Category Archives: 1 John

How is your prayer life holding up during the Covid-19 crisis?

“My purpose in writing is simple; that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he is listening. And if we are confident that he is listening, we know that what we have asked for is as good as ours. 1 John 5:13-15 (The Message)

Are you praying that the Covid-19 pandemic will end? Why hasn’t it, then?

I imagine Elijah and Baal’s prophets: “Maybe, you could pray a little louder,” taunts Elijah, “maybe, he’s taking a nap.”

If you have been praying that God would end the pandemic, He has not chosen to grant that to you.

Are you discouraged as a result? Do you wonder about His hearing ability?

Deciding how God should do something is folly. His Ways are different than our ways. I have heard it said: “If we knew what God knows, we would understand why He does what He does.”

But of course, we do not.

You get the sense of the frustration in Psalms where David (usually) is lamenting something and wondering about God.

For us to behave similarly, is not a bad thing. It shows that we care, and it shows that we know where the Ultimate Source is.

I have Christ in me. He wants to live through me. He wants to love me and others. Wouldn’t successful prayer be an extension of those things?

I have a Source within me that knows what I should be doing…..and asking for. That relationship must be optimized.





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If you are a believer, why are you still trying to work your way into God’s favor?

“As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us; by the Spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:24 (The Message)

Do you have to pray? Memorize Scripture? Tithe? Etc…?

If you are a believer and you must do such things, my question is, “Why?”

Could you NOT do those things and still be acceptable to God?

If you are not sure, then you need to hear this: You were a sinner. Jesus Christ died taking your sins on Himself. He received the punishment your sins warranted. When God raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus was free of our sins and so were you. When Adam sinned, God’s perfect relationship with him ended. God could no longer live in Adam or any of his descendants (that’s us) because of sin. By Jesus taking away your sins (past/present/future) you become sinless in His eyes and He can now live inside you as He did in Adam before he sinned. God now finds you completely acceptable to Him.

Can you do things to “upgrade” or “enhance” your acceptability in God’s sight? No! Your sins are gone. You are as clean in His sight as you will ever be.

If someone told you that God accepts them because they have done this-or-that, you would be quick to note that they can’t work their way to God. Yet, as a believer, are you trying to work your way into His good graces by doing your own version of Christian this-and-that?

What if you did not pray or read/study the Bible, would you feel guilty? You need to examine that guilt. It is not coming from God. It’s from Satan. He wants you to feel inadequate, discouraged, and frustrated. God has already accepted You. He’s in you and He loves you. He does not come and go based on what you do. Live with that assurance.

Understand that praying and Bible study are not bad things. But they are not the measure of our acceptability to God. That acceptability has already been taken care of.



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I can’t keep doing that

“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.”  1 John 5:18.

The voice inside my head that says, “Don’t worry about it,” is not God’s voice.

I am either hearing God or Satan.

Because God is keeping me “safe,” I gain the ability to recognize voices.

As I read the Bible, I learn to know God better.  Jesus is God.  I can read and learn how He behaved and what He had to say.

Because Satan “whispers,” I can confuse the tone for someone who cares.  Satan doesn’t really “care” about me.  He knows that his future in hell is a certainty and his goal is to take as many of us with him as he can.  He hates God, because God has overcome him.

This is a line from a commentary on this verse: “The Christian has an active enemy, but he also has a watchful guardian.”

My part is to maintain a tight relationship with God.  To walk without ceasing with Him.  To listen for His voice.  To hear His Voice so often that I can separate it from the voice of the enemy.

Conclusion: I must lean in to hear Him and then do what He asks.



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Sin is costly

“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.” 1 John 5:16-17.

Sin is a relation breaker.

Today verses take sin’s consequence even to a higher level. Sin is an affront to God.

I mess up with someone in my midst.  I realize my mistake (sin), apologize, and move on.  If my mess-ups become regular habit, there may come a breaking point.  That “someone in my midst” may opt to permanently separate from me.

