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.

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. 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, 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)

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. 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— 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

Life Lessons on Vacation

Life Lessons on Vacation

Yesterday we visited, Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, in Homer AK. Let me back up a bit and catch some of you up to speed. The family and i are in Alaska, although we lived here for 8 years from 2005-2013, today we are tourists.  i personally lived in Homer, for 4 of those years and had visited the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, countless times. i admittedly got burned out and it became a joke, “hey, you guys want to go to the Visitor Center?” to which everyone would respond, loudly and emphatically, “NO!”…yet, it amazes me that i still see or hear something new whenever i do go. Whats even more amazing is that as i walk around now, even though i haven’t been here in at least 4 years, that i can remember, i still remember a ton of information. As we walked and listened, i was able to give information about different stuff that had just been sitting in my memory waiting for the right moment to reveal itself.

These are the thoughts i have about that from a Biblical standpoint. First, we understand the Word of God to be living (Hebrews 4:12). Which means that as we read it over and over, even the same passage everyday for a week for instance, there is always something new to be learned and understood. The passage in Hebrews is mainly talking about the power of the Word to see through us, change us, renew us, but its natural conclusion is its ability to instruct us. For further examples see Psalm 32:8 and 2 Timothy 3:16 and here 1 Corinthians 2:10-12.

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Second, the more we read and understand the more i begin to understand how God through His living Word can speak through me at the right time. If we are soaked in the Word, we begin to emulate and soon the Word just oozes out of us. Some would say that emulate is to powerful a word as within the definition it says, “ones aspiring to become equal or greater than” and they would point out the devil and his fall from grace. Point taken, however, i am not attempting to emulate God in Heaven so much as His Son Jesus on earth. There is a difference even though they are One, simply looking at Jesus own words in John 14:12.

May we be challenged to seek His Word faithfully, may we not get bored of reading the same passage over again, but may it spring to life new every time we read it.

You are Loved,

cj

God is Strong

God is Strong

“Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit”…”Stephen, brimming with God’s grace and energy”…”Stephen, they found they couldn’t take their eyes off him-his face was life the face of an angel!” These verses found in Acts tell of an amazing moment of God’s Faithfulness through a man full of Jesus.

Ephesians 6 says this:
“God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way.”

What we know of Stephen is that he was living Ephesians 6. Without a doubt. As we head into Thanksgiving next week and then into the Advent season it is a good time to reflect. A moment of introspection in which we look at our lives, what we have to be thankful for and in being thankful living lives of thanksgiving. A life of Thanksgiving in which God is strong, because He is strong.

Because He is strong, we can live in faith that He will…
As we rely on Him, seek Him, rest in Him, He fills us with more of Him, His Holy Spirit…
The more we are full of the Holy Spirit the more our lives reflect grace…
Grace, when given fills us with power to change our environment…

This is Jesus’ heart for you.

You are Loved,

cj