Friday, April 17, 2015

Musings on First John (3:1-3)

Wordle: Musings

1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
I love the exclamation marks here. John certainly is exclaiming a great truth: God loves us so incredibly much that he calls us his children. I added another exclamation mark in the margin of my Bible just because this news is so awesome. Are we God’s playthings? No. Slaves? No. Pets? No, again. We are His children.

What will we be when we get to Eternity? Even John admits that the answer to that has not yet been made known. But he assures us of one thing: we will be like him (Jesus) and we shall see him as he is. How cool is that?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Musings on First John (2:26-29)

Wordle: Musings
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
Who is trying to lead you astray? I have heard many preachers, supposedly men of God, who have expounded on topics in a way that was contrary to God’s word; they have tried to rationalize away miracles, make exceptions for sins, and ignore certain truths that they, for whatever reason, deem inapplicable. Lucky for us when you come to knowledge and acceptance that Christ is your savior, God lets His Holy Spirit indwell you. That’s the anointing John speaks of in verse 27. The Holy Spirit will convict you of your sins, comfort you, teach you, and reveal God’s word to your understanding.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cover Reveal: EXODIA

I'm pleased to announce that my next book 
is now available for pre-order on #Amazon #Kindle. 

By 2093 American life is a strange mix of failing technologies, psychic predictions, and radiation induced abilities. Tattoos are mandatory to differentiate two classes, privileged and slave. 

Dalton Battista fears that his fading tattoo is a deadly omen. He’s either the heir of the brutal tyrant of the new capital city, Exodia or he’s its prophesied redeemer. Shy, handsome, smart and in possession of powers he doesn't yet realize, he escapes an order for his execution by fleeing the city with the help of Lydia, who quickly captures his heart. But can he escape a destiny that will force him to marry another girl and return to Exodia as its liberator? 

Based loosely on the ancient story of Moses, this two book dystopian journey crosses genres, combining young adult, new adult, sci-fi, magical realism, and speculative fiction for an adventure full of symbolism, hidden codes, and thematic imagery.

Please pre-order your copy of EXODIA  now. Thank you!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Musings on First John (2:21-25)

Wordle: Musings

21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.25And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
Whoa, this passage names all unbelievers as antichrists. Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Messiah is, quite logically, an antichrist. There are a lot of people who think they only need to believe in God, but notice what it says in verse 23: if you don’t acknowledge Jesus as Lord then you don’t have God, the Father.

I love how this passage ends with that greatest of promises—eternal life for believers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Musings on First John (2:18-19)

Wordle: Musings
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
Here John talks of false teachers, those who left the early church, who didn't really belong. He calls them antichrists, not to be confused with “The Antichrist”. They were unbelievers who posed as Christians.

Have you encountered many of them? I sure have—even in the pulpit! Looks like this sort of thing has been going on from the very start of Christianity. Anyone who acts, preaches, or lives in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings is an anti-christ.

Interesting fact: Although the word "antichrist" (Greek antikhristos) is used only in the Epistles of John, the similar word "pseudochrist" (Greek pseudokhristos, meaning "false messiah") is used by Jesus in the gospels.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Musings on First John (2:15-17)

Wordle: Musings
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Clearly John does not mean the world as in the earth, nature, animals, etc., but he’s speaking of the world order or the world system which is quite fallen in its very nature: warring, corrupt, evil, self-centered, money-grabbing, lustful and so on. Do you love that world? Hope not, for if you do then God’s love is not in you. John explains that the broken world system will pass away. I’m pretty thankful about that. It’s great to know that this awful turmoil will end.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Musings on First John (2:7-11)

Wordle: Musings
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 you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
So, John says he’s writing a new command, but he doesn't say it outright here. What is it? Love one another. He actually does reveal this in his gospel record where he quotes Jesus: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Notice how many times the word light appears. Read verse 10 again and think about the marvelous "consequences" of loving your brother (neighbor): there’s nothing to make you mess up if you love one another.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Musings on First John (2:3-6)

Wordle: Musings
3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Anybody can call himself a Christian, but real Christians obey God’s commands. That makes them easy to spot most times. Are you shocked by verse 4? It’s pretty strong. It calls you a liar if you say you know God, but your actions prove otherwise. In his gospel record John records Jesus’ words: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

$25 Gift Card Giveaway

At Creative Prose Publishing (CPP), we've have had the honor of working with a really great group of authors. They're supportive, and freely offer encouragement to each other. It's a real joy working with this wonderful group! As a thank you to them for taking a chance with CPP, we are offering a $25 gift card to one lucky reader (scroll down for Rafflecopter entries). But, we ask that you not just enter to win, we ask that you look over these incredible books and try a few. You will not be disappointed!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Musings on First John (2:1-2)

Wordle: Musings
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—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.

John says he’s writing to us so we will not sin and that’s a pretty awesome motivation, but I’m so glad he continues with “but if anybody does sin” because you know that’s inevitable. What do we do then? Call on the best defense lawyer ever: Jesus Christ. John tells us that Jesus will speak to the Father in our defense. What will he say? He’ll say he’s already paid the price for our sins. Notice that he’s also already paid for the sins of the whole world. The whole world! That includes the terrorists, every person in prison, every single person who has been born or ever will be born on this earth. What an unbelievably amazing gift, free to all, but accepted only by some.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Musings on First John (2:12-14)

Wordle: Musings
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known 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.

This is poetry. There is a rhythmic repetition as John gives his reasons for writing to you: children, fathers, young men, children, fathers, young men. He writes because your sins are forgiven, you know God, you've overcome Satan, you know God, you know Him, you are strong, God’s word (Jesus) lives in you, and (again) you've overcome Satan. John has quite a lot of style in his writing, doesn't he?

Musings on First John (1:5-10)

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 yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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 has no place in our lives.

It is important to note that the apostle John makes it clear that this message is not his but Christ’s. And what is this message? God is light and we are to walk in this light. “Light” and “love” and “life” are key words in this short epistle. I took a highlighter to my Bible to emphasize these important concepts. Re-read verse 7 and consider the awesome promise there. Then do what it says in verse 9 — you don’t need to confess to a priest or anyone else, just confess to God and he will forgive you. It's pretty awesome to know you can be purified from all unrighteousness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Musings on First John (1: 1-4)

Wordle: Musings
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.

This short book was written by the Apostle John around A.D. 90 to refute the ideas of Gnosticism. The Gnostics denied Jesus’ deity. The first verse gives authority to John as an eye witness. Notice that he references the “Word” of life — in the gospel of John he begins by saying that the “Word” was with God, and the “Word” was God. Here he reiterates that fact with his own personal testimony. See how adamant he is? He has heard the truth, seen it, touched it and he now repeats that three times. Why is he so passionate in trying to convince the reader? He tells us in verse three: so that we may have fellowship with other believers and with God and Jesus. The word fellowship here is from the Greek “koinonia” meaning to have all things in common. The best part of my week is when I have fellowship with other believers. How about you?