June 30 - 1 John 5:18-21

Saturday, June 30, 2012


June 30 - 1 John 5:18-21

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

In this day and age, it is sometimes quite difficult to discern between true Christian teaching and stuff that might be a little wackdoodle (yes, that’s my word).  A good con artist can couch their lies in enough truth to make it seem palatable.  They know what we need to hear and what we want to follow … it’s not hard to fool us.  P.T. Barnum made a good living because he recognized the truth that there is a sucker born every minute.

We want to trust those leaders who call themselves Christian.  We want to believe that every word coming from their mouths is true.  We desperately want someone physical to lead us and teach us and encourage us.

How do we know if we are being led down a primrose path … or down a path that will hurt us or hurt others?

The Son of God has given us understanding.  We will know him who is true because we are in Jesus.

Don’t simply let words that sound like they might be a good idea incite you or become a foundation for anything unless you test them against those things you know to be true.

Acts 17:11 is my watchword, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Examine the Scriptures every day.  Spend time with the Lord so you know his voice in your heart.  Trust the Lord.

He is the true God and eternal life.

June 29 - 1 John 5:16-17. Pray.


June 29 - 1 John 5:16-17. Pray.

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

What is the sin the leads to death? Well … no one is absolutely certain, but Stephen Smalley in the Word Biblical Commentary writes that the one sin we can’t come back from is denial of Jesus Christ.  Deliberately refusing to believe in Him is in essence, the unpardonable sin.  Anything else can be brought before His throne in repentance and will be forgiven.

While John isn’t pressing us to pray for those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ, he definitely isn’t telling us not to do so.  I believe that God calls us to pray for all. We don’t know if their rejection of Christ is a deliberate refusal, or something else.  It is not up to us to decide.

Pray for everyone and let God sort it out.  He has all the right tools for that.

June 28 - 1 John 5:13-15. Ask.

Friday, June 29, 2012


June 28 - 1 John 5:13-15. Ask.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

I was pretty young when I figured out that God wasn’t a vending machine. No matter how much I desired that bicycle … even down deep in my heart … that wasn’t what was meant in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

You see, this is the passage that needs to be used as a follow-up.

If we ask anything … according to his will … he hears us.  That whole ‘according to his will’ clarifies the process.

More than anything, I wanted that bicycle to be mine and I wanted it to be according to God’s will, but I had to finally admit, it was all about my selfishness.  Oh, for heaven’s sake, I already had a bike.  It was just no longer the coolest bike around.  It was a little kid’s bike.  I wanted something a little older.

In the impatience of my childish life, I couldn’t see any sense in waiting for that bicycle. I prayed and prayed and prayed.

Funny thing, though.  I look back right now and realize that I actually got the bike of my dreams.  It didn’t happen right away. In fact, I have no idea what the timing is on all of this.  But, the day came when Mom, Dad and I drove to the Schwinn shop in Iowa City and I got a brand new ten-speed bicycle. (The rest of that story is that because my legs were so short, the only bike that fit me was their display bike … the salesman got a good laugh at that one.)

You know. It is as I sit here contemplating that experience, that I fully realize how God does hear us.  I’ve told the story over and over about not receiving a bike when I wanted it because I was being selfish and self-centered.  It never occurred to me until today that I really did get that bike!  It must have been a few years later and I’d forgotten all about my prayers.

But, God didn’t forget.  And when Dad could finally afford the bike and when I quit growing and when it made sense for me to have that bicycle, my prayers were answered.

That really changes the end of the story, doesn’t it!  We can have confidence that our prayers will be answered.  We just might need to have a longer view of the situation before we recognize the gifts we’ve been given.

Keep asking. Keep praying. Keep living within His will. God loves you and will hear your prayers.

June 27 - 1 John 5:6-12. Life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


June 27 - 1 John 5:6-12. Life.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

First of all … what does John mean by ‘water and blood’?  Some scholars have interpreted this as John’s affirmations of the sacraments of baptism and communion.  Well, maybe … but, that actually doesn’t make a lot of sense, since nowhere else in scripture are those two things linked as sacraments in the church.  That didn’t really happen until the time of Luther.

Others point to John 19:34, when water and blood both flowed out with the spear thrust at the crucifixion.  But, in John 19, he wasn’t trying to point out something sacramental … he was really just trying to show that there had been a point where Jesus’ death was proved beyond a doubt.

What if this mention of water and blood actually encompasses the entirety of Jesus’ ministry?  The water signifies his baptism and the blood signifies his crucifixion.  It isn’t about the sacraments that link us to Jesus … it’s not about us.  It is about Jesus Christ.  He came to earth and his time spent with us began with a water baptism and ended with his crucifixion.

Stephen Smalley in the Word Biblical Commentary says that Jesus came into his power and authority by the water of his baptism – he was declared to be God’s Son.  He came into his power and authority in an even more ultimate sense by the blood of his cross.

