Posts Tagged ‘ letters ’

Day 95: Love One Another

Passage: 1 John 3:11-4:21

On reading this passage I got thinking about the word “love” and how it features in my limited vocabulary.  I love holidays, I love Paul Scholes, I love my mum, I love Belfast, I love Wagamamas.  Love is often thought of as a feeling.  This passage shows us that love is in reality a choice and an action.  1 Corinthians 13 show us what actions result from true love.

Twice in this passage (1 John 3:16 and 1 John 4:10) we are told of the action God took because of His love for us, “Christ laid down his life for us”.  True love produces a heart of selflessness and sacrifice.  On both these occasions, the following sentence gives us the challenging command to love one another.  This is a choice and an action.  The greatest act of love is giving yourself for others.

How clearly do our actions show we love others?  And not just those people who are close to us, but that person who cut in on me on my drive into work, that person who has let me down again, that person who really annoys me.

“Whoever loves God must also love his brother”

Kyler

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Day 93: A Living Hope

Passage: 1 Peter 1:1 – 2:12
Key Verse: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. 1:22

Love for God.  Love for those around us.  The first and second most important commandments.

A few months ago I had a bit of a realisation.  It struck me that I was looking down at people for choices they had made and “activities” (for want of a better description!) they engaged in that I considered wrong.  I realised that the reason they did what they did was that they were searching for love.  They were searching in the wrong place – they would only ever be truly satisfied by true love, love from and of God.

I was condemning and judging them when I should have been loving them.  Showing them the love they needed and wanted badly.  This goes for our brothers and sisters in the body, as well as all the lost outside it.

The verses from the start of chapter one remind us of all we are blessed with as believers – we have “a living hope” and “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading”.

It then calls us to action in living a holy life which shows that hope to those around us, through our loving actions and reactions, so that they will “see [our] good deeds and glorify God”.

How much do we act and react in love?
How much do we love those God has called us to love?

Richard (pupil, Portadown College SU)

Day 92: A New Creation in Christ

Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6:2
Key Verse:
“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

What is faith?  I like Paul’s definition in Hebrews 11:1 which states, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.  This means that faith gives a reality to things we cannot see.

Today many people live primarily for things which are seen, such as wealth. However Matthew Henry has commented, “Faith is for this world and sight is for the next world.”  As we walk by faith each day , we must “keep on, keeping on”, confident of things to come and with the hope of heaven in our hearts.

If you are going through a difficult time at present, knowing your future is secure in God is an encouragement when you suffer. (Wiersbe)

So, let us not be like Thomas, who thought seeing was believing, but rather entrust our ‘mustard seed faith’ to Jesus and remember that all we have seen should teach us to trust God for all we have not seen.

Karen

Day 90: The Coming of the Lord

Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11
Key verse:
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another…” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

How encouraging are these verses!  Paul reminds us that Jesus will come down from heaven with the trumpet call of God.  Unlike other ‘future events’ we cannot save this one against a specific date in our iphones, yet this event is completely certain and brings with it immense hope and joy.  Why?

Because Jesus has given us salvation through his death, so that ‘we may live together with him.’  Surely there is no future plan or thought which brings with it so much expectation and joy.  Despite our messy lives and hearts which are far from perfect, like the thief on the cross beside Jesus, we know that he will ‘remember us’.

With this thought in mind, I’m reminded of the words from the song Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne.  And unto the Lamb, praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honour and power and strength.  Be to our God forever and ever Amen.

Take time to praise God, and ask him to give you a heavenly perspective on your day.

Julie

Day 88: Good Soldiers of Christ

Passage: 2 Timothy 2
Key Verse: 
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal” v8

I find it so easy to get diverted; to be concerned by peripherals and consumed by details; to lose the plot and lose sight of the essential. Which isn’t to say that peripherals and details aren’t important; they are – but in their place! The examples Paul uses to encourage and inspire are all groups whose success depends on single-minded focus; soldiers, athletes and farmers.

So what blurs our focus? Well obviously the temptations that reflect our inner desires  (v 22) but the recurring warning seems to be about words. Quarrelling about words; godless chatter; and foolish and stupid arguments. Why is it always easier to find time for these diversions than it is for reflection and prayer and seeking the insights that God promises (v7)? And why do I forget it is so dangerous – gangrene is a deeply unpleasant image!

Prayer: Lord help me to keep my focus on you the living Saviour so that all the other diversions of life will be in their rightful place.

David McC

Day 85: The Supremacy of Christ

Passage: Colossians 1:1-23
Key Verse:
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

What a passage? Two huge subjects; Prayer and the Supremacy of Christ.

Is Paul not the ultimate man of prayer? I often wonder how he kept up all his prayers for so many people. Paul did not just pray idle prayers. His prayers were always full of desire and the best for others. It was never that they would be rich or that things would work out for them but they were always full of a desire that his friends would grow in spiritual understanding and growth.

Any passage that speaks of the supremacy of Christ must be good for us to read, for it draws us heavenwards and reminds us why we are on earth and what Jesus has done for us. The end result of that must be to give us a greater desire to live for him until we see him face to face. At least that is the effect it has on me.

David C.

Day 84: Rejoice in the Lord

Passage: Philippians 4:2-9
Key verse
: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” v6

The older I get the more I realise that none of us are immune from suffering or disappointments.   Our Heavenly Father knows that we live in a fallen world and longs for us to know His peace which will give us His understanding, not ours.  We need this so much when we face particularly hard times.

Having battled cancer three times and endured a bone marrow transplant the words of verses 6 and 7 are of particular comfort to me.  When you step onto the roller coaster ride of illness prayer is the key element to having a positive mindset.  Isn’t it amazing to know that our Heavenly Father will guard our hearts and our minds through Christ.

Do not be anxious about anything!

“Joy is not the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God” Robert Schuller

John

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