Monday Morning: 29 Jul 2019 – Jude ~ Remain Faithful

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Jude (NLT)

Greetings from Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, 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.

Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

A Prayer of Praise

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.
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Morning Reflection:

Remain Faithful

Tradition identifies Jude as the half-brother of Jesus, as was James. Most likely he was living outside of Palestine at the time of writing, c. A.D. 67-80, and directed his letter to Jewish believers. Jude’s two-fold purpose in writing is to warn against false teachers and to encourage believers to remain faithful.

False Teachers:

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share.
But now I find that I must write about something else,
urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
– Jude 1:3 –

Jude identifies these false teachers as ungodly people who have wormed their way into churches – teaching that God’s grace allows believers to live immoral lives, and rejecting the moral authority of Jesus. Whether or not these ungodly people were once believers, we don’t know. But we do know they are condemned by God.

These people “claim authority from their dreams — live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings…. [They] are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want…. They cause divisions and do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

Remain Faithful:

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith,
pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

– Jude 1:20-21 –

By contrast, believers remain faithful to the teaching of the Bible and strengthen one another spiritually, as empowered by the Holy Spirit in prayer. And most importantly, they remain (abide, live) safe and secure in the love of God – awaiting the eternal life that Jesus Christ has mercifully prepared for them.

Questions for consideration:

  • Jude identifies lust, rebellion, and irreverence as the marks of false teachers. Have you run into anyone like this inside, or outside, the church? What gave them away? Please explain.
  • Often public figures live immoral, rebellious, and irreverent lives but still claim moral authority to tell others how to live. Would they be considered false teachers? Can you think of examples? Please explain.
  • Can you think of another believer who has strengthened you in your faith? Have you strengthened another believer in his/her faith? Please explain.
  • Do you live safely and securely in the love of God? What effect does knowing that God loves you have on your life? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: (Jude 1:24-25)

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.
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“Blessing and Honor” – Terry MacAlmon

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Tuesday Morning: 16 Jul 2019 – 2 Peter 2:1-22 ~ Beware of False Teachers.

Tuesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 2 Peter 2:11-25 (NLT)

The Danger of False Teachers

But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.

These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling. But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.

These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.

These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
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Morning Reflection:

Beware of False Teachers.

So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials,
even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

– 2 Peter 2:9 –

Beware of false teachers! Today’s reading is filled with passion for the well-being of believers who are in danger of being led astray by teaching contrary to that of the prophets and apostles.

So what can we learn today from Peter’s warning concerning false teachers?

+ Characteristics: They are deceptive and destructive, misinterpreting God’s Word. Their teaching is inconsistent with the revealed truth of God. They deny the teaching and practices associated with Christ. They are often in it for the money.

+ Consequences: The eventual destruction of unbelievers – Peter offers three examples of unbelievers who faced God’s wrath; fallen angels, the ungodly sinners of Noah’s day, and the ungodly sinners of Lot’s time. Peter’s concern here are unbelievers who set themselves up as moral authorities (false teachers).

+ Conduct: Peter cites shameful immorality and greed. “I did it my way” is their theme. They are driven by the basest of human instincts, practicing adultery and sexual perversity while urging believers to do the same. Good and evil are inverted and they refuse to submit to the authority of God’s Word.

The good news is – God will not only punish the wicked , but He will also rescue the godly from their trials.

Questions for consideration:

  • When you think of “false teachers” in and around the church, who comes to mind? Please explain.
  • Have you personally ever been influenced by what you later discovered was a “false teacher”? Please explain.
  • Do you believe that the Bible can be read and understood by ordinary people? Or do you believe that you need someone else to tell you what it means? Please explain.
  • If you rely on a “teacher” to tell you what the Bible means, how do you know that they’re telling you the truth? Please explain.
  • How often do you read the Bible by yourself? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: Prayer in Preparation for Studying God’s Word –

Lord, thank you for this time you’ve given me to open your Word and discover who you are. Thank you for not leaving me in the dark about who you are and what you are doing in the world. Thank you for revealing yourself and your will through the Bible, your inspired Word to me.

Lord, give me wisdom as I read your Word. You promise that I only have to ask for wisdom in order to receive it. Lord, please give me your wisdom now as I approach your word. Help me discern the truth of this text. Help me to listen to your Spirit, and not simply rely on my own understanding. Thank you God for the clarity, encouragement and hope your Word brings.

I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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“Open My Eyes That I May See” – Joslin Grove Choral Society

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Reading: Sat, 30 Dec – Jude ~ defend the faith & remain faithful

Morning Reading

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Morning Reading in Full: Jude (NLT)

Greetings from Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, 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.

Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

A Prayer of Praise

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.
__________

“Angels We Have Heard on High” – Christmas Celtic Sojourn 2009


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
__________

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!