When you think about it – that is pretty amazing isn’t it.   Think about what John is saying to us!

Water and blood … those things which make us alive … those things that were the terminus points for Jesus ministry … God gave us eternal life, in his Son.

This passage is filled with imagery about life and about life in Jesus Christ.

Life is vibrant, active, energetic (and a multitude of other adjectives).

Whoever has the Son has life.

June 26 - 1 John 5:1-5. Victory

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


June 26 - 1 John 5:1-5. Victory

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

In an earlier post this month, I wrote of the overcomers in the Revelation.  They received amazing gifts from the Lord: the right to eat from the tree of life, authority over the nations and the morning star, the right to sit on the throne of Jesus, a new name and the list goes on and on.

John asks the question here so that he clarifies who exactly will receive those incredible gifts:  Who is the overcomer?

The overcomer is the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Everyone born of God overcomes the world.

This is victory!

You see, we give so much power to Satan and we give power to the world, its culture and its effect on us and on those whom we love.  But, there is no power there.  None at all.

Through Jesus Christ, we have overcome the world.  We are no longer bound by the sin and negativity that rules this world.  We live within the love of God and we can show the world that we are overcomers by sharing that love.

God wants everyone to be part of His kingdom and it is up to us in every moment of our day to share His love with others.

We are overcomers through Jesus Christ.  We can claim victory and we can be assured that we will be in heaven with the Lord.

This is victory!

June 25 - 1 John 4:19-21. Rules

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 25 - 1 John 4:19-21. Rules

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

For my first week in this Biblical Hermeneutics course, we’ve been talking about how Old Testament Law relates to us today. When you get down to the nitty gritty of it – while the principles are still important, the actual Law has no bearing on us.  This is powerful stuff and causes me to rethink a lot of things.

It is easier for us to follow a set of rules than it is for us to actually be in a relationship.  If there are rules, we know our limitations.  We also know the limitations that everyone else is to be under.

Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the landowner and his workers?  He paid everyone the same amount of money, whether they had begun working at 8 am or at 4 pm.  There were rules to be followed and when he didn’t, those who began working at 8 am were furious with him.

We like rules.  We like to know when things are fair or unfair.  If they seem fair, we move on through our lives with no problem, but the moment things seem unfair, we whine and complain and make a lot of ugly noise.

But, Jesus reminds us that love is the great mediator.  No rule holds out against love.  If we love someone, we can’t complain if it seems they unfairly get the better deal.  We want the best for them … not ourselves.

We are to love everyone.  Sometimes that means that we set aside the rules and we set aside our own passions and anger and frustration.  Rules are set in place to manage our selfishness and self-centeredness.

So, the greatest commandment really is: Love God with all you heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

June 24 - 1 John 4:16b-18. No fear.

Monday, June 25, 2012


June 24 - 1 John 4:16b-18. No fear.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Even before the tragedy of September 11, 2011, we lived in a world filled with fear.  Gone were the days when we felt safe talking to strangers, or helping someone whose car had broken down on the side of the highway.  We spend more time worrying about who is out to get us than we do caring for complete strangers.

Fear of punishment? We’re certain that there is something we’ve done … somewhere in our past … that is going to catch up to us and heaven help us at that point because everyone will jump on that sin and try to destroy us.

When I was young, I was just sure that any slight misstep might land me in the girls correctional institute in Mitchellville (Iowa).  Mom had taken several Sunday School classes and youth groups to the boys institute in Eldora and to the prison in Anamosa.  There were a couple of boys that I had known as a child who had ended up in Anamosa as they grew older.  I had a terrible fear that through some awful mistake, and some horrible set of circumstances, I might end up in prison for something I had either never intended or honestly didn’t do.  (It probably didn’t help that my favorite reading genre at the time was the mystery novel.  Perry Mason held my heart!)

We are terribly fearful and one great fear is that of punishment … whether it is for something we chose to do, a mistake we made, or an incorrect accusation.  We simply don’t trust each other and we definitely don’t trust others to have our back when we need them, because for many of us … those relationships fall apart at the slightest sign of trouble.

That’s the glorious thing about the love of God flowing through His people.  That love is what casts out fear and causes people to step up in love when they are needed.  That pure love coming through our hearts from God is what sends us to Haiti to care for those whose lives have been turned upside down, or opens our homes to children who have no families, or brings us together as a group to unconditionally support a friend, or puts us in the serving line at a mission for the homeless.

There is only one thing that can turn aside fear and that is unconditional love. Love that cares nothing for the circumstances, but only for the person.  God’s love is that unconditional love.

June 23 - 1 John 4:7-16a. Testify.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


June 23 - 1 John 4:7-16a. Testify.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 

As Christians, we know what love is, because we know that God loves us.

As babies, we learn what love is because our parents love us.  We learn to express our love based on what we experience in our homes.  We didn’t have to ask for love, it was simply offered. We didn’t have to work for love, it came to us without hesitation.

