Holy Apostles Devotions 29 June – 12th July 2020
Monday 29th June
Read: 1 John 1:1-4
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.
Reflect: If you were God how would you go about revealing yourself to people? How could you tell them about, and give them, the kind of life you wanted them to enjoy? Through creation and Jesus. How can you tell that the writer encountered Jesus? John met Jesus he wanted to tell everyone about how he had met him. How have you encountered Jesus?
Pray: Dear God. Thank you for sending Jesus so I could know what you are like. Amen
Tuesday 30th June
Read: 1 John 1:5-9
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 and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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 is not in us.
Reflect: John shows us some contrasts here; light and dark, truth and deception. We are not to deceive ourselves about our sin and there is a great promise of forgiveness and purification when we ‘fess up’.
Respond: We need to daily ‘fess up’ admit our guilt and accept God’s forgiveness.
Pray: I thank you God that you forgive all who turn to you, including me.
Wednesday 1st July
Read: 1 John 2:1-6
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – 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. 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Reflect: There is another contrast here, saying one thing and doing another. Why not ponder what it means to live as Jesus lived.
Respond: What way do you need to change to be more like Jesus?
Pray: I am sorry Lord for not living like Jesus please help me to change.
Thursday 2nd July
Read: 1 John 2:9-11
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them
Reflect: Christian love is a big theme of this letter. Those who live in the light (follow Jesus) will love others, in this case, their brother or sister. Who is your brother or sister? Imagine them, are they other Christians who look, behave and sound like you? Would you say that you hate anyone? Sometimes we might not go so far as to say that but we know there are brothers and sisters that we judge and are only civil to. Is that the way of love?
Respond: How do you need to respond today? Maybe you need to make peace with someone.
Pray: Loving God, help me to love others as you love me.
Friday 3rd July
Read: 1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives for ever.
Reflect: Worldliness is not so much a matter of activity but of attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away for certain amusements and still love the world, worldliness is a matter of the heart. It is interesting to observe what people have missed during lockdown, illustrated perhaps by illegal raves and long queues at Nike or Primark. The world will not last for ever.
Respond: What did you miss most? In what ways do you love the world rather than God?
Pray: Lord I thank you for the world we live in help me love the things that will last not the things that wont and draw my attention from you.
Saturday 4th July
Read: 1 John 3:1-3
See what great 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 Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Reflect: Consider the love of God today, love that adopts us as his children, love that is lavished on us. Wow
Respond Praise him for his love, listen to Reckless Love one of the new hymns we like to sing and rejoice.
Pray: Thank you for loving me so much.
Sunday 5th July
Read: 1 John 3:16-18
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Reflect: Love and action is key to God’s relationship with us. He loved….Jesus came and died. Our call to love in action.
Respond: v17 invites us to love people practically as we are able. Giving to the food bank or baby basics is an easy way of doing this, but is there someone you know who is in need whom you could help out of what you have?
Pray: Father let me see people as you see them and open my heart to take action to help where I can.
Monday 6th July
Read: 1 John 3:19-24
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: we know it by the Spirit he gave us
Reflect: A condemning heart is one that robs a believer of peace. An accusing conscience is another way of putting it. Sometimes our hearts condemn us falsely but God knows our hearts. If we walk in love our heart is open to God and knows that God never judges wrongly because ‘God is love’.
Respond: As the Spirit to reveal the true state of your heart.
Pray: Search me o God and know my heart, see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen
Tuesday 7th July
Read: 1 John 4:1-6
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognise the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
Reflect: The spirit of falsehood is at work in our world I think you will agree. We read of fake news, conspiracy theories news that is only news if it is sensational enough. How do we identify truth from fiction? John is writing about prophecy in the church but although this is important for us truth is a big issue for our society today.
Respond: How can we be spreaders of truth? How do we respond to those who tell us that it is ok to create our own truth?
Pray: We pray for our world today that we would be set free from a spirit of falsehood and welcome the spirit of Jesus that will lead us into all truth. Amen
Wednesday 8th July
Read: 1 John 4:7-16
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Reflect: Here we get to the root of the matter about love. Love is part of the very being and nature of God. If we are united to God through faith in Christ, we share his nature. Our love for one another is us demonstrating that nature. How does this passage show the trinity (father, son and Holy Spirit) as one in loving the world?
Respond: Who would you like to love in a better way? Ask God to give you true spiritual love for them
Pray: Lord I know that I don’t love …….. as I should please give me your love for them Amen
Thursday 9th July
Read: 1 John 4:17-21
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Reflect: Fear and punishment or torment are not supposed to be part of the Christian experience if we are walking in God’s love. Yet many of us experience fear; maybe something from the past still grips us or something in the present upsets us or something in the future threatens us. God’s love is bigger than the fears and is growing in us all the time.
Respond: meditate on the words ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Pray: Praise God in song today.
Friday 10th July
Read: 1 John 5:6-15
This is the one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.
Reflect: Who is it that has eternal life? This book has been written so that those of us who believe in Jesus can be sure that we have eternal life. And because we can be sure of this we can also be sure that God hears us when we pray.
Respond and Pray: Knowing that God hears you and that you can ask anything of him, spend some time in prayer today. Write down what you ask so you can look back and see the answer.
Saturday 11th July
Read: 2 John
1 The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us for ever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.
Reflect The second letter of John is to the elder of a particular church, many themes are the same as his first letter, can you spot them? We also see John’s heart for this church.
Respond: Who could you write to, to encourage them in the faith? Who do you hope to visit and talk with face to face? As I write this there are lots of people on my list.
Pray: Thank you for John’s example Help me to be an encourager of others.
Sunday 12th July
Read: 3 John
The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honours God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone – and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
Reflect: John’s 3rd letter is to his friend Gaius and is even more personal in nature. There is encouragement, rebuke and praise for 3 different individuals. We tend to shy away from pointing out people’s failings but here we see John handling Diotrephes’ behaviour by pointing it out to Gaius as a way not to behave and encouraging him to do the right thing. Perhaps Gaius is the one to raise it with Diotrephes we don’t know.
Respond: ‘Do not imitate what is evil but do good’ meditate on these words and ask God how you should respond.
Pray: Thank you God for your servant John, for inspiring his writing and that we can learn from his teaching. Inspire us to walk like Jesus walked every day. Show us how to love like him in action and in truth. Reveal to us the way of truth not falsehood, light not darkness and inspire us by your Holy Spirit to encourage one another. Amen!