Soaking In His Presence!

1 John 2:24-25 
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
In our home we give our kids chores to do each week. There least favorite week seems to be dish duty. They will wait until the last minute to clean the dishes – and then there is the argument of whether a dish was left from the previous week, because apparently if one plate is still in the sink on Monday then all obligations to do dishes are null and void until that dish is clean by the one who forgot to wash it. I know this does not happen in your house, right? There have been times when a dish was left in the sink with food on it that dried so hard you needed a hammer and chisel to remove it! You can scrub and scrape and eventually clean it all off, but it is much easier just to let it soak in the dishwater and allow the soap and water to loosen and soften the food making it much easier to remove. Letting the dish “abide” in the water makes it easier to clean!
The Abiding Christian is a lot like that dirty dish. The more time we spend submersed in the presence of Christ the easier we clean up! As we spend time in His word we learn what it means to walk with Him. As we spend time in prayer we learn  what it means to depend on Him. As we spend time in worship we learn what it means to love Him! Then we will find that the dirt and the grime of this world doesn’t stick to us so easily! Does this mean we become perfect and sinless? No. Its more like the bumper sticker I saw one day, “Christians aren’t sinless, but they should sin less!” 
Here in our passage John tells us to abide in the truths of God’s word. It is a familiar topic for him. This same message was given to the disciples in John 15 as Jesus taught His followers what it means to abide in Him . To abide in Christ means to find your life, your purpose, your fulfillment in Him and Him alone! I believe what stops most of us from living this type of life is the distraction of all this world has to offer, however the trinkets of this world pales in comparison to what is promised to those who follow Jesus – eternal life! We get this idea that the life that Christ gives us is waiting for us in heaven, but that isn’t the case! Once we except Christ as our Savior we have entered into Life and the source of that life is Jesus! 1 John 3:14 says we know that we have passed from death unto life – not that we will pass into life but that we have already done itl! Your life in Christ begins at salvation! So since the source of our life is Christ we must learn to abide in Him! As we do this and we soak in His presence we find that the attraction of this world doesn’t stick to us so easily!
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us learn to Abide in Him; Living the life that He has given us through the Cross and soaking in His presence as we give Him our hearts to mold and to make into His Likeness!

Time is Short!

1 John 2:18-23 
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
We were in a youth group meeting one time when the pastor announced that we were going to play a game called “Minute To Win It”. If you haven’t heard of it, the object of the game is to be given a task that has to be done within 60 seconds. I enjoyed watching the teens play, especially the competitive ones! Their focus on the task was impressive as they ignored all the noise and distractions. Beads of sweat popped up on there foreheads as they got in the zone. The competition was intense as they attempted the impossible – to bounce a ping pong ball onto a piece of bread covered in peanut butter 🙂 Ok, maybe I am exaggerating just a little, but it was a lot of fun! As the clock ran down the intensity increased until that final buzzer announced the end of the competition and the teen would walk away either in victory (which earned a candy bar) or defeat (which resulted in the walk of shame back to their seat) !
There are some similarities between this and the Christian walk – but the stakes are much higher. John explained that we are living in the last time according to God’s time table. All that has to be done for the redemption of sinners was accomplished on the cross. From John’s day until now the timer has been ticking away and when the last grain of sand falls in the hour glass the tribulation begins. Until then we have a mission – to proclaim the truth of Christ to the world. There are many who stand up against the truth. John doesn’t pull any punches but describes them as antichrist! He says these people are against the truth of the Grace of Christ and have abandoned God in the pursuit of a lie! 
John tells us we have an “unction” from God. This word means “anointing”; to be set apart for a particular purpose. In 1 Samuel 16:13 David is anointed to be the next king. In Isaiah 61:1 he talks about being anointed to proclaim the good tidings of God’s Grace! As followers of Christ we have been set apart for the purpose of proclaiming the Grace of God and contrasting God’s truth with the lies of this world – through acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You cannot say that you know God if you don’t know Christ because to reject Jesus is to Reject God. Matthew 10:32-33 says, 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus warns that if you choose to believe the lie that Jesus was just another good teacher, a moral person who just did good things then you are denying who He is and He will Deny you before God. 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us consider the job that God has given us. The purpose that God has for your life is to climb to the mountaintop of Grace and shout for all you are worth that Jesus Christ is Lord! The hourglass has been turned, the task has been given. Will we take the time we are provided and use it to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world!

Loving without Reserve

1 John 2:15-17 

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

I enjoy riding motorcycles and my favorite bike to ride is a Harley Davidson. Which one – I’m not picky! There is just something about the rumble of the engine while you are out riding through the country or mountains or city…well just about any where. My only complaint is that the motorcycles that I have owned were missing one vital instrument, a gas gauge. No matter how well you tracked the mileage, you still had that doubt in the back of your head about how much fuel you still had in the tank. There have been times when I was riding and the bike would start sputtering because I had pushed it a little too far and was out of “go-go juice” as my mom used to call it. Then I would remember this little switch on the side of the bike that I could turn and go from the main tank to the reserve tank that still had enough fuel in it to get me to the nearest station. That little tank kept me from getting stranded on many occasions! I always knew that I had some left in the reserves!
Do we do the same thing with our love for Christ? Do we hold back some in reserves “just in case”? You see, there are a lot of shiny things in this world and if I give all of my love and devotion to Christ then I just might miss out on something! We probably don’t verbalize it like that, but if I am honest – I have thought it. We talk about being careful about burning bridges because we never know if we will have to come back across it. While that may be good in certain earthly relationships it has no place in our relationships with Christ. I don’t know about you – but I want to be “all-in” with my walk with Jesus! John tells us in our passage that if we are going to Love God – we must drain that reserve tank! If we are going to Love God then we can hold nothing back for this world (NO RESERVES) and as we follow Him we are burning bridges as we go (NO RETREATS).  I am reminded of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 who “looked back” to what they had left. Sodom was perishing – God was raining judgement down on this wicked city, but she just couldn’t help herself. She wasn’t ready to burn that bridge. Then, when this life is over and we stand before the one who owns all of our devotion and here these words “Well Done” and enter into our reward we will see that it was worth it all (NO REGRETS)
The Story is told of a young man named William Borden who wrote those words in his bible (No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets) as he left the family fortune to train for the mission field, turned down jobs to go to the mission field, but died before He ever made it. In His personal journal he wrote one sentence that defined his devotion to Christ, “Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Christ every-time.” That means Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind – holding nothing back.
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ I want us to check our “reserve tank”. Are we holding back at all in our love for Christ – just in case? We cannot love the world and love God at the same time. God isn’t satisfied with some of my devotion, He wants all of my devotion! When my life is over may it be said of me as it was of William – No Reserves, No Retreats, and No Regrets!