3 John

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible…helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God Himself! …In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.” (:5,6,8 MSG)

HOSPITALITY–MAKING TRUTH VISIBLE

Father, so many times You have allowed me to see the Truth in this manner.  Ever since those weekends during college, when You allowed me to travel for the college, You’ve been using people to show me hospitality.  In doing so, You’ve allowed me glimpses into who You are and what You’re doing in Your creation and among Your people.

HOSPITALITY–WELCOMING GOD HIMSELF

When You provide opportunities for me to extend hospitality, whether by using the car, the home, or any other things You’ve supplied, You allow my life to be blessed by encountering the “Jesus” in yet another person.  Keep my eyes and ears open and aware of these opportunities, and I trust You to provide whatever is needed to meet a need.

HOSPITALITY–PARTNERING WITH OTHERS

This part is so very true.  How many times have You allowed me to visit in a home and used me or the hosts or both to advance Your kingdom in some way?!  Or, when You’ve brought people into my home, You’ve connected lives with one another, spurred on Your servants, given a period of rest to Your workers, etc.  Thank You for the lives You’ve intersected with mine.

May my heart and home and life be ever open to sharing the kind of hospitality that reveals You, welcomes You, and shares You.  Keep on shaping me to be just like Jesus as we make Your Truth visible together.  Amen.

2 John

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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GRACE, MERCY and PEACE from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love…love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you WALK IN LOVE.” (2 John :3)

3 gifts given to me so that I might give the world one.

GRACE

When You look at me, a sinner who’s not always followed Your commands, You, Lord, chose to have an attitude of grace toward me.  When I go my own way, rebelling against what You say is best for me, You choose to extend Your grace toward me.  Though my ways are unfavorable to You, You choose to freely bestow Your favor on me.  You give me what I don’t even deserve.

MERCY

You see and know my sinful self, and even though I ought to die for my sin, You choose NOT to give me what I deserve.  You have created me to be like Your Son, but the sin in this broken world is a continual obstacle for me, a constant temptation.  You see me in my distress between the natural and the supernatural, and You choose an attitude of mercy toward me.

PEACE

When You became a part of my life, You acquainted me with Your peace.  Your peace takes root and produces a plant which bears the fruit of reconciliation with You, in spite of my sin …the fruit of harmony with others, as You help us to get along …and the fruit of contentment, through experiencing Your ability to handle any need or concern I have ever or will ever face in this life.

Grace must go before mercy, for it’s the forgiven who may be blessed.  You grant favor and withhold judgment.  You give pardon and forego sentencing.  Mercy is the act of You alone, Lord.  Peace is the experience that results in my heart as I encounter You.

You reveal these gifts to me through Truth — Your Word, Your Son, Jesus.  When I follow Your truth, I can know that these gifts are mine–not just a wish or prayer of hope …but having assurance that You’ve freely given them all to me.

A gift can be given, holding all its blessing and promise inside; yet, an unopened gift, never touches the recipient in the way intended by the giver.  Father, thank You for Your grace, Your mercy, and Your peace.  As I open these gifts and integrate them into my life, help me to gift others as You have commanded me: to love them.  Help me to wear Your grace, mercy and peace like garments while walking throughout each day in an attitude of love toward others . . . as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 John 5

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening. And if we’re confident that He’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.” (5:13-15 MSG)

Lord Jesus, You died for me on that cross.  You rose from that tomb with me on Your mind.  You saw me even before I was born and You desire for me to be with You forever.

I believe in You, that You are God’s Son.  I am confident that I will be with You eternally.  Thank You for the freedom to dance into Your presence, to be alone with You, and to ask You for anything.

Here’s what I ask, Lord.  Pour Your grace over me.  Let it flow.  Keep pouring and pouring and pouring.  Put it in me, on me, around me and, mostly, send Your grace out through me to others as You keep working to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.NeverForsaken

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“Man is born broken.  He lives by mending.  The grace of God is the glue.”  — Eugene O’Neill

1 John 4

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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TRUTH & LOVE
Jesus is Truth     God is Love
(John 14:6)          (1 John 4:16)

“This is how God showed His love for us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” (4:9 MSG)

Love sent Truth to me.

“Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.” (4:15 MSG)

Truth takes me to Love.

“…God…loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God…” (4:10 MSG)

Love can truly live in me.

“…If we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (4:12 MSG)

The more I let Your truth become a part of my life through obedience to You, Lord, will Your love then become more a part of my life too?  Take my mind and transform it so that Your will becomes my own.  Weed the garden of my heart, pulling out the thorns of pride, jealousy, bitterness, etc., and allow Your love to flourish, grow and bear fruit from within me.  Keep working on me until I love just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 John 3:11-24

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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You’ve been saying to Your people for a long time that You value the obedience to that command (“love one another”) just after the one to “Love the Lord Your God with all Your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  Here in this passage You used John’s pen to show this phrase “love one another” conveyed, reflected, modeled, described and commanded.

