Monday, December 31, 2007

Running the Good Race


Last day of the year! Hard to believe 2007 is gone. It was a blessed year for us.

I went running today: 6 miles. My toe felt excellent all the way! The new shoes are perfect too. I am ready to try and run 10 miles this weekend and then it is downhill all the way to race day:

January 13, 2008.

I am sooo ready for this race to be over.....

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Four

"To obtain an inheritance which is
imperishable and
undefiled and will
not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you."
1 Pet 1:4
Hello friends, let's pray....
"LORD, God we seek You this day and ask that You give us an understanding of Your precepts as we study Your word today. I pray that You will teach us the way of Your statutes so that we can keep them to the end. Help us to meditate on Your precious and perfect holy word this day.
I seek the forgiveness of my sins because I know my sins separate me from You. I want to hear from You this day, LORD, that I might live and grow in Your words. I pray that You will cleanse me, renew me, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit.
I pray for each lady reading this study today that You would speak to her through Your word. I pray that You will encourage her to keep going even if times are tough. I pray that each of us would be encouraging to our husbands and submit to them wholeheartedly as though serving You, oh, LORD. Help us to be the wives You want us to be. Please be welcome in our homes.
In Jesus' name....amen."
We looked last time at the Word of life: Jesus, in scripture. We also looked at why John used so many persuasive verbs when beginning his letter. So, today we will look more at who John was writing to and why.
Gnosticism was a prevelant religion in this historical period of First John. It was a very popular false teaching that believer's were dealing with. John knew this and decided to write letters of encouragement and warning to these believers.
John explained that he is a credible witness to Jesus Christ coming in the flesh:
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands handled..."
The Docetics & Gnostics believed Jesus was spirit and that Jesus only appeared to be human so that He was not a real incarnation of God...therefore He was not a divine Savior who died for sinners (docetism) and that only salvation can come through life experience or supreme knowledge (gnosis- "knowledge"). (New Geneva Study Bible, 1995)
So, John was clearly trying to persuade his readers that docetic and gnostic beliefs were in error because He saw Jesus and he knew Jesus was God in the flesh....a satisfying sacrifice for sinners.
Now let's look more into the "life manifested" written in First John 1:2-
"-the life manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-"
Please read:
  • John 14:6-
The life.
  • Col. 3:4
He is our life.
  • 1 John 4:9
Only begotten Son of God.
  • Ps 113-
He condescends toward us.
  • Acts 3:11-16
The Holy One, the Just, the Prince of life.
  • Acts 2:22-38
A Man approved by God.
  • Ps 118:22
The Chief Cornerstone.
  • Jesus was the life God for His divine purposes. We are saved by no other name! Through Him we have LIFE.
"...declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us." [emphasis mine]
Please read:
  • John 3:14-16
Eternal and everlasting life was promised to us by Jesus when He walked the earth.
  • John 6: 47-
Believe in Jesus..
Does that mean that all who know Jesus is the Son of God are saved??
  • Luke 4:31-34-
The demons called Him the "Holy One of God" yet were these demons saved?
  • Luke 4:40-41
"You are the Christ, the Son of God!" The demons acknowledged who Jesus was: the Messiah, the Son of God, but was that enough to redeem them to God?
  • Hebrews 11:6
One must believe that Jesus is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Did the demons diligently seek Him?
  • James 2:9
The scriptures bear witness of Jesus....
John 5:39
Luke 24:27
  • Eternal life lies in Christ, not the scriptures. We do not worship the Bible, but the One whom the Bible reveals! Do not worship creation, but the One whom creation reveals!
Please read:
  • Acts 8:26-40
Eunuch was saved by God.....the Spirit moved Phillip and the Eunuch.
The Gospel is revealed to some and veiled to others:
  • 2 Cor 4:3-4
Veiled to those who are perishing....
  • 2 Cor 3:14-17
The veil is lifted or taken away in Christ!

He is the giver of eternal life.

