Archive for the ‘1 John’ Category

Child of God

August 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

See what great love the Father has shown us that we are called “children of God.” The reason the world does not know us is that it does not know Him. 1 Jn. 3:1

We don’t figure out who we are until we figure out who He is. If we define ourselves by the limited definitions, stereotypes, and categories that the world puts on us, we sell ourselves short. Even after accepting Christ, if we only see ourselves as “redeemed sinner” or “servant of God” or “follower of Christ,” we continue to limit how we can see ourselves and see God. If we see ourselves as children of the Father, adopted to be fully functioning members of the family, the church, and the kingdom, we experience growth in how we relate to Him and one another.

Father, I love being Your child.

 

Love is and does

July 9th, 2015 by Maureen

The person who does not love (agapáō) does not know God because God is (agapé) love. 1 Jn 4:8

God doesn’t just do love, He is love. God expresses love (the verb) in action, John 3:16, for example, because God is love (the noun). In other words, love does because love is. With reminders and encouragement, we Christians are pretty good at “doing love.” We are nice to people, we serve, we give, and we generally try to respond to others according to descriptions of loving behavior we find in 1 Cor. 13 and other passages in scripture. Doing love makes us feel good and sometimes also helps us feel God’s presence, but what if the desires Jesus expresses for us in John 17 involves more than doing?  Could being “one as (Father, Son, Spirit) are one” so that “the same love with which the Father loves the Son was also in us” cause us to experience being the love we do?

Lord, I want the love I experience and express to result from unity with You.

Abiding is a state of being not a state of doing

March 12th, 2015 by Maureen

And we know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love; and he that abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I Jn. 4:16

God loves us. He has placed His own love in our hearts, minds, and spirits so we are not even dependent on our own ability to love in order to love. Loving people we consider “unlovable” doesn’t mean we white-knuckle it and “make nice” with the knuckleheads in our lives. Abiding is a state in which we exist rather than a thing we do. We get to experience love for others because God loves us and because He loves them. It is His love the empowers us to experience loving relationships with others that are mutually transformative.

Lord, I abide in the love you have placed in me.

Internal beatdowns are not effective

February 26th, 2015 by Maureen

Even if we feel guilty and our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our feelings or hearts, and He knows everything. 1 Jn 3:20

Most of us are well aware of our own failings. We beat up ourselves more effectively than anyone else can. Sometimes our internal beatdowns are so effective that we let our baggage define us. Sometimes we define other people by their baggage. Baggage and condemnation make us feel stuck where we are and keep us from fully embracing Christ’s redeeming, transforming forgiveness. What changes would take place in our hearts and lives if we we felt as utterly and completely forgiven as we truly are?

Lord help me be as certain of what I am with You as I am of what I am without You.

More than words and even more than deeds

February 25th, 2015 by Maureen

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 Jn. 3:18

God loves us in deed and in truth. His loving actions toward us, His loving motives toward us, His unconditional love for us has nothing to do with whether we deserve it or return it, or are even aware of it. Love is the Father’s motivation for sending Jesus, Jesus’ motivation for redeeming us, and His Spirit’s motivation for inspiring and directing. If loving one another in deed and truth encompasses and reflects the way that God loves us then not only are words not enough, actions aren’t enough either. Loving in truth includes the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral aspects of His relationship with us humans and of our relationships with one another.

Lord, my own capacity to love is so shallow and conditional. Thank you for making me part of Your great love. Direct Your love within me to those around me.

Shiny love

February 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also a new commandment that is true in Him and in you because the darkness is passing away and the light is already shining.   I Jn. 2:7b-8

God is love. Love is the interchange that makes God Father, Son, and Spirit and the power that brings us into fellowship with Him. It is the force that drives His redemption and restoration of us. It is the light that challenges darkness and overcomes evil. This love is the light He puts in our hearts, minds, and spirits so that we not only communicate Who He Is to others, but actually participate in the love that is His very presence.

Let Your love shine in me, through me, and around me because of Jesus.

Fully present in the love of God

July 1st, 2014 by Maureen

If…We have come to believe the love God has for us and abide in it… I Jn. 4:16

If …God abides in us because we abide in love and that is how love is perfected in us… I Jn. 4:17

If …There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…I Jn. 4:18

If…fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love…  I Jn. 4:18

If… we love because He first loved us…I Jn. 4:19

Then… believing and abiding must rest in the love God initiated and He is the one who perfects love for us and in us.

Then… we are present in it rather than striving for it.

Then… we don’t have to fear that our efforts are inadequate or that our imperfections disqualify us; and we don’t have to fear we aren’t abiding or believing well enough either.