That sequence happens with God.  When believers insist privately/publicly that they belong to Him, their behavior should reflect the relationship.  When it doesn’t, there can be ultimate consequences.

Moses angered God.  God told him that he wouldn’t be going into the Promised Land.  Moses repented but God didn’t change His Mind………Moses died before the Promised Land was entered.

This is what the “sin unto death” is about.   God reaches the breaking point with us.  The same thing happened to Samson and Saul.  Their misdeeds led to God leaving them.

How about Ananias and Sapphira?  Their lies led their deaths.

I must analyze the way I live carefully.  Do I have high regard for iniquity in my life?  Am I ignoring His leading into, or out of, things?  God knows what’s going on. Sin has consequence.

Conclusion: My life must be straight and true before Him.  My sin has consequence.

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You do or you don’t

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12.

We’re talking about a life filled with God.

If my life is filled with God, I have the present and the future under His control.

I can’t see God and I can’t see what my after-life will be like.  It takes faith in Him in both instances.

I can indirectly see God in my surroundings.  I can see Him in people who love Him.

I can only imagine the after-life.  I know that all the terminal things of life will be changed.  All the physical issues will be no more.

If I have not brought God into my life, I have a troubled present and a worrisome future.

The Evil One takes pleasure in minimizing the consequences of a godless life.  “Things will get better.”  “God is love so He will find a place for you in heaven.”  All lies.  Apart from Him my present is rudderless and my future is heavenless.

The lines in today’s verse are VERY clear.  However, we live in a world that is sure that they can lawyer it out and end up with what they want.  “I’ve been a good person.”

Some of the local precincts vote in our church.  Some folks are called “Chreasters,” because they show up at church on Christmas and Easter.  Maybe Election Day could be another time they attend church?

My life must be lived remembering that I have eternal life.  My future is set, and my present is in His Hands.  I must live accordingly.

Conclusion: I must live as a person set for life and death.

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He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

“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.”  1 John 5:3-4.

An older kid is carrying a younger kid on his back to school.

“Isn’t that a heavy load you’re carrying,” someone asked.

“No,” he replied, “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

Today’s verses have the word “burdensome” in the middle.

Are God’s commands “burdensome?”

I suppose, in some ways, they aren’t.  Be nice to your neighbor.  His walk needs shoveling so you have the time and you do it.  Nothing burdensome there.

However, I can’t help but think of when obeying God might be considered burdensome.  You don’t have the time.  The neighbor has been a pain in the neck.  You’re tired.

William Barclay in “The Letters of John and Jude,” explained why a believer is not burdened in obeying God’s commands: When I attempt to carry out God’s commands, I am assured of having Him alongside.  Also, I am eager to do what He wants because I love Him.

I think back of a time in my life where I was trying to upgrade my prayer life.  I felt that there were things interfering with my interaction with God.

“Show me what they are, Father,” I asked.

Things came to mind.

“Oh Lord, how embarrassing it would be to do that,” I answered.

I waited for the Lord to move on……….He didn’t.

I knew that correcting a mistake from the past would be “burdensome.”  How would I do it?  I asked God to help me. Mistakes were apologized for and my interactions with God were the better for it.

Isn’t it amazing what we do when we love someone?  No “counting the cost” in a love relationship.  “What will it take to maintain it,” is all we care about.

I love God.  He gives me plenty of ways to show that I love Him.  Primarily, it’s doing what He wants.  That’s why I read His Word.  That is why I try to have an unceasing relationship with Him. I want to know/do what makes Him happy.

Conclusion: Loving God is not burdensome.


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How are you doing on that love thing?

“For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”  1 John 4:20.

The love of God, that I claim to have, is directly connected to how I love those in my midst.

How easily I say that I love God.

If I try that on someone in my midst; “I love you,” they could easily tell me that it isn’t obvious to them.

Today’s verse tells me that the actuality of love is lived out in my midst.  My claims of loving God are not valid if those in my midst are not getting loved by me.