CONVEYED

From the very beginning, Your Word says, You’ve been telling us to love one another.  You use an example from all the way back to just after You created the first family, an example of how You don’t want us to interact.  The very first “disease” which hindered one person from loving another was envy or jealousy.  Father, guard my heart from this disease.  Where there are already such “cells” growing, come in with Your Spirit and eradicate them.

REFLECTED

When I love another person, my actions reflect what You’ve done in my heart.  Before I belonged to You, my destiny was death, or eternal separation from You.  But in choosing to accept Your gift of salvation, I stepped out of the line headed toward destruction and into the line on the path to life eternally with You.

MODELED

Plain and simple: You, Jesus, chose to sacrifice Your life for me, in my place, because You love me.  Because I choose to follow You, this is the example You desire for me to follow in my own life.  You’ve called me to lay aside my own agenda, desires, wants, in order to serve others.

DESCRIBED

“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.  This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.” (3:18-19 MSG) Imagining, planning and discussing ways to love others isn’t loving them.  It’s in the encountering of people, the discovering of needs, and the doing of something to meet those needs that I truly love another person.

COMMANDED

You’ve left us a twofold command: To BELIEVE and to LOVE.  Believing in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ makes me part of Your family and allows Your Spirit to begin transforming me to be like Your Son.  Loving others takes a choice on my part in which I allow the love You’ve shown to me to be manifested in my actions toward others.

Father, help me to be obedient to You by loving others genuinely and sacrificially just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 John 3:4-11

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“When you have a relationship in need of repair, the first key to improvement is to examine your own heart. Look at your own heart; remember who you are and who God called you to be. Did the Father call you to be angry? to be bitter? Or did He call you to be loving and forgiving?” — Max Lucado perpetual calendar for 7/25/99

“Patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other the way Christ Jesus wants.” (Rom 15:5)

“…No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin…it’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin…Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test. For this is the original message we heard: we should love each other.” (3:6, 9-11 MSG)

When I’ve worked with the public in various settings, You’ve allowed me to observe many kinds of people, Lord.  As I read this portion of Your Word, a scene keeps coming to mind — not a particular one, but the kind I’ve seen repeatedly.  There’s a child going wild on a sales floor as a mother looks on.  You can see it in her face for a moment, “Is THAT really MY kid?  I KNOW I didn’t raise her to be that way.”  But the question doesn’t remain, for the mother loves that child, even when she disobeys.  She reaffirms to herself, “Yes, this is MY child.  And I’ll continue to love her no matter what.”

Father, too often that scene plays out before You when it comes to my life as Your child.  I act and react to life in ways that don’t resemble “the God-begotten” birthright I received when I surrendered my will to Yours.  That “simple test” mentioned in this passage is one that I can often fail, simply because I allow the pressures of this life to turn my focus self-ward instead of others-ward.  I become a naval-gazer, wrapped up in having to get done what I have to get done and sometimes even taking all others’ actions toward me in an overly sensitive way.

. . . yet He chooses not to let you stay that way.  You can trust His work of transforming you to be just like Jesus.

. . . yet He chooses not to let you stay that way. You can trust His work of transforming you to be just like Jesus.

You have called me to follow You.  You have walked a path of love and forgiveness.  You call me to walk the same.  You promise to walk that road with me.  You offer Your hand of strength as I take each step along the way.

I’ll take Your hand, Daddy.  It’s got to be You with me and the Jesus in me that 1) changes me from being self-seeking to self-sacrificing, that 2) transforms me from whining to knowing I’m loved deeply, and 3) believing You’ve reached out to me genuinely to form me into one who loves eagerly and reaches out sincerely.  Oh! I remember being that kind of person in the past, but many changes, many of life’s encounters have been allowed by me to alter me.  I’m thankful, Papa, that you accept me as I am AND that You refuse to let me stay that way.  I need You to be the changer of me…transform me daily until I am just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 John 3:1-3

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”  (3:1-2 NIV)

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are! …and that’s only the beginning. [We can’t even imagine what we’ll be like when Christ returns (NLT)]. What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see Him—and in seeing Him, become like Him.” (3:1-2 MSG)

“See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! … Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”  (3:1-2 AMP)

Father, thank You for counting me as Your child!  Thank You for loving me like no other ever could, ever would, ever has, ever will!

When are You coming back, Lord?  Oh, I don’t ask that expecting a date and time.  Instead, I just mean to convey a bit of how anxious I am to see You, to be with You, to be changed to be like You.  Amen.