(Again, I know there are those who might read this who have never experienced that type of love. I’m so sorry … I write these things knowing there are many homes in this world where love will never and has never existed.  I pray you find someone who will love you unconditionally.)

God doesn’t expect us to work hard so that He will love us.  His love for everyone is unconditional.

John goes on to say in this passage, that though no one has seen God, if we love each other, God’s love is made complete.

Think about that for a minute.  How is it that God’s love is felt by another person?  How do they know that God loves them?

It is by our love for them. If you know that God loves you, there is an implied responsibility that you will love others.  When that begins to happen … God’s love is complete!

When we refuse to love others, we show the world that though our words may say we know God, the truth is … we don’t.

Who are these others that we refuse to love? They may not be anyone you know personally … and then again, they might be.  But, for a great many of us, they are those whom we ignore and write off because they don’t live like by our accepted standards.  They are those whom we talk about, saying terrible things.  We call them names: whore, fag, loser, bully, jackass, Democrat, Republican, Jew, idiot, spic, towel-head, welfare recipient. We gossip about them with our friends. We tell our children to steer clear of them. We avoid looking at them.

Who is that you refuse to love? Who is it that needs you to love them? Who is it that God wants you to love? Do you realize that you show the world every day who you are in God?  Do you realize that you are God’s hands, feet and mouth to the world?

June 22 - 1 John 4:4-6. Overcomer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


June 22 - 1 John 4:4-6. Overcomer.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

If you take a look at Revelation 2 – 3 and read John’s words to the seven churches, you will see that he points to the overcomer in each individual letter.

In Ephesus, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:7b)

In Smyrna, “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Rev. 2:11b)

In Pergamum, “To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17b)

In Thyatira, “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations … just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star.” (Rev. 2:28)

In Sardis, “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.” (Rev. 3:5)

In Philadelphia, “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God, and I will also write on him my new name.” (Rev. 3:12)

In Laodicea, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)

When we read these chapters in Revelation, it might seem as if it is nearly impossible to overcome all that happens to us in the world.  We are so overwhelmed by temptation. Sin surrounds us and we mess up more often than any of us care to admit.

John tells us here, though, that we overcome … not on our own strength.  But, the one who is in us … Jesus Christ … is greater than the one who is in the world.

This is not our battle. All we have to do is surrender to Jesus and allow Him to fight every battle.  It doesn’t seem that difficult, does it?

June 21 - 1 John 4:1-3. Test.

Friday, June 22, 2012


June 21 - 1 John 4:1-3. Test.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

False prophets. False Teachers. Antichrists.

This is pretty clear, isn’t it!  Anyone who proclaims that Jesus is not from God is false.  John really doesn’t pull any punches.

These words give me a lot of comfort.  In seminary we are exposed to a great many different types of teachers.  I’m fortunate enough to have encountered predominantly Christ-followers, but there have been a few whose theology is questionable, especially when they question the divinity of Jesus.

No one has pushed me hard enough that I begin to question whether or not they are correct, but these words of John’s are a lighthouse amidst a stormy sea.

Jesus said, “he who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23).

This is the spirit of the antichrist – the one who is opposed to Christ – let loose in the world.

John is not telling us to battle against them. That would be foolish. He simply wants us to recognize the truth and be aware so that we aren’t drawn into their lies.

June 20 - 1 John 3:21-24. Confidence.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


June 20 - 1 John 3:21-24. Confidence.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Can you imagine what you relationship with God would look like if you always had a clear conscience? John is pretty clear that because (not if) we keep his commands and do what pleases him, we have that relationship.

When Jesus was asked what the great commandment was, he responded by saying that it was to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  And the second command was to love your neighbor as yourself.

Those two commands from Jesus transform the way we look at the world.

If we love God with everything we have … we won’t choose to do things that harm that relationship.  We won’t need the ‘thou shalt nots,’ because we choose to act positively.  We will love him and because of that love, we will choose to obey Him.  Right?

And if we love God with everything we have … we will also choose to love those around us – without question, without limitation.

Both of these concepts can sometimes seem much too difficult for us to accomplish.  We are human and we cannot stop our sinful behavior … even if it is something as seemingly inconsequential as gossip or feeling that we are better than another person.  We just can’t seem to set it all aside, no matter how hard we try.

And as for the second command, let me tell you, there are people out there who have made me so angry, I can not imagine ever loving them.

But, John reminds us that we don’t have to do any of this on our own. The Spirit has been given to us to guide us … to remind us … to challenge us … to convict us … and to help us love without question, without limitation.  We can have confidence because of the Spirit that is within us.

June 19 - 1 John 3:16-20. Actions

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


June 19 - 1 John 3:16-20. Actions

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 and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

If you tell me that you love me, then turn around and gossip about me to your friends, I’m not going to ever trust that fact again. If you tell me you are a Christian, yet act unlovingly to any person, I’m really not going to trust that fact.  If you tell me you are generous, yet horde your money and don’t offer to help those in need, I’m going to simply nod my head and never count on you.

