The great doxology!
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 1:24&25 [NIV]).
This is one of the most profound verses in all of Scripture. What a perfect picture of our future state and what Jesus has done for us through his sacrifice on the cross for us. And this is an eternal doxology. It is before all time, now and forevermore.
Can you believe that because of that great sacrifice we will stand before the Father without fault or blemish. And Jesus will do it with great joy! It is hard for us to comprehend isn’t it.
Copy these verses down and read them throughout the day and remember how valuable you are to Him. At the end of today… see if your attitude about yourself has changed even a little bit.
This morning we begin a new month. We have finished three months of reading the Bible this year. Have things changed in your personal spiritual life? The world sure has changed. Our laser focused vision during these days is to keep our eyes on the God of this universe and let Him guide us.
Our reading for today gives us a pleasant result when we do. Psalm 1 is included below:
1 How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. (Psalm 1 [CSB])
It’s an interesting progression that the person who stays happy keeps away from. First of all they do not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway of sinners or sit in the company of the mockers. See the progression — walk, stand, sit. I’ve thought of this many times. When we walk with or keep company with those that would pull us away from God it’s easier then to spend time with them (stand) and then finally to be involved with what they do (sit). How harmless it starts and how devastating it ends. If we spend our time walking, standing and sitting in God’s Word and His people we will be like a tree planted by a stream and our roots will grow deep in God.
Where are we spending our time these days? Are we watching too much television news? Is that making us anxious and distracted, or are we finding more time in this enforced slowdown to our lives spending time in God’s Word and in communication with His people? Don’t get me wrong, we need to be well informed on current events, but even that can be too much and become a distraction.
Let’s stay in God’s Word and let’s stay together during these days.
Father God we love You and Your Word. Help us to focus on you in these days of distress and be shining lights that draw others to You and Your Word. Amen.
One way — not the only way — that we can know our efforts in sharing the good news of Jesus and the impact we have on others is to look at their lives. The Apostle Paul gives us a unique glimpse and a beautiful metaphor this morning to gauge our righteous influence on others. Read below:
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God — not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:1-3 [CSB]).
Paul, in a way, was sharing with his readers that they were his letter of introduction wherever he went. He could point to their faith and life and say see what God has done through us!
What are you up to these days? Do you have any living letters? If you have children you can start with them. How are they your letters of introduction. How bout others you serve with or teach? Are they your letters of introduction. Can you point to them and will others see your ministry in their lives? Of course this all happens through the counsel and empowerment of our Holy Spirit living inside all who follow Him. Ask Him today to point out your living letters of introduction.
This morning we read about the calling of Matthew. He was a tax collector. Not a very honorable vocation in the sight of the Jewish people. Tax Collectors were historically crooked individuals who would gouge the people they collected from and usually took some for themselves. So Jesus calls Matthew (read below):
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.
29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick. have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:27-31 [CSB])
Sometimes the newer you are in Christ the more creative you are in sharing your new found faith. Here Matthew gathers his friends for a banquet to introduce to them his new found Savior, Jesus. Funny thing, Matthew knows a lot of tax collectors and sinners. And of course the Pharisees take issue with Jesus eating with them. And what is Jesus’ bottom line through all of this? We see it in the last verse he likens them to the sick and says it’s the sinners and calling them to repentance.
Perhaps you should throw a party for all your unsaved friends and invite someone who can explain the gospel in a non threatening relational way. Or perhaps you throw a watch party and show a Christian film that gets the point across. There are so many ways we can share our faith that doesn’t include grabbing someone by the collar or hitting them over the head with a Bible. What can you do? What can I do? this is our assignment this week. What can you do to share the gospel with your friends in a fresh and creative way. Share your ideas in the comments section… We may just start an evangelism movement!
Father God help us all to unleash the creative minds You have given us to plan ways to reach our friends for You. Thank You for saving us and give us that divine passion to introduce others to Jesus. I pray all this in the saving name of Jesus, Amen!
When I was in seminary a rather famous religious figure turned his life over to Jesus in a new and fresh way. Then he felt as if he needed to learn the Bible and theology from a whole new perspective so he came to seminary. Well all at once they wanted this person to be speaking in chapel and representing the seminary in many venues. He had been a true follower of Christ for only eighteen months where I had been one for some eighteen years. I felt belittled and not appreciated for what I brought to the table in that seminary.
In today’s reading we have another dramatic conversion in the person of the Apostle Paul. We read it below:
6 An intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
8“I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light,
10“I said, ‘What should I do, Lord?’
“The Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything that you have been assigned to do.’
11“Since I couldn’t see because of the brightness of the light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and went into Damascus. 12 Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there, 13 came and stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has appointed you to know his will, to the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth, 15 since you will be a witness for him to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, why are you delaying? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ (Acts 22:6-16 [CSB])
Now Ananias could have been like me and sulked because he was a devout follower of Jesus and here’s Saul, one who had persecuted and killed Christians, yet, no he went and even called Saul his brother.
We all have stories. Some are dramatic while others are quiet and deep. What is your story? How has God brought you to himself? Knowing where we were before Jesus — even if we were five or six years old when it happened — it’s a dramatic and awesome story to tell. Tell your story to someone today. I’m sure it will be an encouragement and may even draw someone into the kingdom.