"Walking in the light" means walking with God.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
- 1 John 1:5-7
These verses contain two profound truths:
1. We are liars if we claim to love and honor God but do not live in a way that embodies Christian and godly principles. If we wantonly sin but pay lip service to God, our lives are lies. We walk in darkness, not light.
2. If we walk with God - walk in the light - we have fellowship with one another, and we are sanctified through the blood of Christ, our salvation for eternal life. This is what God wants - for us to be brothers and sisters in fellowship with God, through Christ, and thereby be in fellowship with other.
Do people in fellowship hate each other?
Do people in fellowship maliciously criticize each other?
Do people in fellowship distrust each other?
Do people in fellowship push other people away?
Of course not. People in fellowship love, support, trust, and boost each other. People in fellowship draw others to their light.
Does John mean people in fellowship at their particular church, be it First Presbyterian, First Baptist, Ebenezer Baptist, or Mount Zion AME?
Of course not. Yet we so often conveniently let such a narrow perspective guide our behavior, while patting ourselves on our backs for going to church on Sunday. It's safe this way. It's in our comfort zones. It's as if we have a thousand sub-sectors of Christianity, each its own enclave of like-minded neighbors.
But what does God see? A thousand islands, each its own little fiefdom, each with invisible moats keeping out the inhabitants of the other islands. Insular, distrustful, myopic. Is He pleased, or is He shaking His head?
God wants a thousand bridges, not a thousand islands!
Christianity is the amazing grace that should unite all believers. White, black, brown, yellow, rich, poor, in the middle, evangelical, Catholic, conservative, liberal, educated, uneducated - all those labels should take a back seat to the fact that we are all Christians.
Christianity is our common denominator, our uniting force!
There is already far too much evil, too much darkness, too much violence (verbal and physical) against Christians, for Christians to fight among themselves. We need urgently to foster true fellowship with each other. We are all in the family of God. We are all saved by the blood of the same Christ.
Let us meet at the river.
Let us be bold.
Let us make 2016 the year of the gathering of the fellowship of all believers.
Let us marvel at the difference it will make, in so many ways.
Let us imagine the smile it will bring to the face of God.
Currently ranked #115 of all Kindle free books in the U.S. (Friday morning)
To all those who downloaded this week, I hope you enjoy and benefit from this book.
Here's the link for anyone who still wants to grab it while it's free:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Personal Growth
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Download before Friday noon if you haven't yet grabbed the free Kindle edition!
Grab it here (click on the book):
And forward to your friends!
This morning Walking With God - How a Simple, Daily Habit Can Change Your Life is ranked #1 on Amazon Top 100 Free for Christian Living>Personal Growth and #3 for Christian Living>Inspirational.
The book will be free on Kindle until sometime on Friday, December 18th.
I hope everyone enjoys the book!
Enter the giveaway! Starts 12/12/15. These are the paperback books. I will personally mail a signed copy to each winner. Good luck!
Our pastor's sermon this morning was on Isaiah's prophecy of the coming of Christ, which would be some 750 years later. Read Isaiah 53. The details are spot on, and Isaiah writes them in the past tense, as though they had already occurred.
This chapter is a powerful testament to the divine authorship of the bible. God gave Isaiah the vision and knowledge of Christ's life, death, and resurrection, and our salvation through Christ, hundreds of years before the actual events transpired. When I pause to ponder this, I almost get chills. The Old Testament is filled with prophecies, but I'd forgotten about this particular one, such as it is with its event-by-event accuracy transcribed in a lyrical, poetic writing style.
One particular passage read by the pastor stood out for me:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,
and we esteemed him not.
Whenever I perceive I am drifting from moorings of humbleness, I will try my best to remember and re-read this passage. God Himself, the Creator of the universe and all in it, in the person of Jesus, came into this world without majesty, worldly power, or acceptance. Born in a manger, lived as a carpenter. The most common of common. He was rejected and despised. He suffered and died so that we might live. Our ultimate example of humility. How then should any of us dare to be prideful, arrogant, boastful, or selfish?
Today I noticed that even though the approaching winter has taken most of the leaves off the trees and "robbed" us of the brilliant fall colors of red, yellow, and orange, it is "gifting" us with new paintings. All those leaves are now on the ground. Walking into the sunlight this morning, the ground shimmered and glistened in silver. The picture below doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea. God has created a marvelous planet for us. As one season fades, another begins, with its own wonders and delights. All the bird nests hidden by summer's foliage are now starkly visible. How birds can make these elaborate sanctuaries that don't crumble or fall is another delightful mystery. How blessed we are to be alive, active, and part of this creation. As I say in Walking With God, "It's as if God paints a picture every morning, for us to enjoy - and to remind us of His greatness and presence. Look up. Look around. God is telling us, 'Here I am.'"
I do not like tailgaters. On the way to/from school this morning I was tailgated in a school zone. Then on the street next to the school (I could see the guy in my rearview mirror throwing his hands up in exasperation or anger or whatever emotion he was projecting). Then by a semi-truck on the highway. Each time I was traveling at the speed limit. Instead of citing scripture on being still, being patient, etc. (see previous post for that), this post is about how I immediately have (admittedly unChristian) thoughts of retribution. Nothing extreme, just cool stuff. Like the tire shredders on James Bond's old Aston Martin, or the oil slick. Not the machine guns. Or how cool it would be if I had a freeze ray or could make the tailgater's car come slowly to a stop and then be temporarily disabled like on those cop shows where they use a rigged bait car to catch car thieves. Ha! Gotcha! Take that! BAMM! All these retributions would not harm the driver or other occupants, but would take them out of commission driving-wise for a while to teach them a lesson. I can't help but chuckle at the thought of having such a zap power even though I know it's the wrong approach. But each of us has a pet peeve, and none of us is perfect. I will pray for more patience. But also for those tailgaters to change their lives so that they do have the ability to slow down and maybe enjoy life a little more. If anyone knows meanwhile where I can get some James Bond accessories, please let me know.