Devo – 1 John 4:19

1 John 4:19 – We love, because He first loved us

  1. Intro

    1. PRAY!

    2. Book intro:

      1. The book 1 John was written by the Apostle John after 70 AD while he was in Ephesus. John writes to address the issue of people leaving the church to follow false doctrine. Because of this I believe that John addresses key concepts in the Christian life: Faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God, and loving God and others.

    3. Read 1 John 4:7-21

  2. God’s love came first

    1. 1 John 4:19 – We love Him because He first loved us.

      1. God loved us first, it was nothing that we did, nothing that we were going to do that caused God to love us. He loved us first, in His plan He loved us before we could even respond to that love.

      2. Romans 5:8-10
        [Rom 5:8 NKJV] But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

        [Rom 5:9 NKJV] Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

        [Rom 5:10 NKJV] For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

      3. Again, God loved us not because He knew that we would love Him back, or do something worthy of His love. But the opposite, knowing that we would rebel, knowing that we would sin. Even so He loved us first.

      4. Because of this love we can have boldness in our faith, in our walk with God.

        1. Not having fear or uncertainty, wondering IF God loves us, IF God will respond to our love, IF we have done enough to earn God’s love.

        2. In loving us first He those fears are taken away and we can faith and peace resting in God’s love.

    2. How much does God love us?

      1. John 3:16

        [Jhn 3:16 NKJV] “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

      2. 1 John 4:9,10
        [1Jo 4:9 NKJV] In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

        [1Jo 4:10 NKJV] In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

      3. God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Christ to die for us. We are loved so much that Christ gave His life for us. Not on a whim, or because of our merit, because we could not earn God’s love or even please Him on our own. As Hebrews 11:6 says “[Heb 11:6 NKJV] But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], …”

      4. Neither is it a reaction to our corrupted state in sin. It is not as if God did not know man would rebel, and Christ’s sacrifice was an impromptu bandage because God grew to love us. But because it was God’s plan and He loved us from the beginning. God knew we would sin, God knew blood would need to be shed, that Christ would be the payment for our sins.

      1. John 15:13

        [Jhn 15:13 NKJV] “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

      2. What great love does God have for us, that it was His plan to save rebellious sinners by giving of Himself on the cross. That Christ would bare the cup of God’s wrath for our sake.

      3. As it says in Isaiah 53:10 “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, …” [NASB]

        1. Jesus was crushed for our sake, and that pleased God. Could you imagine, willfully giving your child to be brutally murdered? Which is difficult in itself, but God didn’t do it to save the innocent, or those worthy of His love. Christ was sacrificed to save the lost, the guilty, the sinners. He did it to save us.

        2. Yet Christ endured the cross because of the joy set before Him, Hebrews 12:2, the joy of a restored relationship with us.

  1. Response to God’s Love

    1. Knowing the price God paid, what is our response to God’s love?

      1. 1 John 2:3-5

        [1Jo 2:3 NKJV] Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

        [1Jo 2:4 NKJV] He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

        [1Jo 2:5 NKJV] But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

      2. 1 John 3:23,24

        [1Jo 3:23 NKJV] And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

        [1Jo 3:24 NKJV] Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

      3. 1 John 5:1-3
        [1Jo 5:1 NKJV] Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

        [1Jo 5:2 NKJV] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

        [1Jo 5:3 NKJV] For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

      4. We are to love God and follow His Commandments.

        1. We follow His commandments because we love Him.

        2. Not to earn His love, but in response to the love that God already has for us.

        3. By following God’s commandments, and loving one another, it acts as evidence of knowing Him.

          1. John 13:35

            [Jhn 13:35 NASB] “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          2. Matthew 7:16, 20 talks of knowing them by their fruits

          3. Galatians 5:22 lists love as part of the the fruit of the Spirit.

          4. So that if we are believers in Christ, having the fruit of the Spirit, good fruit should be reflected in our lives. There should be a love in our lives that can only be found through God and it is a reflection of His love towards us.

    2. What are God’s commandments for us?

      1. Mark 12:30,31
        [Mar 12:30 NKJV] ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This [is] the first commandment.

        [Mar 12:31 NKJV] “And the second, like [it, is] this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

      2. Matthew 5:43,44

        [Mat 5:43 NKJV] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

        [Mat 5:44 NKJV] “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

      3. 1 John 4:21

        [1Jo 4:21 NKJV] And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God [must] love his brother also.

      4. God commands us to love Him and love our neighbors, our enemies, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      5. In Mathew 25, Jesus gives us examples of loving others and in so doing we are loving Him. Mathew 25:40 – “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

      6. Hebrews 13:1,2 and 1 Peter 4:9 speaks to us being hospitable to strangers and our fellow Christians. Ministering to one another and sharing in God’s grace.

