Kept for Jesus

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ

…for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. —I am coming to you, Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one… now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves…I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one—who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.—So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.—As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”—For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. —But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. 

Jude 1:1; Jn.16:27; Jn.17:11,13,15; I Pet.1:5; Jn.17:26; I Jn. 4:16; Jn.15:9,10; Gal 4:6; Rom.8:15; Jude 1:20,21;  II Pet. 3:13-14 ESV; Jude 1:24,25 (ESV)


Sunday’s message was based on the book of Jude—an intense one-page letter of reminder and warning sandwiched at beginning and end with reassurances of God’s keeping power.  It reads like an ultra-condensed guide to Scriptural and Apocraphal examples of rebellion.  Cain is here, and Balaam.  Korah and the desert-wandering Israelites.  But this is no dry history lesson. It’s embellished with stirring metaphors: hidden reefs at your love feasts, shepherds feeding themselves, fruitless trees in late autumn, wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their own shame. And Jude’s words are laden with potent name-calling: “These are grumblers, malcontents…loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.” Whew!  Jude is intent on getting his reader’s attention. 

What is his appeal?  Contend for the faith you hold. Don’t let it be subverted by teachers who model sensuality and have rejected Jesus as their Master.  It’s not ok to follow your instincts, to run with your natural inclinations, to set yourself up as the authority on the good life.  The antidote?  Build yourselves up in your most holy faith.  Pray in the Spirit’s power, and keep yourselves in the love of God. 

This love that has bought our redemption at the cost of His own Son has also laid out the pathway to JOY—a life-time of walking by the Spirit in the path of His commands. Jesus modeled this for us and now empowers us to do it.  And lest we succumb to the short-cuts to ‘joy’ that our flesh regularly suggests, Jude closes with a stirring doxology.  For our greatest joy will be standing blameless in God’s glorious presence at last! This was Jesus’ request for us, the Spirit is the guarantor and the Father is honored to grant it.  We are indeed ‘kept for Jesus’.  I love that!

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…

*Jn.17:24, Rom. 5:2, Tit. 2:11-13 (ESV)

He Will Hold Me Fast–Keith and Kristyn Getty:

Good and Perfect in every way–the gifts that keep on giving

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you—Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, … The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change—For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer 

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God—while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 

Ps.139:17-18; Ps.103:2,8; Ja.1:17; I Tim. 4:4-5; II Cor. 9:10-11; II Cor. 9:14-15 (ESV)


God’s gifts are gifts that keep on giving.  Given, received, passed on, rebounding in gratitude to God who by His nature is a Giver… Our family is celebrating a new addition this week–wee Tiffany–joining her cousin, Jaxon, also gifted to our family this year, for God’s great glory and our delight( : 

May they grow up to gratefully acknowledge their Creator and so to bring Him great glory in their generation! 

Happy Thanks-giving to all who have known God’s good and perfect gifts this year.




The One worth following

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. —As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance changed so that his face shone like the sun…a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.  Listen to him.— ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’

We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession…Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”—Take my yoke and learn from me—Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Make me know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.

Jn.1:4 ESV;  Mt.17:2,5 NLT; Heb.4:7 ESV; Heb.4:14,16 ESV;   Jn.6:68,69 ESV; Ps.25:4,5 ESV; Mt.11:29 ESV; Mt.16:24 ESV

Blessed to be a blessing

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham.
You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you. 

I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.

And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father….And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.—He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. —Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.  He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!  And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises [so that you may] escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. —As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Give as freely as you have received!

Gal.3:29 NLT; Gen.12:2 NIV; Gal.4:6,7 NLT; Rom.8:32 NIV;  I Cor. 3:22-23 NKJV; Eph. 1:3-4 ESV; II Pet.1:3-4 NLT; II Cor.6:10 KJV; Mt. 10:8 NLT

God has done it–the promises are His and the carrying out of them–I will bless you and you will be a blessing.  It is our part to believe and  to live out of His rich resources.  I’m pretty sure I don’t comprehend the half of what I possess in Christ.  What does it even mean that we ‘possess all things’?!

What I do know, thanks to Abraham, is that bad things happen when we doubt God’s ability to fulfill His promises in His timetable.  Doubt leaves the door open to our own paltry store of resources.  It cries: ‘DO SOMETHING!’.  Abraham and Sarah did.  And they can attest to the results.  Their offspring are still at war.

But God is intent on blessing His children and making them a blessing, if only we will look and live…And I am intent on grasping what it is to rest in God’s promise, to believe that all I am and have in Christ is enough to leave behind a blessing wherever I may go…

Paul devoted a whole letter to dealing with the issue of ‘God’s own fulfillment of His promise’  versus  ‘a human attempt to bring about the fulfilment of God’s promise’  (Gal.4:23 NLT British text) He was frankly fearful for the plight of anyone trying to find favour with God by what you do or don’t do.” (Gal.4:10 NLT) because God had done all that was necessary. All that was left was to rely on His supply.

The penniless sinner thereby becomes the heir to all things and is equipped to represent God to a poverty-stricken world! This is an arrangement not dependent on ‘keeping up my side of the deal’.  In this new deal God acted on his own, knowing this would be the only way the deal would go through.  He committed to do good to Abraham all the days of his life and through him to bless the whole world.  In sending Jesus this blessing has become reality for all who believe, no exceptions.

“A mediator is needed if two people enter into an agreement, but God acted on his own when he made his promise to Abraham.” Gal.3:20 NLT

‘…while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ Rom.5:8

In Christ, God woos the penitent sinner–no worries,  I have done it all.  Rest your weakness on me.  Know that you are not able but I am. And we are declared ‘children of the free woman, acceptable to God because of our faith.’ (Gal.4:31 NLT) and fit for all the good works God has prepared for us to walk in.  If I sometimes doubt my ability to be a blessing perhaps I have lost sight of the very promises of God.  To be blessed and a blessing is just a fact of life in the Spirit!  As we abide in Christ we are the salt of the earth and bright luminaries in a dark world.  Blessed to be a blessing–that is what you are!



Hope for the Waiting…

“Where is this God of yours?” —Why am I so discouraged?  Why so sad?—I hate my life. I do not want to go on living.  Oh, leave me alone for these few remaining days. 

I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Saviour and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember your kindness…through each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. —He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? —We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us–one gracious blessing after another. 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. —Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. 

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.—He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy! 

Ps.42:3NLT; Job 7:16NLT; Ps.42:5,6,8NLT; Rom 8:32 ESV; Jn.1:16:NLT; Ps.27:14 KJV; Ps.25:5 KJV; Ps.25:5 ESV; Ps.40:1-3 NLT; Job.8:21 NLT

For all the wrong-headedness of Job’s friends, Bildad got this one right.  Though he misjudged Job he did manage to point him to hope based on the nature of God–He will surely not reject a person of integrity nor will he leave the evildoer unpunished.  We cannot always know WHY we suffer or WHY we seem to wait interminably for relief, but we can know the character of God. Here we can place our hope when life is at its bleakest.

I was intrigued to see that the sense of this word ‘WAIT’ as the psalmist uses it implies an eager looking forward, a hope and expectancy for what’s to come.  This is no impatient twiddling of thumbs kind of waiting, but an eager watching to see what God is doing and will do.  It’s a wait of faith, buoyed up by the evidences we have already seen of His love–I will remember your kindness. Whether you find yourself in a crucible of waiting or in an open pasture of plenty today, these are words to store up and dwell on. They are foundation pieces for a tenacious hope that makes God’s goodness palpable to those who see the way you smile in the waiting rooms of life.


He will come and save you!

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

II Cor. 4:17 NIV