This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (1 John 1:5-6)
Have you heard this message of how great God is and of how we cannot be in His presence because our sin has separated us from God? The truth is that we all walk in darkness.
Some of you might be familiar with the dcTalk song, “In the Light.” This song lays out the stark truth about our human nature:
I keep trying to find a life on my own, apart from You.
I am the king of excuses: I've got one for every selfish thing I do.
What's going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions that I'm still a man in need of a Savior
And then comes the chorus:
“I want to be in the light as you are in the light…”
This song by dcTalk reinforces what we have already read in 1 John: we all are filled with excuses, we’re selfish, we walk in darkness and we want to live a life of our own design.
But don’t be dismayed or think you are without hope, because if we keep reading in 1 John we’ll see this:
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. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9)
Jesus died, bearing the punishment for the sins of all who put their faith and trust in him. And if we confess with our mouths that we are sinful, then we can be made pure and holy and be reconciled to God.
Did you catch in verse 7 the one expectation of us? “If we walk in the light,” then we are given the promise of fellowship with God. This is picked up in the song by dcTalk when they write that to ‘be’ in the light is to ‘walk’ in the light. Walking is an indicator of action.
This means that we don’t stop with confession – God wants people who demonstrate their faith through their action by choosing to walk in the light.
To walk in the light means to confess your sin before God and remove what is separating you from a right relationship with the Creator. It means to express gratitude for the presence of the Spirit, to follow the example of Christ and be in fellowship with God, and to commit to walking daily with the Lord.
Have you heard the message? If you have, how will you respond today? I pray that you demonstrate your response and your faith by walking in the light.
Matt Bean, Elder
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
These are the words I’ve been reflecting on for the last few weeks, as I’ve been preparing for our series in the book of James in Student Ministry. These are the words I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach to a group of students who I’m sure are all facing varying trials in school, relationships, and/or at home. “Count it a great joy…whenever you experience various trials.” On its own, this seems like really bad guidance. “Oh, that thing you’re struggling with? Get excited about it!”. You go around saying that to someone without any context, you may as well present them your jaw for a good ol’ punch.
But what we need to remember is that we are not facing these trials on our own. God doesn’t say to us, “Okay, now, go through this really hard thing, I’m gonna sit here and watch, make sure you survive!” No, as we know from the Great Commission, that we’ve been reciting together as a church, Jesus finishes his time on earth by saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. Jesus is with us.
When we’re going through that trial, he’s standing there with us. He’s encouraging us and speaking to us to persevere. He’s given us His word to use as a backbone for our defence. We see Jesus, when he was tempted in the desert, he doesn’t overcome the adversary alone. He uses scripture to stand firm. And we also need to. God is with us. When we’re going through trials, God, in His grace, is saying something like, “Okay, you’re going through this hard thing, but don’t fear, I’m with you, you can overcome this, with my help”.
Now, I don’t wanna cut Jolene’s grass, but Hillsong released an album this year that had a song called Another in the Fire. And I want to leave you with it. When you’re going through something difficult, whatever the circumstance, remember that you are not alone. As it says in the song, “Should I ever need reminding, how good you’ve been to me. I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where you’ll be”
Mike Sanders, Youth Director
Do we trust God every day? I like to think that I try to, but when there’s a bump in the road, a disappointment or something doesn’t go as planned, I’m often questioning what happened and why. I might complain, feel the circumstances are unfair, doubt, or try things my own way.
In Sunday school, our grades 2-5 have been on the journey with Moses as he leads the people through the desert to the Promised Land. I can’t even imagine the pressure and sense of responsibility Moses must have felt each day. To be chosen to lead a group of people who were sometimes doubtful, disobedient and difficult, would be tough for sure.
This Sunday we are at the part of the story where Moses is punished. As you may recall, God had asked Moses to gather the people at the rock with his staff and to speak to the rock. Moses did gather the people there, but ended up striking the rock twice. Moses perhaps was frustrated and disobeyed God’s instructions. As a result, he was told that he wouldn’t be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land.
I can totally relate to some of the people in this story. I can see myself lacking in trust for God’s provisions and showing doubt….and even complaining. I can see how Moses may have had a moment where he thought his way was best and became frustrated.
Even with all that, God still loved and cared for Moses and the people. I believe God understands when we fall short or have feelings of fear and doubt. We can definitely trust Him to meet our needs everyday.
Tanya Chant, Director of Family and Childrens Ministry
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to Him.
Psalm 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.
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