Jesus Calling: October 19thCome to Me with your defenses down, ready to be blessed and filled with My Presence. Relax, and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me. You have nothing to hide and nothing to disclose because I know everything about you already. You can have no other relationship like this one. Take time to savor its richness basking in My golden Light.
One of the worst consequences of the Fall is the elaborate barriers people erect between themselves and others. Facades abound in the world, even in My Body, the church. Sometimes, church is the last place where people feel free to be themselves. They cover up with Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles. They feel relief when they leave because of the strain of false fellowship. The best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence at church. Let your primary focus be communing with Me, worshiping Me, glorifying Me. Then you will be able to smile at others with My Joy and love them with My Love.
1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)
Living in the Light
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
Additional insight regarding 1st John 1:5,6: Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable. Darkness represents what is sinful and evil. The statement "God is light" means that God is perfectly holy and true and that he alone can guide us out of the darkness of sin. Light is also related truth in that light exposes whatever exists, whether it is good or bad. In the dark, good and evil look alike; in the light, they can clearly be distinguished. Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, sin cannot exist in the presence of a holy God. To claim that we belong to God but then go out and live for ourselves is hypocrisy. Christ will expose and judge such deceit.
Additional insight regarding 1st John: 1:6: In this scripture, John is saying that no one can claim to be a Christian and still live in evil and immorality. We can't love God and court sin at the same time.
Additional insight regarding 1st John 1:7: How does Jesus' blood cleanse us from all sin? In Old Testament times, believers symbolically transferred their sins to an animal, which they then sacrificed (see a description of this ceremony in Leviticus 4). The animal died in their place to pay for their sins and allow them to continue living in God's favor. God graciously forgave them because of their faith in him and because they obeyed his commandments concerning the sacrifice. Those sacrifices anticipated the day when Christ would completely remove sin. Real cleansing from sin came with Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29: "Look! The Lamd of God who takes away the sin of the world!"). Sin, by its very nature, brings death - this is a fact as certain as the laws of gravity. Jesus did not die for his own sins; he had none. Instead, by a transaction that we may never fully understand, he died for the sins of the world. When we commit our life to Christ and thus identify ourselves with him, his death becomes ours. He has paid the penalty for our sins and his blood has purified us. Just as Christ rose from the grave, we rise to a new life of fellowship with him (Romans 6:4: "For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ as raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.").
Exodus 33:14 (NLT)
14 The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Additional insight regarding Philippians 4:8: What we put into our mind determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Do you have problems with impure thoughts and daydreams? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, internet, books, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God's Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.
Additional insight regarding Philippians 4:9: It's not enough to hear or read the Word of God or even to know it well. We must all put it into practice. How easy it is to listen to a sermon and forget what the preacher said. How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently. How easy it is to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning. Exposure to God's Word is not enough. It must lead to obedience.