Darkness or Light (1 John 1:5-7)



I remember when each of my children were born.  Each day was a high mark in my life.  As I held each child, my mind dreamed of plans for them.  I tried to imagine what they would become and what type of future God had prepared for them.

In a similar fashion, God has birthed us into his family and with that has given us gifts, abilities and a path for our lives.  Although each of us are different and have a different course set before us, we do have a common plan set by God.  One aspect of that plan is for us to have joy in our lives.  As we live in this fallen world, it may seem difficult to experience joy, but nonetheless God has ordained it.

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:4)

The contents of John’s first epistle is intended to bring us to the point of experiencing the fullness of God’s joy.  Experiencing the fullness of God’s joy is not a matter of how to obtain it, but more so how to overcome obstacles that keep us from having it.  For you and me to have joy has been set forth by God.  However there are situations that may rob people from experiencing it.

The first is light versus darkness.  God is light and in him is no darkness.  For us to experience joy, we must live in the light.  People who live in the light are those who have experienced salvation and the new birth that is associated with it.

Ye are children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

God clearly marks the obstacle that robs his creation from experiencing joy and that is salvation.  He contrasts light and darkness: the recognition of our sinfulness and need of salvation contrasted with self righteousness or sinlessness. (1 John 1:8)

We do not get joy by being sinless.  We get joy by recognizing our sin and calling out to a savior.  We must not get confused and think that it is a matter of staying in the light.  It is not staying in the light, but being in the light.  Those in the light are cleansed from sin–hence they sinned while in the light. (1 John 1:7)

God plans for you and me to have joy.  Hopefully, you have recognized your need for salvation and have experienced his Holy Spirit transformation from darkness to light. 

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What Is There to Declare? (1 John 1:1-3)



From the beginning of our salvation until now, we have heard the Lord and even seen him evident in our lives.  What is it that you have seen?  How many answered prayers have there been?  How many times has the Lord spoken to you through the scriptures.  On how many occasions has he guided you in your decisions?  Honestly speaking, we probably cannot number these occasions.  What I believe to be the best interactions with the Lord are when he encourages us.  He picks us up when we fall.  He mends our hearts when they become broken and encourages us as we live in this fallen world.  All of these instances are part of our fellowship with him and the fellowship continues as we lift our hearts to him and offer praise, thanksgiving and adoration.

As the apostles, we have a responsibility with this fellowship and that is to share it with others so that they too may fellowship with God.  We owe this responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  By doing so, we lead them from where they are in their fellowship and relationship with God to where we are.  It is the mature believer teaching the younger.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

With these thoughts, we must ask ourselves a few questions.  Have I been having fellowship with the Lord?  We know that we have in the past, but in recent days has there been fellowship?  If you were to share a fellowship experience with someone, how far back would you need to reach?

Another question would be: have I shared my fellowship experiences with others?  Our lives are like plants bearing fruit and seed.  The fruit of the Spirit is what our lives should produce because of fellowship and the seed within the fruit comes from us sharing our fellowship experiences with others.

So, what should we do with this fellowship?  Share it at work.  Share it at home: even blog it on the media, but whatever you do, share it.  By doing so, others may begin to experience the wonderful relationship with God that he so longs to have with them.

An Ornament for God (Psalm 78:61)



At Christmas time, many people look forward to decorating their tree.  For some , it is a family gathering where decorative ornaments are placed by the hands of young and old.  Some families have retained ornaments that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Not only are they beautiful, but the memories that they carry are much more ornate than the item itself.

And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.  (Psalms 78:61)

God has declared that we are his glory or as this word many times refers, his ornament.  He places you and me in the midst of a troubled world.  Our lives are intended to shimmer and shine of the love and reality of God, just as a ornament shimmers and shines on a tree.

Make it a point to understand your purpose in life and then shimmer and shine as a testimony for God.  You can only accomplish this by getting close to God.  As you walk closely to him, you will reflect him to all those around you.

