Category Archives: 1 John

First World Problems

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

I just started a bible reading plan that puts the bible in chronological order. One of the things that immediately stood out to me was how verbal God was in Genesis 1 when He was creating the world. He could have just snapped His fingers, clapped His hands, or did a little head nod and POOF! the world is here. But He chose to speak the world into existence. I counted fifteen times where the bible states, “God said,” while He was creating the universe. God spoke and created the world. God spoke and created the sea and land. God spoke and created the creatures of the sea and air. The only thing that God did not speak into existence is man. The bible says that, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Gen. 2:7) God almighty breathed life into us. We were created different from the rest of the universe. We were created with purpose, for a purpose. Everything else was created for us, but we were created for God. We were created to know and love God through Christ Jesus.

Our God is a verbal God.

Even after man had sinned against God, He called out to them. Genesis 3:9 says, “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” God called out to Adam and Eve because they were hiding from Him. They hid because they were afraid. God still calls us today and many of us are hiding. We are hiding from God because we are afraid. Afraid that God will punish us. Afraid that God will reject us because of the things we have done. Afraid because we know that He will do some very radical changes in our lives. In reality, it’s impossible to hide from God. Just like He found Adam and Eve, He will find us. At that point when we are in the presence of God, we have a decision to make, will we submit to His will, confessing our sin and turning to Him for help. Or will we continue to run and try to hide. After many years of running and trying to hide myself, I can tell you that what God wants to do in your life is love you. God is love (1 John 4:8) and God wants to show you what love truly looks like.

Our God is a verbal God and He is calling you today. He calls to us through Jesus Christ and through His word. I once heard someone say that if you want to hear the voice of God, read the bible out loud. I challenge you to start your own bible reading plan. Get to know the God of the universe, God the creator, God the Father. I pray that God would call out to you as He did Adam and Eve and you would answer.

 

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CrossFit, vegans, food allergies, and Jesus

I DO CROSSFIT!!! There, I said it. I don’t have to tell anyone again for at least 6 minutes…

There are countless memes and jokes about people who do CrossFit or follow some kind of weird diet plan (I also do keto…..) and how they can’t wait to tell you about it. Comedians joke about people with food allergies bursting with excitement to tell you about how they can’t eat peanuts or have ice cream (I’m also lactose…). Sadly, there are no jokes about Christians who can’t wait to tell you about Jesus.

I want the gravity of this to really set it.

Vegans are known for being more excited about what they can or can’t eat than we are about eternal life. People are more enthusiastic about the exercise program they follow than we are about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even atheists seem more adamant about their faith that there is no God than we are about there being one. Some of us are more eager to tell you about ice cream giving them a tummy ache than the life changing power of Christ. If we truly believe the bible, if we truly believe in Jesus and His resurrection, should this not be the center of everything we are? The center of every conversation, the reason we do anything, our everything.

How is it that we who believe that an almighty God created the universe and us with it in His image, and sent His son, Jesus, to die for us because of our sin so that we could be washed clean and brought back to Him, forgiven, has been outdone by people who can’t have peanuts?

There is power in our testimony. The reason people who do CrossFit or follow certain diet plans have the reputation they do is they are giving a life changing testimony. They tell stories about how whatever they are doing is making their life better. We as Christians are called to do the same, give our testimony. We must tell people about the Good News that is Jesus. We can’t afford to hold back. It’s not just someone’s health that is at stake, it’s their very soul.

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11,12 ESV

The life we have is because of Jesus and the cross, his resurrection, mercy and grace. The love of God through Jesus Christ is life.

Lord, give us boldness to speak your Word to those you have placed in our lives. Give us a burning desire to speak your name Jesus. Ignite our hearts for you. Amen.

………..I do CrossFit.

