Our Community Group

Our Community Group
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Finally News from Colombia

Hi my dear friends, I´ve been a litle out of reach these crazy days, the first 2 weeks went by too fast and then I got sick, so this last week I haven´t been able to enjoy my beautyful country :(. I had a great time with my family and friends, But I haven´t forggoten my sisters there, and being here I´ve realized even more the precious gift each one of you are to my life, I´ve talk about you guys to every one here and they agreed with me in what a blessing you have been in keeping me accoutable and focus, so I wanted to start by saying thanks.
The Lord has been great showing me new things aswell. I´m a little lost with the reading, I´m not sure if we all are in the same page but I wanted to share about chapter 3 where Paul says just about the same I was thinking about being there for each other and love each other, and that is so important to God, tha he call murderers thoise who hate their brothers, and actually in my spanish version, says that murderers are not only the ones that hate their brothers, but the ones that doesn´t Love their brothers, Some times we think that because we don´t hate others that is good enough, but I think not loving is as bad as hating. How amazing, our heart should be ready to love those around us, and not only in oir hearts but in our actions.
I have to go now, but I just wantes to say Thank you, for showing your love, you guys truly represent and are embassador of Gods kingdom, Love you all!

Nuggets on 1 John 2

Greetings from China to my dear sisters in the Americas! I just have a few little segmented thoughts from 1 John 2. To be honest, I've had a hard time getting into a routine with my quiet time. My parents are wonderful examples and Godly influences in my life, but for some reason, when I live with them, I have a hard time keeping my own spiritual walk in check. Please keep me in your prayers in that area. So 1 John...

Nugget #1 This is a book that I spent some time in when I was taking Greek in college and I made a few notes in my Bible. One word that really stood out to me is found in verse 2. There is one word which has been translated in the NIV as "the atoning sacrifice for our sins", ιλασμοζ is a word meaning "the means by which sins are forgiven". Jesus is our ιλασμοζ, and not only ours, but the ιλασμοζ for the world. That is a loaded, powerful word. The translation of that word beckons the question, "how can sins really be forgiven?" From a worldly stand point, there is little reason or motivation to forgive sins committed against you. Being in China provides a shocking reminder of what a secular perspective looks like, because many come from a completely religious-less background. We went to a special needs orphanage yesterday and played with some of the kids. My mom was telling me a story about how some of the Chinese that have gone before having any understanding of Christianity were completely dumbfounded as to why anyone would take the time to care and love on these seemingly "worthless" kids. In the same mindset, why would anyone bother to forgive? It is not a concept of this world. It is only through Christ that an ιλασμοζ can be found.

Nugget #2 Verses 7 and 8 contrast old and new commands. Verse 7 refers to an old command and 8 begins a new command. I had a hard time understanding the way these two were worded, but from my understanding the new command is new because "the darkness is passing and the true light is already shinning". This made me wonder, were the Israelites ever referred to as children of light...or in any way compared to light as the New Testament refers to the children of God? I don't think they were, so being "in the light" is a new concept with Christ as Messiah. The "true light is already shinning" sounds like a new era which we are privileged to live in. The verses following seem to repeat the same concept as the previous verses, only using the light and dark analogies.

Nugget #3 "As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you..." Another privilege to being in Christ. There is a deep understanding that comes with accepting Christ as Lord that cannot be learned or taught. Not to say that we can't still learn from others, because, of course, we can receive wisdom and encouragement and insight from fellow believers, but that we do not need anyone to teach us the truth because we "remain in the Son and in the Father" (v24). If we remain in Him, we are in truth and need not be told what is true and what is not. Does that mean I shouldn't ask for anyone's advice? Absolutely not. God speaks through His people. To me this verse means, don't follow "teachings" but follow truth.

I hope this finds all of you well in your respective corners of the world. Sorry it's so segmented. Please pray for me to use my time wisely, as I am still working on figuring out what exactly I will be doing while I'm here. Thank you all for your sweet friendship and challenge to remain in the Word. Love you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1 John 2: Walking as Jesus Did

Hello, Friends! How are things in your corners of the world? I returned from Colorado yesterday, totally wiped out from trying to keep up with 600 teenagers for six days, and from the 19-hour bus ride each way to and from Colorado. I think I have recovered somewhat. Still a little out of it.

The Lord had me in 1 John a lot this past week. I was asked sort of last minute to lead a segment of the concert of prayer at the conferencein Colorado. The theme was "God's Character," and I chose to focus on God's character of Love. 1 John gives such a clear message of God's love--the nature of it and its implications for us. How do we respond to God's love?

These verses in 1 John 2 were particularly challenging to me:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (vv.3-6).

Talk about a cold-water wake up call to the face!

We are marked as believers by the love of God dwelling in us, and the outward demonstration of this is obedience to God. Walking as Jesus did. We make claims all the time about having the Spirit of God in us, about having the love of God. I know I, for one, make such claims. But . . . walking as Jesus did? The NET Bible commentary explains what it means to "walk": That is, ought to behave in the same way Jesus did. “Walking” is a common NT idiom for one’s behavior or conduct.

