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.

beach-1846688_960_720

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/

 

Advertisements

Being Part of The Herd (Guess Blogger)

Hi, my name is Laurie, sometimes I go by the nick-name Lulu. I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and proud of it, yup, I am a Jesus girl. I am married to my first husband, Richard. Richard is an amazing man and father and has been putting up with me since we tied the knot in 1994. We have two amazing boys that are wonderfully amazing young men that have been a pure joy to raise thus far. We also have two fur babies. Ike is a handsome Chawiener (half long hair chiwawa and half wiener dog) and Stella is the sweetest cat I have ever had, she loves kisses and snuggles under the covers with us. I live in the Mid-West where I enjoy 3 of the 4 seasons, I could really be fine with skipping summer. In my spare time I am a writer, reader, quilter, student and employee. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, please leave me comments, my love language is Words of Affirmation and I am not ashamed to beg! Welcome Laurie

Being Part of the Herd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 (KJV)
I grew up learning, memorizing and reciting this Psalm. If I had to guess, this is probably one of the most memorized passage in the Bible.
As we continue in our “Little Golden Book” series, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at Psalm 23, and if you have not memorized it yet, I challenge you to do so.

psalm23.jpg

As a child I remember this Psalm bringing me so much comfort and a feeling of God’s protection over me. I would recite it anytime I was anxious or worried about things. I would dream of walking beside Jesus in a meadow of flowers and resting near a pretty stream. I could imagine Him catching me when I fell, and I could feel His presence with me as I would pray this Psalm.
I never once thought about what it would cost me to be one of His sheep or what it meant to be part of the herd. These thoughts didn’t occur to me until I was an adult.
So, what does it mean to be part of His herd? Why does God repeatedly refer to us as His sheep? Let’s start by looking at what it means to be one of His sheep and why we need Him as our Shepherd:

First, sheep are conformists. They enjoy being in a herd. They find protection in numbers. Sheep are good this way, but people often are not. (Nathan Tabor)
So let’s learn a little more about sheep and how we may be like them. Like sheep, we are a bit dense. While researching sheep I found a story about a sheep that fell off a cliff and the other 400 sheep in the herd followed him to their death. We tend to follow the herd people! Think about it and I bet you can find at least a dozen examples in your life where you followed the herd. We need a shepherd!
Sheep are defenseless. They cannot fend for themselves and they cannot fight off the attacks of other animals. They are the wooly snack food of the wild. Ok, I know what you are thinking right now….YOU are not defenseless. Hmmmm….are you sure? Can you really handle ANYTHING that comes your way?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
But the most dangerous thing sheep do is wander. And they tend to wander off for no good reason. They can have everything they need right where they are but they still wander off.
We as a human race are prone to wander too. The bible is full of examples of people, cities and nations who wander away from God. It has been that way since the beginning, Adam and Eve wander over to the tree of Knowledge. The whole human race wandered so far from God that a flood came and took over the earth.
You see, we are prone to wander in our faith and that is the greatest tragedy we could suffer. I am so thankful that I have a good shepherd who will leave the 99 and rescue me!

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4
I think that it is obvious that we are in desperate need of a Shepherd, someone who will watch over us and protect us from ourselves. Someone who spends all of his time with us, His sheep. Someone whose voice we will be able to discern above all other voices.

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27
So what does it mean to be part of the herd? It means life, it means freedom from death, it means assurance that we are loved and looked after. It means experiencing goodness and mercy all the days of our life and finally, it means that we will dwell in the house of the Lets end our time now by praying through Psalm 23:
Lord our shepherd, you leave me wanting for nothing. I walk with you through green pastures and lie with you by the still waters. You restore my soul and lead me in the path of righteousness. Your protection is with me as I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. When the enemy attacks, you prepare a table before me and anoint my head with oil. My cup is running over with your goodness and mercy and I delight in you as I dwell in your house forever. Amen

he-left-the-99torescue-me.jpg

 

Jesus’ Calling You!

 

2 Corinthians 5.png

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

You need to follow Jesus one step at a time. That is all he requires of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through the space-time world. You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you’re going to scale those heights. Meanwhile, because you’re not looking where you’re going, you stumble on the easy path where he is leading you now. As Jesus’ helps you get back on your feet, you tell him how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Your path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains. There my be an easier way up the mountains than is visible from this distance. If you allow Jesus to lead the way, he will equip you thoroughly for the strenuous cliffs. He will give his angles charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways. Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying His presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Jesus to open up the way before you.

Jesus is renewing your mind. When your thoughts flow freely, they tend to move towards your problems. Your focus gets snagged on a given problem, circling around and around, it attempts to gain your entire life. Your energy is drained away from other matters through this negative focus. Worst of all, you lose sight of Christ. A renewed mind in his presence is what you need. Train your mind to seek him in every moment, every situation. Sometimes you can find him in your surroundings: a lifting birdsong, a loved one’s smile, golden sunlight. At other times, you must draw inward to find him. Jesus is always present in your spirit. Seek his face, speak to him, and he will light up your mind and your heart.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

“It Is Finished”

 

jOHN 19bWhen Jesus had received the drink, he said “It is finished”.      John 19:30

Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus sacrificed himself to become the perfect Lamb, laid on the altar, the perfect offering to measure up to all of God’s requirements. The enemies were defeated! Darkness turned into shining light. The power of Satan and darkness was broken and the triumphant Christ could now say, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying (John 11:25)

Sin won’t rule over us anymore, because hell is concealed beneath us and heaven above is open to us. The devil’s power has been destroyed forever for those who place their hope, love and faith in the Risen Savior.

