I’m a follower of Christ who is not a trained bible scholar and I hoped that exposing this reflective journal of my bible readings to the public may help people gain insight into that kind of perspective. But I do regularly listen to trained bible scholars explain scripture regularly and their research and explanations shape my understandings of scriptures. These scriptures below helped me remember how much help I have received from one particular bible scholar and preacher, Pastor Matt Smith of Barabbass Road Church through his series on Galatians and Ephesians http://www.whoisbarabbas.com/messages.html. His sermons have been a help to me in deeply understanding, believing, and confidently accepting what these scriptures below announce: that Jesus is the Christ and that following Him with faith in who He is and what He has done for me, supernaturally gives me the victory over selfish desires so that I can love even those people who seem unlovable. What I mean is that as God’s children through Christ, I have already been given the supernatural desire and power to joyfully follow Him and stop serving the strong desires to do otherwise, desires that never go away as long as I’m in this body. I can remind myself of who Christ is, what He has done for me by giving His blood and life for me on the cross, and how I have been made supernaturally alive or born again in Him.
1 John 5:1-12 (CEV)
1If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God’s children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children. 2If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children. 3We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.
4Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. 5No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
6Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just water, but water and blood. [a] The Spirit tells about this, because the Spirit is truthful. 7In fact, there are three who tell about it. 8They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree. 9We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. 10If we have faith in God’s Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don’t believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. 11God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. 12And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.
1 John 5:6Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just water, but water and blood: See John 19.34. It is also possible to translate, “Jesus Christ came by the water of baptism and by the blood of his death! He was not only baptized, but he bled and died.” The purpose of the verse is to tell that Jesus was truly human and that he really died.
These scriptures written by Paul helped remind me that there is good behavior that we should seek and evil behavior that we should avoid. Good behavior involves love and seeks the good of others while evil behavior is divisive and self-serving. People have an appetite for evil. These scriptures suggest to me an effort to lovingly tolerate different ideas of what is good, but also suggest intolerance for any kind of evil. Evil exists, is deceptive, can be identified, and should not be tolerated. Also interesting to think about how peace is a gift from God and that God uses us in His victory over Satan.
17My friends, I beg you to watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! 18They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don’t know any better. 19I am glad that everyone knows how well you obey the Lord. But still, I want you to understand what is good and not have anything to do with evil. 20Then God, who gives peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. I pray that our Lord Jesus will be kind to you.
These scriptures helped me remember to not run around looking to for better opportunities in a panicky way. Rather, I should remember that God is in control and everything good and bad that happens is something that He has allowed for the purposes of His good will. If I trust in His love for me and the perfect goodness of His almighty purposes, then I can seek better opportunities without the stress and fear that causes me to neglect my focus on doing the work that He has given me to do.
Proverbs 12:11 (CEV)
11Hard working farmers have more
than enough food;
daydreamers are nothing more
than stupid fools.
Proverbs 12:11 (The Message)
11 The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.
“Sometimes it seems as though not a moment has moved, but then you look up and you’re already old or you already have a household of kids or you look down and see your feet are miles and miles away from the rest of you—and you realize you’ve grown up.”—Jacqueline Woodson, Between Madison and Palmetto (via creatingaquietmind)
These scriptures helped me remember I should focus my attention on is glorifying God each day, because my efforts are not wasted. Everything is going away but God and His kingdom are forever. Other reasons for glorifying God are that He is good and loving. He is also the creator. But if He was not everlasting and His kingdom is not everlasting, than it is nothing more than a tragic love story. The writer, Peter, reaffirms Paul’s teachings. Since God has already chosen to save me from destruction through the blood of Christ, than I should start living like it. I should want to live like in a way that glorifies God because of what He has chosen to give me. He has chosen to be with me forever and this is a gift that I don’t deserve.
2 Peter 3:8-16 (CEV)
8Dear friends, don’t forget that for the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years is the same as one day. 9The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
10The day of the Lord’s return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. [a] Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are. [b]11Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. 12You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. [c] On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat. 13But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to that! 14My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain that the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 15Don’t forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved. This is also what our dear friend Paul said when he wrote you with the wisdom that God had given him. 16Paul talks about these same things in all his letters, but part of what he says is hard to understand. Some ignorant and unsteady people even destroy themselves by twisting what he said. They do the same thing with other Scriptures too.
17My dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance. 18Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen. [d]