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1 John

“Don’t let this be you!” said a coach to his football team after a difficult loss. He was pointing to a picture of a player sitting in front of his locker. His helmet was between his feet. His elbows were on his knees and his head was between his hands with a look of sadness in his eyes. Under his helmet were the words, “I quit!”
As we look into the manger this Christmas we can rejoice together and say, “Thank You, God, that You never quit!”
Whenever we think of the eternal love that God has for us we often forget about the disappointments He must have endured. Imagine, if you can, what must have entered into His mind and heart when Adam and Eve rejected His path. Consider, if you will, the many agreements He made with people who promised to obey Him and then abandoned their word when they thought He was out of sight. We will never know the grief He suffered because of the hope He had that people would love Him and be obedient to Him.
But, He never gave up. He never quit. Finally, John wrote, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world!”
All of us have suffered many losses in life. None, however, can ever be compared to God’s losses. But He refused to give up even though it cost the life of His Son.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love and determination to rescue us. We are overwhelmed when we think that You would sacrifice Your Son for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Gifts

December 16, 2017
Christmas gifts generate great excitement and interest. After the presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, many people spend countless hours trying to figure out what might be on the inside. Sometimes the gifts are carefully shaken or lifted to see if the weight or size might give an indication about what could be inside.
But when God gave us the first Christmas gift its value was obvious. It was a gift of love that could not be measured or found outside of Him. It was a gift of mercy that only He could provide. And it was a gift of grace that only He could provide through His Son.
God’s love is ultimately expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. His love is the source of His mercy and grace and it is because of His love that we have mercy and grace. It was because of His love that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will find His mercy and enjoy His grace and be with Him forever in eternity.
John says something very significant about this love. “If God loved us,” he says, “we ought to love one another.” His love does not end with our salvation, but with our obligation to share His love with others. It begins a pattern of self-sacrificing love that Christians must live by sharing His mercy and grace with others.
Prayer: Lord, we often forget how responsible we are to share Your gifts of love, mercy and salvation with others. Give us no peace until we share Your gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Charlie Brown was standing in front of his baseball team talking about the game they had just lost.
With a look of sadness in his eyes he sighed and said, “Sixty-five to nothing. I don’t understand it. We were so sincere.”
Sincerity is good but it does not insure success. We may be as sincere as the day is long but it will not replace knowledge, skill or the right attitude. If we are going in the wrong direction sincerity will not lead us to the right destination.
One may be sincere about what they believe but it does not guarantee salvation. One may sincerely believe in eternal life and want to go to heaven, but unless they receive Christ as their Savior, they will not be with Him in eternity.
John wrote, “So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have His Son does not have life.” This simple statement says it all when it comes to the new birth and the way to eternal life.
Eternal life begins the moment we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ as our Savior. It is not something we can work for or hope for or purchase. It is not something that is passed on from one generation to another. And it certainly does not depend on a “feeling” or being sincere.
It is something that God guarantees through His Son. Whoever believes in Him will certainly receive eternal life.

