Devotional Thought for Today – 02/22/2021

Christian, let God’s distinguishing love to you be a motive to you to fear Him greatly. He has put His fear in your heart, and may not have given that blessing to your neighbor, perhaps not to your husband, your wife, your child, or your parent. Oh, what an obligation should this thought lay upon your heart to greatly fear the Lord! Remember also that this fear of the Lord is His treasure, a choice jewel, given only to favorites, and to those who are greatly beloved. —John Bunyan

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love 1 John 4:18

1 John 4

Some of you who have followed my posts for a while may remember me saying the 1 John is my favorite book of the bible.  That is because of 1 John 1:3-4 One of the key verses (at least for me) in understanding fellowship with God and other believers. You can read a little about it in Part V of my series called Biblical Contentment.

Today, however, John is speaking on one main theme with two applications. The theme is LOVE, and he says to apply it by testing all the spirits v.1-6, that is be sure of all who claim to speak in Christ’s name for they may act all-loving and such but can be the devil in lamb’s clothing. Secondly, v.7-21, God is Love so we are to Love as God loves us.

Our text found towards the end of this part in the meat of the application v.11-19,  Beloved if God so loved us…because he first loved us. John in v.17 mentions that this Love is made perfect in us through the union with Christ. That this union makes our eternal status secure. 

Thus our text, There is no fear in love; a perfect union with Christ leaves no room for fear of our eternal state because but perfect love casteth out fear: Why because fear hath torment yet a TRUE BELIEVER has been fully and completely forgiven of their sins, and has nothing to fear. It is only the fake, the lukewarm, the Laodicean who wants to live in both worlds that have to fear because He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 

Is your relationship with God complete, or maybe better put mature today? Do you still have doubts or fears about your eternal state? We can daily FEAR GOD, that is as Bunyan said,  fear of the Lord is His treasure be in awe of His majesty, to have reverence for His mercy and thankfulness for His Grace. All the while not Fearing God’s judgment or wrath. 

TODAY’S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I pray that I would let the words of truth found in 1 John 4:18 settle in my heart. There are times in my life when I am very fearful. I know that when I am fearing things in life, I am not exhibiting trust in You. I pray that You would surround me in Your perfect love, where fear has no room and must be forced out of my mind and spirit. As I ponder Your love, I pray that I would experience the peace the passes understanding, whatever situation of life I am in help me to seek you first. And as I come to a deeper realization of the depth of Your amazing love for me, may I be used by You to love as I am loved. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adapted from:  https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/1-John/4/18

 


“What is the eternal state of the believer?”

“How can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die?”

Daily Devitonal – Before the Foundaton

Logos.com

JOHN 17


CONTEXT 

As many of you know our other ministry Faith Builders deals in foundations work quite a bit. So today’s bible verse was especially of interest to me. 

This is the last of Jesus’s prayers before he sets off for Gestenime. It is often addressed as the High Priestly Prayer.  The prayer can be broken down as  follows:

Christ begins by praying for Himself – v.1-6

Jesus prays for His followers –  v.6-19

Jesus expands His prayer to include all who will come to faith in Him – v.20-26

It is the final part v.20-26, which we will look at today, as it is most applicable to us today. 


BREAKDOWN

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  Jesus extends His prayer to not only those who have heard Him directly but those who will hear Him through the teachings of the Apostles and the Preaching of the Word of God. 

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  Christ prays for Unity of Faith,  so that those not yet saved may not be discouraged by disunity.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  Glory here has been misused to be said that Christ gave diety (even a smaller version) but that is falsely interpreting the Greek here.  Christ instead is saying the strength, the honor the ability to relay the Good News Gospel Message,  the Father gave me, I have passed on to them. 

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  Christ and His TRUE followers are one, this gives them the advantage that the world can never have. 

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. The doctrine of God’s Eternal Nature is clearly seen here as well as a glimpse of the doctrine of election.  God’s Grace has been extended to us from eternity past. Just when that was, can not be said the bible only refers to it in the manner above. 

25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  Jesus makes it clear those of the “world” know not God, but He does and the Apostles (and by context those that follow) know Him, His only begotten Son.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. Love, John later writes in 1 John 4:8, that God is Love. It is that Agape love, unconditional Love of a Father to Son, that Jesus declares will indwell His followers setting them apart from all mankind. 


APPLICATION

Prayer is always a good thing. Prayer should not always be about asking for something for yourself or others. Sometimes it should just be about acknowledging God’s Greatness:

Acknowledge God’s Eternality 

 

Particularly in my adorations, I must acknowledge:

That he is an eternal God, immutable, without beginning of days or end of life or change of time.

