I read this poem this earlier this week in one of my favorite devotional books, Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman. It’s from Sept. 25th.He was better to me than all my hopes; He was better than all my fears; He made a bridge of my broken works, And a rainbow of my tears. The stormy waves that marked my ocean path. Did carry my Lord on their crest; When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march I can lean on his love for the rest.
I read a great quote this morning while reading or actually listening to the audio book Rediscovering Holiness by J.I. Packer
Think of Jesus each time you read your bible. Think of him asking you page by page and chapter by chapter what you have just learned about the need, nature, method and fact of the grace he brings and about the path of loyal discipleship that he calls you to tread. That is the way to profit from the bible. Then when your reading of the written word feeds into your relationship with the living word Jesus does the bible operate as the channel of light and life that God means it to be.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,– 2 Peter 1:3-5
Something keeps telling me that God’s promises are meant to be more than a distant vision, more than a beautiful work of the heavens that we can only gaze on from a distance and admire. Something tells me his promises are more than ideology but are intended to be realized.
Some of God’s promises seem this way to me at times. They are quite wonderful and extraordinary. They stand out like a bright shining star placed high in the night sky above me and captivate my attention. My eyes keep coming back to them, to enjoy them, study them and take them in; but as beautiful and as real as they are, that is as far as my possession seems to come. I have yet to pull them down from the heavens and make them mine. They are too far away, too good to be true, outside my realm, outside my reality, but always within my vision high above my head calling me to look up.
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. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete – 1 John 1:3-4
Why does John and the other apostles find it so important to tell us what they have seen and heard regarding their interaction with Jesus? So important that they would constantly risk their lives and eventually lay down their lives to make sure we heard their testimony?
All the apostle except for one, John suffered violent deaths. They had an easy method of escape, simply recant and renounce their testimony. However, all of the apostles choose martyrdom, intense horrific torture rather than recant their testimony. Both Andrew and his brother Peter were crucified, with Peter being crucified upside down. The apostle James, John’s brother was beheaded as was Mattias & Paul. Bartholomew was skinned alive and later beheaded. Although the apostle John, who wrote this book, is believed to be the only apostle who died a normal death from old age, it wasn’t from a lack of trying to kill him. He too faced horrific torture but miraculously survived being boiled alive in oil. Since this didn’t kill him, he was then imprisoned on an island.
Why? What was so important and valuable to them that not just one of them but all of them would endure such suffering and not just once but continuously? This wasn’t a onetime event for them, but a chosen lifestyle of suffering for a message to be heard by us and for a person to be made known to us.
…we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. – 1 John1:2
“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him.” – Psa. 103:15-17
Everything in our life is temporary and passing. Our life, our jobs, our relationships, our joys, our sorrows and afflictions, our desires, all our possessions that eventually rust or break – it’s all temporary. We live in a world of constant needs with only temporary solutions. We are never satisfied for long. We are never fulfilled. We always hunger for more – more wealth, more power, more knowledge, more possessions, more meaning. We are constantly deluded thinking if only we can get to the next level, the next meal, the next possession, the next relationship we will be happy and be finally complete, but completion always eludes us, because all we ever have to fill ourselves with is well…temporary.Continue Reading
Has Jesus split your world into two since he has entered your life? Has he turned your world completely upside down? This does tend to be the mark of his presence and of his power when he enters into life. The earth quakes, the wind tears, the rocks shatter, and the sky thunders at his presence. How much more so do our lives and hearts as he enters them? 1Kings 19:11-12, Isa 29:6, Matt 28:2, Matt 27:54
The presence of Christ in our life has extraordinary effects in our heart and in our lives. The silent begin to speak, the possessed and addicted are set free, the blind see, the deaf hear. The proud are humbled, the humbled are lifted up. The weak are made strong, the strong are made weak. The coward is made courageous, the broken are healed, the rebellious bow low in submission, the crooked go straight, the thief learns to give, the murder learns to lay his life down instead of attacking, the unloving become loving, the ignorant fools become wise men and teachers of men. The insane become theologians declaring the glory of God. The lonely are set in families. The lion lies down with the lamb.Continue Reading
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. – 1 John 1:2
What was it that made Jesus so extraordinary? It was the eternal life he held within him. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4,9) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. (John 5:26) As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will not hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. (John 6:57, 35) “…the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. (1 John 1:2)
The life within Christ was no ordinary life. It was eternal life.Continue Reading
That Which Was From the Beginning… 1 John 1:1
The Apostle John starts out his letter in 1 John emphasizing both the deity and humanity of Christ together because we can have no relationship, no fellowship with God, apart from confessing that Christ was indeed the Son of God.
This confession, this whole hearted conviction that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, is the first step towards God, because no one who denies the Son has the Father but whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23) Whoever hates me hates my Father also. (John 15:23) To reject Jesus as the Son of God, is to reject God the Father and to call Him a liar; It was God Himself who claimed Jesus as his own Son, (Matthew. 3:17, Matthew 17:5) who sent Jesus into the world, (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10) and who Jesus represented in the world. (John 14:9-11, John 16:28) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-23)