Contending for the Faith: Developing a Godly Perspective

~ Jude 1:4 ~

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”.

In the verse, Jude admonish the brethren to watch out for certain characters in their midst. These characters he points out crept in without notice and had become abusive of the grace of God, turning it into all kinds of vulgar and ungodly behavior that denied the Lordship of Christ, God Almighty.  How did they come in unnoticed? Is it because they crept in quietly, looked the same, blended in, sang the same songs, had the same language and community behavior, dressed the same way? Their hearts were far from God as Jude points out although they might have professed to know God. They were vicious at heart to the extent of turning God’s grace into vulgarity with their very hearts and actions denying the lordship of Christ. How could the people not notice? Probably because they crept in quietly as we are told, or is it because they were busy with the organization of activities, or busy with church services, or busy with the “important” things while the “cancer” quietly attempted to wreak havoc in their midst? How did Jude notice from afar, but the very people at the center did not? Was Jude more sensitive to their environment than the very people right there? Had they  lost their sensitivity, or did they just not care? Were they completely out of touch with the reality on the ground? In any case, the Lord had everything marked out, He had His eyes set on the people and expected vigilance as He does now.

For that reason, Jude in verse three called for a contention for the faith, standing the ground and defending the faith, being vigilant and not allowing these characters to destroy the fabric of faith. These characters go to every extent to dishonor the name of the Lord.  How would you identify these characters?  By being grounded in the knowledge of God and being obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit, testing every spirit as john encourages, “Beloved do not believe every spirit but test every spirit to see whether they of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), and into the midst of the brethren. God is saying, “watch out!”, and in watching out and testing every spirit, it is imperative to develop the attitude of the Bereans as indicated in the days of the Apostle Paul,  “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

In searching the scriptures, they were positioning themselves to operate within the framework of God’s word, which has been proven to be perfect as Psalm 119:18 indicates “open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law (word). This is a perfect way to avoid the deception and expose these characters that Jude warns about. 

I pray that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened; that you may know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.

#dadwedaa

March 4, 2019

Contending for the Faith: A Choice of Freedom

“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”

~ Jude 1:1-3 ~

When Jude, gave the exhortation to contend for the faith, he recognized that deception was becoming common, some people were denying the Lordship of Christ and he was calling the people to watch out, to be grounded in truth, and to stand for what is right, never giving up but to STAND.

In calling the people to contend for the faith, Jude was not calling for the use of missiles, guns, swords and knives or any man-made weapons of destruction to fight a cause, but was calling for vigilance, an increase in the knowledge of the holy one, an increase in truth and an increased desire and commitment to peace and a life of freedom. He was giving an exhortation to stand on the solid ground of faith and walk in the highway of righteousness, love and peace. He was calling for a cherishing of the gift of eternal life and a hallowing of the giver of the gift, calling to remembrance both His love and His wrath.  Some people may choose to walk in the ways of darkness but for those who have seen the light of day, he exhorts to continue walking in that light. For the fear of their deeds being exposed, some prefer to stay in the dark place, devising schemes of darkness that do not lead to peace. For those in that place of darkness, remember the light of those around you is focused on you and there is no hiding place from the eyes of the Lord.

As darkness deepens, freedom’s holy light shines brightest, positioned on the solid foundation of faith knowing, as John 1:5 (NIV) indicates that, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.   And again, as Luke 11:35 exhorts to “see to it that the light in you is not darkness”. This is the contention Jude calls for, a truthful self-examination to ensure first that the pure light of God lights up the inner most being and then have that light shine out into the dark places to bring illumination and a witness.  The exhortation to contend for the faith comes with mercy, peace and love multiplied to those that are willing to accept it, as it echoes to people from every tribe and every nation, to stand for what is right, to create a safe and prosperous world, promote justice and work for peace. The eyes of the Lord are upon the nations of the world to see which way they choose go.  I exhort you therefore to let your light shine, to work the works of day and to stay out of the darkness. I pray you will accept to be free and rejoice in that freedom.

#dadwedaa

March 2, 2019

Judgment through one and Justification by another

When Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, he died spiritually as God had originally indicated in Genesis 2:16-17,

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””

When Adam and Eve ate of tree, the unhindered communion with God was severed and they began to hide from God. The protection of their innocence was no more due to their disobedience, they had been ushered into a new realm, the awareness of good and evil, and became disconnected from direct and harmonious fellowship with God, which the bible calls death (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:7-8). To be sure Adam and Eve did not get trapped in that state of disconnected fellowship forever, God kicked them out of the garden, so they would not take of the tree of life and live forever (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:22-24).