The work of salvation had been completed. You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. You were killed, and Your blood has ransomed for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.         (Revelation 5:9)

holy-week1.jpgHere we hear the sixth words Jesus spoke on the cross. “It is finished!” What is translated into three words in English is only one word in Greek” Tetelestai. It is a triumphant cry, an exclamation of victory. It does not indicate defeat, but glorious victory! These are the only word spoken on the cross that are not directed at a specific person. They are meant for all nations, a triumphant cry of victory!

The Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled. A virgin gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, He was from the lineage of David; he was called Immanuel and his parents did flee to Egypt. He was numbered among the poor and the simple. He found his place among criminals, His hands and feet were pierced, His side was pierced with a spear, they gambled for His clothes by throwing dice, He made the disable walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and He raised the dead. Everything happened as it has been prophesied. The people of that time must have asked themselves, “Why didn’t we believed? Why didn’t we see it? And us? What about Jesus’ predictions about His second coming? Will the prophecies come true once again? He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.   (John 1:11) Will you accepted or reject Him, it is your choice!

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

Walking The Walk

Walking where Jesus walked.pngPerhaps no other symbol is more revealing of the journey of Christians through the season of Lent that a pair of Biblical sandals. Sandals speak of our journey through the promises, perils, and pitfalls of life that can only be authentically experienced through “Walking the Walk” of Jesus. To be sure, Jesus was the supreme, historical walker Biblical scholars have estimated that, during his 33 year lifetime, Jesus walked over 21,000 (400 miles from Egypt to Nazareth; 18,000 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back-at least seventy-five times by age 30, and 3,125 miles during his 3 year public ministry, averaging 20-25 miles per day.) And then, of course, there was Jesus 40-day walk in the desert, where he was subjected to three Satanic temptations. All this walking was more that just physical exercise, it was instilling patience, persistence, and soul-sustaining endurance in the one, who in human and Divinely resurrected form, would be God’s eternal model of “the Truth, the Way, and the Life” for the world that followed him in time.

So, how do we-how can we-follow in the footsteps of Jesus during the forty days of the Lenten season? For one thing, we can symbolically emulate Jesus’s pre-ministry walk through the desert-fasting, praying, examining ourselves, and trying to cleanse ourselves of transgressions and wrongdoings that have been haunting us for the past year. Secondly, we can discipline ourselves, through our “walk” through the Lenten season, to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions squarely on the two greatest commandments that Jesus professed: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself”  (Matthew 22:37-39) How rewarding it is for those who, on Easter Sunday, can affirm with great Joy and Certainty:

“I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there!”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Walking Humbly With God

Micah 6.pngWith what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good And what does the Lord require you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.                 Micah 6:6-8

Micah exposed corruption in Judah on every level of society. The rulers, prophets and priests were unjust, the people oppressed the poor and worshipped idols. Micah alternates between words of judgement and words of forgiveness and restoration. Micah is telling the people of Judah what God requires his people to do. To give God His due. God is deserving of our heart, body, soul, and spirit; our wisdom, understanding, judgment. Jesus tells us (Mk. 12:28-30) that the first commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Because He created us in His own image, God rightly and justly deserves all of our worship and adoration. “This is the first commandment.” To give your neighbor his due. Jesus continues (Mk 12:31) His discussion of the greatest commandments with the second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Can we sin against someone we truly love? Perhaps we might momentarily sin against a loved one, but not continually. True love desires to bless and not to injure. Note however that we are not to give that which is due to God to any man – neighbor or self .To give to yourself what you are due. According to Paul, we are not our own but instead our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). So what we have coming must be tempered by what we must avoid. Paul reminds us first of all to “flee sexual immorality.” Elsewhere Paul gives us lists of characteristics to avoid and attain (Gal. 5:19-25)

To Love Mercy

God realized what man has come to know; justice, while necessary, can be cold and unfeeling. (Micah 7:18.) To do justly alone is not sufficient for a child of God; we must love mercy and do what it requires. Mercy comes from characteristics that include kindness, benevolence, and charity. Part of what mercy requires is to be willing to forgive the sins of others as God is willing to forgive our sins. It is this aspect of mercy through which our own salvation comes (Titus 3:5).

To Walk Humbly

But how are we to do this? We must first acknowledge our sins and then be willing to submit to God’s mercy. It is only through a humbling of ourselves that we will be allowed to walk with God. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5.) Paul points out that it is high-mindedness that leads to unbelief and lack of faith in the power of God (Rom. 11:20; 12:3). The humble attitude required by the Lord will make itself manifest in a life of prayer, contrition, and service. There is no “Christian To Do List.” It is just not that simple. And yet we know that living Christ-like is not impossible (Mt. 11:29,30). But we must be mindful it is a “life” and not a series of accomplishments.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

 

Walking By Faith

2 Corinthians 5.pngTherefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that we each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but we have good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father’s house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are moldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord. We need to continue to focus our eyes on Jesus on a daily basis and yes I know that is not an easy thing to do. This is why it is important for us Christians to continue in being in fellowship with each other, reading scriptures and having a prayer life each and everyday. And by doing so our faith becomes stronger one day at a time.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends