Come Into The Light (Guess Blogger)

Good Morning Everyone I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you Don Merritt:

Don Merritt (that’s me) is just a regular guy who has had a half-century of living life. I’ve had experiences that are quite normal and typical… and some that are less common. I’ve been busy for a long time in activities that range from politics to writing to running a business I am finished ghost-writing for others and writing things from a purely technical point of view; it’s my turn to write about the things that are really important in life: God, hope, faith, understanding and encouragement for others. It’s my hope to do so in a way that you will find interesting, unusual and non-threatening… and at the same time challenging.

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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.

1 John 1:5-7

Earlier we looked at the introduction to this letter, and here, we enter the first section of the letter which begins at verse 5 and continues through 2:14. This section is given context in verse 5: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Thus, this section is all about John’s declaration of light versus darkness, and it contains comparisons and contrasts.
Before we take a look at it, keep in mind what John wrote in John 1:4 “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” All through the Gospel story, John used “light” as signifying the presence of Jesus, contrasted with “darkness” denoting His absence. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at our text. After proclaiming that God is light, John gets down to his explanation claiming that if we claim to be in fellowship with God, but walk in darkness, we lie, and are not in the truth. This is a rather easy statement to understand, for if we are in darkness, then we aren’t in His presence, and if we aren’t in His presence, we couldn’t possibly be in fellowship: There is no half-way.

The contrast is that if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship… because we are with Him in the light. If we have this fellowship in the light of His presence and truth, then His blood purifies us from all sin. The reality of the statement is that we can’t be in fellowship with Him until our sins have been forgiven by His sacrifice on the cross.
Sometimes, we may walk a ways in darkness, and by this I mean that we may stray from time-to-time. John doesn’t suggest that our errors kick us out of fellowship as we will see a little farther through this text, but that there is a way to return to the light of His presence, by confessing our sins., as we see in the next paragraph:

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.
1 John 1:8-10
I think we all would agree that a claim by any one of us to have never sinned would be little short of crazy. John seems to think it’s worse than that− all have sinned, but take heart, for there is a way out, confess your sins and He will forgive; this is our covenant promise. There is simply no need for us to wring our hands and carry around a burden of guilt and shame before God, for when we confess our sins (acknowledge them) He will forgive; we have His Word on that.

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/

 

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God’s Greatest Story of Grace (Guess Blogger)

I hope you are having a lovely day. I am extremely excited to be having a sweet sister in Christ share a beautiful blog post with you.  A little about Crystal:

Hi, I’m Crystal, I am wife to husband Michael, mother to 3 growing kids- Anna, Grace &

When I am not at home taking care of my family you will most often find me at my church. There I serve in AWANA as a leader and I am happy to help with anything else that needs to be done. I will join our ladies Bible study group as often as I can. I love to be able to dig into Scripture and share it with friends.

God’s Word is my greatest passion. I studied Theology (Bible) at Dallas Christian College where I had the best professors (I am a little partial) who not only taught me about the Bible but because of them, I fell in love with God’s Word. I enjoy drawing and painting when I can squeeze it in. When you mix a Bible student with an artist you get me, many of my recent paintings reflect whatever I was studying at the time. I am enjoying this because when I show my paintings I am then able to share my passion, God’s word.

God’s greatest story of grace the story of Salvation.

The Gospel is the most amazing story of love that you will ever find. It is simple enough for a child to understand and so that is how I am going to talk about it today. Not that you are a child but there is no point in making complicated what is simple.

God made everything, including you and me. In fact, we are God’s beloved creation made in His very image. He loves us deeper and wider then we can ever imagine.

The Bible is the story of His great love for us from Genesis to Revelation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1

You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being  -Revelation 4:11

 

 no matter who you are you can see that this is an imperfect world. It is imperfect because of something the Bible calls sin; because of this sin we are separated from God because of sin we deserve to go to hell and be separated from God for eternity.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  -Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord  -Romans 6:23

 

God loves us so much the He sent Jesus.

Jesus was born of a virgin, a miraculous conception and the only way He could be born sinless.

Jesus did many signs and taught while He walked this earth proving that He is God.

He Chose the Nails

He chose the nails – for me & for you

He was betrayed by one of His closest friends. This was allowed so that He might be our perfect sacrifice taking the punishment we deserve for our sin.

Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross though He was the only one who has ever been and will ever be sinless.

After He died this horrible death, His body was then taken and placed in a nearby tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers. But just 3 days later something amazing happened, the tomb was opened reviling it was empty!

 

He is not Here!

He is not Here

Jesus had done what He said he would and rose from the dead!

He defeated the power of sin and death… He made away for us to be free and now able to join Him in heaven one day. There is nothing we can ever do to be good enough or pay for our own sin it is only through the shed blood of Jesus that we are forgiven.

For God so love the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life  -John 3:16

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8

For by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not of works, so that no one can bost. -Ephesians 2:8-9

All we must do is believe and accept His free gift of eternal life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. -John 14:6

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. -Romans 10:9

 

Gospel - ABCsYou may have grown up in church or maybe you have never walked through the doors of one it doesn’t matter, God loves you! He made away for you to live with Him eternally in Heaven.

I will ask you this one question; has there ever been a time when you have accepted this free gift of salvation from your sin?

If you have and know without a doubt that you are saved, great!

But, if do not know of a time that you have done that then allow me a minute here to explain how you can do just that.

You can simply pray,

God, I admit I am a sinner and I deserve to go to hell for my sin,
I believe that you sent Jesus and that He paid the price for my sin.
I chose today to accept the gift of salvation you have offered me
and want to live with you forever in Heaven.
Please forgive my sin, come into my life and change me,
teach me to follow you for the rest of my life.

in Jesus name Amen

 

If you have prayed this for the first time I encourage you to find someone you know is a Christian or just walk in the doors of a church, go tell someone.

I promise you there is nothing that will bring them greater joy then you sharing this. I would love to hear from you too!

I told you it is not complicated simple enough even a child can understand and yet it is the greatest story of grace ever told. God loved us so much that He made a way to save us from our own sin and now He offers us the gift of salvation.

 

I was a young girl when I accepted this gift. I will share my story of salvation next time.

Be sure to check out Crystal’s blog.

You Can Go Home!

Luke 15.png

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus talks to his disciples about the Parable of the Lost Son: read these words of Jesus: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, Father give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him. Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

                                                                                  Luke 15:11-20

We might as well say it again, that it is never easy to get up and tackle the journey back to the Father’s house. People will make it difficult for you. Like the Prodigal Son, church-goers and others will make you feel unwelcome. there will be those who will remind you of your sinfulness. Even a preacher may say hurtful things at times. But one thing is certain: you don’t ever have to doubt the Father’s warm welcome. So carry on walking and head straight home back to God.

And so we see the lost son coming over the last hill, heart pounding. Only one refrain repeats itself: I’m going home! Then he reaches the last rise, and there he see the father’s house in all its glory. He is crying unashamedly now. And then, is it possible? he sees his father, and his is coming to meet him! Do you know that the last rise in the road? Golgotha! That’s what they call that hill. “The Father is coming to meet me,” you say. “But I see a cross standing there. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that every one who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) Come, let us kneel before the Father in amazement. Let us thank God for the wonder of being able to go home. For there is nothing my friend that can ever separate you from the love of God through Jesus Christ the son, so hold you head high ever through we are sinners you and I are sons and daughter of the Most High King Jesus Christ, welcome home!

Dear Lord Jesus

Thank you for always welcoming us home to you with such love and compassion and with open arms. In spite of the many sins we have done you never stop loving your children. 

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Holy Spirit

John 16.png    Jesus is preparing his disciples when he is crucified and buried, something that is very difficult for them to hear and understand and Jesus shares about the Advocate to come whom Jesus will send to them and to us from the Father: Read these words of Jesus found in the Gospel of John 16:12-15

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear. But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make know to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

That which is revealed comes from God. God is the owner and also the giver of all truth. Truth is not a human being’s discovery; it is a gift of God. It is the truth of God that the Holy Spirit brings us. Truth is not something we can create by means of a process in our minds; it is something already waiting to be discovered; something we accept, and not something we create ourselves. God is behind all truth.

