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.

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Passing the Right Baton (Psalm 145:4)

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Not long ago, my son, who is in the ministry called and asked, “If you had the chance to raise your children over again, what would you do differently?” It didn’t take long for me to provide my three part response: allow my children to make mistakes and even wrong decisions just as long as it would not destroy their lives, focus on the hidden sins of the heart and not so much the external appearance and actions, and search for more opportunities to praise them striving for a 4:1 ratio of praise to negative corrective responses.

My change in child raising did not come from obtaining a different philosophy of life, but instead a better understanding of God’s plan for fathers and the next generation. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. (Psalms 145:4). My mistake as a father was placing a greater emphasis on how my children looked and acted on the outside with little focus on what was taking place in their hearts. They, without my knowledge, could have possessed in their hearts envy, jealousy, pride and unforgiveness, but as long as they dressed and acted rightly, I thought they were okay and I was successful as a father. However, I could not have been more wrong.

If we are to influence the next generation of believers, they need to know the true God and have a real relationship with him and not simply model an acceptable outside appearance. Because we fail at leading young people into a relationship with God, we lose more teens than we keep. The retention of those who transition into adulthood and live for God decreases even more so. Jesus warned the Pharisees of this error when he spoke about cleaning the outside of the cup while ignoring the inside. (Luke 11:39) They continued in error because of their prideful self righteousness, but we fall into the same error because of fear. We fear what others think about our children, our parenting and our testimony for Christ. So in our effort to deal with fear, we clean up the outside of our children and all the while ignore that which they need the most.

It is time to teach the next generation about how God meets with us, strengthens us and enables us to face and deal with troubles in life. They need a mentor or a person to disciple them into a relationship with God. They need to learn how to cast their cares on God and see how he supplies. They need to see the supernatural God instead of a list of super abounding rules. Should we continue to establish guidelines for conduct? Of course we should, but the greater emphasis for young people should be on issues of the heart and developing a heart for God.

I Am Well Pleased (Mark 1:11)

When Jesus was baptized, John saw the heavens open and heard the voice of God the Father speak to the Son. Although what he saw and heard was for a testimony to him, it also was intended to communicate to Jesus, who at this time was God-Man, that his father was pleased with him.

And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11)

As a loving father, God communicates his pleasure and acceptance to his children. Have you heard his voice upon your heart declare that you are pleasing to him? Have you ever heard those words? Some may argue that God has never spoken these words to them because they are sinners saved by grace and still struggle with sin. How can God be pleased with us when we struggle and even fall daily?

Did not God say that David was a man after his own heart? However, David was far removed from perfection. He killed Uriah and deceived the nation about Bathsheba’s pregnancy. He also trusted in his own might as evidenced by him counting the people, which brought a grievous chastening upon David and the Nation of Israel. However even with all this, God saw him differently.

Abraham, called a friend of God, lied while in Egypt, sought to bring about the Lord’s promise by way of Hagar and troubled God’s people even to this day because of it. However he too was viewed differently by God.

Again, have you ever heard God tell you that he is pleased with you? If you don’t hear his voice, it is because you hear somebody else’s voice instead. Your heart and mind are flooded with the negative messages of those around you. This may come from family, friends, and even those in the church. Make sure that the preaching you get is balanced too. You should hear messages that convict you of sin and also those that strengthen, uplift and edify you. From the latter, you should be able to hear in your heart the voice of God tell you that he is pleased with you, his precious child.

Listen for his voice. He wants to show you how he feels.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566

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Caves, Dens and Strongholds (Judges 6:2)

And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. (Judges 6:2)

The children of Israel had disobeyed The Lord and began to fear the gods of the Land. Because of their disobedience, The Lord allowed the Midianites and associated countries to oppress them. Instead of recognizing their error, repenting and seeking The Lord, they dug out dens, caves and strongholds for them to seek refuge from their oppressors. Their actions of self preservation were just as sinful as bowing to the idols of the land: the latter involved seeking deliverance by a false god and the former involved them delivering themselves or being their own god.

Our lives have not been much different. Like Israel, hypothetical caves, dens and strongholds are things that flesh driven man creates to deal with the consequences of his sinful actions. While lost in sin, we too developed our self defense mechanisms or our own methods of refuge just as the Israelites did. Some of our self defense mechanisms also may have been developed during times of backsliding or wandering away from God. Either way, we all have them. Today, they may be one of our greatest enemies and the cause for more of our failure at living by faith than our spiritual enemy. Our actions of self preservation may occur when we dominate those in our environment while striving to control all aspects of our lives or it may appear as an over indulgence in work to achieve security through recognition or avoidance of rejection. Self preservation may occur when the believer tries to escape his circumstances by either physically running away or by escaping through drugs, alcohol or any other method of mood altering.

While in the midst of a trial or difficult circumstances, stop and check yourself. Honestly look at what you are doing and determine if you are trying to bring about a resolution to your problem. If you are, that action is just one of your coping mechanisms. If you are exercising it here, then you are more than likely doing it in other areas of your life. That hypothetical cave, den or stronghold needs to go. You can get rid of it by repenting and confessing. Afterwards, ask God to guide you to him for refuge and deliverance. The process will occur over and over and is nothing more than becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.