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Jude 1 ” To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.”

Jude, the brother of Jesus, could be speaking to you today. If when you heard the Gospel Message you felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and accepted the gift of eternal life through belief in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ…you too were called. Not only summoned to salvation by your Heavenly Father, but deeply loved, valued, and precious in His sight. And because God loves you that much, He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die in your place. Therefore, Jude is telling you today that because of your decision, you are, “kept by Jesus Christ”…watched over and kept safe…or as Isaiah 38:17 tells us, “In Your love You kept me from the pit of destruction; You have put all my sins behind Your back.”

Jeremiah 10:7-8 ” Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no One like You. They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols.”

In Biblical times, pagan rulers were often thought to have divine authority rather than human authority. Thus idol worship in all its various and sundry forms was part of the heathen nation’s makeup. And because of that, the people followed the false teachings of these man-made idols. But Isaiah 44:20 warned them, “He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him.” …and so this Spirit of delusion spread across their nation… making fools of them all. But we read in Revelation 15:4 that there will come a time when all the godless nations will have to acknowledge and revere God…”Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your Name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” At that moment, none of their worthless idols will be able to save them, and their folly will be plainly revealed to them.

Mark 8:27-29 ” Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way He asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’ “

If the majority of the crowds that followed Jesus thought He was the re-carnation of someone else…why did His disciples believe differently? What did they have privy to that the others didn’t? Simon Peter summed it what when he replied to Jesus in John 6:69, “We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” Over the course of those three years, the Twelve disciples had learned much, they had experienced first-hand miracles and feats of great authority over evil, they had shared in encounters of unbelievable signs and wonders…and through it all, their faith and trust in Jesus grew…to the point that they fully believed He was who He professed. On our own journey with the Lord there’ll be times He’ll ask us the same question…”Who do you say I am?” And our answer will depend on whether we’ve been just a casual onlooker or a true disciple of His.

Job 40:8 ” Would you discredit My justice? Would you condemn Me to justify yourself? “

Can mortal man be more righteous than God? The short answer is, “No!” But we still try to overlay our opinions, feelings, and sentiments onto God’s divine judgment. And when that gets us nowhere, we get angry…or as Job 15:25 says, “He shakes his fist at God and vaunts (boasts) himself against the Almighty.” No man has any power or authority to judge God, that’s because justice is one of His attributes and rooted in His character. (Isaiah 30:18) And when we dishonor Him in order to rationalize our way of thinking…we’re headed for trouble.

II Timothy 4:16-17 ” At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all Gentiles might hear it.”

Paul wasn’t looking for sympathy or pity when he wrote this to Timothy. He was just being very honest. People will forsake us, and leave when the going gets tough. But God will never leave, and His presence will give us strength when we have none left. (Philippians 4:13) Paul was God’s chosen instrument to carry His Name to the Gentiles. (Acts 9:15) He had been called and set apart for a specific work…equipped and enabled by the Holy Spirit…and fully assured that the Lord was by his side every step of the way. Paul had learned early on that people will abandon you, but God won’t.

James 4:1 ” What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? “

Every minute of every waking hour we have an internal battle raging within. It’s the real struggle between sinfulness and righteousness. And many times sin wins out because we simply want our own way. Paul addressed the issue to Titus when he wrote not to get involved in foolish controversies, genealogies, arguments, and quarrels over the corrupted message that was being preached by some in Crete. (Titus 3:9) Verbal disputes seldom win hearts for the Lord, and hitting people over the top of the head with your Bible will never get them to see your way of thinking. We are to rather submit ourselves to the Lord and watch Him contend for us.

II Chronicles 20:21 ” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army…”

The enemy army was converging upon them…but what would they do? The Lord had spoken earlier in this Chapter, telling them that the battle was His not theirs, They were to take up position, stand firm, and watch as He fought for them. But would they put all their trust in Him alone? I can imagine as the people gathered together there were those who doubted and those who believed that God would deliver them from the hands of the enemy. I can also imagine that this particular Scripture was recited out loud by many, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7) And with that, King Jehoshaphat made the final decision to place unarmed singers in front of the troops…making it absolutely clear who their trust was in.

II Corinthians 1:20 ” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

They say there are over 7,000 promises of God for us in the Bible. Just think of it! And Psalm 145:13 assures us that the Lord is faithful to each and every one of them. So what’s our part in this? We are to simply say “Amen!”, for He is the God of Truth and what He says is sure and true…and not one of His good promises has failed. (Joshua 23:14)

Exodus 32:1 ” When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us, as for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ “

It wasn’t like Moses was up on Mount Sinai for 40 years…he was up there for 40 days. But still the Israelites became impatient and turned away from God. Waiting on the Lord is not for the faint of heart. It takes a firm commitment, steadfast faith, and perseverance to look beyond the passing days, months, and sometimes years to that final promised prize. But it can also be a time of real personal growth. That’s because God’s plan and purpose has always been about the process and not about the end goal in your life.

I Chronicles 17:16 ” Then King David went in and sat before the Lord…”

Just before this verse, the prophet Nathan had given David the Lord’s message that it wouldn’t be him but one of his sons that would build the Temple. This all started earlier in the Chapter when King David had said to Nathan, “Here I am in a palace made of cedar, while the Ark of the Covenant is still under a tent.” So here sat David before the Lord…all his wonderful plans for a magnificent Temple dedicated to his Lord dashed. Have you ever been there? You think you know the direction God is sending you only to have Him change things completely? How did you react? But if you continue to read David’s prayer you’ll see that he wasn’t hurt but honoring God’s ultimate authority…he wasn’t resentful but resting in God’s Will for his life…he wasn’t discouraged but still very much dedicated…he wasn’t offended but instead offering up praise to his Heavenly Father…and finally, he wasn’t bitter but confident that something much better would come from it.