6 January, Monday – Love Comes From God

6 January 

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1 John 3:22-4:6

Whatever we ask God,
we shall receive,
because we keep his commandments
and live the kind of life that he wants.
His commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.
It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust;
test them, to see if they come from God,
there are many false prophets, now, in the world.
You can tell the spirits that come from God by this:
every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh
is from God;
but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus
is not from God,
but is the spirit of Antichrist,
whose coming you were warned about.
Well, now he is here, in the world.
Children,
you have already overcome these false prophets,
because you are from God and you have in you
one who is greater than anyone in this world;
as for them, they are of the world,
and so they speak the language of the world
and the world listens to them.
But we are children of God,
and those who know God listen to us;
those who are not of God refuse to listen to us.
This is how we can tell
the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.

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Matthew 4:12-17,23-25

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’
From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
  He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.

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Every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh is from God; but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus is not from God…

Ever since I can remember, I always feel a little melancholy during the Christmas season. The Christmas just past was no exception. In fact, as the years progressed, the sense of something missing grows more prominent. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is still a joyous season, to be shared with family and friends, and I thoroughly enjoy the festivities. But I find myself, along with the throngs of people, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season to the point that the reason for the season was seemingly lost.  So caught up were we in shopping, gift giving, socializing, that we forgot to take a deep breath and remember what this was for.  In the throes of preparing for the festivities, rushing around to get things in order, we often become impatient or rude to others. The thing that saddens me most is how very few people greeted each other with “Merry Christmas”; instead, it had become predominantly “happy holidays”.

This sentiment has been slowly accumulating without alarming anyone. It came under the guise of inclusion and politically correctness. It is so insidious that it affects all aspects of life. We have become so careful not to voice or witness our faith out of fear of offending someone. Having faith has become ‘uncool’ and old-fashioned. Today’s reading has once again reminded me how we need to be vigilant, as there are so many factors out in the world that will detract us from our true purpose, true mission and true joy. There are so many voices in the world that try to detract us from our true goal.

Perhaps my melancholy comes from the sense that I am guilty of listening to all the false prophets out there and joining in the song and dance that seemed so enticing but leaves me empty. My joy is only restored when I focus on God and try to listen to His voice instead.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we can recognize Your voice, and that we may focus on what is from the spirit of truth instead of what is from the spirit of falsehood.

Thanksgiving: Jesus, thank you for coming to teach us and give us the chance to know the true God.

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