"...which was with the Father..."
Please read:
  • John 16:28
Jesus was with the Father from the beginning.
  • 1 Tim 1:16
Those who are "going to believe on Him for everlasting life" have already been selected by God. He calls them to Himself...
  • Ps 9:10-
He does not forsake those who seek Him.
  • Ps 91:14-16
Jesus will show His salvation to those who seek Him.
  • Eph 1:11-12
Predestined and chosen to believe in Him.
  • Luke 18:18-
Some heard and were not called to follow.....
  • You may be thinking about that the person you know who is not a believer could never come to a knowledge of Jesus as their Savior...they are too far gone or too hard headed to ever trust and believe. But remember the God whom you serve. He is the same God who parted the Red Sea. He rose Lazarus from the dead 4 days after he died. He rose Jesus from the dead and He lives today.
Nothing is impossible with God. If your friend or loved one is chosen by God then he/she will come to Christ before he/she leaves this earth. Count on it!
Job 42:2
Jer 32:17
Zech 8:6
Matt 19:26
Luke 1:37
That promise of eternal life holds true to this day...
Romans 1:1-5
Ro 4:13-17
Titus 1:1-2
2 Cor 1:18-20
2 Pet 1:3-4
Gal 3:14
Praise be to God He keeps His promises!!
  • Life Application
We can have comfort and peace in knowing that God's promises are YES! in Christ Jesus. We can know we have eternal life because God is faithful and He will do it.
  • John 10:27-
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He knows you and all your needs even before You know them. He has made a place for you in His kingdom from the beginning of time. He is yours and you are His. As we continue further into 1 John, you will read more about how you can know that you are His and He is yours. There is great rest and assurance in 1 John. It will become your "go-to" book for those times when you may have doubts.
  • You will find great comfort in the words John wrote to his fellow believers who may have been doubting the Gospel after hearing the docetic and gnostic teachings.
  • But 1 John was written that we may KNOW that we have eternal life! Praise God now for that gift.
What were you saved from??
Please read:
  • John 3:36
God's wrath. That alone is worthy of our praise and adoration.
  • Some non-believers see God as an egotistical demagogue who desires us to fall down and worship Him only to please Himself.
But remember, God is eternal. There is no need in an eternal being. God does not "need" us to worship Him. It is the other way around: He knows we need to worship Him in order to live.
  • Just like the does not need us in order to shine. It is us who need the sun shine in order to live! God knows that the greatest thing for us is to know and worship Him....that is why He provided a way for us to know Him and worship Him.
So, take this knowledge and comfort of His promises to you and meditate on them today. Truly apply this knowledge of the God you serve with you today and pass it on...not only in word, but in deed too.
Until next time......
"The joy a Christian experiences as a result of trials can be the best kind he will ever know. But so often we allow the everyday stress and strain of financial difficulties, health problems, unrealized goals, and many other trials rob us of our joy in Christ. True joy stems from spiritual realities that are much greater than temporal circumstances.
...Peter (1 Pet 1:4)gives us one strong reason for rejoicing-confidence and hope that as Christians we have inherited a place in Heaven."
-John MacArthur (Strength for Today Devotional, May 8 entry, 1997)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Three

