We now come in our study to what is probably the most well-known and readily-quoted verse in Romans chapter 8: “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (28). This is near the top of the list, if not at the top, of passages to reach for in times of suffering and trials. But for the deepest comfort it must not sit in isolation from the following verses, because together they give us not only the purpose toward which “all things” are working, but an ironclad assurance of salvation for all who are “called according to his purpose.” Continue reading “Romans, Week 6”
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:11-24)
In our passage this week we find John returning to the second test of assurance: the social, or, love test. In 2:9-11, he reminded us that loving our “brothers” in the faith is a distinguishing characteristic of believers and he briefly described the effects of this love as walking in the light, as opposed to those who hate their brothers and therefore go about stumbling blindly in the darkness. This time around, John will apply the love test to how we live with one another, showing us that our love is not to be merely “word and talk, but in deed and in truth” (18). Our love for one another does not end with sentimental words, but it flows out of our hearts through our hands and feet into acts of compassion in response to the needs of others. Continue reading “Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 11”
By JANA HENRY|CONTRIBUTOR
Last week our Women’s Ministry Team met to reflect and share notes on our recent women’s conference, Compassionate Community, with Susan Hunt. The focus of the conference was Biblical Womanhood, as expressed in Titus 2 Spiritual Mothering relationships. As one, we all agree that Susan’s message to us was not only precisely what the local church, but also the Church as a whole desperately needs to hear. We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the conference—and by positive response, I mean women who were starving for this message were brought to feast on the bread of God’s Word and they left nourished, but hungry for more!
The following is the talk given by Jana to open our meeting, based on her own reflections on the conference as they corresponded with her devotional reading in John’s Gospel. We are all excited to see what the Lord will do not only in our own women’s ministry, but in the ministries and churches represented at the conference. May we be willing vessels, believing his promises and carrying out the works for which he has prepared us, firm in our faith, with humility and love for one another. ~Barbaranne Kelly
By JANA HENRY|CONTRIBUTOR
After discussing Chapter 7 on Community, I wrote about the golden chain that I see being woven as we learn about the biblical themes and principles that shape women’s ministry. This past week, we discussed Discipleship, and I could not help but see the beauty of the golden chain continuing to weave through the biblical call for older women to disciple younger women in the church. Susan shows us a lovely example of this from the gospel of Luke. (Note: My paraphrase of Susan’s account was given in the Tuesday lesson. I polished it up here for you as requested. The words below are 90% Scripture and Susan, and 10% me.) Continue reading “From The Heart, Chapter 8”