Truth Inside (Psalm 51:6)



Have you ever faced a decision that you needed to make and you found yourself undecided?  Of course you have.  As you begin to figure out a solution to your problem, you convey it by saying, ” I am leaning towards …”

When it comes to pleasing God, he wants our hearts to lean towards truth.  The only way our hearts can do this is for truth to be present in our hearts.  Consider Psalm 119:11, where the psalmist states that he hides truth in his heart and the believer is encouraged to meditate upon truth as stated in Psalm 1.

Without truth in your heart, it will become more difficult for your heart to lean towards it.  It seems that when we sin, the effect of truth in our hearts is either erased or at least its effect is diminished.

It is like the old game, King of the Mountain where each person playing attempts to pull the one person down from on top of the mountain and once this is achieved, they take his place and the game continues.

Truth in the heart sits supreme, but our sin pulls it down and then has its time of power.  Only by cleansing away sin can truth again influence the heart.  That is why the psalmist asks the Lord purge and clean him (Psalm 51:7).

In order to live as God desires, get truth into your heart and when you fall, seek him to cleanse away your sin.  This is a daily process and should never be neglected or ignored.  With truth in your heart, your ability to lean toward and respond to truth will become more consistent and successful.

Stooping Down (Psalm 51:1)



God’s mercy: we talk about it, read about and even sing about it.  But what is it?  I know that you may have coined phrases and shoot from the hip definitions for this term, but have you ever personally tried to define it?

In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord for mercy.  The definition of the Hebrew word for mercy means ” to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior”.  Think about it.  Whenever God shows mercy towards us, he, in the splendor of his high exalted state, stoops down to you and me.

Why would such an exalted being be willing to perform such a humbling task?  He does this because of his loving kindness.  As a loving expectant mother feels love in the womb for her child, our Heavenly Father experiences the same towards us.  This form of love is described as tender mercy and it is this tender mercy that moves him to stoop down.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)

When you pray, God stoops down to answer and meet your needs,  When you need help, he stoops down to give you strength and when you fall, he even stoops down to pick you up.  He stooped down to become man and stooped down even further to become our sin bearer. If you think about it, possibly the greatest manifestation of God’s love is his stooping down.

Thanks be to God for his mercy.

What Are You Offering? (Psalm 50:14-15)


Have you discovered the most important things in life?  Years ago, I thought it was possessions and experiences.  Boy was I ever wrong.  You have heard the phrase, you never know how much you need something until you don’t have it.  Well it is true.  If you have buried a loved one, you experienced it.  They are gone and your heart longs to see them again.  Through that and other experiences in life, we can learn that the most important things in life are people and our interactive relationship with them.

Because we are created in the image of God, we are very similar to him.  He likewise desires a relationship with us.  He doesn’t need our money or any offerings that we choose to give him.  He already owns everything.  So there is nothing more on this earth that he could need.  Understandably, he may need “no thing”, but he does need someone and that someone is you.  

God wants to have a relationship with his creations and in that relationship, he wants us to give him something.  He wants what is in our hearts.

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalms 50:14-15)

He seeks for individuals who are thankful, yielded, who look to him in times of trouble and will glorify his name.

Israel fell into the cold ritualistic mannerisms of their religion and if we are not careful, we can do the same.  So, as you assess your relationship with God, don’t count the “good” actions that you offer up to him, but instead focus on the motives behind them.  Do they reflect being thankful, yielded, seeking and glorifying?

Ceasing From Fear (Psalm 46:2)



We do not cease from fear as we would from food or drink.  We do not control fear as we would our actions.  We cease from fear when we recognize our safety in the Lord our refuge.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; (Psalms 46:2)

Think about it for a moment.  You do not fear the weather’s storms as they pound upon the earth, because you are safe within the shelter of your home.  You do not fear the gravest of beasts as you walk the corridors of the zoo, because you are safe on your side of the bars.  You don’t will to cease from fear, you simply rest in safety.

The storms of life are great and many shall we face in this life, but we can live free from fear.  Seek his refuge and he will shelter you with his presence.  The storms may rage outside, but within will exist a calm peace.  Rest in God!