We want people to listen to what we say, but not pay attention to our actions.

If we ask our children to behave themselves responsibly, but they see us flipping off other drivers, or cursing at customer service people on the telephone, or short-tipping waitstaff or hear us badmouthing their teachers or other authority figures in their lives; these children will never live up to what we have asked them to be.  They will live up to exactly what we portray to them in our actions.

Love is not something that can simply be spoken … it must be shown.  When my father told me he loved me on the telephone or in a letter, I had a lifetime of knowing that he had shown me love when I was in his presence.

This is one of those very powerful statements: Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.

Let our love be shown. Every day. To every person – no matter their political leaning, their financial status, their color, their gender, their lifestyle.  We do NOT get to choose whom we love.  We love simply because God first loved us.  Everything else is set aside when it comes to love.  Everything.

And if we can’t show them that we love them, John tells us that God’s love is not in us.  Do you understand that?  We have to show that we love.  We have to show everyone – whether or not we agree with them or like them or fear them.  We have to show love.

How will you change your actions today?  How will you change your behavior tomorrow?  How will you show love to the unlovely?

June 18 - 1 John 3:11-15. The World

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


June 18 - 1 John 3:11-15. The World

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

One lesson I learned from my mother was that if it seemed everyone around me was wrong and I was the only one who was right, I might want to step back and look at the situation again.  There was every possibility that the majority was right and I was in the wrong.  That’s been a useful lesson throughout the years, but it doesn’t apply in a case like this.

Another lesson I learned from her was that sometimes the people you most want to impress aren’t going to like you because they’re jealous of you.  For a little girl in elementary school, it was difficult to be smart and well-liked by the teachers – especially when your class only has 23 people in it.  Half of that class were boys and they all liked me fine – they weren’t competing with me for anyone’s attention.  Out of the half that were girls, half of them were friends with me, but they weren’t the popular girls. That clique of girls was impossible to break into.  It got worse as we grew older.  But, mom made sure that when I got home from school, I knew I was loved and I was respected.

Those two lessons sometimes seem as though they are at odds. But, if you look at the first lesson, the majority vote changes when you’re standing with God.  If you love as He tells you to love, it doesn’t matter if the world hates you or if they disagree with you.  When God is involved … that’s always the correct side to be standing on.

In looking at the second lesson … that one actually lines right up with John’s words.  Sometimes people are simply going to be mean.  They’re like jealous, petty little girls who don’t want to see you living in a right relationship with someone as big and amazing as God.  They’ll do anything they can to hurt you during the day.  Fortunately, our support system is even stronger than what I had with Mom.

We should love one another … no matter what the world says.  It might seem like it’s difficult, like everyone is against us, but when we have God on our side, He’s also got our backs.

June 17 - 1 John 3:7-10. Righteous

Monday, June 18, 2012


June 17 - 1 John 3:7-10. Righteous

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

What does righteousness mean to you?

What does doing right mean to you?

Who are the sinners that you find yourself surrounded by?

Can you identify the children of God or the children of the devil?

I write these words and know that it is me who is the sinner.

No. I can’t identify who belongs to God or the devil. Because sometimes those who do good work in the world, go home and beat the hell out of their wives and children. Those who go to church every Sunday steal a little from their workplace every day.  It just isn’t that easy anymore and every time I think I have it right, I find out that I’m all wrong.

I can’t stand in judgment of people around me.

The one thing I can see and the one thing I can judge is how we treat each other.

Doing right starts by loving each other … being righteous is found in love.

We can’t limit it to those with whom we surround ourselves, or those who are safe, or those who do things the way we like to do things or those who go to church. We can’t limit it at all.

Loving our brother and sister … Jesus said we were to love our neighbor … and by neighbor, he meant everyone.

That’s where we find righteousness.  In love.

June 16 - 1 John 3:4-6. Lawlessness

Saturday, June 16, 2012


June 16 - 1 John 3:4-6. Lawlessness

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

When you read the first sentence did your imagination take you to the wild, wild west? When I think of lawlessness, I think of Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, the James gang and so many others I read about when I was a kid. It seemed as if the only thing standing between good and evil on the prairie was a strong lawman and his gun.

However, if I let my imagination go a little further, I wonder about Jesus showing up in the middle of one of those shoot-outs; standing in the dusty street as the onlooker’s mouths dropped open in shock. Would his appearance startle the gunmen, causing their trigger finger to twitch? Would he stop the bullet in mid-air?  Would the outlaw drop to his knees while Jesus stood beside the lawman with his hand on a shoulder, offering him support?  What about the outlaw’s family?

All of the good stories have a family ready to take revenge against the lawman and break their family member out of jail.  They ride into town with their guns a-blazing and their horses stirring up the dust as they dance and prance. They frighten the women and children, who hide behind closed doors, they threaten the strong men of the community.  All of this happens so that they can continue robbing the trains and banks, stealing from local merchants and generally doing evil wherever they go.

