2019-07-08 – 1 John 1:9
Verse of the Day: 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you are like me, you are not perfect. As true Christians we want to be. Speaking for myself, there are times when I fail to do what God has commanded, or I do what God has commanded us not to do. Even Paul the apostle struggled with this.
If we are honest, we all do. In fact, the verse just before our focus verse says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. Notice the tense here. He does not say ‘If we say we have not sinned’ past tense, he says ‘If we say we have no sin’ present tense. Also, John is not writing this to just anyone, but to the Church.
What John is saying is as Christians we are to walk with Him and devote ourselves totally to Him. However, in our fleshly weakness we are subject to doing things we know we should not do. Paul put it like this regarding his own struggle, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:18-19.
However, here is the answer. Strive to be perfect. Jesus said himself, ‘Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ Matthew 5:48. We should want nothing less. However, if we do miss the mark, then we should go humbly before God and confess what we have done. Be completely honest. He knows it all anyway. And when you do, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a great promise from Him. Then, go back out and strive to be that light in the darkness He desires us to be.
2019-07-09 – Philippians 4:4
Verse of the Day: Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Of all people, we Christians have the most to rejoice in. Paul, in this letter to the Philippians lays out one, and the most important reason. That being the Lord Jesus Himself.
Everything that happens to us and for us is a reason to rejoice. When we are blessed with something wonderful, or we are going through afflictions that He brings us through. When our needs are met, when we have a want fulfilled, when we are in good health, it is a time to rejoice. Every moment of every day, we have a reason.
However, let us never forget the greatest thing that ever happened to us. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ the Son of God came down in the form of a man and died for us that the penalty for our sins could be paid and we could be declared righteous. And this happens when we accept this work and devote our lives completely to Him.
Due to this finished work of Christ and our acceptance of it, we have a wonderful, loving, glorious and intimate relationship with the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6). This relationship is beyond anything we can experience with anyone else. And the beauty of this is, this incredible relationship will never end. And when these days are over and the new heaven and earth have come, we shall hear these words, “… Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3b-4.
There is no greater reason to rejoice then our great God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
2019-07-10 – John 11:35
Verse of the Day: Joh 11:35 Jesus wept.
If you want to see the love Jesus had for His friends, this is the perfect verse. This is the shortest verse in all the scriptures, yet it is full of information about Jesus.
Now, what brought Jesus to this point? A man named Lazarus of Bethany, brother to Mary and Martha was sick. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus letting Him know that Lazarus, whom He loved, was very ill. Jesus’ response was, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4. Jesus knew the situation and its eventual outcome. Therefore, He stayed an additional two days where He was currently at. So, when He finally did arrive, Mary went to Him and fell at His feet and told Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Several things to see in this story. First, there is a line that appears to contradict John 11:4 shown above. “Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32. However, when we examine verse 4, we see that Jesus did not say Lazarus would not die, but that the sickness was not to end in death. Lazarus did die, but this was not the end of the story. It ended with him being raised from the dead.
The other thing is the reason for Jesus weeping. It was not because Lazarus was dead, because He stated above that this sickness would not end in death. The reason is found in verses 33-34. “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Then comes our focus verse, “Jesus wept”.
He wept because of Mary and Martha, as well as the Jews who were with them. He had such compassion on them because of the pain they were feeling that He could not hold back the tears. This is how much He loves us. Even now, I believe His compassion for us is just as strong, if not stronger.
2019-07-11 – Philippians 4:11
Verse of the Day: Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
One of the things we all need to learn is how to always be satisfied no matter what. We cannot let our situations decide our contentedness. This can be a very difficult thing; however, it is a necessary thing.
The only way for us to be constantly content is to trust God that He has our best in mind. Sometimes, it may seem like He is far away because things are so difficult. Do you trust His word where it says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. He is always with us.
There are two basic reasons why we may go through trials. First, it is a test of our faith. James writes the following, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4. How can we know where we lack if it is not shown to us? We can learn where are weaknesses are so that we can become stronger in the faith.
Secondly, so that we can comfort others who are suffering. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. God allows us to suffer at times so He can comfort us in preparation for us to give this same comfort to others who need it. Note what Paul says a couple verses down. “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:6-7.
Trials and tribulations are difficult. However, as Paul said in our focus verse, we must be content during them. God has reasons for everything that happens, including hard times. We can see our weaknesses and ask God to help us become stronger through them, and we can comfort others going through the same trials we went through with the same comfort God provided for us.
Always remember, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. And one more thing. The good referred to in this last verse may be for others and not necessarily for us.
2019-07-12 – Matthew 7:12
Verse of the Day: Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This verse is commonly called the Golden Rule. In essence, what Matthew is laying out is the idea that if we do not want to be treated a certain way, do not treat others that way. And, if you desire others to treat you in a certain way, treat others that way.
This is what Jesus referred to as the second greatest commandment. “And He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39. He said this in response to a Pharisee lawyer who asked Jesus which command was the greatest. He responds with love.
How are we to love our neighbor? In the same way we love ourselves. If we are hungry and need food, we would like someone to give us something to eat. Then give others who are hungry something to eat. If we need to get somewhere but need someone to take us there, be open to taking others where they need to go. If we do not like to be gossiped about, do not gossip about others. This is a simple concept to understand but can be difficult sometimes to fulfill. If you find you cannot help someone for some reason, then help them find another who can. Remember what James said, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2:16. Is this love, or are they just empty words?
Be God’s hands and feet on the earth. Do all you can to help those in need. If you cannot help them, then get them in touch with someone who can. Do not leave them in their difficult state. Would you want empty words over actual help?