Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach¬†grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

5¬†Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6¬†And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day‚ÄĒ 7¬†just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

Infinitely More!

Infinitely More!

The bills piled on the desk in two stacks, need paid, and pay later. The money wasn’t flowing in like it¬†once did and the realization that they were living above their means was becoming more and more apparent; but how to break the cycle wasn’t coming to mind. ¬†Jim and Amanda, had been married for eight years, both once had great paying jobs but when the economy turned down so did their employers. Amanda was laid off first and could only fined part time work in a cafe. Although she loved her job¬†it barely kept food on their table. Jim was a bit more lucky in his employment.

Simon’s, was a local appliance store, Jim sold refrigerators. Although, the business had downsized its employee’s Jim had been spared thus far but sales were down and therefore so was his commission. He brought home enough to pay the mortgage so at least they had a home but the decision was do they keep the heat and electricity or keep the car, the only car they had between the two. Jim mostly drove the car to and from work, Amanda took the bus. The discussion went back and forth, there were times Jim worked a later shift and the buses stopped running at 7. He could walk home but that was 7 miles. He could ask a co worker but there were times he closed the store and would lock up alone. It seemed everything they could think of had its down side and things were only looking worse. Recently, Jim found out that Simon’s would be letting another sales associate go at the end of the month if sales didn’t significantly improve.

Rick lived across the street and had been pretty much unfazed by the down turn in the economy as he was¬†the leading marquee name¬†at the Law Offices of Brown & Marquez. Rick would see Jim and Amanda work in the yard, walking their dog ‘Digger’ and they always seemed friendly and welcoming. He saw them one other place each week and that was church. Faithfully every Sunday, Jim and Amanda sat just in front of Rick. Rick was struck by their joy in worship, even though he knew some of their struggle. Not because Jim and Amanda complained but through conversations of life.

Amanda mentioned one morning when she was out with “Digger” that she had been laid off by the advertising agency where she had worked. However, she was so thankful that Cups was hiring and that they hired her.¬†¬†He had just had a conversation the night before with Jim’s boss,¬†Mr. Simon’s.¬†Mr. Simon’s shared¬†of the difficult decisions he was faced with¬†when Rick¬†was in buying a new washer and dryer.

On this particular Sunday the Pastor presented a message out of Ephesians on the Church and the provision of God. He read from Chapter 3:14-21:

14¬†For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,¬†15¬†from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,¬†16¬†that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,¬†17¬†that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,¬†18¬†may be able to comprehend with all the saints what¬†is¬†the width and length and depth and height‚ÄĒ¬†19¬†to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

That was when it became clear to Rick that God was going to provide for Jim and Amanda. Jesus, speaking directly to Rick’s heart through His Word. Rick heard Jesus say, “‘Rick, today you will invite Jim and Amanda out to dinner. You will share with them how God has been working in you mightily and how I have directed you in ‘love’ to help them financially.’ Rick,” the Lord continued, “Pay off their car releasing them from that burden allowing them to put their money to better use supplying their needs. Also, offer Amanda the receptionist position you are about to post.”

That day Jesus did more than Jim and Amanda could ever ask or think and Jim felt the mighty hand of God at work in him.

What is the Lord calling you to do? Or how is He calling you to trust Him?

You are loved,

cj