Faith Is the Victory

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
1 John 5:1-12

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


John Wesley, eighteenth century founder of the Methodist movement, said that we have a sixth sense. While today we often hear a sixth sense referred to as “intuition,” John affirmed that this is faith—the capacity to claim as true, realities that escape our five physical senses. Faith is at the heart of the reading for today: “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

I once had a spiritual director who was a priest and a concert violinist; his name was Cyril Schommer. Later in life, he became blind. He claimed that he could play the violin better than ever, as hearing became more sensitive to compensate for his loss of sight.

So it is with faith. When outer senses recede, the sense of faith has a chance to grow. Though it be only the size of a mustard seed, Jesus said that faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


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Version for Children and Families

Love Beyond, Yet Within

Thursday of the Third Week in Epiphany
1 John 4:13-21

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


If you have any love in you at all, it is because God, who is Love, is present to you through the Holy Spirit. God does not indwell in us as a reward for our loving; rather God’s presence makes it possible to love.

Love is super-natural; it is beyond our nature and us. Yes, it’s easy to love those who love you, as Matthew 5:46 declares; but love goes beyond egoism and personal attraction and preference, giving a divine quality to our lives, not coming from ourselves, but from God.

The theme of “abiding” or “indwelling” is a central one for John, both in the letters and in his Gospel. Take each verse and let their truths sink deep. Brood over this teaching: “Perfect love casts out fear.” The Lord of love dwells in you, burning away all fear until you are aglow with love.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

The Only Teacher of the Soul

Thursday of the Second Week in Epiphany
1 John 4:1-12

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


It was the first day of class in the twelve-year long course of studies to my ordination. Edwin Cuffe, S.J., of happy memory, entered the room. His gentle, kind voice flowed into the room: “Remember: the only teacher of your soul is the Holy Spirit.” Then he simply walked out!

John today speaks about “discerning the spirits.” Take time to give room for the Spirit to tell you about all other spirits, so that with serenity you can sift the soil of your soul and know how the Lord is at work. When you discern, it is not you who are doing this, but the Spirit of Christ.

While we need to think, consider, wait, weigh and then make decisions, let us yield from start to finish to the Holy Spirit at work throughout.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

Toward Life or Toward Death

Thursday of Epiphany Week
1 John 3:10-24

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Pray this passage, open to its simple, clear truth. As with darkness and light, here contrasts of death and life, love and hate are starkly set against each other so that John’s teaching will affect his listeners.

John does the same as Moses in Deuteronomy 30 when he placed life or death before the people. As Moses invited them to choose life so that they could live, John does the same. Choose light, love, and life instead of darkness, hatred, and death.

Which way will you go today—toward life, or toward death? Pause at various moments of transition in the day to monitor your choices. As an astronaut, perhaps you need “mid-course” correction!


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

You Are a Child of God

Thursday of Christmas Week
1 John 3:1-9

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Crepuscular Rays

Just as Jesus was presented in the Temple as an infant, so you have been presented to the Temple of Christ’s risen body. Because you live in Christ and he lives in you, you are a child of God. John is wondrously in touch with this fact as he cries out the first verse of the reading, “We are children of God!”

Throughout this letter, themes of darkness and light, of sin and abiding in Christ, are set in stark contrast. For John there are no “gray” areas. There is either a life of sin or a life of grace going on inside of you and me. Yes, there may be occasional acts of sin, but the torque, the momentum, the full surrender of life is to be totally within God. If you are there, then a life of habitual sin is not possible. Experience what it is like to be a child—a very own child of God.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

The Anointing Abides in You

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Advent
1 John 2:18-29
Merry Christmas!

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


We are in the final times. Whatever hour you are in right now, there is a spiritual sense that it is part of the last hour as expressed by John in verse 18. While we cannot predict just when the actual end will come, it has already begun with what took place on the last day of the old creation, Good Friday.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit gives you all you need to know about what to do. What an assertion in verse 20: “You know all things!” This is due to the anointing—gift of the Holy Spirit.

In order to access this knowledge, you need a life of prayer, union with other wise persons who are also under the anointing, and a total desire to dedicate yourself to the Lord. Trust that the Lord will indeed speak to you heart. Be willing to filter out everything else, so that you can hear.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

The Passing and the Lasting

Thursday of the Third Week in Advent
1 John 2:12-17

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

If you were to describe your spiritual states before God as a member of a family, what would you call yourself? Are you a “father,” a “spoiled child”? How might others in a family see you with an honest perception of how you are? John does this in the church community to whom he is writing.

Whatever is your assessment of spiritual growth, the words in verses 15-17 need to be taken to heart. Reflect upon what is passing in your life and what lasts forever. Take the three-fold assessment that John makes of the world and meditate on them until their truth comes home to you. Take this with you today and always: “He who does the will of God abides forever.”


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families