      7. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, that without love he would be a clanging symbol, even he would be nothing without love.

    3. We are to love one another

      1. 1 John 2:9-11

        [1Jo 2:9 NKJV] He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

        [1Jo 2:10 NKJV] He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

        [1Jo 2:11 NKJV] But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

      2. 1 John 3:16

        [1Jo 3:16 NKJV] By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

      3. 1 John 4:11,12

        [1Jo 4:11 NKJV] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

        [1Jo 4:12 NKJV] No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

      4. God has provides an example of love for us.

        1. He loved us first, He initiated love. So the love we show others should be in the same way. We should not wait for others to love us, wait and see if they are worth or can earn our own favor. But actively love others first.

        2. Christ gave His life for us, John 15:13 tells us there is no greater love than this. John in 1 John 3:16 tells us we should be willing to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      5. As we become closer to God and grow in our faith God’s love is perfected in us. It is a process that we as believers will go through and become more evident as we mature in our faith.

  2. Closing

    1. To know that God experienced what I felt as a parent losing my boy, Theo, but on such a more drastic level has made God’s love all the more real to me.

    2. That in the mystery of the Trinity, God gave His Son to die, to be separated from, being a guilt offering, taking on our sins, bearing His wrath so that we might be saved is amazing. That it pleased Him, that He had joy in it for our sake, while we were His enemies… doing so willingly, with full knowledge of our sins. That it was His plan, His sovereign will to do so… what an awesome God we serve. How can we not respond to Christ’s love by loving Him and one another.

    3. PRAY!

Devo – Regret and Guilt

  • Pray!

  • Maybe – Joke: Why don’t oysters give money to charity? Because oysters are shellfish!

  • Maybe talk about hitting the home run and the third hit of the season

  • Talk about struggling with regret, would of / could of / should of. It’s one thing to learn from your mistakes and another to dwell on them.

    • Little things about doing better at my job, interacting better with people

    • Of passed sins committed, guilt of failure to share God’s word with people

    • That how could I as a Christian commit that sin, or not share with that person

  • In the past months, I’ve struggled with the death of my Son, not just in the way of loss but feeling guilt of his passing. Which honestly doesn’t make any sense to me because I know, I believe that God is sovereign, that God is in control. That His ways are not my ways and that He is righteous and just. But I still have struggled with these feelings.

  • I have “would of / could of / should of” the death of my son Theo.

    • What if knew we took him to the doctor or had him hospitalized?

    • Why didn’t I practice CPR more?

    • Why did I fail at protecting my son?

    • What sin did I do to cause this?

      • 2 Samuel 12 went from giving me peace about Theo’s passing in v23 where David asks “… Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This part of scripture is why I believe that Theo is in Heaven. But later turned into a way of accusing myself (12:13-15) it talks about God striking the child because of David’s sin and I have been troubled by this.

      • Then I would have guilt about having guilt, that how could I feel this way after saying what I did when I spoke at Theo’s funeral?

So I get myself entangled in this web of guilt, regret, self-pity. This inward focus that benefits no one, that takes my eyes away from Christ and focuses on my ugliness. That instead of seeing Christ’s work in my life, that I am cleansed by the blood of Christ. I falter, try to take it back from God and cause myself to stumble. Where I should be following Hebrews 12:2, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

So how do I deal with these feelings of regret and guilt in my life? What should be my response?

  • Simply go to God’s word, seek guidance form the Scriptures:

[Heb 4:12 NASB] 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • We can read God’s word and use it to discern if these thoughts, these feelings… are they from God, or not.

  • Not only can we read God’s word we can go to God directly, we can draw near to Him and receive His help and mercy:

[Heb 4:15-16 NASB] 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Go to God and His word for everything.

  • If what we are struggling with is sin we are to repent:

[Act 3:19 NASB] 19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

[2Co 7:10 ESV] 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

  • If we are in sin we need to repent and seek forgiveness. That we may be refreshed in the Lord.

  • When we are feeling guilt from prior sin that we have repented from:

    • There is such a thing of guilt, grief, sorrow, that is not from God.

[2Co 7:10 ESV] 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

  • So if I have repented of this sin that is troubling me, I can be confident that God has wiped it away and have freedom from it and can rest in Him

[Psa 103:10-12 NASB] 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

[Jer 31:34 NASB] 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

  • We should not take our sin back from God. God paid for our sin, He takes our sin and removes it from us as far as the east is from the west. He will remember it no more. That we can have salvation without regret.

  • Do we not have a great God, a loving God. God gave Himself for us, once and for all. Not for anything we have done, quite the opposite, but because of His lovingkindness, His mercy, His Grace, for His Glory He redeems us.

  • What if these thoughts fiery darts are from Satan?

