blessed if instead of living for ourselves we lived for those around us? Not only would we be blessing others, but they would be blessing us and we would all grow closer to Christ in the process.

We cannot and must not do this alone and anyone who thinks that they can has been fooled by the enemy and is walking in darkness. Anyone who believes they can do it alone has already chosen to do it alone and is missing out on the fullness of what God has for them in their life. We all need to learn how to think about ourselves less and to think about others more and when we do we will see more of God’s truth in our lives.

1 John 1 “God is Light”

1 John 1, New International Version (NIV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

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. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

In the opening of 1 John, the prologue, verses 1-4, we are given the purpose for the writing of this letter which is to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ of which they experienced first hand. He explains that they have heard, seen, and more over that what they have observed through careful observation and found to be true is that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. It is through the following proclamation and testimony that they desire to be joined in fellowship by those who read this letter and extend an invitation to join them in fellowship with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ in which they have received joy beyond measure. We have been invited into the same fellowship as all those who have read this letter. We have been invited to join into fellowship with God.

cross lightImmediately following the prologue we learn that the message to us as received through the Living Word, Jesus Christ, is that God is light and there is no darkness within him and that if we want to be a part of his body that we cannot walk in darkness. The darkness is referring to sin, specifically our sin in this passage. So those who are walking in darkness are those who know that they are sinning and yet are liars in saying that they are walking in the light or in righteousness. For many of us this can become an ensnarement for us in that Satan wants us to deny that we need help or that we have done anything wrong. Our flesh desires to preserve itself to keep from getting hurt or showing weakness, but God calls us to expose all darkness that is within us because in him their is no darkness.

Darkness is simply an absence of light but the amazing thing about darkness is that no matter how dark it is that when any amount of light is lit within the darkness immediately looses. Think about this for a moment…if you are sitting outside on a bright summer’s day in the sun and there is a speck of darkness near you will it be easily seen? Now think about the reverse for a second. Let’s say that you are sitting in complete darkness, let’s say in a cave, where there is absolutely no light what so ever. It is dark all around you, it is so dark that you literally cannot see your hand as you press it against your face. Now imagine a firefly approaching in the distance… You see the light of God is so powerful that even when we are completely surrounded by darkness and cannot see it only takes the smallest spark of light to be able to see the light, then when we see the light we are to follow it and be guided out from the darkness. Of course the problem is that when we are in the light the darkness becomes less visible, even though it is still there. But there is hope because God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins when we confess them so much so that he cleanses us from all unrighteousness, he makes us completely clean. That means that through the blood of Jesus Christ we are free from all that we have confessed and will be freed from all that we have yet to confess. All that we have to do is confess and be honest with ourselves, with others, and with God because if we say that we have not sinned we make God out to be a liar and therefore his word is not in us and we are not in Him.

light_of_god_by_umakumari-d2zl2ua

Father, you are so worthy of our praise. I lift your name on high oh Lord, I exalt you above all. Lord bring your light fully into my life. Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I have not given you the place in my life that you deserve, I have lied to myself and to others and I have tried to seem as I am not, but God you know all and you see all. Forgive me for my sins oh Lord. You are just and faithful Lord and I know that only you can forgive me for my sins. Cleanse me, make me right in your eyes my God. Remove all darkness from within me and shine through me as a light to guide others to you. Lord it is not enough that I should be made clean, but I long to see those around me come to an understanding of your love for them and the grace that is awaiting them when they submit to you. I know that I am not perfect, but I know that in my weakness others will see that you are strong and capable of anything. Thank you for loving me and for not giving up on me, even when I fall short. I pray this all in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Response to Darkness, Fear, and Hatred…Love and Trust!

Angel LightWe all have different things that get us stirred up in life. Usually the things that hit the closest to home are the ones that get the most of our attention and often times create heated disputes. Recently the Presbyterian church has been under attack from the public after their decision to endorse gay marriage. I am not sure if endorse is necessarily the right word, but I think it is fitting. I do not like to get into subjects like this in a forum where people are allowed to post openly because it almost always turns into hatred right away and I do not want that to happen, so I am praying that it does not.

I feel as though it needs to be said that none of us knows the extent of God’s mercy and grace. We know what we have been told and what we have experienced, but we do not know what He will forgive. Personally I do not support the decision that the Presbyterian Church has made, but I do support all of the people involved from the leaders and members of the church, to the heterosexual people, to the homosexual people; the only people that I do not support are the people who are acting out of hate. I am not a supporter of gay marriage; I see it as a sin, but I also see the sin that every other person on earth has and I struggle to find a difference between my sin and another person’s. We all have our struggles in life; some of us know that we are sinners and are seeking help from God, others know that they are sinners and are simply ok with that, others do not see their actions as sinful, and still others do not recognize their sin or God. To point to one area of sin and say that a person is going to hell is only saying that we are all going to hell and I do not believe that. So my response is to love people, no matter who they are, no matter what they look like, no matter what their social status, and no matter what their sexual orientation.

As Christians we are called to love not judge. God is the judge, the Holy Spirit is the change agent, and Jesus is the means to forgiveness, to put it in fairly simplistic terms.

Leviticus 19:17-18
Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
verses 33-34
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

God is loveWe must be careful not to accept the sin, lest we be found guilty of sin, but we must learn to love and intercede for one another. It is through love that people will know that we are truly God’s disciples (Jn. 13:35). When the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees presented Jesus with the woman who had been caught in adultery they said that the Law of Moses says that she must be stoned. Jesus knelt down and wrote in the dust and when He arose He said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” After writing in the dust again He arose to find himself alone with the woman of which he asked where are all of your accusers. He said “didn’t even one of them condemn you?” When she replied that none of them condemned her Jesus said “neither do I. Go and sin no more”(Jn. 8:1-11).

I do not condone or support gay-marriage, but I do support and love the people. My heart is to see the lost found no matter what they are going through. I have no way of knowing who is a child of God and who is not, I leave that up to God who knows all and sees all. I do my best to act in love in all circumstances, I do not always succeed, but I do my best. It is good not to accept the sin, but we must be careful to not fall into sin ourselves. We are to be light to the world. 1 John 1:5 says that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” We must do everything that we can to be a light, lest we find our-self outside of God.

Divine sky

Father I pray for your protection over all who read this message that you would protect all who read it from the attacks of Satan who is out to cause destruction in the world and in our lives. May this message cause your Living Water to flow throughout. Lord, let your people be a light to those around them because in you there is no darkness. Help us to identify and understand the attacks of the enemy that we have occurring within us at this moment and we rebuke them right now in Jesus’ name. Lord, may we all be brought closer together by this. You have told us to love and love we shall. You have told us not to accept sin, but to pray for the lost. You have told us that there is no darkness in you, so help us to always be a light. Holy Spirit guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions so that we do not bring judgement upon ourselves. Show us how to love and to lift people up. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen and Amen.