"Do all things without
complaining and disputing
that you may become blameless
and harmless, children of God
without fault in the midst of a crooked
and perverse generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
holding fast the word of life,
so that I may rejoice in
the day of Christ that
I have not labored in vain."
Philippians 2:14-16
Let's begin out time in study with prayer.....
"Heavenly Father, we come together this day to thank You for the Word of life. We know that without Your word, we are lost in this crooked and perverse generation. Help us to remember to hold fast to Your word and learn to love Your commandments.
I ask forgiveness of my sins today. I know that I have sinned against You and only You. I pray that You will wash me clean this day and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I pray for each lady reading this study. I pray that she will be renewed by studying this book and learn something new today. I pray that You will come alongside her and give her strength.
In Jesus' name....amen."
The Word of Life
1 John 1:1
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-"
As we begin today's lesson, remember what we looked at last time: who John was as a witness to Christ and who Christ was...the incarnation of God in the flesh, the incarnate Word of God made flesh.
Today we will look more into the phrase "Word of life" so that we can have a full understanding before we delve deeper into chapter one.
Please read:
John 1:1-14
Phil 2:16
1 Pet 1:23
1 Thess 2:13
Is. 40:6-8
After reading these passages we find a similar thread throughout them all: God's Word abides and lives forever. It is no wonder Christ Jesus was called the Word of life. We see in scripture that God's word is life to our bones.
Look up and read:
James 1:17-18
Here it is called the Word of truth
John 6:63-69
Jesus called His words "spirit" and "life".
And Simon Peter called them "words of eternal life."
John is alluding to the fact that all he had written is about Jesus as the Word of life. This word came alive and is still alive to this day:
Heb. 4:12-13
It is living and powerful...sharper than any two-edged divides: households, friendships, marriages, businesses, countries. God's word is that powerful!
Psalm 147: 15-20
Input the word, "Son" where it says "word" and you can see a clear picture of how God uses His Son.
Isaiah 49:2- Here we see a more clearly defined role of Christ as the LORD's servant.
But not all believed in the Word of life....
Please read:
John 12:48
We will be judged by the words of Christ....and whether or not we believed and obeyed them.
Rev 19:11-16
The Word of God shall strike the nations with the sharp sword that comes out of His mouth.
John 5:24
But those chosen by the LORD will hear His words and have life....
John 4: 13-15
She heard the words of Jesus and He gave her eternal life....
John 6:33 & 47-51
giver of life...
2 Tim 1:1 & 9
Promise of life....
Titus 1:2-
hope of eternal life....
So, we see here that God's word is powerful, alive, sharp, and it is TRUE....His promises are true and endure forever. His word is His bond. We can trust in His word because He IS HIS WORD. He has sworn an oath on His word, on His diety that all these promises are YES in Christ Jesus! (2 Cor 1:20)
How great is that??
Life Application
We can read 1 John 1:1 now with a clear understanding of what he was writing: he is a credible witness to who Jesus was and what He did and that all this is concerning the Word of life which is Christ the Lord Himself.
How do we apply this knowledge to our lives? Having complete faith in God's word is the backbone of Christianity. To claim to be a Christian and not believe in the Bible as the infallible word of God is to reject the words of Christ reject His body and His spirit.
So, how can one claim to be a Christian without depending solely on the Bible? As we read deeper into 1 John, you will see how these early Christians were dealing with the same dilemma as we do to this day: People who were not truly called by Christ were claiming to be Christians.
Today it is easy to get caught up in the need for intellectual arrogance. Attaining a degree of higher education can make one feel proud or boastful, until you read the Bible and realize it is all futility.
Relying on God's word for life is essential for living because His word endures forever whereas this world does not.
Apply these verses to your life by making sure you are wholly dependent on the Bible for life. Constantly remember that the things of this world are passing away....just like us.
As Christians, we are to know this word of God and hold it deeply to ourselves as though tomorrow it will be gone. It sustains us, it nourishes us, and it repairs our relationship with God so that we can have fellowship with Him.....and that is the greatest thing for our souls.
Until next time.....
"God is loving, but a major part of what He loves is His own perfect character, with a major aspect being the importance of maintaining justice and righteousness. Though God pardons sinners and makes great provision for expressing His mercy, He will never negotiate His justice. If we fail to understand that, the cross of Christ will be utterly meaningless to us."
-Dr. R.C. Sproul (The Truth of the Cross, 2007, p. 19)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Running the Good Race


Was able to run just under six miles today. My toe felt better. Hardly any pain at all during the run. It hurt a little more after I stopped running, but now it is fine.

Bought new shoes!! They felt great during the run. Didn't bother my toe at all.

Am so grateful to be running again. I missed it so. The race is Jan 13th....right around the corner. I want to do one more long run before the race, but we'll see what happens....