We live in a lawless society. We live as a lawless society.  And this isn’t new to God. He isn’t surprised by it at all.  Jesus did show up … right in the middle of a gunfight.  He stopped the bullet and took it Himself so that no one need die.

June 15 - 1 John 3:1-3. Children

Friday, June 15, 2012


June 15 - 1 John 3:1-3. Children

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

For most of us, the one time in our lives when we were able to be carefree was when we were children. Our parents paid the bills and planned our schedules.  They encouraged us, supported us, showed up at all our events and even made sure we were there on time.  They worried about getting the laundry done, putting food on the table, ensuring the house was clean enough for guests.  They made sure we felt safe so we could sleep through the night and helped us care for our health issues.

When we were sick or frightened, they taught us to pray and they prayed for us.  They introduced us to the world and helped us explore new places and meet new people.  We got to be children. When we were dirty, they helped us get clean. When we were naughty, they disciplined us. They taught us to read and sent us to school to learn.

The responsibilities that we had were managed by our parents, who helped us grow up so we could take on more and more.  But, while we were children … we were children.  We got to be children because our parents loved us.

(Please know that I understand there are many of you who didn’t receive this blessing. I don’t know what to say to you except that I’m so sorry and wish it could have been different for you. I pray that you find ways to discover the child inside.)

As God’s children, we get to enjoy that same type of life.  We think that we have to work so hard at being His child, when all we really have to do is allow Him to be our parent. He wants nothing but good for us, so if He sets the boundaries or He sets out expectations, we can be confident that it will be good.

When our parents were raising us, they had no idea what we would become as we grew up and out of their direct responsibility. We didn’t know either, we just had confidence something would happen for us.  We don’t know what we will be like as Christians living within God’s will either. But, God does.

It is good for me to consider being a child again and knowing that someone who loves me more than I will ever know wants me to be happy and successful, joyful and filled with peace.

June 14 - 1 John 2:28-29. Confident

Thursday, June 14, 2012


June 14 - 1 John 2:28-29. Confident

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

I know that many people have loved the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye, but I’ll be honest with you, though the story is intriguing and mysterious, it has done a terrible disservice to Christianity.

Rather than looking forward with great expectation to the return of Christ, too many people are frightened by it. Rather than having confidence, people are fearful of their own failure in the face of His coming back.

The Gospels were not written to tell people how awful they are, but were written to share the Good News of Jesus Christ so that everyone might come to know Him and enter into a close relationship with God.

When I was in high school, there was a series of movies based on the Revelation that scared the bejeebus out of me.  I remember seeing a Christian girl (in one of the movies) getting her head lopped off by a guillotine because she wouldn’t take the mark of the beast. In the end, what happened to those who weren’t Christians wasn’t any better.  To be honest, the entire thing was horrific and not very edifying.  But, it was believed that scaring people into being Christians was better than them not being Christian.

The only problem was, when the end of the world wasn’t right around the corner, fear tactics Christianity failed.  People recognized that they weren’t going to die and went on with their lives, not worrying too much about Christ’s return and not thinking too much about their relationship with God.

While negative reinforcement can establish habits in our lives, it doesn’t change our hearts. John wants us to stand before Jesus at his return confident and unashamed.  We can’t be that if deep down in our hearts we resent the way we came to know him.  We can only face Him with confidence if we are in full agreement with Him that life is better and filled with joy and hope because we know Him.

June 13 - 1 John 2:26-27. Anointed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


June 13 - 1 John 2:26-27. Anointed.

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

The anointing the John writes of here is that which signifies holiness or separation which causes us to belong to God.

The holiness that Jesus gave to us is real. We are made holy through him and it is only in holiness that we can approach God.

God called his people to be separate from the world … not necessarily to separate themselves from the world, but to be different …  to be holy when the rest of the world insists on being sinful and far apart from God.

Jesus Christ came to earth to teach us how to be holy, to be like God, to continually strive for a relationship with God, no matter what.

He came to earth to offer Himself as the atonement for our sins so that we have the opportunity to understand and know what holiness is.

Jesus Christ anointed each one of us … He made us holy.

June 12 - 1 John 2:24-25. Beginnings

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


June 12 - 1 John 2:24-25. Beginnings

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

When I was young and first fell in love with Jesus, I was a Jesus geek. I carried my Bible everywhere, I read it all the time; I wrote notes in it, love notes to God in the flyleaf, thoughts in the margins. I loved loving Jesus.

Then time passed and I got busy with life. College came and I was surrounded by a lot of people who didn’t love Jesus like I did. I got busy with them.  We moved away from the church where we had all fallen in love with Jesus together and into a church where they simply didn’t care whether he was part of their lives or not.

Life happened.  I never, ever lost my love for Jesus, but I certainly quit showing it to everyone and sometimes I wondered if it had ever been as real as I thought it had been.  Maybe all of those feelings were just part of adolescence and weren’t really going to be part of my adult life.