Revelation is to take the things of Jesus and to make known their inherent truth. The greatness of Jesus lies His inexhaustibility. No human being has understood everything Jesus came to say. No human being has uncovered the full meaning of Jesus’ teachings. No human beings knows what they mean to life and to faith; to humanity and to the individual, to the community and to the nation. Revelation is a continuous “opening up” of the meaning and importance of Jesus Christ. Revelation comes to us not from a book or credo, but through a living person. The closer we live to Jesus, the better we get to know him. The more we conform to Him, the more He reveals to us. In order to enjoy His revelation, we must acknowledge His majesty. Submission to, and to knowledge of Jesus, go hand in hand. It is only to the Son of God that God makes His revelation know.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7.png    These are the words from Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew 7:7-12 Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who ask receives; and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, through you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Anyone who prays would like to know what kind of God they are praying to. They want to know in what kind of atmosphere their prayers are heard. Do they pray to such a kind-hearted God that He is more willing to give them they are to receive? Jesus was born into a nation that loved prayer and He learnt to cherish prayer. In this part Jesus gives us the Christian principle of prayer.

Jesus’ examples are carefully chosen. Matthew mentions to and Luke adds another one. If children ask for bread, would their father give them a stone? (of course not) If they ask for a fish, would he give them a snake, or a scorpion of they ask for an egg? Small stones on the seashore looked just like small loaves of bread. The snake mentioned here probably refers to an eel that was forbidden food according to Leviticus 11:12 which can be found in the Old Testament. A scorpion looks very much like an egg when it is falling asleep, but it is deadly when it wakes up.

God will never refuse to listen to our prayers, or ridicule them. The lesson here is that God will always hear our prayers, but He will answer them in His way. His way is the way of the perfect wisdom and perfect love. Jesus says we must persevere always because the test of our sincerity lies in this. God will always answer our prayers in the way He sees fit, in wisdom and in love. We must continue praying to God and never stopping. For prayer to a Christian life is just as important as the air we need to breathe each and everyday of our lives. For in prayer we begin to grow closer to God in our daily journey. 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

We Must Be Different

Matthew 15 These are the words of Jesus according to the Gospel of John, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.                    Matthew 15:18-19

If you live in a community that is saturated with the Christian faith it’s not easy to imagine a condition where there is a marked difference between the regular community and Christianity. But it does happen in many places.

The Christian community was a small minority where John recalled Jesus’ prophetic words in this Scripture verse. there was a marked difference between the small minority of Christians and the world that loathed them. 

William Temple wrote in Readings in John’s Gospel: Are we not of this world? It is not so that our origin or character is in agreement?” Yes, only too often. But this is not the distinguishing and functional factor that makes us different when we become Christ’s followers. “You are no longer part of the world, I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. The phrase “the world” is repeated, but with a difference. Linked to the verb “chose”, it no longer represents origin and growth, but a place of separation, and consequently segregation. This is in part where the hate of the world felt. The world dislikes Christians. It begrudges them their new character, it is tortured by the new character and furious about their joy in Christ. Can the world notice that the difference in your life because you are a Christian? not always. 

You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.               (James G. Bilkey)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Without Christ I Am Nothing!

John 15 b.png

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.                                                      John 15:5-8

As you and I read this words from the Gospel of John we come to understand how important it is for us to have a daily walk with Christ. Going through this life we all know of is hard enough alone, but we need to know we don’t have to when we decided to become disciples of Christ. Have you notice how easy it is to lose contact with people you knew earlier and whose friendship really means a lot to you? The years fly by and you don’t know each other’s addresses anymore. Relationship must be treasured and kept. Jesus encourage his disciples ineffective if they weren’t in contact with him at all times. The image of branches that stay attached to the vine was a good representation of what would be expected of them. As far as Jesus was concerned, it was a promise. Jesus was saying, “You make the connected to Me, and I will stay connected to you.” Only in this permanent unity would they find the spiritual ability to bear fruit for him in their work as his witness. You and I also need to stay connect with God. We must make up our minds to stay in Jesus as long as he can provide us with the sources that strengthen our spiritual abilities, and at the same time make us effective in our creative relationship with others. We cannot do it on our own. We must get our spiritual life from Jesus himself. For me as a disciple of Jesus Christ I too must remain in his words daily, as well as continue to be in pray with my heavenly Father. When I do these things then and only then I can serve Christ the best way possible.

Develop a passion for learning, it you do, you will never cease to grow.                        Anthony J. D’Angelo

Grace and Peace to You My Friends