Prayer:
 Only through You and in You, Heavenly Father, can we have eternal life. We are grateful for Your salvation and the assurance of eternal life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
It was the first day in art class and the professor wanted to challenge his students to do something creative. Standing before them he suggested that they draw a picture that had meaning and interest. Pausing for a moment he turned to one student and said, “And what, William, are you going to draw?”
“I believe that I will draw a picture of Christ,” he replied.
“But,” said the professor, “no one knows what He looks like.”
“They will when I’m through,” said William.
People may see a representation of Christ on canvas, paper or cloth, but God expects them to see Christ in us – in the way we live. Scripture clearly explains, time and time again, that the Christian is the one, not an artist, who is to provide a “picture of what Christ looks like.”
Those around us who know we are Christians will gain an understanding and image of Christ by watching us. They “read” about Christ in how we act and react to the events that come into our lives. They “see” Christ in what we do for others because they know that we are responsible to show His love.
A Christian is to have a “mind” that thinks as Jesus thought, a “heart” that breaks when the ravages of sin are visible, a “hand” that reaches out to those in need, and a “voice” through which He speaks to share His message.
Prayer: Our Father, You have given us a tremendous responsibility to represent You to others. We admit we are unable to do this unless we allow You to live thru us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:4-6 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Saint Francis is remembered for his greatness and goodness in spreading the Gospel of Christ. His writings still inspire people today.
One day he said to a fellow brother who lived with him in the monastery, “Let’s go to town and preach to the people.”
As they walked the dusty road they stopped to talk to people and play games with the children. Tired and hungry, St. Francis turned to his young companion and said, “Let’s return to the monastery.”
“But,” protested his young colleague, “when do we preach to the people?”
“Every step we took,” said St. Francis, “and every word we spoke and every smile we shared with the people and everything we did was our sermon. We have been preaching all day!”
The only sermon some people will ever hear are the words that come from our lips and the only preaching that many will “listen” to is what they see in our lives. For many we are what we say we believe.
John wrote, “Those who say they live in God should live as Christ did.” To live as Jesus did we must obey His teachings and follow His example by being obedient to His teachings.
Years ago a hymn writer asked most effectively: “Can others see Jesus in you?”
Prayer: Father, may the disturbing words of that hymn trouble our minds and hearts and force us to examine our lives and make changes that will please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
A shopper once said to a sales associate, “I want the most beautiful gold heart that you have in your store and I want you to hang it on the finest gold chain available. It’s for my fiancée.”
After considering many different choices, he made his decision, and said, “I’ll take that one. Inscribe on it, 'My one and only love.'”
“Shall I inscribe her name on it?” asked the sales associate.
“Oh no!” came the instant reply. “If we break up, I may want to use it again.”
How different is God’s love. We hear it in the words of Jesus when He said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” How comforting it is to know that God’s love is permanent. How fortunate we are to know that God’s love is guaranteed by His Word. How wonderful it is to know that God’s love is for everyone. And finally, how grateful it is to know that His love makes our salvation through Jesus Christ possible.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to understand how much You love us. May those who read this “Seed” come to know You and accept Your Son as their Savior and love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. Amen.
Scripture: 1 John 4:11-12 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
A telephone salesman called a home and a small child answered the phone just above a whisper. “Hello,” he said.
“Is your mother in?” asked the salesman.
“Yes,” he said in a hushed voice. “But she’s busy.”
“Well,” the salesman continued, “is your father home?”
“Yes,” came the quiet reply. “But he’s busy too.”
Wondering what was going on the salesman asked, “Well, what are they doing?”
“Looking for me,” whispered the child. “I broke my mom’s favorite vase and I’m hiding.”
Hiding is the natural thing to do when we’ve done something that is wrong. It has a long heritage going back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said, to God, “I heard you, so I hid.” Facing the Lord is not pleasant even though we know that He loves and will willingly forgive us if we ask.
Often when we are guilty of being disobedient or knowingly commit a sin, we fear approaching Him. But that is the time we need Him the most. We need to remember that He does not want to hurt us but to heal us. He is anxious to forgive us, restore our relationship with Him and grant us His pardon and peace. “If we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive.”
Prayer: We know, Heavenly Father, that we do what is unacceptable to You when we sin. May we be swift to confess and repent and forsake what we know is wrong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
A young child lay dying. When asked if there was anything special he wanted he replied, “I would like to meet the president.” The word was relayed to the White House by a special friend of the president.
The next day, and without warning, President Eisenhower went to the child’s home and knocked on the door. The father, not knowing who was there, opened the door. To his surprise it was the president.
The child was elated – his wish had come true. But not so the father. He was embarrassed and horrified. There he stood, unshaven and in a torn undershirt. With head bowed and tears streaming down his cheeks, he muttered repeatedly, “If only I had known, if only I had known…”
Our Lord may return at any moment. Perhaps sooner rather than later. Jesus said, “Of that day and hour, no man knows.” Although we may not know when, we can certainly be prepared. The visible proof of our being prepared for His return is to be clothed in His righteousness and doing His work in His world.
Speaking of His return Jesus used the word “Watch!” If we are truly watching for His return, we will be abiding in Him “and we will not be ashamed...”
Prayer: Father, may we not only look for and long for Your return, but be found fully prepared and unashamed because we are ready to meet You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to break into the major leagues. It was a very difficult struggle for him.
But before his first game, Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had a frank conversation with him about what he would face. “You're going to take abuse that you never dreamed of,” he said. “But if you are willing to take the abuse, I'm willing to back you all the way.”
It was a difficult time of transition for Robinson. There was one game that was particularly painful for him as the crowd constantly taunted him. But in view of everyone, Pee Wee Reese walked over to him and hugged him.
Later Robinson admitted, “That may have saved my career. Pee Wee made me feel that I belonged.”
All around us are people who are trying to “belong to the team.” They are different by design – God’s design and they want to feel accepted in our churches. And no matter who they are or how they look, educated or illiterate, rich or poor, God's Word says that “we must love one another just as He commanded us” and welcome them to His team.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live the love that Your Son lived and be accepting of others just as You are accepting of each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:23 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 a commandment.
Bud Grant was the legendary head football coach of the Minnesota Vikings and a member of the pro-football Hall of Fame. He was once referred to as the “toughest person on the field.”
The first event at the first practice session of every Viking camp was the same. He personally showed his players how to line up for the playing of our National Anthem. He would remind them that if the other teams slouched or looked disinterested during the playing of the anthem, he was not responsible for their behavior.
However, he said to his men, “You're special. You're winners. Look and act like winners every second you are part of this team!”
We Christians need to realize that we are “special.” We need to look and act like Christians all of the time – no matter where we are or what we are doing. The Apostle John said, “Those who say they live in God should live as Jesus did.”
This does not mean that God expects us to have disciples or perform miracles. It means that we are to walk as He walked, talk as He talked, live as He lived, obey God as He obeyed God and follow His example of loving and serving others as He did.
Prayer: Our Father, may we as Your children be and act like Jesus, Your Son, and demonstrate to others that we are members of Your family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
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