I cannot quite claim that my behavior mirrors that of Christ on a regular basis, but I am encouraged by the reminder that "we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." I pray for us all this week that we would be led by Christ and that we would follow in His example. I pray that we would strive to live as He lived, and when we fall short, we would understand His grace.

Love you, sister-friends!

P.S. I will be leaving for NG on July 6! I'd rather keep my schedule on the DL so I can leave quietly without having to explain to people why I cannot see them before I leave, so please keep this info to yourself. Thanks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

1 John from Honduras

I'm loving this blogging and hearing what God is teaching each of you even when we’re scattered across the nations. I apologize for my lack of contributing…internet access is shoddy but I’ve enjoyed more time in the Word. Though my days are busy, I’ve had more time in the mornings and evenings to read and journal. I’ll limit my postings to 1 John here and more on Honduras & travels at my blog.

The last verses in chapter 1 talk about how we're all sinful and are in need of a Savior who can cleanse us from our filthiness. Verse 10 says: "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." Because of our humanness and weakness, we desperately need Him and need His Word in our lives.

Over the past week, I've met many families with crazy, mind-blowing life stories and situations of extreme poverty. As I've walked through several homes and visited with families, I'm saddened by the darkness of alcoholism, illness, prostitution, child labor, violence, abuse, etc. in which these kids grow up in. It's often all they know. These seem like hopeless situations and yes, AFE school is being used in awesome ways to set these kids up for success... but sometimes I feel helpless and don't know what to do. But I'm encouraged and know that I must lean on Jesus and trust in His power to redeem the darkness for in Him there is light...HE IS LIGHT! I love that we can claim victory in Christ and that His blood PURIFIES (repeated v. 7 & 9) ALL sin...no matter how awful it is. There is hope in him and not in my human efforts, though I pray the Lord can use my weakness in His strength, and to do what John writes- to proclaim what I've seen and heard and know and believe to be true!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Update and thoughts

Hello, my sweet ladies! I hope you have all found your way to the blog by now and are enjoying your summer thus far where ever it has taken you. I want to first apologize for my absence for the last week. I feel like I have been absent from the world, because I have been out of town and offline. Quick update, I spent last weekend in Memphis, a few days in Kentucky with mom's family after that, then I returned to Dallas on Wednesday night (sorry, I was too tired after 10 hours of driving to make it to the cares event). Thursday I ran a few errands, then went up to Flower Mound to help some dear family friends with their daughters graduation party and be there for graduation. Tonight I finally returned to my bed and I am feeling overwhelmed and worn out as I think about all that I have to do in the next week before I leave my house and the country. I am looking forward to a good night's rest tonight before I start on the ominous duty of packing. Despite the business and traveling that has consumed my life this last week, you, dears, and 1 John have not been far from my mind. I listened to 1 John during part of my drive last week, I read chapter 1, but this is truly the first time that I have had a chance to sit down and write.

I don't really have a lot to say about the first 10 verses of 1 John, except that I love the raw, basic truths that John starts out with. The conviction that he writes with right at the start is like that of someone trying to share with you an experience that they had..."we have heard,...we have seen with our eyes...we have looked at and our hands have touched..." Think of a cool experience you've had and how you try to share that with someone. You tell them what you saw, what you heard, how it made you feel - why? Because you want them to be able to come as close to experiencing the same thing you did. That is what John is setting the stage for here, "so that [we] also may have fellowship with [them]" and with the Father. And then after setting that stage, he goes right to the point "God is light" and all that that means for us. There are so many "if...then" statements in verses 5 through 10, which to me sounds very matter-of-fact and to the point. Kinda like he's saying, "here are the facts, this is the way it is". And he states it in way that you can see it is spoken in love with the attitude of, "you are intended to be a part of this, come share in it". I'm looking forward to digging into more of what John brings to light here. What exciting truth we get share in and children of God!

