Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keeps me from falling.

I had a run-in with frustration yesterday. Caused by my surroundings and the deceptive hold the devil has on others. The Word of God speaks so clearly of His character, making the frustration more maddening. Twisted and skewed views leave His glory dim lit. I read what is wrote and become weakened with sorrow and pain for those who have been led by shameless shepherds who care only for themselves.

I began in Psalm 18.

I love you, Lord;
you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. 
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of 
and he saved me from my enemies.

Moving ahead I was drawn to Joel. The summery set the scene and I gave praise to God for having His words present Truth in a moment when I needed them the most.

When disaster strikes, we usually respond in one of two ways. We either turn to God and enter a new relationship with him shaped by a fuller understanding of his nature and character, or we turn away from God and blame him or others for our troubles. Some even deny God's existence. The people of ancient Israel experienced disaster and were faced with this same decision. Would they turn away from God in their time of trouble or turn to him and seek his blessings?

I continued reading through the next book, Amos. My eyes became wide as I read what the LORD had said.

...and I will not let them go unpunished!
...and I will not let them go unpunished!
...and I will not let them go unpunished!
...and I will not let them go unpunished!
...and then restoration.

The wrath of God is real. He is just, and sovereign. The path has been laid out clearly, but If you’re turned the wrong way, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When feelings of helplessness take over my soul I tell myself to remember. Remember what He says during moments of defeat. Remember what has happened before, will happen again. Remember who God says He is and what it is that He has promised. 

The helplessness is quickly restored as I flip to 1John, reading through Jude.

The first letter of John explains how Jesus Christ came to offer eternal life; his first letter tells how to know, by our experience and behavior, that we have eternal life. John's Gospel tells us how Jesus came to reveal the Father; his letter shows how we can be confident in our relationship with him. John's Gospel relates how Jesus gives the Spirit to each one who is born again; his letter explains daily life in the Spirit. John's Gospel encourages Jesus' disciples to practice spiritual unity by loving one another; his letter clarifies how to put that love into action.

God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, 
for when you love the world, 
you do not have the love of the Father in you.

...the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

God showed how much he loved us 
by sending his one and only Son into the world 
so that we might have eternal life through him.

...his commandments are not burdensome.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

The second letter of John is the shortest book in the New Testament, only thirteen verses. In antiquity, the entire letter would have fit on one sheet of papyrus. The first letter of John elaborated the principles of continuing in the truth, loving fellow believers and watching out for false teachers. This letter gives us an example of applying these principles to a concrete situation. 

If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ,
don't invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 
Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner of evil work.

The third letter of John is a small personal letter providing a window into some issues of leadership and conflict in the early churches (body of believers).

 Follow only what is Good.

 I finished my reading with Jude.

The letter of Jude has a single focus: to warn believers against succumbing to false teaching. Jude helps Christians stay true to the faith by painting a grim and gloomy picture of deviant teachers. Arrogant, immoral, and greedy, these teachers are destined for the terrible judgement God has in store for all who deny and defy him. who would want to follow such people to their condemnation? This is the question that Jude puts before us in his letter. In a world with so many distorted ideas about Christianity, we need to be reminded of the dangers of false teaching. 

...Like unthinking animals,
they do whatever their instincts tell them,
and so they bring about their own destruction.

...They are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. 
They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. 
They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. 
They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead,
 for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 
They are like wild waves of the sea, 
churning up the foam of their shameful deeds.  
They are like wandering stars, 
doomed forever to blackest darkness.

Poetically moved by the warnings of this world, I ended with a Prayer of Praise. Jude concludes his letter with one of the most stirring doxologies in Scripture. Renewing my vision of God who keeps me from falling away, from succumbing to the enticing doctrine of false teachers. He has the glory, majesty, power, and authority to bring me safely into his glorious presence forever.

 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep
you from falling away and will bring you 
with great joy into his glorious presence
without a single fault. All glory to him who 
alone is God, our Savior through Jesus
Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power,
and authority are his before all time, and in 
the present, and beyond all time! Amen. 

No comments: