Posts filed under 'Hope'
For many years I drove an old car which had seen better days. It suited me just fine, but it had some idiosyncrasies. The gears used to stick, it had mould and cobwebs, the speedo wasn’t accurate, the seats were worn out, the key didn’t work, and the panels were rusty. In fact, thinking back on the experience, there were quite a few things wrong with the old car that I never really noticed until I got a newer one. My newer car was less than ten years old and everything in it worked in the advertised manner. When I was still living with the old car, I had never imagined how much smoother life would be with a car that actually worked like its maker intended…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 21
21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and so had the sea. 21:2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, like a bride dressed ready to meet her husband. 21:3 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, â€œGodâ€™s home is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. The old things have passed away.â€
21:5 The one sitting on the throne said, â€œI am making everything new.â€ He added, â€œWrite this, because these words of God are reliable and true.â€ 21:6 He said to me, â€œItâ€™s over! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will freely give water from the fountain of life to anyone who is thirsty. 21:7 I will give these things to anyone who prevails. I will be their God, and they will be my children. 21:8 But as for cowards, unbelievers, wrongdoers, murderers, immoral people, witches, idol worshippers, and liars, they belong in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.â€
21:9 One of the seven angels who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and said to me, â€œCome, I will show you the bride, the Lambâ€™s wife.â€ 21:10 He carried me away in the Spirit to a very high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 21:11 reflecting the glory of God. Its light was like a very precious jewel, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 21:12 It had a high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates. The names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel were written on the gates. 21:13 Three gates were on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. 21:14 The city wall had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. 21:15 The angel who spoke to me had a golden measuring rod, to measure the city and its gates and walls. 21:16 The city was square, with its length the same as its width. He measured the city with the rod. Its length, width, and height were all equal, measuring 2,200 kilometres. 21:17 The wall measured 65 metres in human terms, which is what the angel was measuring. 21:18 The wall was built of jasper. The city was pure gold, clean as glass. 21:19 The foundations of the cityâ€™s wall were decorated with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, the second, sapphire, the third, chalcedony, the fourth, emerald, 21:20 the fifth, sardonyx, the sixth, sardius, the seventh, chrysolite, the eighth, beryl, the ninth, topaz, the tenth, chrysoprase, the eleventh, jacinth, and the twelfth, amethyst. 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 21:22 I saw no temple in it, because the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. 21:23 The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 21:24 The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 21:25 Its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there. 21:26 The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. 21:27 Nothing unholy will ever enter it. No one who acts disgracefully or dishonestly will be there. Only those people whose names are written in the Lambâ€™s book of life will be allowed to enter.
June 16th, 2007
In the book “Guns, Germs and Steel”, author Jared Diamond tells the story of how in the year 1532 the Spanish conquistadores defeated the largest and most advanced state in the New World. The Inca emperor Atahuallpa was the absolute monarch over millions of people, and he was accompanied by an army of 80,000. Francisco Pizarro was in charge of a group of 168 Spanish soldiers, in unfamiliar terrain, ignorant of the local inhabitants, and more than 1000 kilometres from any other Spanish forces. In spite of being vastly outnumbered, the Spaniards captured Atahuallpa and routed the Inca army. How did they manage this when they were outnumbered by 500 to one?
The Revelation to John — Chapter 20
20:1 I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the abyss and a huge chain. 20:2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. 20:3 He threw him into the abyss, and closed it, sealing it over him, to prevent him from deceiving the nations any more, until the thousand years were over. After that, he must be freed for a short time. 20:4 I saw thrones, and the people who sat on them had been given authority to judge. I saw the souls of people who had been beheaded for talking about Jesus, for explaining the word of God, and refusing to worship the beast and his idol, and to accept the mark on their forehead or hand. They came back to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. 20:6 Blessed and holy is anyone who is included in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will reign with him for one thousand years.
20:7 And after the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison, 20:8 and will go to the four corners of the earth to deceive the nations, Gog and Magog, to assemble them for war. They have as many soldiers as there are grains of sand by the sea. 20:9 They marched across the earth, and surrounded the camp of the believers, and the beloved city. Fire came from heaven and destroyed them. 20:10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tortured day and night forevermore.
