March 29, 2023

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Discipleship Response

• In Christ, I am joyful and I complete my joy
by sharing it with others.

1 John 1:4

We write this to make our joy complete.
~ Apostle John

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Pondering Point

One of Jesus joys was to bring us to God the Father; the Apostle John describes a similar joy for him and his fellow disciples. John’s joy increases – is actually completed – when others share his joy of knowing Jesus, of following Jesus, of being in fellowship with the Father because of Jesus.

I have known and celebrated such joy. Have you?

Let’s review the potential for joy being experienced, shared and “completed” as John describes it. Read 1 John 1:1-2:14 and see that such joy includes forgiveness, fellowship and love – with God and men. If time permits, check out Thrivetoday’s Skill 11: Return to Joy on Youtube.

1 John 1:1 - 2:14

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 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, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

Reasons for Writing
12 I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 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.

14 I write to you, dear 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 lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

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Are you a joyful person? Does your sin rob you of joy? OR – Do you let God’s forgiveness rob sin and shame of its hold on you, replacing it with joy in being forgiven and free from guilt? Do you enjoy fellowship time with God and others?

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Repent if Necessary

Repent of letting sin rob you of joy in the Lord. or of not sharing God-given joy with others, or diminishing joy of the Lord in others. You may need to repent of missing out on fellowshipping with God and others. Confess such sins knowing that God is faithful and just and will forgive your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

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Return as Necessary

Return to the light of God, rejoice over the forgiveness and fellowship that you have thanks to Jesus, and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to walk in the light, loving God as well as your brothers and sisters of the faith. Ask that the Spirit disperses all darkness within your heart, soul and mind.

The following prayer is part of a re-written set of lyrics based on the song In the Garden. I use it in my devotional time with God. The chorus reflects this desired sharing of what we at Hope called “contagious joy.” Use these words to pray in this devotional time.

Prayer for the Day

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Oh Lord walk with me, come and talk with me
Come and tell me I am Your own
Let the joy we share as we tarry here
Be joy Lord that others can know. Amen.

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If you make $25,000 a year or more, you're in the top 10 percent of the world's wealth. And if you make $34,000 a year or more, you're in the top 1 percent. Listen to Paul's commands to the rich in Ephesus: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.... Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19). This was Paul riffing on Jesus teaching from Matthew 6. See the quote in there? And he was saying the same thing Jesus did: simplicity is actually the way we reach out and grasp the life that is truly life.
~ J.M. Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, p. 202

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