Revelation 2:4-5a says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”

It is never too late to fall head over heels in love with Jesus again. It is never too late to be a Jesus geek, to carry your Bible everywhere, to write notes in your Bible in bright and wild colors.

What you learned when you first met Jesus is still within you.  Remember that.  Do those things you did at the very beginning.

June 11 - 1 John 2:20-23. Truth

Monday, June 11, 2012


June 11 - 1 John 2:20-23. Truth

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

You know the truth.

I hate that.  Sometimes it is so much easier to admit to ignorance than it is to admit to sin.  But, here’s the deal.  We know the truth.  Even if we haven’t read the Bible, we know what is right to do and what is wrong to do.

We know the truth.

C.S. Lewis’ famous trilemma stated that Jesus Christ couldn’t be a prophet or simply a good man.  He said too much about himself in the Gospels.  He was either a lunatic, a liar or the Lord.  Jesus didn’t leave much to our interpretation regarding His time on earth.

John clearly states here that if you deny that he is the Christ … the Messiah … the Lord, that makes you a liar.

You know the truth.

June 10 - 1 John 2:18-19. Antichrist

Sunday, June 10, 2012


June 10 - 1 John 2:18-19. Antichrist

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

This is an interesting look at the idea of the antichrist.  A lot of us believe that there will be one antichrist and that he (or she) will be a world leader and will become obvious in their plans to overtake the world.

This word is pretty much taken straight from the Greek – antichristos.  The person is an adversary of Christ and will show up in the last days. John is the only person in the New Testament who uses this word and he uses it only in two of his letters (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 7).  The word is not found in any of the Gospels, Paul doesn’t use it in his letters and, believe it or not, it is not found in the Revelation.

There are several references in Revelation to the false prophet – and apocalyptic traditions have built the assumption that these are one and the same. There is no reason to believe otherwise, but it was a little surprising to realize that the use of the term was limited to the first two letters from John.

John tells us that we are in the last hour, AND that the antichrists (plural, not singular) go out from us.  They were part of us and then left.  Antichrists are identified by their false teaching.  Now, Jesus and Paul spoke and wrote a great deal regarding false prophets. We must be wary.

The best way to guard against false teaching, whether it comes from within or without is to act as the Bereans in Acts 17:11.  It’s one of my favorite passages.  I’ll let you look it up!

June 9 - 1 John 2:15-17. The World

Saturday, June 9, 2012


June 9 - 1 John 2:15-17. The World

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Do you ever wonder why God put us in the world and made it so tantalizing and beautiful?  Why He set things before us that make us lust and be prideful?  If He loves us so much, why didn’t He just take us to heaven and allow us to live out our lives as we will when we die?

If we aren’t supposed to love the world, why does it even exist? I don’t know about you, but these things make no sense sometimes.

Then I think about the way most families raise their children.  As children, we experience bits and pieces of the world outside the safety of our home.  We get to choose whether or not to live according to the things our parents taught us.  Will we share?  Will we choose to respect authority? Will we speak only with nice words? Will we treat each other as we want to be treated?

Sure. Our parents could keep us home all the time and ensure that we obey the rules, making it easy for us to do so by providing all that we need and caring for us completely.  But, that doesn’t give us any sense of individuality or personhood away from them.  We don’t develop into people who can have a true relationship with them.

My mother insisted that we learn good table manners at home, so that when we were out in the world, we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves.  We know how to set a table properly, put the napkin in our lap, use only one hand at a time while keeping the other hand in our lap (unless of course we’re cutting something). We don’t slurp from our drinking glasses or talk with our mouths full.  We learned how to hold our utensils correctly and not to put our elbows on the table.  When we were young and ate in restaurants or at other people’s homes, these types of behavior would reflect back on my parents.  We would show the world that we were taught properly or improperly.

I believe that God loves each piece of our individuality, those parts of us that have come from the way we interact with the world.  At the same time, He did set down rules by which we should live because we are His children – not just because He said that we should do so, but because that’s how we show those around us that we are in His will.

The world is filled with things that we know better than to approach.  Our parents taught us how to live as if we were their children in the world and God teaches us how to live as if we are His children.

June 8 - 1 John 2:12-14. Known

Friday, June 8, 2012


June 8 - 1 John 2:12-14. Known

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. 

I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Who is John referring to with these distinctions … children, fathers, young men?  There’s actually quite a little bit of debate about this.  It doesn’t really matter.  John’s intention is that everyone who receives this letter understands why.  It is generally assumed that ‘dear children’ refers to the entire congregation, while ‘fathers’ might refer to elders (leaders of the congregation) or maybe to those who are no longer young.  ‘Young men’ might be referring to the deacons (secondary leaders of the congregation) or even to those who are of the younger generations.