I guess it’s just dawning on me that every interaction is an opportunity to live out the love of God that I claim to have.

I also feel attacked by the blandness of my expressions of love for God.  I must keep coming up with praise for Him because He blesses me in so many ways.  The opportunities aren’t lacking, it’s my voicing them that is.  Then things evolve into the taking-for-granted level.  The same degeneration happens with those in my midst.

There’s work to be done!

Conclusion: My love for God/others is not where it should be.  Time to love right.

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Afraid of the future?

“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.”  1 John 4:18.

I must not fear the ending.

If I die, there will be judgment.  How will I do on Judgment Day?

When I owned up to being a sinner and realized that there would be consequences for my sinfulness, I was afraid.  And rightly so.

When I realized that God had done something about my sins and their consequences, I was interested in knowing more.

When I believed that Jesus had died specifically for my sins, I accepted what He had done for me.

When I realized that there was more than sin clearance available from God, I wanted more.

When I brought His Holy Spirit into my life to run it, I enabled Him to guide me in rightly representing Him.

Fear?  My future is in His Care.  He is with me now and He will be with me in the after-life.

Judgment Day will be a test I am certain to ace.  Why?  My sins and their consequences have been taken care of.  Before a holy and righteous God, I stand completely in the clear!  Hallelujah.

Conclusion: I must live now with His overwhelming Love overflowing everywhere I can reach.


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Do you hear what I hear?

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”  1 John 4:5.

The closer I am to God, the better my “hearing” will be.

I am to be on guard regarding my own words.  Do I sound like someone representing God?

How will my representation reveal itself?  I will know Him well enough to inject His Thoughts into conversations.

I need to have His Truths stored up.  Those Truths must leave the pages that I so faithfully read and become part of my thinking.

Someone was here the other day that feared the future.  I needed to have words from His Wisdom available…….and didn’t.  I thought afterward that I wanted to represent Him but couldn’t muster His Words confidently and so I said nothing.  It was a shameful moment for me.

And what have I done about it?  I continue to read and write but do I internalize His Word?

The beauty of knowing His Words is that when inserted into life’s interactions they are His Words not mine.

If what I say is rejected, it is really God’s Word that is being rejected.  The rejecter’s issue is ultimately with God, not me.

In numerous places in the Bible, I am promised that the world (Devil) is going to be offended by God’s Words.  Do I have His Words harbored enough in me that I could even “offend” anyone in my use of them?

Conclusion: I must fill my mind with His Truths so that His Words are in my interactions.

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“God is not pleased with me.”

Beware of The Condemner

“If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20.

How inadequate I am!

I get it wrong.  I misrepresent Him.  How can He care for someone like me?

I beat myself to death, and I have an accomplice in the process…..The Condemner.  Satan, himself.

That still small voice is NOT always the Holy Spirit.  Satan has access to my thinking.

Satan knows what I’m about.  He wants to influence me.  He desperately wants to limit me as I try to please God.

My neighbor is not (yet) a believer.  I ask God for his salvation.  I share the Gospel with him.  He is not (yet) a believer.  The Condemner is all over me because of it.  He wants to “help” me.  “Leave him alone.”  “Do it this way.”  “You’re a failure.”  “God is disappointed with you.”  And on and on he goes.

My comfort comes from today’s verse: “God is greater than our hearts.”  God knows my intentions.  God knows that I want my neighbor saved.  He knows that I pray for my neighbor regularly.  He knows that I am willing to follow His lead.

Satan can condemn me and my efforts, but God measures me by His Own standard.  If I come out wanting by His measures than I need to make corrections, BUT if not, then I need to live knowing that my neighbor’s salvation is in His Hands and for that I can rejoice.

What I’ve learned is that I spend too much time magnifying my failures and not enough time magnifying what being a child of God means.

I need to recognize that The Condemner has a still small voice.  His words are not God’s Words.

If my heart is right with God than I can reject the insinuations of The Condemner and move on in joy.

Conclusion: I must give my all to Him and then enjoy where that takes me.


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