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Posted By Nan

1 John 4:4-6
For those who were overwhelmed and frightened by the previous verses, John has some reassurance.
“You are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Amplified, verse 4.
So do not be afraid. Things are not as hopeless as they seem. You belong to God through Jesus. Jesus has already defeated and overcome the agents of the antichrist because He lives in us and He is greater than the one who is in the world (satan).
John then continues to identify the people who belong to the world as being those who are agents of the antichrist. They are from the world and therefore the world listens to them. This is true on so many levels. I was reminded of this on Sunday when Australia celebrated its national day. I feel uncomfortable about celebrating this day the way the media, businesses and government agencies want us to celebrate. To me their celebrations are about commercialisation and excessive patriotism that replaces God as our source of worship. I feel the same disquiet when I see excessive displays of nationalistic fervour in other countries. I am happy to love my country and feel proud of it, but I also don’t like things about it and feel ashamed of it sometimes. That is the way life is. For me, patriotism is being used by many who profess they are Christians to distract from God and His Kingdom and instead worship the idol of patriotism.
My opinion was not popular and I spent time praying to God about this. His reply was that these people were of the world (even the professed Christians) not of Him. He reminded me of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (John 17 especially verse 6). In that prayer Jesus prays for the disciples who God gave him “out of the world” who are not “of the world” just as Jesus is not of the world. If we follow Jesus we will always be at odds with the world. We do not belong to the world. The spirit of antichrist comes from the world so the world listens to it. We are not of the world, so we should not be listening to it. We should also not be trying to conform but rather listen to God and not collaborate in activities that God causes us to feel disquiet about. We should be more concerned about God’s opinion than our own. This conformity includes being coerced into collaborating in church activities and attitudes that are not of God and that we feel uncomfortable about.
In verse 6, John tells us that “We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognise, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognise) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.” Amplified.
We have the confidence that if we are working to know God then it is not impossible for us to recognise the difference between the Spirit of Truth (God) and the spirit of error (the antichrist).

 
Posted By Nan

After a break of a few weeks I am able to resume my blog. It has been a very trying, faith testing time. There has been a lot of stress and I have spent many prayer times begging God for help. In His love and wisdom He has always sent me help. Sometimes it was to direct me to a Bible verse to be reminded of His promises, other times it was to send fellow travellers in Christ across my path to remind me of God's promises and pray for me. I am as always overwhelmed by God's infinite love and provision.

 

1 John 4:1-3
These three verses are central to our relationship with God. In order to understand this section you must understand how you are to relate to God. If you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and you spend as much time as possible in prayer, reading the Bible and sitting in God’s presence, then you have the right relationship with God. If however, you rely on relating to God through another person, perhaps a pastor or worship leader, then you do not have the right relationship with God. When you know God, and people tell you how you should worship God or something you should believe about God, then you are able to know if what that person says is true. If you know God well then you know what is consistent with who He is and can identify anything that does not match that. If you know God well, then you are able to take the things other people say and test them through prayer and reading the Bible. John wanted to warn his readers, and this warning is still current, that there are those who will tell you things about God that are not true. These people are speaking from the spirit of Antichrist. The best way to know this is if they deny that Jesus came to earth as a man but was the Son of God, died, came back to life and ascended to heaven. There are many out there who try to tell you how to worship God but deny this about Jesus. They see Him as a prophet, or, as the Gnostics did, someone who was spirit but not really flesh and blood. These people speak from the spirit of Antichrist. Often, those who seek to challenge our complacency will say things about God that are frightening. We rush to dismiss them, especially if they, like me, do not worship in a Churchianity social group. Before you rush to do that, ask yourself. Does this person deny who Jesus is? If they don’t, take their words to God in prayer and seek His guidance through prayer and the reading of the Bible. Do not assume that the Antichrist resides outside the church system. Some of the truest teaching about God comes from outside the church and some of the lies and spirit of Antichrist come from inside the church. Never assume the veracity of something anyone says about God without checking it for yourself. Your relationship with God is between you and God, do not allow another person’s words to change that relationship. Just as in a human relationship you should take your concerns to the other person, so you should take all your concerns to God.

 
Posted By Nan
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV The move my family is making is taking a lot longer than anticipated and I have no opportunity to write a properly spirit led blog on the Letters of John. At the moment I am clinging to a promise God reminded me of a week ago when I was lying awake begging Him for reassurance that everything would be alright. Maybe this is something that you need to hear right now. My blog will be back on Saturday 25 January.
 