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Two

"For this they willfully forget:
that by the word of God the heavens
were of old, and the earth standing out of water
and in the water,
by which the world that then existed
perished, being flooded with water. But
the heavens and the earth
which are now preserved by the
same word, are reserved for fire until the
day of judgment
and perdition of ungodly men."
2 Peter 3:5-7
Good day, ladies! As with all Bible study, let's begin by seeking the Lord.....
"Holy Father, thank You for reminding us in Peter's epistle about the power of Your word. As we study this day about who You are and what Your word is, may we be blessed and renewed.
I seek the forgiveness of my sins...even the sins I do not know that when I read Your word this day I may clearly here Your voice and not be separated from You. I pray for a cleansing by Your precious blood.
I pray for the ladies reading this study this day. May we all be changed through the reading of Your word. I pray that You will go to her and hear her prayer for help and renewal. I pray that You will teach her how to be a better servant to You, LORD.
In Jesus' name....amen."
What Was Heard, Seen, and Touched
As we begin this lesson today, it is important for us to remember those words of Peter's above. God's word is indeed most powerful. More powerful than any nuclear weapon and more powerful than any earthly army.
His words brought life from nothingness. Ex nihilo...something from nothing. And by those words we will be judged in the end for what we did and did not do according to His word.
1 John 1:1
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and out hands have handled, concerning the Word of life."
Whenever I teach English and writing lessons at my son's school, I have to remind the students about different types of writing: narrative, informative, persuasive, etc. They can easily tell what type of writing their story is by knowing these types thoroughly.
When a writer lists facts and specifics, they are usually trying to persuade the reader of the author's expertise or experience for validation.
Here we have John telling us that from the beginning he was there to hear Jesus, touch Him, see Him with his eyes, and handle Him with his own we, the reader, may know that John has the expertise and experience to write about Christ. He knew Him intimately and Jesus knew John intimately. This gives credibility and validation to the letter.
Please read:
Mark 1:14 -the fisherman
  • John's calling
  • Jesus called John...John did not seek Jesus

Luke 5:1-11

  • Witnessed miracles along with Simon
  • They forsook all and followed Him

Matt 4:20

Matt 19:27

Mark 3:13-18

Luke 9:1-3

  • Most mentioned disciples: Peter, James, & John

So, we read here that Jesus chose these men....He performed miracles before them, and then He gave them the power to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. John was a credible witness to the acts of Jesus.

Acts 4:1-4

  • "...many who heard their words, believed."
  • Christ gave power to their words

Please read:

John 1:1-4

John 1:14

1 John 1:1

"...that which we have seen with our eyes.."

John beheld the glory of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among them. He also saw that glory being beaten, tortured, ridiculed, and finally...killed.

John 19: 25-30

Imagine you are John. You were chosen by Jesus to do and witness great things. You saw with your own eyes the dead rising again! You sat under Jesus' teachings. Imagine that!! You ate with Him and talked to Him.

Then, you saw Him bleeding and hanging on a cross...the very glory of God hanging like a criminal just as He said. Suddenly, you watch Him die.

John 20: 1-23

Bu then, with those same eyes, you see the empty tomb, the linens gently placed, and then you see the risen Christ standing before you just as He said He would.

Imagine that!

John 1:1

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.."

Yes, John was the credible witness chosen by Jesus to write these words that we may know and have fellowship with Christ Jesus.....just as he did.

Praise be to God.


Life Application

So, how do we take all this and apply it to our lives? Well, are you a credible witness of Christ just as John was? Do you know Jesus intimately enough to tell others about Him and His words?

Please read:

1Tim 1:16-17

Is Jesus using you to show to others how to get through pain and suffering so that they may know how to suffer in Christ Jesus?

A teacher at Nathan's school was recently hired to take over for another teacher who left. She has no experience at all in teaching, but she came at a time when I was there teaching full time for 6 weeks. I came alongside her and helped her with lesson plans and classroom management while another experienced teacher helped her with administrative tasks. Together, all three of us grew close and began to know each other intimately. So intimately, that this teacher shared with us that she was having marriage problems and financial troubles.