20:11 I saw a large white throne and the one who sat on it. The earth and heaven ran away from his presence, but there was nowhere for them to go. 20:12 I saw the dead, the important and the unimportant, standing in front of the throne. Scrolls were opened. One scroll which was opened was the book of life. Dead people were judged by what was written in the scrolls, based on what they had done. 20:13 The sea gave up the dead people who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead people who were in them. The people were judged by what they had done. 20:14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
June 15th, 2007
An enormous amount of preparation normally goes into planning a wedding. Stressful and expensive months are spent in working out the details. Eventually the big day arrives. For many people — perhaps most — it is the largest personal celebration they ever experience in their lives. The two people getting married become the focus of everyone’s attention for the day. The bride and her dress become the focus of universal admiration. Even the plainest face can become an object of beauty for a day. Everyone celebrates as the bride an groom embark on their dream of a blissful life together…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 19
19:1 After this I heard the loud sound of a huge crowd in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God. 19:2 His judgments are true and righteous. He has judged the great prostitute, who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and he has avenged the blood of his servants whom she murdered.” 19:3 Again they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forevermore.” 19:4 The twenty-four elders and the four living animals fell down and worshipped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen! Hallelujah!”
19:5 A voice came forth from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all his servants who fear him, whether important or unimportant!” 19:6 I heard a sound like the roar of a huge crowd, and like the noise of a large waterfall, and like the sound of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! 19:7 We will celebrate and be overjoyed, and give glory to him. The wedding day of the Lamb has arrived, and his bride has made herself ready.” 19:8 She was given fine, bright, clean linen to wear, because fine linen represents the righteous actions of the believers.
19:9 The angel said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those people who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.'” He added, “These are true words of God.” 19:10 I fell down at his feet to worship him. He said, “Do not do that! I am just a slave like you and your fellow believers who believe in the message of Jesus. Worship God, because the message of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
19:11 I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. The person sitting on it is called Faithful and True. He is righteous when he judges and goes to war. 19:12 His eyes are flaming fire, and many crowns are on his head. He has a written name which no one knows but himself. 19:13 He wears a robe dipped in blood. His name is “The Word of God”. 19:14 The armies of heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine, white, clean linen. 19:15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp, double-edged sword, for striking down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He crushes the grapes in the winepress of God Almighty’s furious anger. 19:16 Written on his robe and on his thigh is the name, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”
19:17 I saw an angel standing on the sun. He shouted to all the birds flying in the sky, “Come! Gather together for God’s great feast, 19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, commanders, powerful people, horses and their riders, and all people, whether free or slave, important or unimportant.” 19:19 I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against the one sitting on the horse, and his army. 19:20 The beast was captured, together with the false prophet who had promoted the beast by performing miracles to deceive the people who had accepted the mark of the beast and worshipped his idol. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. 19:21 The rest were killed by the sword which came out of the mouth of the one who sat on the horse. All the birds filled themselves by eating the flesh.
June 14th, 2007
Death certainly looks pretty bad and quite final. But what if there’s more to death than the end? What is there really is life after death? Life on earth is far from perfect. Everyone faces daily struggles and difficulties. Some people have to contend with debilitating sicknesses; some people struggle with broken relationships; some people have to cope with loss and bitter regret. Why should we regard the end of such an imperfect existence as a tragedy, a wicked deprivation by God, if God is in fact bringing us into a new, perfect form of existence in which all our sorrows and troubles are gone, replaced by never-ending joy?
The Revelation to John — Chapter 14
14:1 I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. 14:2 I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of a huge waterfall, or loud thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps. 14:3 They were singing a new song in front of the throne, and the four living animals and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 people who had been redeemed from the earth. 14:4 They are celibate and have not defiled themselves with women. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were redeemed by Jesus from humanity, the special offering to God and to the Lamb. 14:5 No lie was found in their mouths, because they are blameless.
14:6 I saw an angel flying in the air, with the eternal Good News to tell people living on the earth, every nation, tribe, language, and people. 14:7 He shouted, “Honour the Lord, and give him glory, because the time of his judgment has arrived. Worship the one who made heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water!”
14:8 A second angel followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, which once made all the nations drink the angry wine of her sexual immorality.”