You are the King of ages, immortal, invisible. 1 Timothy 1:17(ESV)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are GodPsalm 90:2(ESV) the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8(ESV)

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27(ESV)

You are God and do not change; therefore I am not consumedMalachi 3:6(ESV)

Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? Habakkuk 1:12(ESV) You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who does not faint or grow weary, whose understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28(ESV)

Rejoice in Sorrow

Image result for II COR. 6:10 clipartSOURCE

In a world that is driven by monetary and notoriety being the formula for  success, the bible has a completely different take on what it means to be successful for a believer.  Paul here is in the middle of a discourse (2 Corinthians 6:3-13) about the character of his ministry, which when one reads these verses seems more like a miserable hardship. But Paul’s focus as he writes is not of the hardships but the success those hardships bring. This is in direct conflict to what the world teaches us is any where near the means of being successful today. – Mike

Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible (2cor 6:10)

As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; appearing to others as persons drowned in griefs and sorrows, yet we are always rejoicing in God, {Habakkuk 3:17,18} and in the testimony of a good conscience, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

As poor, yet making many rich; in outward appearance poor, having no abundance of the good things of this life; yet making many rich in knowledge and grace, God by us dispensing to them the riches of his grace.

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things as having nothing, no houses, no lands, no silver or gold, Acts 3:6; yet being as well satisfied and contented, as if all things were ours; as well satisfied with that little which we have, as the men of the world are with their abundance; possessing all things in Christ, though having little in the creature.

JFB Commentary Verse 10

The “as” no longer is used to express the opinion of his adversaries, but the real state of him and his fellow laborers.

making many rich — Spiritually (1 Corinthians 1:5), after the example of our Lord, who “by His poverty made many rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

having nothing — Whatever of earthly goods we have, and these are few, we have as though we had not; as tenants removable at will, not owners (1 Corinthians 7:30).

possessing all things — The Greek implies firm possession, holding fast in possession (compare 1 Corinthians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 3:22). The things both of the present and of the future are, in the truest sense, the believer‘s in possession, for he possesses them all in Christ, his lasting possession, though the full fruition of them is reserved for the future eternity.

 

A Prayer in View of the Brevity of Life

everyday-prayersFebruary 16

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4: 13– 15)

Heavenly Father, you have made us not for “fifteen minutes in the spotlight” but for an eternity of glorifying you and enjoying you forever. As this day begins, I praise you for such a hope and future— a future that’s already begun for us in Jesus. Our eternal life began the day you “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 2: 6 NIV), to the praise of your glorious grace (Eph. 1: 6).

Yet, Father, these verses in James remind me that our life span in this body isn’t very long at all. We’re more like a brief mist than an aging oak. I feel this more than ever, and I’m both sobered and gladdened by the thought.

Here’s my question and prayer: How would you have me live the rest of my “misty moment”? Only you know when I’ll “vanish” from this body. Only you know what’ll happen tomorrow. I’ll keep on planning, but it’s you who orders my steps (Prov. 16: 9).

In light of the gospel, what should I spend more time doing and less time doing? What have I been putting off that really matters to you? With whom do I need to spend more face-to-face and heart-to-heart time? Who am I still holding hostage by the chains of my unforgiveness and bitterness? What am I allowing to bug me that isn’t all that “bugworthy”? Where should I invest more of your money and less of my worries?

Father, I praise you that I’m not going to merit any more of your affection by doing a better job with any of these things. None of these questions has a scorecard attached to it. It’s Jesus’ performance and record I boast in, but your grace frees me to ask the right questions and live a freer, more intentional life. Make my “gospel bucket list” for me. I pray in Jesus’ matchless and magnificent name. Amen.

Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (p. 61). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A Prayer in Praise of the Holy Spirit

everyday-prayersFor those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Rom. 8: 5– 9)

Heavenly Father, I’m particularly grateful today for the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Though I don’t understand everything he’s up to, these things I gladly affirm today . . .

Just as assuredly as Jesus stood outside of Lazarus’s tomb and said, “Come forth,” you sent the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to my heart, and I came out of the tomb of my sin and death. How I praise you for your sovereign goodness and power. Unless you had breathed new life into my spirit, I would have never, could have never believed the gospel.

When you raised me up in Jesus, you baptized me with the Holy Spirit, making me a member of your family and Christ’s bride. You sealed me for eternity by the Spirit, marking me as your very own possession. You sent the Spirit to live as a permanent resident in my heart— to constantly preach the gospel to my heart, convict me of sin, make me like Jesus, and tell me that I am your beloved child.

According to the truth of the gospel in your Word, I’m already controlled by the Holy Spirit. I am no longer controlled by my sinful nature. You’ve given me all the gifts of the Spirit I need to live as a functioning part of the church and a caring servant in your kingdom. You gave the Spirit to me as the firstfruits and guarantee of the full inheritance of the salvation that Jesus completely earned for me. What a generous and loving God you are!

Therefore, I acknowledge my desire to be more fully and consistently filled with the Holy Spirit, to walk according to the Spirit, to keep in step with the Spirit, to set my mind on what the Spirit desires. All to which I say, “Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a salvation!” I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (p. 40). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.