Tag Archives: 1 John 4

We’re Going to Have to Get Better

C.S. Lewis said “He (God) loved us not because we’re lovable, but because He is Love.”

Love has been a matter of my heart for a while. Mainly because I see the declining of it across our nation. Of course in the political arena, and even though it’s worse than ever, it’s still something we’ve come to expect with the nature of differing opinions. But when it comes to Christians, there should not be differing opinions. We can have separate church doctrines, but in the matter of Jesus, one way and one way only, and His love, it’s not up for debate. And yet, the evidence is lacking that the church fully believes the word of God.

Salvation’s Security

I will not argue why I believe in eternal security. I know what I believe and why I believe I, and if you believe otherwise, I probably won’t sway your mind. But when it comes to salvation, there is no argument. You either are, or are not saved. The scripture is clear:

1 John 4:15-21

15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Romans 10:9-10 says  ~ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You either believe that, or you’re not saved. So now that we have that matter cleared up, let’s assume that you have the security of salvation. You now have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, dwelling within you.  And as we continue on in 1 John 4 there’s an evidentiary fact that should be viewed in every Christian’s life. Love.

Salvations Sincerity

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

It’s not hard for us to conceive that God would love us. I mean really, what’s not to love right? But what about others. The enemy and the downright wicked. Does He love them too? Oh yes, enough to die for them just as He died for us, and though we hate to confess it, we know that our sins were by comparison the same level of unworthiness. But Christ took the sins of all upon His back on that cross of Calvary. We conceive this knowledge, but do we convey it?

Salvation’s Sheriff

The Holy Spirit. It’s the very first gift we receive when we become saved. What a joy! But it’s a new day and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is evident. We know when something’s not right in our life. And the only way to get right, to be made perfect is to repent and accept that what Christ did on the cross is enough for me, and everyone else in the world.

Even those I have a hard time tolerating.

What should never be evident in my life as child of God is found in the closing verse of Chapter 4.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

There is no fear, nor hate in the child of God.

Fear is faithless

I’ve seen too many churches who rather than teaching the love of God, teach the fear of God first.

Romans 2:4 says OR despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the good of God leadeth thee to repentance?

It does not say that the fear of God will cause a man to repent. But rather the goodness of God. Perhaps we could say the “love of God” causes a man to repent.

Prior to my salvation I had enough conviction on my life to choke a horse. I felt the disconnection from God. And I believe if everyone’s honest, we’ve all felt it before we’re saved. We know we belong to Him, it’s rebellion that causes us to deny it. But when we experience His love as shown through the church, and a sense of belonging that can be found there, that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit move in my life in such a way that I said, “I need to be saved!” The preacher preached Hell, but the church showed love.

The word “hate” makes my stomach turn. Especially when I hear it used in the context of “I hate so and so.” And sometimes by Christian people. This ought not be. We need to remember that the person we’re hating needs to see Jesus. And there is no way under the sun they’ll ever see Him if we’re spewing words like that out of our mouth. There is also no way they’ll see Him if we using words that we know will cause hate in the heart of another person.

Christians should always take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. But in taking that stand we should do it in love and through the prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I know I’ve been guilty of not doing that.

If we’re going to make a dent in the lost of this world, we’re going to have to get better at loving people.

I’m Leaning a Little Closer to Crazy

From the day the Holy Spirit entered my heart in 1996 it’s been quite the journey. I’ve been on mountains, I’ve been in the lowest of valleys. I’ve seen the shadow of death. I’ve explored the caverns of the recesses of my mind and discovered that there were terrible, vial things hidden in the dark. I’ve dragged them to the mouth of the cave and thrown them off a cliff.  On the outside of my mind, where other people dwell, I’ve been an encourager and a discourager with the same mouth. I’ve allowed people to matter more than He who created me, at which time I would retreat into the recesses of my mind again and as I went back in I’d pick up those vial things from the valley below the cliff. I’d use them for company. Sounds pretty dramatic doesn’t it.

Life is filled with drama.

And I can be a drama mama inwardly but outwardly I try to keep it sane. I don’t want the world to see the crazy that lives within me. But believe me it’s in there. So I went back to the revival to hear “crazy” preach again last night. And I say that in the most respectful way about Sebby Volpe. Sebby is crazy about Jesus. He’s just crazy enough to let the Spirit lead in such a manner that when you leave the service you not only knew that you were in the presence of God, but God had stirred up a little bit of crazy inside of you too.

Sebby spoke on the spirits last night. A subject matter of my heart for months and months and months. I’ve longed to see the Spirit moving in a great way. I’m also aware that not everything that moves is of the Spirit with a capital “S”. There are little spirits out there that can make a big mess of things if we’re not careful. So the scripture says to try the spirits and see if it’s of God. (Paraphrased from 1 John 4:1). And so I earnestly seek God’s wisdom to know what’s real and what desires to deceive me.

A.W. Tozer wrote this:

Now our Lord Jesus. That great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

And so I lean on scripture to guide me through this haphazard world that seems to go from one extreme to the other on spirituality. The pendulum swings from deader than a hammer to wide open crazy! And I’m somewhere in the middle leaning toward the crazy side because I know Christ ain’t dead. So what struck me about Tozer’s writing was the closing of that paragraph. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” – Matthew 7:15.

