Theology ~ Am I Really a Christian? But I’ve Always Been a Christian!

Today is dedicated to some thought provoking sermons and Bible reading. Below are some great places to start. You might glance over them and think nothing of it, but even if you are a Christian, I encourage you to listen to a couple and definitely read God’s Word. You will either be fully reassured or convicted. There is no middle ground. I encourage you to read all of the book of 1 John. It is 5 short chapters. Again, you will either be convicted or reassured. Give yourself the gift of taking time out of your busy day to learn more about God and yourself today!

Am I Really a Christian?
Unchanged
But I’ve Always Been a Christian
Almost a Christian

 

1 JOHN 1

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

1 JOHN 2

Christ Our Advocate

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do Not Love the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Children of God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

 

1 JOHN 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

 

1 JOHN 4

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

1 JOHN 5

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

That You May Know

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Tuesday Thoughts ~ Empowered

These feeble hands of mine, is it possible? This feeble mind of mine, is it possible? This broken body of mine, is it possible? Is it possible to do your work with hands strengthened by you? Is it possible to be your ambassador with a mind enlightened by you? Is it possible to do your will with a body made alive by you? Only you know the power of the gifts of strength, enlightenment, and life. You gave them freely to me on the day of my repentance! They are mine because you gave me them. Guide me that I won’t mess it all up. Guide me Holy Spirit that I will not cash in my sanctification for a trite taste of human weakness. Spur me on towards the goal. Help me to look toward Heaven in order to make a bigger Kingdom Impact here on Earth. Empower me to do Your will. Empower me.

Wednesday Worship ~ Attributes of God ~ God is Soverign

You made me! You made us! You made everything! Your work and creation is far greater than what we could ever hope to make or create. Your intricate creation is perfect and you can do what you want with us when you want. You have every right to make people who are full of wrath in order to show your glory. You have every right to remove your light from people and in them begets great darkness. You have every right to choose whom you will choose and whom you will not choose. You have every right to restrain the full force of evil. You have every right to remove your Spirit and allow Hell on Earth. Come Lord Jesus Come! When is enough enough for you. You are immeasurably patient. Help me to have patience like yours. I long for your Day to come! But you know the perfect time for everything. Your plans are good and perfect.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. – Psalm 103:19

The LORD of hosts has sworn, “As I have planned, so it shall be, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.” – Isaiah 14:24

Is it Possible to Love those we Hate?

Love. What does it really boil down to? Of course you love the people you want to love. But what about those that you would rather not be around or better yet, those that you just cannot stand to be around. How about those people? Love, the way Jesus meant it, is hard. I was eating dinner the other night with my family when my husband said something that hurt. The ones we love are the ones that are able to hurt us the most. I quietly left the room and almost started to cry on my way up to our bedroom. I prayed on that short journey up the stairs and when I reached the landing I reached my decision. I was going to love him even though he did not deserve it. I cleaned the bedroom and put away some of his things and sat and prayed for him with all the love I have for him. Guess what? I found freedom. There is a tremendous amount of freedom you experience when you love when it is hard, when you love when they don’t deserve it, when you love when the world says you have every right to hate. My husband is the love of my life so perhaps that is not the best example, however when I think about those that I don’t quite get along with, or those that don’t like me, when I love them the way Jesus tells me to love them, that is the perfect example of what it means to love. Think about the people in your life that have made your life hard. How can you show Jesus to them the next time they screw up your day?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Pole

cross trails ministry pole jumpHave you ever done a ropes course in the air? They are usually about 20 feet off the ground and terrifying. The very last thing you must accomplish before jumping to the ground is something that most fail to complete. They chicken out. You must shimmy up a telephone pole about 10 feet high. Remember you are 20 feet off the ground to begin with. Once at the top of the 12 inch in diameter pole you have to gingerly try to stand upright on it. It is almost impossible to do so especially with the blood pounding away in your ears. Once balanced precariously on top of the pole you have to reach out and jump to the bar swing that is your only safe way to the ground. If you fall, your harness will catch you, it may hurt a bit, and will definitely bruise your ego, an idol of sorts.

So, maybe you don’t have a golden calf in your house or a tiki god that you pray to each morning. Or, maybe you do. In any event, the majority of people today think we are without household idols that were so prevalent in Old Testament times. We could not be further from the truth.