Everyone needs to be reminded that our sins have been forgiven because of Jesus Christ and everyone needs to be reminded that we know the Father … and he knows us.

When John speaks of knowing him who is from the beginning, he refers back to the first verses of this letter (John 1:1-3).  He declares to us what was from the beginning, what he himself saw and touched.

The translation regarding the strength of the young men does not necessarily apply to their physical strength, but to the fact that the word of God is within them and gives them strength.  It is because of this, that they are able to overcome the evil one.

We all need reminders of those things that we know, the truths that we believe.  We know that we are forgiven because of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.  We know the Father.  He knows us.  We know that our strength comes from the word of God and we know that it is only in God’s strength we are able to overcome the evil one.

Do you need to be reminded of this today?

June 7 - 1 John 2:9-11. Darkness

Thursday, June 7, 2012


June 7 - 1 John 2:9-11. Darkness

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

There is not much worse than stumbling around in the darkness.  I’ve managed to stub a few toes because of that.

My father was truly a good man.  He despised swearing of any type.  One time I used the word ‘drat’ because I knew that anything much stronger than that would get me the ‘I’m disappointed in you’ lecture.  Well, whaddya know!  I got the lecture anyway. The first time he used the word ‘hell’ in a sermon, even if it was to describe a location, I believe the ears of every person in our family perked up.  We’d never heard that word out of his mouth!

He was building some extra bookshelves in his bedroom – simple things with 1 x 8s and bricks.  The bricks were all stacked up in the hallway while he and mom got things organized.  They ended up staying there for a few days because life got in their way.  Dad got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and because he didn’t want to wake us, he didn’t flip the light on.  His foot hit that stack of bricks and he let loose with a single word – DAMN!  That woke us all up and I don’t think anyone in the house breathed or moved until we heard him get to where he was going.  The bricks moved the next day.

Darkness blinds us.  We can’t make good decisions because we can’t see what is happening around us.  We stub our toes, we hurt ourselves, we frighten or hurt others.  Hatred blinds us.  We can’t make good decisions because we are so focused on the anger that surrounds us.  We hurt ourselves, we frighten or hurt others.

Love leads to light.  Walk towards the light!

June 6 - 1 John 2:7-8. New Command

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


June 6 - 1 John 2:7-8. New Command

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

John told us in 1 John 1:5-7 that God is light.  Now he begins to tell us what it means to live in that light.

So far, we have learned that we need to stop sinning and that we need to obey.  These things are important.  Even more important is that we are to imitate Jesus Christ and learn about love.  As we move through this letter from John, we will find that he emphasizes love more than anything else.

Love is as old as creation.  But, Jesus says, in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  This is the new command about which John is writing.

Have you seen the Oreos commercials lately where children bring plates of Oreos into stressful situations?  Everyone in the room lights up.  Their faces are transformed by the simple gift of these children.

I watch the same thing happen when small children come into a room filled with adults.  Everyone senses the love their parents have and everything stops for just a moment.  It happens with puppies and kittens, too.  Why? Because there is unconditional love that simply emanates from children and animals.  Love lights up a room.

I wrote about light on June 2 – Jesus brought light to a darkened world.  He is the true light and he is already shining … he shines through each of us.

Jesus’ love lights up the world.

June 5 - 1 John 2:3-6. Obey

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


June 5 - 1 John 2:3-6. Obey

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

There were a couple of words I was not very fond of while growing up.  Discipline was one – whether it meant that I had to be self-disciplined or it meant that Dad was going to discipline me.  Obey was the other.  I never had a problem doing things that were asked of me, but when someone demanded that I obey them, every hair on the back of my neck went straight up and though I may have done what was demanded of me (because I was a good girl), I muttered and snarled and made myself and everyone else around me miserable.

I guess I was able to discern, at a very young age, what a person’s intent with me was.  Asking me to do a task gave me responsibility and allowed me to respond, telling me to obey and complete a task stripped every notion of responsibility away from me and simply made me an automaton responding to another’s whims.

Now, on the other side of that, I consider my animals.  I expect obedience from them.  Sometimes it is so that I can ensure their safety.  One of my dachshunds, Bert, was quite obedient.  If I told him to STOP, he would drop where he was and wait until I got to him.  There were a couple of times that command was necessary to keep him out of traffic or some other dangerous (to him) situation.  Right now, I’d desperately love for TB (my cat) to obey when I tell him ‘No biting.’  It’s getting better, but I can never guarantee that he’ll do it at my command.

The Greek word used here doesn’t mean that we lose our responsibility and our options of response.  The word tereo means ‘to retain in custody, keep watch over, guard.’  Another translation of it might be ‘to cause something to continue’ and yet another is ‘to persist in obedience, keep, observe, fulfill, pay attention to.’  The NIV translates this word as both ‘keep’ and then later in the passage as ‘obey.’  