Does the rest of humanity share in Adam’s sin (disobedience) and its consequences?  The answer is YES as Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” which is exactly what happened to Adam in the garden. His sinful and fallen nature propagated to the rest of humanity. By virtue of Adam’s disobedience, the rest of humanity carry the same fallen (sinful) nature which has no spontaneous fellowship with God but rather separated from Him, having the same awareness of good and evil and predisposition towards sin which God referred to as death in the garden of Eden. Again, Isaiah 53:6 states:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

 This means every one of us by virtue of what transpired in the garden of Eden, have gone astray, away and separated from God, which is death. To reconnect us back to God, the iniquity of us all was laid on Jesus Christ to redeem the connection originally lost in the garden of Eden. Symbolically, the dividing wall between man and God was torn as Jesus paid the price on the cross (Mathew 5:21) such that the possibility for direct reconnection to and fellowship with God was restored as in Romans 5:18,

“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.”

The sin of Adam brought separation from God to all men and the righteous act of Christ on the cross (satisfaction of God’s judgement) brought justification for all. This justification is by acceptance ONLY, although it is available to all as in John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

Believing precedes justification, even though justification is available to all. Thus, through one man’s (Adam) offense judgement (spiritual death) came to all and through one man’s (Christ) righteous act the free gift resulting in justification of life came to all men. Adam sinned and man died and separated from God, Christ died so man could be justified and live!

I pray that you will accept the free gift and be justified before God living a restored life of fellowship with Him.

Amen!

#dadwedaa

February 27, 2019

One thing I know

~ John 9:25 ~

“He answered and said, “Whether he is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know; though I was blind, now I see.”

This is a statement of conviction and of certainty out of what was experienced, the known fact. By his words the healed man indicated, “I am healed”, everything else is details. However, the contention is not the healing but the person who caused the healing and the healing process. It was the Sabbath, so no work was expected to be done, even an act of kindness to a blind man. The issue though is that Jesus demonstrated a level of authority that the Pharisees could not understand and were not ready to accept that He had divine authority,  let alone accept Him as the Christ.

In the discourse, an illogical situation occurs, the leaders asked the man to give glory to God for the healing while at the same time asking  him to deny that Jesus the healer, is divine. How could the two be consistent? In asking to give the glory to God, the Pharisees were acknowledging that the healing was of God, however denying the authority of the person who orchestrated the healing, Jesus.

Many people live their lives in the same way as the Pharisees, acknowledging the acts and yet denying God the glory. My prayer is that your knowledge and experience of Him will be coherent and that glory will be rightfully ascribed. In that way, you begin to walk in His light and be able to boldly proclaim, I know He is the Christ.

 

#dadwedaa

February 25, 2019

The works of Day

~ John 9:4-5 ~

“I must work the works of him who sent me while it is still day; the night is coming when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus made this statement while answering a question about the cause of a man’s blindness and then proceeded to heal him of that blindness. There are questions raised about many things in our day, from the question of God and hell, peace and security of the free world, electronic devices safety and privacy, consumer protection from corporations with no integrity.

From the time of asking these questions and when the world actually receives the answers, there is work to be done.  That work needs to be done now and decisively before the “the night” comes when no man can work. At that time, there will not be the will, the capacity and the capability to answer the questions, and then it will be too late. Jesus acted decisively to heal the blind man, answering the question asked, to show that it was not the sin of the man nor his parents that made him blind, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

In other words, Jesus gave sight to the blind man to demonstrate that He is the light of the world. In the present time, the light of the free world needs to shine at its brightest to bring light into the dark places, bringing sight and insight needed to lead into light. There is need to do this while it is still day, before the night comes when no man can work. If any should err, let that be on the side of FREEDOM and it’s holy light, following that light safely into the harbor, out of the turbulent waters before the night comes.

The clock is ticking!

#dadwedaa

February 23, 2019

Newness of Life

~ Mathew 28:12-14 ~

“When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.””

They crucified him because He exposed the true state of their hearts, they secured the tomb and posted guards because they were afraid of Him rising from the dead on the third day. When He rose from the dead on the third day, they became confused and bribed the guards to tell a lie.

Such is the trap of those who reject the truth, going to every extent to cover up deeds of darkness. However, in His truth there is freedom, freedom from the power of sin, freedom from the deeds of darkness, the freedom to live in the light and be truly FREE.

It is rather easy to miss the moment of truth while trying to cover up deeds of darkness. However, pausing to look up to the one that was pierced, brings new life, strength and hope as the lie is exchanged for His truth. Let the truth of His word bring freedom wherever it finds you and lead to newness of life.

#dadwedaa

February 21, 2019

He stepped into the darkness, so you can step into the light.

