The prophecy we read today was not quite the response that the original recipients thought they would receive; they questioned God’s justice (and, thus, His character). God’s response was that messengers were coming - yet, the messengers were not bringing a message that God’s people could do no wrong. Rather, the message is that God’s people will be refined and purified. While the world stands at the brink of judgment, God’s people will not be ultimately destroyed; the often-painful refining will lead to true peace.
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Jeremiah, known as the “Weeping Prophet,” did not enjoy bringing prophecies of judgment, but the majority of the messages God gave him to proclaim were judgment on Israel for their sin. However, he did bring an encouraging Messianic prophecy, telling God’s people that their trouble and judgment would not go on forever. This prophecy brought a promise of hope in a time of despair, a promise of righteousness in a world of injustice, and a promise of salvation to a people in bondage.
When asked to list things for which they are thankful, many people say “salvation;” we hear it so much, we almost treat it as a given. However, the salvation that God provided for us is foundational. It is completely an act of God’s grace, that comes through faith, and should lead us to a meaningful life.
Life can be painful, and simply being a follower of Christ does not exempt us from that reality. What Scripture does teach us, though, is that there is purpose in our pain. It reminds us that all of us need comfort; that God is the One Who can provide it; that this comfort goes well beyond alleviating our personal pain; and that our pain more fully prepares us to minister to others experiencing that same pain.
In all but one of his letters, Paul told his audience that he thanked God for them. Being grateful for one another celebrates the love that true believers have for each other, and encourages both them and us as we move through our journey of faith together.
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Gratitude is an important part of the Christian’s character. When we realize what God has given to us, our gratitude will inspire us to provide Him acceptable worship, and motivate us to hold Him in the highest regard.
John wraps up his letter by encouraging his “little children” to have confidence in their status as believers. Through Christ, we have promises for eternal life, a prayer life, a transformed life, and a life where we are included in God’s family, both to Him and our fellow believers.
“Perfect love casts out fear.” Even those who may not be familiar with Scriptures have likely heard this phrase from church people; it is true, after all. What this means for us as believers, though, is that we can be free from our fears by knowing, trusting, and living the love of God.
John’s first letter contains the word “love” over 30 times. Though we have seen it before, John tells his readers how they can know that their love is true; it will follow Christ’s sacrificial example, it will lead to compassionate action, and it will produce godly results.
The Lord’s Supper reminds us of things past, present, and future. We look back at the sacrifice Jesus made for us; we are reminded of His continuing work within the church; and we anticipate His return, when all the meaning behind the memorial will be fulfilled.