My alter is high. My alter is only built with enough room for one person like that ropes course pole. I have placed myself so high on my own alter that I cling to it with all my life fearing that if I let go I will fall to my death. If I fall off balance for just a split second my ego will be damaged and slammed to the ground in despair. Father forgive the sin of myself. I have placed myself on my own alter and have created an inescapable idol of myself.

But there is hope. Swap spots with Jesus. He took your place on that pole. He holds you firm with three nails firmly driven into the wood of that pole. Jesus has overcome the fear of the pole. He rose above it and has perfect balance and perfect reach to God the Father. He will lift you up to reach the impossibly high bar set forth that is the glory of God himself. Only through Christ is there true safety and true grounding life.

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

DBR Thought of the Day ~ How will you rate yourself? How will God rate you? Are you going to Heaven or Hell?

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

One of my greatest sources of compassion for people comes from an eternal perspective. I look around at people in my life and people I pass by that I do not know and I wonder about their final destination. The Bible says the gate is wide and easy to Hell and that many will enter it. On the other side of that coin it says the gate that leads to Heaven is narrow and hard and that few will enter. It does not say it is narrow and hard but yet still many will enter. It says few. Did you know that the majority of the world when asked to rate themselves on any given thing, skill, appearance, ability would rate themselves 7 out of 10? Dig around the internet and you will find this to be true. It is wild because we all cannot be in the 70th percentile of everything, now, can we? It doesn’t work that way.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans believe in God. Based on what the Bible says, few will enter, so how is it that that many people can be so wrong about God? Being a Christian and believing in the only true God grants me a level of peace and confident assurance in my salvation, however it also affords me a hard life. I hear pastors who say I can pray a good life and get good things here on earth, however when you look at Biblical examples that is just not true. They were tremendously blessed in their relationships with other believers, but outside of that they did not sit around eating grapes, with servants to cool them with fans, watching the court jester entertain them all day long. They did not sit around all day eating fast food in air conditioned rooms watching TV. They were persecuted.

When was the last time you were persecuted? When was the last time you went through a trial that you wished for death but knew it was not your time? I see us sitting around in our cush homes in Southern California and wonder if 9 out of 10 believe in God and we would consider ourselves an 8 or 9 our of a scale of 1-10 when it comes to our lives. They say the mission field is in other countries, but start looking around. The mission field is America. The church of Laodicea. The “Lukewarm” Church.

If you read the verse before the descriptions of the gates (see full text below) in Matthew 7 you will see the “Golden Rule”. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This comes right before telling us about the eternal outcome of the majority of the human race. So, here is my thought. The next time you are mad at your boss, or furious with your co-worker, or angry at your child, or resentful of your spouse, consider this: if they are saved, you are commanded to get things right, if they are not saved, this is the best they have. If they, for whatever reason, are not going to Heaven then cut them some slack. This world is the best they will ever know.

Let that angry woman at the check-out line go ahead of you. Hold the door open for that bitter man. Show your mean boss grace and build him or her up even when they deserve the opposite. Give them every courtesy you can in hopes that they may see a glimpse of God through you. Allow God to exact judgment. It is not your job. Your job is to be a light in this world because on that Day when Jesus comes, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. – Matthew 7:12-14

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Scripture ~ 2 Peter 1:3

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” – 2 Peter 1:3

I am once again in awe of you. In awe of the simple yet profound fact that you called me. In that calling you have given me access to all the things of this life and to your godliness. You have called me to your glory. To your excellence! What an honor! Thank you.

Daily Bible Reading Thought of the Day on Isaiah 1: 5-6

Isaiah 1: 5-6

5…Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it…

It is so sad to think about the Israeli people and how they were so stiff-necked. It makes no sense at all yet as I look around at the people I pass during the day, my heart breaks as I know the majority of them are lost. There is so much proof, so much evidence that if they only had eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand they would know. Father, please open the eyes, ears, and heart of my loved ones who do not yet know you. I pray for salvation over my entire household. Bring your Holy Spirit down hard on them so that they may be convicted of their sin, their lack of righteousness, and their impending judgment from you, a Holy and Perfect God. Help me walk to day in you so that I may be a perfect light reflecting only Your glory. I give you my every moment that you may do as you please.