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

Stuck in the mud.

Stuck in the mud.

Today, i drove out with a friend to get hay for our horses. We have one, Shrek and they have two, the names escape me. We drove about an hour to a town called Red Lodge in Montana. We had in tow our horse trailer for Shrek to carry the hay. Our Chevy Avalanche is only two-wheel drive with traction control. Having moved from California it’s all we really needed and we picked this up used so it wasn’t a priority over cost. We previously got it stuck in the mud when we were getting the trailer ready for our move. Thanks to some kitty litter we were able to get it unstuck, that was not the case this time.

i was a bit fearful arriving in Red Lodge at the farm where we got the hay. Watched carefully where i was going and every turn was measured for whether or not i would make it through. It was an unfamiliar place and i was much more on my guard. We loaded up the hay and pulled out and all was well. My friend and i had a great conversation and the trip home was quick. Arriving back at the stable we went to park the trailer near the barn for easy unloading of the hay. i was totally comfortable. i swung the trailer around to back in and proceeded to make my way towards the barn, when…you guessed it, i got stuck in the mud. The more i tried to free myself the more stuck i became. My friend came up and asked, “is this four-wheel drive?” We already know the answer to that question.

No amount of struggle would free me because the weight of the trailer was too great. Often we are the same way with the things that weigh us down in life. Struggles and sin weigh us down and many are stuck in the mud. It happens mostly when we are comfortable. We aren’t on the lookout because we feel like we have a handle on life. It’s then the Devil gets his claws in us and drags us down with weights we don’t need to even carry. You know how i got the truck unstuck? i dropped the trailer. Yep, that’s it, i dropped the trailer. Then with a little maneuvering, i was free and on my way.  Dumping the weight of struggle and sin is the same, if we dump it, with a little maneuvering we can be on our way.

With a lesson learned and a path made we can avoid those struggles. If we stay alert to the temptations around us if we look out for one another. If we don’t assume everyone has four-wheel drive, we will be better able to address the needs of our friends before they get stuck in the mud. Having that faith community around us and placing our faith in them we will be ready for the obstacles of life.

1 Peter 5:6-11 says it all:

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[b] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

You are loved,

cj