~ John 3:20-21 ~

“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There are many living in condemnation, in darkness and afraid of the light. But when light shines into that darkness, the darkness gives way to freedom. When Jesus hanged on the cross, from the sixth to the ninth hour, there was darkness over all the land. He took on darkness and conquered it. He overcame its power and secured a release from it.  He carried the shame of darkness, the penalty and the condemnation of the deeds of darkness and brought light into the darkness. As the foundations of the earth shook and quaked in the hours He hanged on the cross, the centurion and the guards finally caught the revelation, “this truly, is the son of God”. But why not, the prophets had long announced Him, John the Baptist had revealed Him, His works of power and deliverance had testified about Him and yet the religious leaders of the day shouted, crucify Him! They wanted to remain in the darkness, they loved the deeds of darkness and still carrying its condemnation. The King they had been waiting for came and yet they still cried out “we have no King, but Ceasar”. I pray that it will not take a tsunami, it will not take an earth quake or a volcanic eruption to bring the light of God’s revelation into your darkness. I pray it does not take a shaking of the very foundation you stand on to reveal you have been released from the power of darkness. But let the holy light of freedom find you in that dark place and as you look into its light, guide you safely out of the darkness. Light has come, the power of darkness is broken, God has His eyes on you, and the clock is ticking.

#dadwedaa

February 19, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5

What are YOU going to do?

~ John 3:17-19 ~

“For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”

When a deal is sealed, its terms become binding. When a deal is sealed by someone who has power to make it happen, it is worth considering and taking seriously. When that deal is sealed by someone in whose nature there is not even a shadow of deceit, it can be trusted. When that deal is extended by one who can change your destiny forever, it calls for undivided attention and serious consideration. When God extended His grace, it was extended to ALL people and for ALL time, till the end of time. The truth is, it is not something you need to wait to find out at the last minute.  You can enter in now. When the curtain closes the deal is off, the closing bell can be anytime and any day. My advice is to book your seat before it is too late. I’d rather have a deal that is already paid for than one that involves a gamble, one in which the terms are well laid out and very certain, one that holds promise here and now and also for eternity. As Charles Spurgeon puts it, “all you have to do is look and believe”. The deal is on, eternal LIFE or eternal DEATH, it’s yours to choose. Soon there shall be the sound of the trumpet call and the game will be over. This is your touchdown moment, make it count and seal the victory. The ball is in the air, heading in your direction, close to the end zone. The clock is ticking.

#dadwedaa

February 16, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5

The Great Call: A Love Story

~ John 3:16 ~

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

In the garden of Gethsemane as Jesus travailed in prayer, the Sovereign Lord was at the junction of a trajectory for humanity. Either leave them going the same path or shift them towards a trajectory of life, He thought. To do that required the construction of a new track.  The cost of that new track was enormous, but that was the only way God’s wrath could be appeased. Jesus knelt in that garden and prayed, father if it is possible, let this cup pass over me, not my will but your will be done. In other words, I wish there was another way, an easier way to do this so I do not have to suffer the pain of the cross.  However, as Billy Graham puts it, there was silence in heaven and on earth at that moment, meaning there was no other option for God to appease His wrath and provide a pathway to life, the only option was to build the new track and build it quick. On that night, the deal for salvation was sealed, Jesus had to go to the cross, so there could be a pathway to life and save mankind from destruction. God out of His great love, had to make the hard call. Jesus had no option but to go to the cross, to be the bridge that could change the trajectory of humanity from death to life. It was a hard call to make but God made it, and as Jesus hanged on the cross afterwards, God’s wrath was satisfied as a new track was put in place, watching humanity rushing at top speed to that junction of life and death. In that moment, He made it possible to choose the path to life. It was the night the greatest love story was sealed, the story of God’s love for mankind. A track to salvation was built and it cost God His only begotten son. As a result, you do not need to stay on the track towards destruction, your trajectory can be shifted to life through Christ. I encourage you to make that call this day and chose life as love stories are celebrated all over.

#dadwedaa

January 14, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5

The Place of Peace

~ Haggai 2:4-5 ~

“Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’.”

There comes a time when a reference point is needed to find the way. In this passage, God points back to the time of deliverance from Egypt in order to give a clear path for the future. In it, focus is redirected to His commitment, His presence and above all His unchanging word. He speaks courage into fear, strength into weakness and hope into despair. He does this to encourage His people, to strengthen their hand and lead them to the place where He commands HIS PEACE. Many times, when we are getting close to where the Lord wants us to be, we encounter resistance and hardships but, in those moments, there is an echoing reminder from God: “Do not fear, I AM with YOU!” May you be encouraged to keep moving forward, keep trusting God and keep building towards peace, knowing He is with you and commands His peace where you are headed. Let peace bring freedom and may freedom in turn preserve peace. Amen!

#dadwedaa

February 13, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5