 

What is Love

Baby, don’t hurt me! Sorry, I couldn’t help it. When we think of love, often a song or movie will pop into our heads. We may think of our spouse or children, our dogs and cats, or pizza. But what is love? The bible talks a great deal about love. 1 John 4 says that, “God IS love.” We think of love as in two people who love each other. I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family! But God’s love is different. His love is unconditional. Most people know John 3:16, even if you don’t believe in God or have any church background, you have probably seen it on a sign at a sporting event. John 3:16 NLT says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is a verse that I have heard and read so many times that I just tend to gloss over it. But here lately, God has been trying to open my eyes to what love truly is, His love. John 3:16 has a couple words that really stand out to me. It says, “God so loved the WORLD,” it also says, “EVERYONE”. WORLD, EVERYONE, those words are powerful when you think about it in the sense of God’s love. 1 John 4:10 NLT says, “It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” It’s not that we loved God, but He first loved us. Before we loved Him, He loved us. When we were still lost to sin, He loved us. Before we acknowledged Him as Lord, He loved us. When we didn’t even believe that He existed, He loved us. Even when we are actively rebelling against Him, He loves us. God loves the worst sinner just as much as the He loves the most evangelical preacher. Hates the sin, loves the sinner. That’s what the Good News is, God’s love. Before Jesus Christ, we were dead to sin. Doomed. But God loved us. He SO LOVED us that He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our place. Instead of us being nailed to a cross bleeding and humiliated, God sent His only Son so that we could have life and have it abundantly! He did this not only for the “good people” of the world, as if there were any, but He did this for EVERYONE. The drug addicts, the liars, the drunks, the sexually immoral, murderers, and thieves….everyone. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, not just the “acceptable” sins, all sins, so that we may have eternal life in Him. That is the Good News. God offers a gift, a gift of love, true love, all you have to do is accept it.

Murder in the first degree

“Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart.” -John

Here lately whenever I’m having my “quiet time” doing a bible study, it seems that the theme of the study always goes back to the same thing…forgiveness. Maybe it’s because I went through a tough season in my life were I honestly felt like God could not forgive some of the things I had done in the past (I would have been stoned in the streets if this were the Old Testament days) maybe it’s because of some of the things going on in my personal family life. I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, God is definitely trying to tell me something.

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants for you to do, and He will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9 NLT

You see, I’ve held onto this grudge in my heart for weeks now. It plagues my thoughts, my dreams, my prayers, everything I do is tainted by this. It has caused me to slip away from God. To turn my thoughts from Him, to thoughts of hate, violence, and malice. While trying to find scripture that would help support me in my hate filled rage, I stumbled across a verse that made me rethink my whole perspective.

“Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” 1 John 3:15 NLT

Murderer? Really? It’s amazing which verses stand out depending on what you’re going through or where you are in your walk with Christ. I have read Johns books numerous times but have never paid that verse any mind, until now.

“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? And God Himself has commanded that we must love not only Him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.” 1 John 4:21-22 NLT

God didn’t say we should “try” to love, He didn’t “recommend” we love, He COMMANDED it. God is love. God is mercy. God is grace. God is forgiveness. If we want to follow Christ’s example and be more like Him, we have to love one another, forgive one another no matter the pain that was caused.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS.” Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the hatred that filled my heart. I’m sorry for the violent thoughts that plagued my mind. I’m sorry. Two simple words that are often times the hardest to say. I’m sorry. Two words that have the power to completely change a relationship. I’m sorry. Two words that could mend a relationship that has been rocky for years, or maybe just a few weeks. I’m sorry.

As true Christians, we have to follow Christ’s example. If Jesus could forgive the people that were crucifying Him, WHILE THEY WERE CRUCIFYING HIM, I don’t see why we can’t forgive each other now. We don’t have a very long time on this earth, we shouldn’t spend the time we do have in hate and anger. There’s only one thing that matters and that is spreading the Good News. Showing Christ’s love to others. Finding the lost and help in bringing them closer to God. How can we show the love of God if we are bitter and angry with one another?

Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Or perhaps someone that you need to apologize to?

“and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Matthew 6:12 NLT