Posted By Nan

My family is moving house next week so I will not be posting any blogs next Wednesday or Saturday. All things being equal, I will be back posting on Wednesday 15 January.

 

1 John 3:19-24
At the end of verse 18 John wrote that we must love with actions and in truth. So what is truth? Truth is Jesus (John 14:6). Jesus speaks the truth. He knows that we often struggle with the conditioning of our culture, family beliefs and pressure from others in our social group to see things we are doing as wrong, even when they are not wrong. Even if we should, because of our conditioning, do the wrong thing, if we are open to the Holy Spirit revealing that to us and willing to apologise where necessary and change our behaviour, then we are not condemned.
John writes in these verses to reassure us that we should live before God in confidence, not anxiety. As John mentions in 4:18, perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment and Jesus died for our sins. So we have confidence that when we behave sincerely, even if it is the wrong thing, it is OK. God knows the thoughts that trouble us. He knows the attitudes of our hearts. He is looking for our heart attitude, not for those times when we might not get it right. That is why talking about love, when we are not prepared to show it, is wrong in His eyes. When our hearts do not feel love, we are not living in the love of Jesus. So examine your heart. Is what you did, or plan to do, based on love for God and a desire to love your fellow man? If it is, then rest in the confidence that God does not condemn you. To assist, we have the Holy Spirit to offer us reassurance. When you are starting off on the path following Jesus, it is sometimes hard to be sure you are hearing the Holy Spirit. Persevere. Spend time every day in prayer, read your Bible and in time you will be more sure of when the Holy Spirit is talking to you. Remember, John’s instructions use words that speak of continuous actions, not just one off behaviours. Our lives need to be marked by continuous acts of love. This does not mean God always intends us to practically assist someone, but He does intend us to assist the ones He has set aside for that purpose.
John finishes by reminding us that this is a call to obey God’s commands to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Matthew 22:36-40.

 
Posted By Nan

Happy New Year! May God bless you in 2014 and may you grow in love and knowledge of him daily.

1 John 3:16-18
So now John explains what love is. How do we know what love is? Well John tells us that real love is seen in Jesus’ death on the cross, His willingness to lay down His life for His friends. This is the love John says we should have. In verse 16, he writes that we should lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. How do we know who those people are? Many would say they are people they go to church with, but Jesus doesn’t distinguish different denominations. If we were to apply that definition then we would only lay our lives down for those we go to our particular church with, if we go at all. How do you know, as you go through life, who the Christians are? You don’t. Many times I have learned that someone I have been acquainted with for years have a deep and abiding faith and desire to follow Jesus. Our faith is not always obvious to other people. How do you know if the person who passes you in the street is a fellow believer? You don’t. How do you know that, if you go to church, all the people in church are fellow believers? There are many in churches who go for the social contact or because they are seeking. I believe we should interpret this instruction as meaning we help all others, because we do not know who the fellow believers are. We also do not know who God intends to be brought to faith in Him through our laying down of our lives for others. This does not mean we all go and get killed for someone else. That rarely happens. Even in the times of great church persecution and in places in the world today where persecution is taking place, this does not happen that often. What it does mean is that we are willing to reach out to others, to sacrifice our time, compassion, finances, anything that God has given us, for another person in need. If you are not prepared to assist others, then John is quite blunt about what that means. If you are not prepared to lay down your life for others, then the love of God does not dwell in you (v17). Further on that theme, John reminds the reader that love is not something to theorise about. Nor is love something that we talk about demonstrating. True, Godly love, is practical. We see love in our actions, our behaviour. If we truly love God, then our behaviour will be that of love in action, practical love. That love will also not be something we “put on” because it makes us look good. The love will be sincere. It will be love based on truth,
This is quite a difficult thing to do. It is far easier to get caught up in life and material possessions, comfort, and convenience and forget those to whom we should be demonstrating love. It is quite interesting that those who demonstrate true Godly love are the everyday people who don’t rush to church every Sunday putting on their “I go to church therefore I am saved” piety and ignoring others. They are rarely people who are well known. This is not to say church goers do not demonstrate that love. But being a church goer does not automatically make a person loving. Our love should be based on our personal relationship with God. It should not distinguish between who deserves it and who doesn’t, because we don’t know the answer to that. It is a behaviour, a habit, something we do automatically because Jesus’ love is so much a part of us. So next time someone you encounter tells you about a difficulty in their life that you have the means to offer support with, give that support. Don’t just look pious and say “I will pray for you”. If someone needs practical help and you can give it, do so as well as praying.

 

 

 
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Nan
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