Archive for March, 2008

Spiritual Litmus Test

March 30, 2008 Leave a comment

John gives us a clear and easy way to distinguish among healthy and unhealthy spirits in 1 John 4:1-3.

Only those spirits who acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh and is God’s son can be trusted.

I’ve argued in the past with people who communicated with spirits that did not acknowledge these truths. It made it easy for me to reject their claims.

Truth is no more stable than its foundation.

I pray that my foundation is always Jesus, not my own strength or worldly wisdom.

Categories: bible

Outline of 1 John 4

March 30, 2008 Leave a comment

I. Testing Spirits
II. God Is Love

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True Love

March 29, 2008 Leave a comment

According to verse 18, love is active, not passive.

Just words are not sufficient.

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March 28, 2008 Leave a comment

The person who lives like Jesus is the one who is righteous.

John has a simple way to remind us of what’s important.

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Christ, Sin, and My Life

March 27, 2008 Leave a comment

In verses 4-6, John reminds us that Jesus appeared (phantom) to remove our sins.

If we continue in our sins, then we clearly don’t know Jesus the way that we should.

There is great tension here. On the one hand, all people sin and have fallen short of the glory of God, even after accepting Christ’s forgiveness. On the other, if we continue in sinful patterns, then that is an indication that things are not right between God and me.

Lord, please help me avoid and break out of patterns of sin.

Categories: bible


March 25, 2008 Leave a comment

In 3:2, John writes that we’re already Children of God, even though we haven’t seen or experienced this completely.

In the original Greek–οὔπω ἐφανερώθη (not yet apparent)–the word for apparent has the same root as the word phantom.

For people who are not yet Christians, that’s what heaven and hell are like. They seem no more real than a children’s story about ghosts and goblins.

But that doesn’t make them any less real.

Categories: bible

1 John 3:1

March 25, 2008 Leave a comment

In this verse, John simultaneously highlights God’s incredible love for his people and the great disconnect between Christians and the “cosmos” or world surrounding us. There is an otherworldly feel in the original Greek that I’ve never experienced before.

The gap between Christians and non-Christians is as wide as the gap between galaxies. That’s how differently we see and experience the world.

This makes me want to reach my friends and family even more than ever before.

Categories: bible

3:16 Easter

March 23, 2008 Leave a comment

As I scanned 1 John 3 for the verse which seemed most closely-related to Easter, I found that verse 16 fit the bill:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16 (NIV)

That reminded me of Max Lucado’s book, 3:16, so I decided to look up other 3:16 verses.

Matthew: As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. (NIV)
This describes the moment that God the Father placed his seal of approval on Jesus’ public ministry. It is an extremely significant moment.

Mark: These are the twelve he appointed…
Jesus models wise leadership. He’s God, yet he brings a core group of coleaders around him to maximize impact. It’s a technique for generating exponential growth. In isolation, individuals can work more efficiently, but we can only generate additive growth, which is the least powerful. When we work in a group, we multiply efforts; this is better than additive growth, but still not as powerful. Jesus empowers the Twelve to take his place after He’s gone. That’s exponential! Interestingly, not all of the Twelve went on to be superstars. This seems to be an application of the Pareto Principle. Surround yourself with many people of potential, and about 20% of them will catch the vision and carry it on without you. The other 80% will wait for the vision to be better-quantified before acting boldly.

Luke: John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (CEV)

John: οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον (from The Resurgence Greek Project)

Acts: By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (NIV)
What a great reminder of the power of Jesus, even today!

Have a wonderful Easter Sunday, dear Readers!

Categories: bible

Outline of 1 John 3

March 22, 2008 Leave a comment

I. God’s Love
II. Sin
III. Our Response

Categories: bible

Good Friday: New Year’s Resolutions

March 21, 2008 1 comment

I was born on Good Friday 1974, and as I’ve gotten older this has become more and more meaningful to me.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions. I see Good Friday as my personal New Year. It gives me an opportunity to reflect upon where I’ve been and where I’m headed, particularly in relation to my spiritual walk.

My main focus for growth this upcoming year is in faith. Paul writes in Romans 12:6-8 that we can use our gifts in proportion to our faith.

I’d like to use my top three spiritual gifts–teaching, encouragement, leadership–more and more to help people learn more about Jesus. The foundation of accomplishing this annual goal, with an implicit love for people and hope in things unseen, is growing in faith.

My faith, hope, and love are summed up in 1 John 2:28-29. These verses speak for themselves.

Happy New Year!

Categories: bible
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