Posts tagged DWITW 365
By Blood and Word {DWITW 365}
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 “As long as we have our stories there is hope.”
-Henri Nouwen

“Will you read me a story?” is a common request in our household. It doesn’t matter if you are family, friend, or acquaintance. If you sit near one of the stacks of picture books, it’s likely a pair of tiny hands will bring you at least one, if not four, of them, accompanied by a pleading smile and excited eyes. Regardless of how silly or unusual the premise of each story seems to be, there is a bit of hope to be found in them more often than not. From Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire, I am reminded  I belong somewhere, but it might not be where I think. From The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat, I am mindful that even when I’m doing the seeking, I could still need to be found myself.

As our year of DWITW 365 draws to an end, I can’t help but reflect on all the stories we have read. I’ve watched the genealogy of Jesus unfold across the pages, from Abraham to David to Joseph. I’ve been able to savor the grand chronicle that spans from creation to fall to redemption to restoration; from the Tree of Life in Genesis to the Tree of Life in Revelation. When I look back on it all, a few verses from the middle of Revelation sit in my mind:

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!’ ” (Revelation 12:10-12)

By the blood of Jesus, we are made conquerors. By the testifying of Christ and the work He had done, we conquer.

Our accuser has been conquered, our adversary overcome! Not only through Jesus’ death is the kingdom of God victorious, but also through the testimony of His people. A people who treasure their Savior and God more dearly than their very lives. By the blood of Jesus, we are made conquerors (Rom. 8:37.) By the testifying of Christ and the work He had done, we conquer. While God’s victory needn’t rest on the deeds of people, He chose to include us.

As so many before us, we get to participate. We get to be a part of this great story that is still unfurling all around us, even though the end has been decided. We get to speak of what Jesus has done, of His death and resurrection, of the new life He has given us.

And this testimony, this story we are to proclaim, to whom do I tell it? Anyone. Everyone. But especially my children. I tell them of a big God who became a tiny baby, of impossible hopes that took on skin, of beginnings and endings and beginning again. And in the light of that hope, I tell them of hurts and healing that go beyond kisses and band aids. Of death that brings life. Of Jesus.

And so I wage war against the darkness with my words. I fight to remember. I fight to remind. I fight to give my voice to the Spirit, that the truth of what I see and know of God and His kingdom, His Son, and His Spirit may be imparted to others. Through the vibrancy of Christ’s blood and the unfading tenacity of His love, we are transformed. Our stories merge with His in a tapestry of memory, time, and divine intervention. An intervention undertaken by a Man, whose face we’ve yet to see, who loved us enough to give up His life so we could dance in His presence forever. So that we could become part of the community He knew before the first flower bloomed or the first wind blew.

in the light of that hope, I tell them of hurts and healing that go beyond kisses and band aids. Of death that brings life. Of Jesus.

I can’t help but think of John when he was writing his gospel as I’m imagining the expanse of Jesus stories there were back then. Too many to count, too many to read them all. Too many for the world to hold (John 21:25.) It’s from that abundance of stories, that the testimony of Jesus’ work in my heart and life has bloomed into victorious life. A life of a conqueror in Christ. 

Sisters, as you reflect on the past year, what are the testimonies of Jesus that have grown from your heart? What evidences of His love have given you life? How has He been faithful to refine your mind? What is the story of Jesus you need to tell?

In 2019, the DWITW blog will be focusing on the gospels, one each quarter of the year. We would love nothing more than for you to share your own testimonies of what you are learning as you read and study the life of our Savior. If you feel prompted to share, you can do so via our submissions page. We are so thankful for the work the Lord has done this year. We look on to the days ahead with great expectation of the stories we will hear.

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Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV

Because I Know Jesus {DWITW 365}
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What do you think of when you hear the word “confidence?” For me, I imagine a beautiful lady nailing a public speech with perfectly quaffed hair and a killer outfit being met with a standing ovation. Or, I imagine a ballerina bending and jumping in a tiny thigh-gap-exposing-tutu in front of a large live audience. Confidence to me has always been tied to looking good, performing well, and being adored by others.

As I read through 1 John, I see John writing about confidence, and WITH confidence, as He addresses his letter to God’s children. This confidence that John describes and exudes has nothing to do with the confidence that I’ve summed up in my own brain. It is not simply something we can muster up out of our own willpower, but it is gifted to us by our good Father. And it is not for our own glorification, but that of His. If I could sum up 1 John, it would be: God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.

God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.

John insists that we are God’s children. And in that station, we are born into an identity of confidence. Why? Because when you are secure in your position with God as your Father, not much scares you, whether in life or death.

He specifically writes about confidence four times in his first letter, starting in 2:28 where he writes, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink in shame at His coming.” This refers to when Jesus comes again, but the statement also encourages us to approach Him now. No longer do we have the stain of sin to separate us from our Father, as Jesus took that upon Himself. In order to have confidence in Christ, we can not be strangers with Him, so John encourages us to embrace our position as His child, with every intimacy that this relationship affords.

This intimacy will remove your past and present shame stemming from sin. The next time John specifically mentions confidence is in 3:21 when he writes, “Beloved if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” When you are a child of God, you will hate your sin. The Holy Spirit will expose your sin to you and begin to change you. No longer will you live in condemnation (Romans 8:1), but you will have confidence to ask God to keep doing the good work of sanctification in you. You will see you are not as you should be, but praise God for this! You have hope that the Holy Spirit is making you like Jesus, and you are confident He will finish that good work in you. As Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

We can also have confidence to approach Him boldly in prayer and know that He will hear us when we do. John writes in 1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”

Not only can you be confident for the past, that you are forgiven, and for the present, that He is making you like Christ, but for the future as well. In 1 John 4:17, John writes “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.” We are confident that when Jesus comes again, our Judge will find us blameless because when God sees us He sees Jesus. We can have confidence that Jesus and His salvation for us remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

John doesn’t just tell, he shows. He explicitly mentions confidence these four times, but in total, the book of 1 John says “know” 33 times. John is giving an account of what he knows for sure, and all because of WHO he knows for sure. John knows Jesus. And we know Jesus. Because of this knowledge, we can be confident….

 

In the love of the Father (1 John 3:1)
In His promises of eternal life (1 John 2:25)
In His truth (1 John 3:18-19)
In His testimony (1 John 5:6-12)
In the Holy Spirit’s teaching and in His anointing (1 John 2:27)
To practice righteousness (1 John 3:10)
To love the family of God, even if it requires sacrifice from us (1 John 3:16-18)
When we experience hatred from the world (1 John 3:13-15)
When we encounter antichrists (1 John 2:18-24)
That His victory is our victory (1 John 5:4)

There are probably several more confidences I have yet to discover from this rich book, but this I know: I am walking taller today than I am before I studied this book. Why? Because I am God’s child, and because I know Jesus.

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Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.