14:9 A third angel followed them, shouting, “People who worship the beast and its idol, and receive a mark on their forehead, or on their hand, 14:10 will also drink the wine of God’s anger, which has been poured undiluted into the cup of his fury. They will be tortured with fire and sulphur in front of the holy angels and the Lamb. 14:11 The smoke from their torture rises forever and ever. People who worship the beast and its idol, and who accept the mark of its name, will have no relief day or night. 14:12 The believers who obey the commandments of God, and are faithful to Jesus, must endure patiently.”
14:13 I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘People who die in the Lord from now on are blessed. “Yes,” says the Spirit, “They can rest from their work, because their good deeds follow them.”‘”
14:14 I looked, and there was a white cloud. Sitting on the cloud was someone resembling the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 14:15 Another angel came out of the temple, shouting to the person sitting on the cloud, “Swing your sickle, and reap, because the time to start reaping has arrived. The harvest of the earth is ripe!” 14:16 The person sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
14:17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. 14:18 A further angel, who had power over fire, came out of the altar and shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle, and harvest the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vines, because the earth’s grapes are ripe!” 14:19 The angel swung his sickle over the earth, and harvested the earth’s grapes, and threw them into the huge winepress of God’s anger. 14:20 The grapes were crushed in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out from the winepress in a stream as high as a horse’s bridle with a length of about 300 kilometres.
June 9th, 2007
In real life, there are prosecutors lurking around every corner. If you drive your car too fast, or park in the wrong spot, the prosecutors are out to accuse you of wrongdoing and make you pay for your misdemeanour. If you say something politically incorrect in public, then the self-appointed guardians of political correctness are waiting to howl you down and publicly castigate you. School teachers are ready to accuse you if you step out of line. Police officers are ready to fine you. Your boss is ready to rebuke you or demote you or sack you. Worst of all, perhaps, is the little accusatory voice in your mind…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 12
12:1 A significant omen appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 12:2 She was pregnant, and cried out in pain, labouring to give birth. 12:3 Another omen appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads seven crowns. 12:4 Its tail dragged one third of the stars from the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth it could devour her child. 12:5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who would rule all nations with an iron rod. Her child was seized and taken up to God, and to his throne. 12:6 The woman ran away into the desert, to a place prepared for her by God. She would be taken care of there for 1,260 days.
12:7 There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels attacked the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back, 12:8 but they were defeated, and forced out of heaven. 12:9 The huge dragon was thrown down, the old snake who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 12:10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ have come. The accuser of our people, who accused them before our God day and night, has been thrown down. 12:11 They have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the message of their testimony. They did not cling to life, even when they faced death. 12:12 So celebrate, heavens, and everyone living in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, very angry because he knows that he has little time left.”
12:13 When the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to the earth, it chased after the woman who had given birth to the male child. 12:14 The woman was given two huge eagle’s wings, so that she could fly away from the snake to her place in the desert, where she could be taken care of for a time, and times, and half a time. 12:15 The snake spewed water out of its mouth after the woman like a river, in an attempt to sweep her away. 12:16 The earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river which the dragon spewed out of its mouth. 12:17 The dragon was furious with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her children, who obey God’s commandments and are faithful to Jesus’s teachings. 12:18 The dragon stood on the sand beside the sea.
June 7th, 2007
There are many different types of prizes and awards that you can win in life. Tennis clubs and golf clubs often have honour boards showing who has won the club championship each year since the club began. If the club has been around for a while, you can check the names of the club champions for the past 30 years to see if you can recognise anyone who went on to bigger or better things. Often the names have simply faded into obscurity, but sometimes you come across a name of a person who has moved on to fame and fortune. What can you do to win glory that lasts?
The Revelation to John — Chapter 5
5:1 I saw, in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne, a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed shut with seven seals. 5:2 I saw a powerful angel shouting with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to break its seals?” 5:3 No one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the scroll, or to look in it. 5:4 And I wept bitterly, because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll, or to look in it. 5:5 One of the leaders said to me, “Don’t weep. The Lion who comes from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed. He can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 5:6 I saw a Lamb standing between the throne and the four living animals, and in front of the leaders. He looked as if he had been slain, and had seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out to all the earth. 5:7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. 5:8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living animals and the twenty-four leaders fell down in front of the Lamb, each one with a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the believers. 5:9 They sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood, from every tribe, language, people, and nation, 5:10 and made us a kingdom and priests to our God, and we will reign on earth.”
