VIDEO Walk in the Light

If we walk in the light as He is in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. —1 John 1:7

To mistake freedom from sin only on the conscious level of our lives for complete deliverance from sin by the atonement through the Cross of Christ is a great error. No one fully knows what sin is until he is born again. Sin is what Jesus Christ faced at Calvary. The evidence that I have been delivered from sin is that I know the real nature of sin in me. For a person to really know what sin is requires the full work and deep touch of the atonement of Jesus Christ, that is, the imparting of His absolute perfection.

The Holy Spirit applies or administers the work of the atonement to us in the deep unconscious realm as well as in the conscious realm. And it is not until we truly perceive the unrivaled power of the Spirit in us that we understand the meaning of 1 John 1:7 , which says, “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This verse does not refer only to conscious sin, but also to the tremendously profound understanding of sin which only the Holy Spirit in me can accomplish.

I must “walk in the light as He is in the light…”— not in the light of my own conscience, but in God’s light. If I will walk there, with nothing held back or hidden, then this amazing truth is revealed to me: “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [me] from all sin” so that God Almighty can see nothing to rebuke in me. On the conscious level it produces a keen, sorrowful knowledge of what sin really is. The love of God working in me causes me to hate, with the Holy Spirit’s hatred for sin, anything that is not in keeping with God’s holiness. To “walk in the light” means that everything that is of the darkness actually drives me closer to the center of the light.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The emphasis to-day is placed on the furtherance of an organization; the note is, “We must keep this thing going.” If we are in God’s order the thing will go; if we are not in His order, it won’t.  Conformed to His Image, 357 R


1 John 1:5-7, Real Fellowship

Timely Resolution

Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Matthew 5:25

The unresolved hurt between Simon and Geoffrey had persisted for years, and Simon’s attempts to reenter the relationship had been resisted. Upon hearing the news of the death of Geoffrey’s mother, Simon traveled “up country” in Kenya to attend her funeral service. Simon reflected on their encounter: “I had no expectations at all in terms of how the whole thing would turn out, [but] after the service, we opened up and had a fruitful talk. We hugged, shared the moment, prayed together, and planned to meet again.” If only Simon and Geoffrey had been able to reconcile earlier, so much ongoing pain could have been avoided.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21–26 help to put unresolved relational tensions in perspective. The anger that can lead to such rifts is a serious matter (v. 22). Furthermore, getting things in order relationally is a fitting prelude to worshiping God (vv. 23–24). The wise words of Jesus to “settle matters quickly with your adversary” (v. 25) remind us that the sooner we do what we can to work toward reconciliation the better for all.

Relationships are risky; they demand work—in our families, in the workplace, in educational settings, and among people who share our faith in Christ. But as those who represent Him, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), may we find ourselves going out of our way to extend our hearts and hands to those with whom we have unresolved conflict.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

Who comes to mind when you think of someone you need to reach out to so that relational healing might begin? What’s keeping you from doing so?

Father, You know where the relational fissures are in my life. Forgive me for my slowness to attempt resolution. Give me the strength to take the next steps

Sunday Reflection: No Divisions Among You

God has called His children to live as one big close family and to not be divided by differences

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Tribalism, a sense of loyalty and belonging to a group, can be a healthy thing when it helps us understand where we fit and to how to function together. When taken to extremes, however, it leads to polarization and hostility. This is especially common when we meet someone who doesn’t look, think, or worship the way we do.

But Christ calls us to a better way. When someone told Jesus that His family was waiting outside, He replied, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers? … Whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:48-50). There are no “in” or “out” groups with Jesus, no special circle or clique. In Him, we are one family, whole and inviolate, and petty differences shouldn’t separate us. (See 1 Cor. 1:10.) 

Think about it

  •  Consider your church family. Does everyone look and think the way you do? How might you go about forming bonds with other believers who, though different in many ways, are your brothers and sisters in Christ?

The Goal of Teaching

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

As Paul begins his instruction to his disciple Timothy, his “own son in the faith” (v. 2), he warns him about false doctrine (v. 3) and petty, fruitless arguments (v. 4). He contrasts such false teaching with his own teaching, the goal or “end” of which is threefold.

First, Paul would like to see his ministry produce “charity [i.e., agape love] out of a pure heart.” This is God’s kind of love that He has bestowed upon us, undeserving as we are. Once He has purified our hearts and taken up residence there through the power of His Spirit, we can love with such a love.

Second, proper teaching should lead us to “a good conscience.” Our lives must be free of unconfessed sin and uncluttered by wrongs not made right with others. The false teachings and improper attitudes and actions Paul is condemning (vv. 3-4) frequently lead to strife and fabrications. The response to these must be strong, yet proper.

Third, “unfeigned faith,” a sincere faith without hypocrisy, should result. It must be our own faith and not that of others, not even family members (2 Timothy 1:5). We have a reasonable faith shored up by a great weight of evidence and logic, and proper teaching should strengthen and confirm it.

