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Today is election day in the United States.  I am not writing this post to get into the debate of whether or not Christians should vote, as I know there are many opinions on that.  I’m writing this instead to hopefully stir our minds up to consider how we will be late tonight, or tomorrow when the final tallies are made.

This current political season has been one of the most divisive and polarizing in this nation’s history.  I have seen Christians vocal in support of their candidate.  And I have seen Christians vocal in supporting their candidate, who just happens to be the other guy.  So now I ask, O followers of the Messiah:

Introduction

One of the rather astounding – and potentially confusing – passages in Scripture is contained in John chapter 14. The context of this passage is that Jesus is speaking with the 11 faithful disciples, after the last supper. Basically, Jesus is giving the disciples information about the things that he will do, after he is crucified and resurrected. Then, Jesus makes these statements:

John 14:13-14 (ESV):

13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

In our modern, American context we may assume that idols are not as prevalent as they were in the ancient world.  It is true that we don’t see temples on each street devoted to a mythological deity or communal idol, but idolatry is rampant in our world nonetheless.  Those things competing with our affections for the God and Father of Jesus Christ challenge the great command to “love the LORD with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30, et al).”


Good points to consider. Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Introduction

One of the items that Scripture makes abundantly clear is that if we follow God, we will be blessed. Probably the most famous passage which states that fact appears in Matthew chapter 5 – at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV):

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Introduction

One of the most famous Biblical concepts is that of the “Golden Rule”. A common way of expressing that rule in English is as follows:

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

The Golden Rule is explicitly stated in the New Testament, in the following verses:

Matthew 7:12 (ESV):

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:31 (ESV):

31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Both of those verses appear to correlate to the following verse from the Torah:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 – Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Hey all, you may enjoy reading 1 John today during your devotional time.  I noticed this morning a common phrase of John that will be helpful for our own lives and as we are discipling others – “by this”.  It says a lot of who the children of God are/aren’t as well as gives us some defining characteristics of God.  For example:

1 John 2:3-5 – By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
1 John 3:10 –By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:16 – We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:18-19 – Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.  19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him
1 John 3:24 – The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;  3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
1 John 4:9 – By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
1 John 4:13-15 – By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1 John 4:16-17 –  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1 John 5:1-2 – Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.  2 By
this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

I was struck when I watched this again last night.  Hit a little too close to home I guess.  But isn’t this a sad reality of the (at least much of the American) church?  If what Scripture says is true, the believer is infused with next-age, Christ indwelling, power.  What does that mean the church is capable of doing in service to our God and Lord?  But yet so many remain in their comfort zones, out of fear of being stretched.  This isn’t what we’re called to do brothers and sisters.

Introduction

Every so often, I have the opportunity to spend time with my six year old granddaughter, Kailee. During those times, I try to talk to Kailee about God a little bit – to try to give her at least some basic information about our Heavenly Father, His beloved Son, and His kingdom.

One of the primary reasons why I do this is because Scripture encourages us to speak to children about God:

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV):

6 Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (ESV):

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