As a result, I was able to share with her how Jesus brought me and Scott through similar troubles and how faithful Christ was to us throughout all the hard times. Jesus used our pain and suffering "as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him". She was very encouraged by my tansparency. Especially when I told her that only 4 short years ago I was cleaning toilets as a janitor at our church and now I have a Masters degree in education and am a teacher. She was amazed at what Jesus did with my life.....and what He can do with hers.

1 John 1:4

The purpose for the First Epistle of John is clear: that we all may have the full and complete joy that comes with having fellowship in Christ Jesus.

Know Him personally. Know Him intimately. Then, tell others about what you have seen, heard, and witnessed Him doing in your life.


Next time we will look deeper into the "Word of life" .

Until then.....

"The gospel is a message of good news that something extraordinary has happened. At the heart of that message is that Jesus, God the Son incarnate, has atoned for the sins of all His people, turning away the righteous wrath of God. The gospel is a cross-shaped message. Sadly, in our day, this message is being re-shaped into other forms, and the results are not happy."

-Dr. R. Scott Clark, Associate Pastor, Westminster Seminary California (cited from the book, The Truth About the Cross, R.C. Sproul, 2007)



Monday, December 24, 2007

The First Epistle of John

"In the beginning
was the Word, and
the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was
in the beginning with God. All things
were made through Him, and
without Him nothing was made
that was made."
John 1:1-3
Good morning ladies! As with all Bible studies, we will begin with prayer....
"Father God in heaven, as we come together at this time of year to celebrate your birth, life, and death, may we never forget what it was that You did for us: conquered death once and for all so that we may never face it. You alone lived the perfect life here on earth that we may know how to live and You died the perfect death that we may know how to die for God, but You conquered our foe, Satan, once and for all so that we now face a conquered foe.
I seek the forgiveness of my sins knowing that my sins affect all of creation. I know that my sins separate me from You and I pray that You will cleanse me and renew me this day.
I pray for this study of the first book of Your servant, John. I pray for each lady reading this study that she will glean much out of it. I pray that after reading these words of John, she will know for sure that she has eternal life.
I give You this study, LORD, and ask that You be glorified in it.
In Jesus' name.....amen."
An Overview of First John
In this first lesson we will look at the whole book of First John then, later in the next lesson, we will concentrate on chapter one. I pray that you were able to print out the first chapter and mark it for key words, if not you may want to do that now by cutting and pasting the chapter from if you are not comfortable marking your Bible.
This study will mirror Kay Arthur's First John study. If you have ever been in a Kay Arthur study, you know that it is inductive. This means that we will only look at the facts in the Bible and come to a conclusion on what the writer meant. We won't use commentaries unless necessary.
In this overview of First John, we will look at the book in its proper context and how the author reveals his purpose for writing the book.
We can do this with any book in the Bible by asking the 5 W's and an H questions:
  • First John was written by the beloved apostle, John. It was written while he was exiled on the island of Patmos during the time of Ignatius and Polycarp (110 A.D.).
  • First John is believed to have been written after the book of John because of how clearly John criticizes false teachings and antichrists. It seems to have been written at a time when identifying yourself as a Christian was well-established. John seems to be writing a a certain group of people.
  • The "letter" does not have the usual greeting or salutation as in other letters in the New Testament, but it is considered a letter due to how it was written.
  • First John was written as a warning to Christians on how to spot antichrists from among them and about how to know when someone is a true Christian or not....even themselves. So you can see how contemporary and relevant this book is to us today when many people call themselves Christians.
Let's now look at each chapter in an overview:

Chapter one:

Uses the word "know" 4 times and "sin" 5 times as well as "light" 3 times.
Chapter two:
Uses the word "abide" nine times and "sin" 4 times, but John uses the word "know" here 13 times and "love" 5 times. He also uses the word "write" 11 times and "light" 3 times.
Chapter three:
Uses the word "sin" 10 times and "know" 9 times as well as "love" 9 times. He uses the phrase "born of God" 5 times in this chapter and "abide" 7 times.
Chapter four:
Uses that word "love" 27 times and "know" 7 times as well as "abide" 6 times and "born of God" 1 time.
Chapter five:
Uses the word "know" 8 times, "love" 5 times, and "born of God" 3 times in this chapter.
By looking at the book in this way, we can easily see John's message: we may know and abide in Christ and be born of God and we may know love if we do not sin.
I call chapter three the "sin" chapter and chapter four the "love" chapter. It helps me remember these books easier!
The book theme of First John is:
That we can know that we have eternal life in Christ Jesus, that we cannot just say this but we must "do" this as well, and that we may know what salvation is and isn't.
So many times we meet someone who claims to be a believer, but how can we know for sure? First John was written that we may know.
Key words:
born of God
eternal life
Purpose of the book:
That we may know...
Historical setting:
False teachings were everywhere
Believers were turning away from their faith
Some believers were Jewish and knew scriptures
Chapter themes:
1) Fellowship with God through Jesus- if we know God obey Him, if we sin confess it.
2) If we abide in Jesus we know no sin; abide in the light. Know Him, keep His commandments.
3) Anyone born of God cannot continue to live in sin.
4) We must love one another as God loved us. LOVE.
5) Know that you have eternal life through Christ.
Okay! This concludes our Overview of the First Epistle of John. I hope that after reading the book and this overview, you have a better understanding of this book. I hope that you will have pure joy in reading this book as it reveals to you the assurance...absolute assurance...of your salvation in Christ Jesus!
  • We will look at chapter one next time and use scripture to study its contents further until we know what the chapter says.
I am excited! I hope you are too...
Until next time...................
"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
-Romans 6:17-18

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Running the Good Race


Was able to run just under 5 miles yesterday. It was so cool out: 59 degrees at 3:00pm. It felt great and there was no pollution. Quite a change from the summertime.

Will do North Mountain tomorrow so I can eat without any guilt tomorrow night and Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Running the Good Race


Ran 3 miles again today!! Felt much better. My knees were hurting a little, so I may still have to buy new shoes...not sure.

Just so thankful to be running again....thank the LORD.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The First Epistle of John- Introduction

Good morning!!

This is the first post of this study of 1 John.

1 John is one of my most favorite books in the Bible because it touches on so many emotions that we endure daily and because it tells us of our assurance of our salvation: how we may KNOW that we have eternal life.

I pray that you will enjoy this study. It is based off of Kay Arthur's precept study of the book, but not the exact study as it would be too hard to do online as a precept.

So, here is a brief layout of how this study will be:

Every other day I will post a lesson for you to read. Included in the lesson will be Bible passages for you to look up and read. The study will begin with an overview of 1 John and a little background on who John was in Scriptures.

The first thing you should do to prepare for this study is to read the entire epistle of 1 John. Then, read it a second time, only this time look for key words in each chapter. If you feel comfortable t marking in your Bible, underline or highlight key words such as know, sin, love, life, abide, and fellowship.

If you are not comfortable marking your Bible, cut & paste then print out the chapters separately (you can find them at and then mark them accordingly.

You will be amazed at how many times these words are used in this small but important book in the Bible.

Finally, read the first chapter and look for key phrases.

Well, that will be our study for the next few weeks...however long it takes us to get through the whole book.

Looking forward to it!


Running the Good Race


I finally went running last night!!! 3 miles with little pain. It felt GREAT!!!

Will try and do 3 again on Wednesday and then 6 on Friday. Lord willing I will be back to my 9 mile- 10 mile long runs soon.

Am using this marathon as a fundraiser for a needy family. Pray that the Lord helps us to finish this race for little Hana.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Running the Good Race


I was able to go up the mountain last Monday and last Wednesday as well as ride the stationary bike. It hurt a little running up the mountain, but not as bad as walking down the mountain did!

Will go up the mountain again today and try to run on the treadmill this week. The toe is healing and my foot is getting stronger.