The one thing that stands out through all of that is that this is a continuous action.  We never cease living as Jesus did … or at least attempting to live as He did.  When we keep the Lord’s commands, when we obey what he has set down in his word, we find that we truly love the Lord.  We don’t respond because we have no other option, we respond because to do so ensures that we fall deeper and deeper and love with God.

June 4 - 1 John 2:1-2. Advocate

Monday, June 4, 2012


June 4 - 1 John 2:1-2. Advocate

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

It is so easy to focus on the sin and lose sight of the One who died for our sins.

John is fully aware that we can’t totally avoid sin – even if we want to.  He doesn’t want us to sin, he wants nothing more than for us to not need the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, but God knows that we live in a world filled with sin and ensured that there is something greater in our lives than that.

Jesus is our advocate.  This imagery is quite powerful.

Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is our accuser – standing before God and accusing us day and night.  All of our sins are constantly laid out in order to stop us from being made whole in the sight of God.  Over and over, our sins are spoken aloud by the accuser.

But, Jesus, our Advocate stands before God as well.  His blood, poured out on the cross for everyone, overcomes the accuser and sets aside every accusation.  Our sin is covered over by the Advocate.  Our sin is forgotten by God because Jesus Christ takes it away.  He is the atoning sacrifice.

June 3 - 1 John 1:8-10. Sin

Sunday, June 3, 2012


June 3 - 1 John 1:8-10. Sin

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Believe it or not, I have spoken to many people who believe that they don’t actually sin.  They will admit to making mistakes, but won’t admit to sinning.  They believe their lives are good, they are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given and sin isn’t part of that.

It seems that John is speaking to people just like that.

When I was in high school, I decided the only way for me to ensure I had asked forgiveness for my sins was to sit quietly at night and reflect on my day, moment by moment.  Every time I recognized a sin I had committed, I wrote it down.  Let me tell you, for a high school girl who was pretty innocent, I had an immense list by the end of each day.  I was appalled! How could I call myself a Christian and still be committing that many sins … every day!  Some of them were so out of control, I ended up writing the same sins down day after day.  It didn’t take long for me to set that task aside; it was much too painful and I spent more time beating myself up than I did actually praying.

Though I don’t spend time writing down my sins each day so I can ensure I miss nothing when asking forgiveness, I will never claim to be sinless.

In our relationship with God, it isn’t so much about the specific sins we commit, it is about setting them before God and asking forgiveness.

The world tries to tell us that each sin is immense … bigger than that long list I created.  God says all sin is the same in his eyes. All he wants us to do is bring it before him and ask forgiveness.  He is faithful.

June 2 - 1 John 1:5-7. Light

Saturday, June 2, 2012


June 2 - 1 John 1:5-7. Light

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)

“The city (the new Jerusalem) does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23)

These are such simple and basic concepts regarding the Lord, but sometimes we forget them.  

In 1991, Carol and I traveled with a friend to NYC over New Year’s to see the ball drop in Times Square.  We had a lot of fun seeing the sights – the Statue of Liberty, Macy’s, the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and even a Broadway show.  The main reason we were there, though was Times Square, New Year’s Eve.  We were trapped in the midst of millions of people, all hoping to get close enough to see that crystal ball fall at midnight and to celebrate the beginning of a New Year.

Hah!  We were so far back, it seemed as if we were looking at a falling star.  There was little definition to the ball itself and the crush of people around us nearly made us miss the entire thing.  But, that little ball lit up as it came down through a background of black night.  We could see the light, even though we were quite far from the actual ball. 

Light flows through darkness.

Jesus Christ brought light to a darkened world.  Everything on earth changed from that moment forward.  The impact of Christianity has been felt in every corner around the globe.  

We have a responsibility to that light … the world must see it through us.  No matter how far away we are ... our light will shine.

June 1 - 1 John 1:1-4. Joy

Friday, June 1, 2012


June 1 - 1 John 1:1-4. Joy

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

In the beginning was the Word … (John 1:1)

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory … (John 1:14)

The first letter that John wrote doesn’t begin like a letter.  If you look at his other two letters, those have obvious salutations.  2 John 1 says “The elder, to the chosen lady and her children …”  3 John 1 says “The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.”

This letter from John begins with a proclamation of truth about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  There was to be no doubt.  John himself, had seen the Word, had walked and talked with Him.  He had heard the words that the Lord spoke while he was on the earth.  He was present at the crucifixion and saw the Lord after the Resurrection.

The purpose of the Gospel is to spread the good news about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of humanity.  And when that happens, there is joy!

Jesus says, in John 15:10-11, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

In John 16:24, Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Joy … one of the greatest gifts of our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).  Joy shows up when the Holy Spirit does (Acts 13:52).  Joy comes from fellowship with other Christians (Philippians 2:2).

Joy will fill you to overflowing.  These words are intentionally used by John.  Proclaiming and writing about the good news brings great joy.  Joy is part of the Kingdom of God.  “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Jesus gave us everything so that his joy … unimaginable joy … will be in us and our joy will be complete.