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. 

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.