May God continue to gift the church with godly teachers like Timothy, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). JDM

Motivation For Praise

Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly. Let Israel celebrate it’s Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly celebrate in triumphal glory; let them shout for joy on their beds (Psalm 149 vv. 1-5).

How quickly we forget! Once the gift is unwrapped and we exclaim over it, we lay it aside for a bigger and shinier one! What have I done with the gift of God’s son and the salvation that cost him so dearly?

The psalmist prods my conscience when he calls on the people of Israel to sing a new song even while they are resting (v. 5)! I shouldn’t have to be reminded. My joy in the Lord should be so full that it spills over in spontaneous praise!

Then I read on and am convicted all over again. Israel is commanded to express her joy with dancing and instrumental performance (v. 3). Not only are we to use our voices and musical instruments but also our bodies in complete, free, and uninhibited rejoicing. Yet dancing is an art form virtually unheard of in today’s worship services! It is foreign to our culture, by and large, yet when we are too proper, too controlled, we may miss some of the blessings God has in store for us.

Consistent and creative praise keeps faith alive and growing. I must envision God as loving, caring, and delighting in me. Then I will be inspired to use all the gifts he has given me in exuberant praise!

Personal Prayer

Teach me a new song, Lord, and may I learn to express my joy with unrestrained enthusiasm!

The Language of Music

Motet

A polyphonic (many voices) choral composition on a sacred text usually without instrumental accompaniment.

Staying Close to the Shepherd

The King of Israel, Yahweh, is among you; you need no longer fear harm.—Zephaniah 3:15

A classic example of the way in which the divine Shepherd ministers to His children is seen in Luke 22:24-32. Jesus tells Simon Peter that Satan has sought to tempt him and sift him like wheat but that He has prayed that Peter’s faith might not fail in that moment of overwhelming testing. Where would I have been, where would you have been, but for that blessed ministry of the divine Shepherd—going before us, anticipating our circumstances, and supportively working and praying for us, so that we might not be overtaken by the enemy of our souls? If He did not minister to us in this way … where should we be?

This does not mean, of course, that the responsibility for our safety and security rest entirely on our divine Shepherd. We, too, have a responsibility—a responsibility to make sure that we keep as close to Him as we possibly can. This is the one sure place of safety. “It is always the distant sheep, the roamers, the wanderers,” says one shepherd, “which are picked off by predators in an unsuspecting moment. Sometimes the sheep is so overtaken by fear that it is too frightened to even cry out. It might give a plaintive bleat before its blood is spilled.” The divine Shepherd wants to forestall every calamity that would come our way and strives to keep our lives free from serious dangers and hazards. And, of course, our lives will be danger-free if we stay close to Him, where He can provide for us and protect us.

Prayer

My Father and my God, thank You for reminding me that although You make Yourself responsible for my safety and security, I also have a responsibility—to stay as close as I possibly can to You. Help me to do just that—today and every day. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Heb 2; 7:25; 1Co 10:13; Jms 4:7; Rm 16:20

What does Christ do in our times of temptation?

What should we do?

Home for Christinas

Psalm 45:8

I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is one of our popular Christmas songs heard often this season. Perhaps it is so popular because it strikes a responsive sentimental chord in each of us. It evokes the nostalgia of home and hearth and family gatherings at Christmastime.

Our family memories are rich with reminiscences of long journeys at Christmas where the holiday season would be blessed with loved ones and joyful reunion of children with grandparents, cousins and the extended family. The homecoming was always garnished with the tree (a real one), trimmings and tasty delicacies lovingly prepared. In more recent years, the “homecoming” has been to our house as children have grown and we have moved into the elite company of grandparents. “Home for Christmas” is one of the beautiful traditions that should forever be kept.

But let’s look in on that first Christmas. A very interesting fact about it is that the event which is now associated with homecomings more than any other found the main characters in that historic drama away from home.

“And Joseph also went up… out of the city of Nazareth” (Luke 2:4 KJV). Joseph and his wife Mary had to leave their home to comply with the decree of the emperor. They were away from home that first Christmas.

The shepherds under the starlit sky on a Judean hillside were away from home and their families. The wise men also had to make a long journey far from their homeland. And the herald angels left their celestial abode to bring the glad tidings to earth. They were all away from home that first Christmas.

But of course we have not made reference to the main personage in the drama, the protagonist of the “divine plot.” What about the Babe of Bethlehem? He, too, was away from home. He had come from His Father’s home, down from His splendor in glory, “out of the ivory palaces.” Jesus was away from His home in that moment when He was born in the manger.

But there is someone else who was away from home that first Christmas. You were. I was. We were away from home. We were estranged from God because of our sin. The Son of God left home that you and I might come home—to God. That is what Christmas is all about—a great homecoming! Through the One who came in the miracle of the manger, we can “come home” to God.

Home for Christmas? In the deepest sense may it be so for each of us, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Henry Gariepy, The War Cry