Friday, June 11, 2010

North Dakota and 1 John

Hey everyone!
It has been a crazy week! First I will tell you some about getting to North Dakota, then I will tell you what I read in 1 John. Back in Dallas on Wednesday night I got about three hours of sleep in between writing my papers and packing (and I didn't even do most of the packing-my mom did). I spent most of the day trying to finish papers and giving presentations. My parents picked me up from school and took me to the airport. I ate lunch (late afternoon) when I got there and boarded the plane a little later. About a few minutes after everyone had boarded the captain came over the intercom saying that there had been some kind of security breach and no planes were being allowed to take off or land (I don't know if it was just my terminal or the whole airport). We were told to sit tight and wait. We did...for about two hours. Finally, after two hours, our plane was allowed to leave because the breach was resolved. (I had to wait until Sunday to get internet access so that I could find out what happened-someone left their bag on the baggage claim area and it had wires sticking out of it. Apparently they had been on another flight that flew into another terminal and didn't know that their baggage was in a different area.) So, we arrived in Minneapolis almost the minute that my connecting flight is taking off. I got into the terminal and they gave me a discounted hotel room. I found out that I could get my checked bags (with all my clothes in them), but it would take a while, and I would have to be really early the next morning to check them again. I decided to leave them at the airport, so I could make sure they would at least arrive at the destination. I booked a hotel room through the airport service and got shuttled out to Minneapolis. Finally the next morning I was able to get to the airport and from the airplane to Grand Forks (where I am now). Ironically, the book that I chose to read for the flight was titled "God will make a way." I didn't know what class that I was going to T.A. for until I arrived (I was told there might be some changes). I am now a T.A. for Bengali-a language of Bangladesh very similar to Urdu and Hindi. I love the language lab. It's only the fourth day of classes and we are already starting to understand full sentences. YAY!
Now comes the part about 1 John (keep previous story in mind). 1 John 1:5 says "This is the message which we have heard from him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." I have been thinking about that verse and realizing that I have more of an opportunity to be that light here. There are many people who are watching us (staff at UND, students, language nurturers, even the people in the airport along the way) to see how we behave (probably unconsciously, maybe some consciously). My prayer is that my relationship with Christ would be a light here and wherever I am, even when it isn't where I expected to be. That people who come here, or I come in contact with, would be impacted in a positive way and know the reason that we love to bring this message and declare it is because "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" and "that our (everyone's) joy may be full (vs.4)".
I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer and being filled with the joy of the word. Would you pray that I would be obedient to who God is forming me into this summer and that this time of waiting would not be wasted? I have already gotten to know someone who has a very similar situation as mine and we are both trying to figure out what we are going to do in the future. I look forward to hearing from yall!

1 John 1 - Simi's Entry

1 John 1:1-4 . . . Why John Wrote the Letter

John is writing to give testimony to Christ so that:
~ I may participate in fellowship with the Father and Christ (wow!) (verse 3)
~ My joy may be complete . . . total, robust, abundant (verse 4)

I have to ask myself: Am I experiencing the fellowship and utter joy that the testimony of the Word of life makes possible? Not consistently. Not perpetually. Yes, joy is always simmering in my heart somewhere, even in the midst of difficult situations. And, yes, I recognize that I have been invited to participate in fellowship with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. But TRUE fellowship, deep fellowship has been missing in my life lately. I have not availed myself of the open invitation to experience God RICHLY. As for joy . . . should I not be strengthened by it? (See Nehemiah 8:10).

We forget. We get distracted, sidetracked, and we forget how incredible it is, the testimony concerning Christ--The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness (regular John 1:14 :) ).

What if I remembered in every moment that the great God of heaven so badly wanted fellowship with me that He picked Himself up from His throne in heaven and came near to me?

1 John 1

1 John 1: 6-7

God is light
in him there is no darkness at all
{SO...} If we claim to have fellowship with him
----yet walk in the darkness----
WE LIE and do not live by the truth
1 John 1:6

Lord forgive me for lying and not living in/by the truth. Lord I claim to have fellowship with you- yet at times... ok, many times... I walk in the darkness of sin and do not honor your name which I proclaim as truth. Forgive me in Jesus name for my self centeredness, pride, idol worship of time and comfort, bad thoughts and feelings towards others, gossip, lies, and slander- just to name a few.

BUT IF we walk in the light
(as he is in the light) {with Him}
We have fellowship with one another
The blood of Jesus, His son,
~~~purifies~~~ us from ALL sin.
1 John 1:7

Lord may I walk with you in your light. Thank you for purifying me of all my sin by the blood of your son, Jesus Christ.

??? What confuses me in this passage is that I feel like it should be reversed- If the blood of Jesus, your son, purifies us from all sin, then (and only then) we can walk in the light, and therefore have fellowship with one another. ???

I also like the point that not only is our fellowship with God made right when we are walking in the light, but our fellowship with other people. With one another- how true that is! When I am walking in the light- my fellowship with God and with other people (believers and unbelievers alike) is true and abundant- when I am walking in the dark- I don't want fellowship, and what I have is broken.

Meghan's Journal entry 6/10/2010 on 1 John 1:6-7

Love you ladies and miss you already!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let the Blogging Begin!!!

Hey, Precious Ladies!

So, at community group yesterday, we decided it would be great to have a way to continue to encourage one another through Scripture this summer. What better way than to continue our Bible study correspondence via Blog!

We will all have administrative access to this Blog and each of us can sign in, create a blog post, upload travel pictures, share prayer requests, etc.

I believe we will be starting off with the book of First John this summer. One chapter a week? Meghan or Katherine will e-mail the details soon, and I will send you information on how to sign onto Google Blogger.

Can't wait to see what God will teach us this summer as we serve Him in Dallas, China, North Dakota, Colorado, Nigeria, Guatemala, Russia, India . . . is there a continent not covered yet? ;)