5:11 I saw and heard the sound of many angels around the throne, the living animals, and the leaders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; 5:12 shouting with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honour, glory, and blessing!”
5:13 I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, and in the sea, all of them, saying, “To the one who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be blessing, honour, glory, and power, forevermore! Amen!” 5:14 The four living animals said, “Amen!” and the leaders fell down and worshipped.
May 31st, 2007
You often hear people say that they don’t want to go to heaven because they think it would be boring. For some people, harp and trumpet music starts to get on the nerves after around ten minutes, so the thought of having to spend eternity listening to it is just too much. For many people the brief experiences of worship that they encounter here on earth don’t inspire them to think that eternity is going to be all that exciting and dynamic. For many people, the sound of a pipe organ and a choir largely filled with older ladies whose voices are past their best doesn’t exactly fill the mind with exhilaration and exalted thoughts…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 4
4:1 After this I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the voice that I had heard first, like a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what will happen in the future.”
4:2 Immediately the Spirit came on me. There was a throne in heaven, and someone sitting on the throne 4:3 who looked like jasper and sardius gemstones. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. Twenty-four leaders were sitting on the thrones, dressed in white clothes, with crowns of gold on their heads. 4:5 Out of the throne came lightning, noises, and thunder. Seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, being the seven Spirits of God. 4:6 Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also in front of the throne. In the centre and around the throne were four living animals covered with eyes front and back. 4:7 The first animal was like a lion, the second animal was like a calf, the third animal had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 4:8 Each of the four living animals had six wings, and was covered with eyes all around. Day and night, they never stopped saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is and will come!”
4:9 When the living animals give glory, honour, and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, to the one who lives forevermore, 4:10 the twenty-four leaders fall down in front of the one who sits on the throne, and worship the one who lives forevermore, and put down their crowns in front of the throne, saying, 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive glory, honour, and power, because you created everything, and they exist, and were created because of your will!”
May 30th, 2007
What kind of plan are you working on for getting into heaven? Most people are working on the pay-as-you-go plan. The outright atheists and the Hitlers of this world won’t make it in, but if God is good and forgiving like people say he is, then he’d have to let us in. It’s important not to be too fanatical, just maintain moderation and a middle path in everything. Go to church sometimes, say some prayers, be truthful most of the time, occasionally give money away to charity, and you’ll be in like Flynn. So it might come as a great surprise to most people that, according to today’s reading, God will vomit out of his mouth people who are lukewarm and neither hot or cold…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 3
3:1 “Write this to the angel of the church in Sardis: ‘He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things:
“‘I know what you are doing, and that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 3:2 Watch out, and strengthen what is left, which is almost dead, because I have not found any completed action of yours before my God. 3:3 Remember what you received and heard. Obey it, and repent. If you do not watch out, I will come like a thief, and you will not know what time I will come to you. 3:4 Nevertheless a few of you in Sardis have not dirtied their clothes. They will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. 3:5 Anyone who prevails will be dressed in white clothes, and I will not blot that person’s name out of the book of life. I will acknowledge that person’s name to my Father, and his angels. 3:6 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
3:7 “Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: ‘He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens so that no one can shut, and who shuts so that no one can open, says these things:
3:8 “‘I know what you are doing. I have placed an open door, which no one can shut, in front of you. You have little power, but have obeyed my message, and have not denied that you believe in me. 3:9 I will make the members of the synagogue of Satan, those who claim to be Jews, but are not because they are lying — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I love you. 3:10 You obeyed my instructions to persevere, so I will protect you from the time of trial, which will come on the whole world, to test those who live on the earth. 3:11 I am coming swiftly! Stay true to what you believe, so that no one takes your crown. 3:12 I will make anyone who prevails a pillar in the temple of my God, and that person will never have to leave it again. I will write on that person the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 3:13 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
3:14 “Write this to the angel of the church in Laodicea: ‘The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God’s creation, says these things:
3:15 “‘I know what you are doing, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 3:16 Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and do not need anything else,” and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, 3:18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire, to make you rich, and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover up your embarrassing nakedness, and eye drops to put in your eyes, to make you see. 3:19 I correct and train everyone that I love, so do your best, and repent. 3:20 See, I am standing at the door and knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me. 3:21 I will give anyone who prevails the right to sit down with me on my throne, just as I prevailed, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 3:22 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
May 29th, 2007
There was a time when I thought I knew what love was. I thought it was the chemical and physical reaction which caused you to like some people. I thought it was a sort of social contract in which I agree to like you in exchange for you agreeing to like me. I say nice things to you and you say nice things to me. I help you out and you help me out. I buy you birthday presents and you buy me birthday presents. According to my understanding, love was something that got awarded to cool people and taken away from misfits and social outcasts. Then I discovered another, unexpected, type of love which completely changed my worldview…
John’s First Letter — Chapter 4
4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have emerged in the world. 4:2 This is how you can identify the Spirit of God: every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, 4:3 and every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist. You have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4:4 You belong to God, children, and have defeated them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 4:5 They belong to the world, so they talk about the world, and the world listens to them. 4:6 We belong to God. Someone who knows God listens to us. Someone who does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we identify the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
4:7 Dear friends, we must love each other, because love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. 4:8 Someone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 4:9 God demonstrated his love for us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 4:10 Real love is not about us loving God, but him loving us. He sent his Son as the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 4:11 Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we must also love each other. 4:12 No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love becomes complete in us.
