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

Unconditionally, Love like that…

Unconditionally, Love like that…

Life at times can seem a bit unfair. The struggle of family, work, friendships, living, can and often times does become cumbersome. Balance, which one tries to keep is quickly lost in the ebbs and flows of life; finding it again is the challenge and the struggle is real.

No one is immune to the struggle, some are better at being proactive in recovering from being unbalanced but it takes a real effort. The verses and quotes from last week are for me the starting point of my journey back to balance and perspective. First, before i dive into this journey a little let me express to you that Jesus is fundamental in any recovery effort. You might be saying, of course, you are using scripture…yet for some using Scripture and leaning into Jesus, sadly, are not always the same thing.

Here are the verses again in case you forgot them or are reading this and you didn’t read last weeks devotional with the added insight following each verse…i will then summarize things at the end.

1. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

***i want to highlight this incredible challenge, “…live a life worthy of His calling.” Talk about balance and perspective. This little part of this passage tells us this is the goal. But we need His Spirit in our lives to do it…Paul, writes, “…asking our God to enable you…” that’s the key, May He give you the power to… Why do we try and manage this on our own when clearly the challenge requires the Holy Spirit? Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus and His Spirit.

2. Psalm 139:1-3 “O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about meYou know when i sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when i’m far away. You see me when i travel and when i rest at home. You know everything i do.”

***When we are out of balance, we often attempt to hide this from God and those who God has placed in our lives to help us, “…live a life worthy of His calling.” Yet it is pretty clear in scripture that nothing is hidden from God, NOTHING. This Psalm is a gentle reminder that God knows everything about us. To regain balance and perspective…step one, Jesus and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows.

3. 1 Timothy 1:5 “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”

**** “…be filled with LOVE that comes from a “pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” God is Love, i know that you have heard that before…it also says in Scripture, “Love the Lord your God with everything you have and to love people, all people”. No motive, just love, love because God loved you…love from a pure heart, not perfect, pure meaning unconditional, without the motive of getting something in return. Love from a clear conscience, not guiltless, clear…confess your sins one to another and love. Genuine Faith, be authentic, be real, be honest, love like that. Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love.

4. Ephesians 5:25 “…husbandslove your wivesjust as Christ loved the church.” For you married ladies, “…wivessubmit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

This applies to the marrieds that are reading this…if we do not honor our marriages do not expect your life to reflect or honor God. Our marriages are a reflection of our heart for God…granted this is a two-way street you are responsible for your side, which is to love your spouse as directed, to honor them, respect them, cherish them. If you are not married, you should reflect on this verse as you date, as you think about marriage…do not be unequally yoked with non-believers. Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love. Step Four, to love and to cherish.

5. 1 John 4:8 “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

***If you do not love, you do NOT know God. Ouch. Jesus said if you hate anyone you have committed murder in your heart. Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love. Step Four, to love and to cherish. Step Five, don’t just say, “i love you,” show “i love you.”

We have come full circle, We start with Jesus and we end with Jesus. We start with love and we end with love. If you truly want balance and perspective in your life you need to follow these five steps.

Balance and Perspective:
Step one, Jesus and His Spirit.
Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows.
Step Three, love, simply love.
Step Four, to love and to cherish.
Step Five, don’t just say, “i love you,” show “i love you.”

you are LOVED,
cj