God is Love, not Romance

Today’s reading is 1 John 4.

We love because God is love. We love because God loves. We love because real love is from God. We love as God loves. However, God is not romance. God is not romantic feelings. God is not infatuation. God is not sexual attraction. God is love. Sadly, our modern culture blurs the lines between all these things. Because someone feels sexual attraction or infatuation or even romantic devotion, our world calls it love and says it must be divine and divinely sanctioned. That is not what God is. God is love. How does God love? By sending His Son to be the sacrifice to save us from our sins. Loving like God does not mean pursuing others we find sexually attractive or marrying those we feel romantic inclinations for. Loving like God means sacrificing ourselves and our interests in order to serve the salvation interests of those around us. God is love. He is not romance.

Monday’s reading is 1 John 5

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Grace is NOT Permission to Sin

Today’s reading is 1 John 3.

Whenever someone starts explaining that we are saved by the grace of God through our Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous and not through our own good works, someone else begins to fear that we are giving permission to pursue sin. Not at all. In fact, John’s first letter is a great demonstration of that. We read yesterday that if we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to fear that if we sin, we are lost. However, in today’s reading, John explains that if we take that as permission to sin and pursue sin and continue in the ongoing practice of sin, we are not the elect, saved of God, but are children of the devil. The grace and advocacy of Jesus is the power and strength to pursue righteousness despite our failures, it is not the permission to pursue sin despite God’s will. God’s grace offers nothing to those looking to get away with sin. It offers everything to those longing to overcome it. What are you longing for today?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 4.

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This World is Fading

Today’s reading is 1 John 2.

The struggle we face is how real everything around us in this world seems and how distant, even imaginary, the spiritual realm where God dwells seems. But understand: this world is fading. The time is coming when this transient world will have been completely removed and we will know how “unreal” it actually is. What is truly real, eternally real, is the heavenly. God’s realm is where we must abide, where we want to abide, even now as we dwell in this temporary world. We can hang on to this world with its lusts, pleasures, and pride, but we will fade and be destined for the fire along with it. Or we can hang on to God and abide forever with Him. The choice is yours. Where will you abide today?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 3

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Eye-witness Testimony

Today’s reading is 1 John 1.

Sometimes, I forget what I’m reading when I read the Bible. I don’t want to act like the Bible is just a book like any other book. On the other hand, I do need to realize that in many ways that is exactly what it is. These are not some kind of special writings. These are the eye-witness testimonies just as if we were in the jury of a trial and had to figure out if we were hearing the truth. John didn’t sit back and try to make up a story with a couple of his friends. Rather, he saw and experienced things. Then he, and a few others, recorded what they experienced. This, of course, produces a struggle for us. Just as Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, the Scriptures are fully written by man and fully written by God at the same time. No doubt, just as with the incarnation, this produces some difficulties for us. But what a powerful gift God has given us. His Word in man’s words. Read the testimony. See what you think of it. Then follow it. It is a true record.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 2.

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Love Your Brothers and Sisters

Today’s reading is 1 John 5.

“I just can’t stand brother ______________!” “I despise sister _______________!”

Hey, I get it; brothers and sisters can be a pain sometimes. Sometimes they are weird. Sometimes they are mean. Sometimes they are having a bad day. An off moment occurs, and we decide we don’t like them and don’t want to be around them. However, John gives us a pretty clear litmus test. If we don’t love those who are born of God, we don’t love God. Perhaps the best thing to remember is sometimes we are a pain. Sometimes we are weird. Sometimes we are mean. Sometimes we have bad days. Don’t we want our brothers and sisters to love us anyway? Maybe we need to talk to the brother or sister about the behavior that upset us so much or maybe we just need to get over it and not take it personally. In any event, we must not deceive ourselves. If we love God, we’ll love His children.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 John 1.

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God’s Love

Today’s reading is 1 John 4.

Are we supposed to love God? Absolutely. Are we supposed to love others? Definitely. But the reason we are saved is not because of our love. Rather, it is because of God’s love. Because God loved us first, Jesus died for us. Knowing that, how can we do anything but love Him in response? Because loving Him is such a sacrifice? Can we honestly see Jesus on the cross and say loving God means I have to sacrifice too much? Surely not. Father God, thank You for loving us first.

Monday’s reading is 1 John 5.

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Who’s Your Father?

Today’s reading is 1 John 3.

As disciples of Jesus, we are children of God. How cool is that? Have you ever heard the phrases, “Like father, like son” or “Like father, like daughter”? That is exactly the idea we need to keep in mind. Being a child of God is not just a designation. It isn’t just a title. It is a process. That is, it is a process of growing up to be like our Father. We must understand, the question is not: Will we grow up to be like our father? We will. We are. The question is: Who is our father? If the devil is our father, we will become more and more like him. Not that we will become exceedingly wicked and evil by worldly standards. Rather, we will become exceedingly self-governed and pleasure seeking. If God is our Father, we will become more and more like Him: holy, righteous, pure. The question we have to ask today is, “Who do I want to become?” Choose wisely.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 4.

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