4:13 We know that we live in him and he lives in us, because he has given us his Spirit. 4:14 We have seen and can tell you that the Father sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 4:15 God lives in people who acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 4:16 We know and trust the love which God has for us. God is love, and people who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 4:17 Love has become complete amongst us, so that we can be confident on the judgment day, because we are like him in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love. Perfect love removes fear, because fear is associated with punishment, and someone who fears has not experienced complete love. 4:19 We love him because he first loved us. 4:20 If people say, “I love God,” but hate a brother or sister, they are liars, because people who do not love their brothers and sisters whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 4:21 We have this commandment from him: people who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.
May 22nd, 2007
If you really believe that love is just a chemical reaction, a primal instinct developed over millions of years as part of the evolutionary process of the survival of the fittest, then once you’ve experienced bedroom intimacy in all its starkness, that’s all there is. But if you believe that there is a God who created us and who loves each person deeply and intimately, and if you believe that we can only truly learn to live when we learn to love other people deeply in the way that God first loved us, then you can experience a depth of love that is unimaginable to other people…
John’s First Letter — Chapter 3
3:1 You can see what sort of love the Father has given to us, letting us be called children of God, and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is because it did not know him. 3:2 Friends, we are God’s children now, although it is not yet apparent what we will become. But we know that when Christ appears we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. 3:3 People who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 3:4 Everyone who sins also breaks the law. Sin is law-breaking. 3:5 You know that he came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 3:6 Whoever remains in him does not sin. Whoever sins has not seen him, and does not know him.
3:7 Children, do not let anyone lead you astray. People who act rightly are righteous, just as he is righteous. 3:8 People who sin belong to the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God came to destroy what the devil has done. 3:9 People who are children of God do not commit sin, because God’s seed remains in them. They cannot sin, because they are children of God. 3:10 This is how the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. People who do not act rightly, and people who do not love their fellow believers, do not belong to God. 3:11 You have heard this message right from the beginning: we must love each other.
3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because the things he did were evil, and the things his brother did were good. 3:13 Do not be surprised, my friends, if the world hates you. 3:14 We know that we have switched from death to life, because we love our fellow believers. People who do not love remain dead. 3:15 Whoever hates a fellow believer is a murderer, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life living in them.
3:16 We have known love, because he laid down his life for us. We should lay down our lives for our fellow believers. 3:17 How can the love of God be inside people who have plenty, but close their hearts against a fellow believer whom they can see is in need? 3:18 My children, let us not just love in words, or with our tongues, but with our actions and in truth. 3:19 By doing this we know that we are genuine, and can be confident in the presence of God, 3:20 even if we feel guilty, because God is greater than our emotions, and knows everything.
3:21 Friends, if our conscience is clear, we can be confident towards God, 3:22 and we receive anything that we ask from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 3:23 His commandment is to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other, just as he instructed us. 3:24 People who obey his commandments live in him, and he lives in them. We know that he lives in us, because of the Spirit which he gave us.
May 21st, 2007