So regardless of denomination I look at the fruit of the body of Christ (people I believe to be saved) And upon inspection of the fruit I find this:

SEEDLESS FRUIT

They’re a sweet bunch! But they’re not sowing any new seeds. They are content with our four and no more in their congregations and so they rest on the laurels of those who have gone before.

SOUR FRUIT

Oh they are the faithful! Every Sunday, rain or shine you’ll find them in their place, hanging on the branch. But don’t ask them to move to another limb because that’s where they’ve hung out since their granddaddy brought them to that church and for pete’s sake don’t ask them to blend in with another tree, even if they are apples.

SACRED FRUIT

They put themselves up on a pedestal of righteousness and only affiliate with those who will conform to their standards of ritualistic observances. Your peeling must be the right color and your flavor must be the same. Usually bland.

SEASONAL FRUIT

Also called C&E Christians. Christmas and Easter only. I truthfully don’t think they’re fruit at all.

SEDCUTIVE FRUIT

They draw people into them with gadgets and gimmicks. But often times it’s a flesh thing. There is no fruit inside. And because of that people are convinced there is no such thing as “fruit of the Spirit.”

And then there’s my favorite:

SPIRIT FILLED FRUIT

It’s could also be called the passion fruit. The passion fruit has a tough outer rind with a juicy, seed filled center. It’s a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that benefit your health. Hello? Doesn’t that sound like what a true Spirit filed Christian should be? I’ve been hurt so many times (many by fellow believers), so I’ve developed a somewhat, though not impenetrable skin. Else I’d have already left the tree. I have however managed in 21 years of salvation to keep that ooey gooey center that makes me love people all the more and have a desire to see souls saved. I am filled with the seeds of the gospel but I’ve allowed life to squelch my desire to sow them. I’m considered to be a little too passionate for the Lord sometimes. How can that be? After everything He’s done for me.

Sebby Volpe makes people uncomfortable because he tills the soil when he comes to town!

The world is looking for a tree that bears a fruit that has passion and power. It’s called the cross of Jesus. But they’ll never see it unless we become passionate about our purpose. I’m leaning a little closer to crazy this morning!

Father vs. father… a point to ponder

chick ponder

During a recent study with the teens the subject matter came up how we often compare our relationship with God to that of our earthly parents. I hadn’t really thought about my parental viewpoint of God until that conversation. Yes, I viewed Him as my Father, but in so doing had I given to Him some of my earthly father’s attributes? I fear I had. My Dad, Gene Hardway, was an awesome godly man. But he had some quirks of human nature. He was a passive fella.

When I married my husband in 1980, yes I was baby of 18 years of age, I was not prepared for the culture of his family. They’re good people too, but they were different than the Hardway’s. They were more realistic to most families in the world. My parents never argued. For real! I never heard anyone raise their voice. So when I met people who could get loud, my Ozzie and Harriett world went upside down. I soon learned how to react in kind. I  don’t recommend it. But as for my Dad, he never changed. He did not yell. He did not argue. Which is awesome, till it’s not. I think possibly if my Dad had spoken more forceful on some things perhaps I would have listened, but maybe not.  The reality of it is, my Dad was who he was, and my husband David’s family are who they are. But now back to the Dad and God comparison… I had to ask myself if I viewed God as somewhat passive, even though I know that not to be the case according to scripture. And the answer was a resounding yes! So I asked my husband, if because his earthly dad had left him when he was one year old, if he thought that caused him to have a lack of trust in God. He said he hadn’t ever really thought about it… I’ve been married too him over half my life, I think he has.

God is truth

Titus 1:2  – In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Parents lie. They tell us things about the Easter Bunny and Santa, (Which I believe is okay) but God would not tell you those things were true, because they are not. Parents tell you you’re the most beautiful child in the world… you are not, but you are in their world, so perhaps that is true. By the same token a really crappy parent who would discourage a child and criticize them is not who God is either, they lie; God does not.

God is love

1 John 4:8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

God’s love is unconditional. We did not do anything to make God love us therefore we cannot do anything to make Him stop. Good parents for the most part love their children unconditional, but not always. Children grow into adults, make bad decisions, hurt us, let us down, as do the parents. God will not ever let you down. I would imagine unconditional love would be hard to fathom for someone brought up in a “conditional love home.”

God is Right

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Parents make mistakes, Lord have mercy I have made my fair share and somebody else’s; but God has not ever had an “oops” moment. If you read and study His word from beginning to end, regardless if it is a scientific, moral or prophetic statement, it’s truth. Tell me any man or woman who you can say that about, although my husband does profess to always be right. (Insert smiley face here) But there is none but God Who is ALWAYS right.

God is forgiving

Matthew 6:14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Do we think of Him as forgiving or condemning? I think of Him in that manner, but my Dad was a VERY forgiving guy. I have a feeling if you were brought up in a home where forgiveness was not forthcoming, you might not feel as forgiven.

This idea gave me great reason to ponder my relationship with God. What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing if your view of God was parent defined…