Lord, I want to be  fully present in Your love as I live this life You’ve given me.

First love

February 10th, 2014 by Maureen

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. I Jn. 4:10

God loved us before we prayed a prayer, tithed a cent, or read one verse of scripture. His love for us came first, before we even considered His existence, much less recognized our need for the Savior He sent. He has watched each of us since before we were ever born, counted the hairs on our heads, known the thoughts in our heads, and loved us always.

Lord, Your loves takes my breath away.

What would Jesus do?

September 15th, 2013 by Maureen

This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. I Jn. 2:7b-8

We can’t apply metrics and assess progress to love.  Complying to a list of “thou shalt not’s” is much easier to measure. We can try to assess behaviors and communication that seem to imply love, but we can’t honestly know one another’s motives. Jesus is our best metric for what love looks like.

Lord, permeate my attitudes, my responses, and my motives.

Omniscience is more than a cool superpower

September 18th, 2012 by Maureen

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. I Jn. 3:20

God doesn’t know everything just so He can find fault and assign blame and, I expect there is more to it than the intellectual thrill of understanding all things. God’s love is present in all that He knows. God knows us better than we know ourselves because He knows us as He intended us to be, free of sin and shame, fully redeemed and reconciled to Him.

Lord, let Your love and grace be present in all I can know.

We might need some stinkin’ badges

May 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. I Jn. 3:2 ESV

We tend to be a little more understanding of mistakes when the slow cashier  is wearing a “trainee” badge or when we’re stuck behind a driving school car.  Everyone has to learn. in the  Kingdom of God we are all amateurs. Maybe we all need badges that say spiritual intern, emotional trainee, and relationship apprentice.

Lord, give us compassion for one another while we are learning and growing.

Crave

March 21st, 2012 by Maureen

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. I Jn. 2:16

The problem is not the eating, drinking, sex, relationships, buying, owning, building, creating,  power, or influence; the problem is the craving and the context. These “lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and pride of life” experiences are weak substitutes for craving God, revelling in His provision and delighting in His direction.

Lord, I crave Your presence; what You provide is enough.

Nourishment for hungry hearts

March 15th, 2012 by Maureen

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. I Jn. 3:19-20

Hearts need food too. We hunger to belong, to be known and loved. We hunger for the truth, and for purpose. We hunger for relief from guilt and fear. Humans engage in all sorts of behavior that provides temporary satisfaction. Instead of filler, God feeds our hearts with authentically nourishing relationships, information, and experiences.

Lord, help my actions and emotions to reflect Your truth.

Challenge

November 11th, 2011 by Maureen

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. I Jn. 2:6

Has the pursuit of status, achievement, power, wealth, and knowledge become a bit routine? Bored with entertainments and comforts? So over consumerism? Perhaps it’s because we are made for bigger challenges. Figuring out how Jesus’ life would look in our own personal contexts, seeking God about how to execute such a life, and actually following through ought to fill any intellectual, emotional, or relational void that might exist.

Lord, help me pursue and prioritize as if this life I live were really Yours.

1-2-3 Liftoff

October 25th, 2011 by Maureen

And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. I Jn. 5:6

God provides confirmation of Jesus’ identity and His mission though water, blood and Spirit. We are saved by the same blood and profess our faith by the same baptism. His truth is continually revealed to us by the same Holy Spirit. From this launching pad of faith we begin each new journey.

Lord, as I liftoff into another day I rest in your sufficiency.

The love challenge

January 13th, 2011 by Maureen

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. I Jn 3:18

Paul tells us that loving involves a patient, kind, gentle, forgiving, hopeful, and others-centered attitude. Jesus said that the greatest love is shown by someone who lays down his life for a friend. Love involves actions that may be inconvenient, perhaps even sacrificial.

Lord, help my attitude to be more loving, then help my actions reflect my attitude.

Don’t settle

October 18th, 2010 by Maureen

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. I Jn. 5:21

Warnings to stay away from sin are not there to keep us from having a good time. They are there to keep us from settling for anything less than the love, joy, peace, and purpose that God wants to give us. Sin makes us feel like we can never get enough to be satisfied while God wants to fill our hearts with His satisfying presence.

Lord, my heart is Yours.

“Want to” not “have to”

October 8th, 2010 by Maureen

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. I Jn. 5:3

Two people can do exactly the same thing with totally different attitudes. Following God only because we’re afraid of getting in trouble or being judged offers no joy. Following Jesus because we love Him makes what he asks us to do exciting and fulfilling.

Lord, help every “have to” become a “want to.”