Saturday, September 27, 2014

Abiding in Love

It's time for another week's reflections on the Bible readings I'm doing with Good Morning Girls. Here's the readings:

This week I'm feeling led to do this a little differently. Here are the passages I've selected from each day's reading, and at the end I'm writing a weekly reflection, instead of reflecting on each in turn. Therefore read each of these in turn, taking it as a whole, for I feel the Lord has spoken to me at least in this.

Sunday- 1 John 4 "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us." (v.15-19)

Monday- 1 John 5 "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?...If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.  And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (v.5, 9-12)

Tuesday- 2 John 1 "The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:" (v. 1-2)

Wednesday- 3 John 1 "I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church." (v. 9-10)

Thursday- Jude 1 "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ...But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh." (v. 3-4, 17-23)

Friday- Psalm 1 "Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night." (v. 1-2)

Saturday- Psalm 2 "Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (v. 10-12)

I went through the readings this week selecting passages that spoke to me, after I prayed, for this blog post. I was about halfway through this selection when I noticed that, to me, it was a very cohesive message.

It starts talking about love. I should probably say "Love" with a capital L in that in many ways this is discussing the nature of God. It's discussing how Love being in someone is because of God being in them, and this progresses in discussing that salvation comes only from our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other god, no other name by which we are saved. This is an exclusivity message that often gets Christians in trouble, but it's also a message of hope in that there is a way to be saved, there is a path to God, and it is a person, not dependent on us, but proven by His love living in us, and us abiding in love.

Then the passages start talking about how Christians love each other. Indeed, our Lord said that by our love we will be known. John writes to one lady saying she is loved by all who know the truth, that is, all of the children of God. This is important to remember, that a Christian, through God, lives love out and loves all, most especially their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Then in the next letter John says he's having difficulty with someone named Diotrephes, who obviously has a place of leadership in the local church because he is able to ignore a letter of John's, is practicing wickedness, and is rejecting those who should be his brethren in Christ. Contrasting that to what was said in the other passages, this reflects the lack of love in him. Which possibly means a lack of Christ in him.

In the next letter the writer is Jude, not John, but he writes about a similar issue, saying that apparently non-Christians have infiltrated the church, not really being in Christ but instead living in their flesh. He warns the readers against this and urges them to pray in the Spirit, keep abiding in God's love and awaiting His mercy. He also urges them to "have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire" which I see both as intervening when the infiltrating non-Christians are confusing people in the church and also probably hoping mercy for those same troublemakers, though I am not confident that's what he's saying. But there's definitely an acknowledgement that not everyone who comes to church is there for and in Christ and an urging to abide in God. One of the phrases used for the false people is "scoffers."

Thus the passage talking about "scoffers" in the next reading just jumped out at me. I love Psalm 1 and the vision of the tree, but today reading it I was struck more by the opening passages and how they directly reflected the rest of what I'd been reading! It seemed like a summary of the passage of the previous day's reading.

And lastly it all came home to me when the last reading of the week had a passage leaping out to me that started "And therefore"... it really does seem to me this passage is addressing the other readings of this week. That's what the Spirit does when it illuminates the Bible to us.

Just taking it all in, realizing how love should be in us and how we need to cling to Christ and love others, how we need to fear God and "kiss the Son", for this is where salvation comes from. We take refuge in Him, and the amazing thing? He comes into us as well, so that we abide together.

Amen and Alleluia.

1 comment:

  1. Your style is unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.
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