Happy Summer Solstice Northern Hemisphere

This year’s theme is God first. We’ve been talking about God and you–developing a deeper relationship with God. John says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7 ESV). God loved us enough to send his only son for us. Therefore, John concludes, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (vs. 11).

We have confidence that God remains in us because he gives us his Spirit. Furthermore, “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (vs. 15). This gives us absolute confidence for the day of judgment and we know that we will spend eternity with God.

John concludes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (vs. 18). If we’ve really been perfected in love, Christians should have no fear of death or judgment. This gives us peace of mind and courage to teach others, knowing that we are secure with God.

Keep Watch

woman wearing gray long sleeved shirt and black black bottoms outfit sitting on gray wooden picnic table facing towards calm body of water at daytime

As we near Easter, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, we focus on the events leading up to the death and burial. Jesus spent a good portion of his last days warning his disciples. He warned them of danger, of false teachers, of wars, and of getting weighed down with life and being unprepared.

Jesus expected his disciples to be prepared at all times. He spoke of thieves coming in the middle of the night, masters who closed the door and locked out the people who weren’t prepared, and the foolish virgins who weren’t prepared for the bridegroom’s coming. As he neared Jerusalem for the final time, he had a stark warning for his followers:

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35 ESV). Jesus is clear: everyone will experience the day of reckoning. The question is not how will we avoid it, but rather how prepared will we be for it.

Notably, later when Jesus was in the garden with his disciples, he told them to get up and pray that they didn’t fall into temptation. Given the context, the only logical temptation they would face was abandonment of their Lord and eventually their faith. Troubles were very nearby, and Jesus was asking them to keep watch and be prepared. Preparedness doesn’t mean that we breeze through troubles. We know this because Jesus himself had drops of sweat that were like blood. He was completely overtaken by sorrow and pain. Yet his prayer to the father was for preparedness–your will be done.