    • As Christians we do battle not in a traditional way, but in a spiritual way.

[Eph 6:12 HCSB] 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

[2Co 10:3-5 NASB] 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

  • Paul writes in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God, tools we have in spiritual warfare:

[Eph 6:16-17 NASB] 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  • Our faith can quench the fiery darts that Satan uses to attack us, confuse us, that causes doubt. We have the word of God to rightly discern, to learn the will of God. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation.

  • So in this battle, how can we prepare?

[Jas 4:7-8 NASB] 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

[Rom 12:2 NASB] 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

[Psa 19:14 NASB] 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

[Phl 4:8 NASB] 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Conclusion:

We will feel guilt and regret in our life. When we do we need to discern where these thoughts and feelings are coming from. Is there sin in our life? Is it spiritual warfare? Are we lacking in faith and trying to take our sin back from God?

If it is sin, repent! If it is spiritual warfare, seek God asking Him to bolster your faith that Satan’s fiery darts may be quenched. If it is past sins that you have repented from, know that God has forgiven you and that He does not remember them and that you can be refreshed by the Lord.

Meditate on God and His word. As Christians we are to be transformed, do not conform to this world. Dwell on what is good, right, pure. In all things focus on God and glorify God.

Pray!

Theo’s Message

In the wake of the tragedy of loosing my son I have heard many common saying that are meant to bring comfort and assurance in this painful time. That “it was God’s time…,” “he’s in a better place” that there is “another angel in Heaven.”

These words alone do not answer the question of why Theodore is gone? They do little to dissuade the pain of me not being able to save my son while I tried so hard in my living room to get him to breath. To tell the doctors to stop trying to save him… the pain of telling them to let him go. Why even though I earnestly prayed to God with my eyes full of tears that He would bring him back to us… only to be answered with having to leave my son’s lifeless body on a hospital bed.

I don’t know why Theodore is gone, I don’t know why our family had to go through this. Why we were given Theodore to have him taken from us just after a short time and so abruptly. But I do know he is gone… and that you are here now with me.

I wanted you to know that Theodore is in a “better place,” that Theodore is in Heaven. While the words alone do not help with the pain, the knowledge that my son is in Heaven does. God has prepared a place for him, John 14:2. That in this place that Jesus has prepared, all of his aliments will no longer hinder him. There is no more pain, no more suffering and God will wipe away every tear as stated in Revelation 21:4. So I can be happy that Theodore is beyond happy, there is no better place for him than to be in the presence of God.

So not those words alone but the knowledge and faith that go with them bring my family comfort. Knowing that Theodore is in the best of care and that I will see him again in Heaven. That as King David said in 2 Samuel 12:23 regarding the loss of his own child. That we can not bring our child back but we will go to see him.

Just as we have that faith, I want everyone else here to have that faith and assurance also. So that you know what lies on the other side, that you can know you are going to Heaven. It might be selfish of me, wanting the death of my son to mean something. But all this pain and heart ache to me will be worth it if Theodore’s life and death touches just one person enough to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Goodbye Theo

2 Samuel 12:16-23:

16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

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My baby boy is gone, he passed away late Sunday night. I am broken and torn, my heart aches. The pain of loosing Theodore Elijah, is great upon me.

We knew this would be a tough road and the thought that I would survive my son was always in the back of my mind. But this was so soon, I selfishly wish that I had more time on this earth with my baby boy.

Theodore, you were true to your name sake, you were God’s gift to us. I find comfort in that Yahweh is my God (Elijah). I pray that I can find the strength that King David did in his own son’s passing. For you will not return to me, but I shall someday go to you.

I will forever love and miss you, my baby boy, Theodore Elijah.

-Daddy

How I’m doing…

Today I was asked how I was doing. I did the typical response with good or fine, most people are just being polite and really don’t care how you are actually doing. Honestly though, things have not been going good and I am not fine… not in the least.

Recently I just found out my son who is due in March has SLOS (Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome). Simply put his body is not producing enough cholesterol which is needed for his early development. This can cause a number of things, for my son his chin is not developing correctly, fingers on both hands are fused and he has Hypospadias (Don’t look up that, saw stuff I can’t unsee). Oh and SLOS pretty much guarantees that my son will have brain damage.

On top of that news, which alone is very disheartening, I found out I have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Not too big of a deal alone, but it’s just another addition. Seems that it has progressed far enough that I’ll need surgery, as I don’t want to have a claw hand.

I need surgery, my son is going to be deformed and have brain damage. Also because of the way SLOS is transfered if I have any additional children they have a 25% of having SLOS and 50% chance of being a carrier. That leaves only a 25% chance that my child would not be affected by SLOS. So now I don’t even know if I should have more kids.

Yeah I’m doing fine…

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