Families with young children click on this link for your devotional:
Families/Individuals with no young children, please follow this devotional by Jim Patten:
Help me understand Lord...I’m just a farm kid. (1John 4:7-12)
I was born in Nebraska but raised just across the state line in Iowa on our very small family farm of about 180 acres. You see, many of my friend’s families farmed several thousand acres. I distinctly remember standing at the edge of our house and turning 360° while never seeing another home in sight. Gravel roads went for hundreds of miles and you could easily become quite lost because there were no road signs anywhere.
What a culture shock it was to me in high school when we moved to a town of 40,000 people! Apparently my sophistication level was lacking and I had a lot to learn about how the world worked. Was I less of a person or more of a person in comparison to my peers?
Today my home library boasts many wonderful books, most of which I’ve read. I’m not much of a fiction reader and I gravitate toward commentaries and biographies. But at the end of the day I’m still just a farm kid and need to break things down for my understanding :)
As I read 1 John 4:7-12 I am reminded that there’s a simple way of paraphrasing that “puts the cookies where the kids like myself can reach them.”
In the previous verses, having just warned us against false teachers (who are not to be loved) we are now told to pray for God’s people and the lost sinner…
1 John 4:7 - agape love. Let’s love with a supernatural love given from the Holy Spirit. It is the love of God, and only the spirit of God can enable us to extend this love to others.
4:8 - if you’re not concerned about others (which leads to helping them) then you may not know God, because he is concerned about them and wants to help them.
4:9 - how does God love you? You will find the love of God manifested (shown) at Calvary.
4:10 - Propitiation. There’s a fancy word. It means “mercy seat”. It’s the same as the old testament word for atonement, meaning “to cover”. Jesus is himself the mercy seat because he died down here for us (ROM 4:25). You see, we are invited to the party because we are coming along with someone who has paid the admission!
4:11 - this one’s easy. If God loved us, then we should love each other.
4:12 - “no man has seen God at any time”. Some folks challenge the statement by pointing out the scriptural illustration of those who have seen God (Adam, Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc.).
Well here’s a another fancy word. Those men saw what is known as a theophany. That is, God manifested himself in some form to these men, but he did not reveal himself in all of his fullness.
The point that John is making here is that no man has seen God at any time, but God today can manifest himself to believers loving each other!
Have a blessed day brothers and sisters!