Verse for the Day – Jude 24-25

Jude 24-25: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (NKJV)

God is able to keep us from stumbling. My Bible notes point out that we can’t really stumble unless we are already walking or running – as in a race, like we read in Hebrews 12:1-2 last week. Remember we are in a race. God can keep us from stumbling.

He can also present us faultless, without blame, and with great joy, before the presence of His glory. My Bible notes (The Nelson NKJV Study Bible) point out: “Faultless is a Greek word used of sacrificial animals that had no blemish and thus were fit to be offered to God. Only God can save us, cleanse us from our sins, and present us to Himself as faultless, for God is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (see Heb.12:2).” Again a reference to our verses last week – He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, originating it and keeping it.

PRAYER: Lord, we praise You that You are able to keep us from stumbling. Help us to look to You for help in our race of faith. Praise You that You are able to present us faultless before You by the blood of Jesus and His righteousness. We say and affirm Jude 25 then, “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

Verse for the Day – Hebrews 12:1-2

Did you know you are running a race today?!

After seeing Peter walking on the water and our need to look at Jesus, not the things around us, I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (ESV)

My Bible says “the cloud of witnesses” are the people of faith mentioned right before this in Hebrews 11.

These verses twice says “let us” — giving us actions to do:

  • “let us” lay aside every weight (putting off sin and things that entangle us) and
  • “let us” run with endurance the race before us.

How can we put off sin and run with endurance?

By looking to Jesus, our example. We can put off sin and run with endurance the same way Jesus did. He endured the cross by seeing beyond the moment to the eternal, by considering such suffering and doing His Father’s will a joy! And He is now at the right hand of the throne of God!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, Help us to run with endurance the race of faith that is before us, putting aside everything that entangles and slows us down. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus who not only will give us our example to follow, but will enable us to do this! And let us run in such a way as to win the prize (I Corinthians 9:24-25), looking to Jesus and knowing we will receive a reward and be blessed in this obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journey to Joy

I wrote in my last post about moving from complacency to joy. It brought to mind the book I’m reading now. It’s actually a new book, Journey to Joy: The Psalms of Ascent, that’s being released officially on April 30.

Our pastor preached through the Psalms of Ascent in early 2011, and this book was based on that series. It’s 15 chapters that walk through the 15 Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) as 15 steps on a journey to joy. Not only does it provide meaningful commentary on each psalm, but it also gives practical application for much of what we face in daily life, from when we need help or face injustice or are looking for peace. The book gives insight into family life and church life and touches on all kinds of practical matters in life, taking us to God to find true joy and meaning for it all. This book would be great to use for a Bible study or to give to a friend.

I can so highly recommend it because of the work God did in my life through hearing the sermon series two years ago. Week by week, the Lord used these psalms to walk me through a time of transition in my life. It was actually quite extraordinary how God used these messages to speak to my heart and so directly to my present circumstances. You don’t have to be sensing a lack of joy in your life to enjoy this book. It’s beneficial for anyone and has a very devotional quality about it. I’m personally being challenged and encouraged again as I read through it.

Through today, you can take advantage of a great deal on the Kindle edition which is only 99 cents!

Learn more at www.thejourneytojoy.org.

Seeing the Sunshine

I was excited tonight to sit down and watch the Olympic men’s ice skating competition. I watched an American named Jeremy, then thought I would just close my eyes during the commercials. The next time I opened my eyes, they were giving out the medals. So much for a nice evening watching the competition! I guess I needed the rest!

Before the day ends, I just wanted to thank the Lord for the sunshine today. Even yesterday, I was realizing what a long winter it is where we live and wondering how long it has been since we’ve seen the sun for longer than just a few moments. I’ve been in a little bit of a rut with just the monotony of a long winter, feeling like I am on the go constantly, racing from one thing to the next, and just weary, then frustrated that I should be discouraged for really no reason, save perhaps my own lack of discipline. It’s my own fault for not better planning my day, taking time to sit and read or be still, spending more time with my children that is focused, meeting the family’s needs for things like… say, dinner! So after just feeling out of sorts yesterday, it was a real blessing to have a warmer day and see the sun all day! I am thankful.

My friend said today what we really need and should pray for is to be like Paul who says in Philippians 4 that he had learned the secret of being content in all things. That hit home for me. I don’t want my joy to be dependent on my circumstances. And Paul ends that passage by saying he can do all things through Christ who gives him the strength to do it! That was an encouragement both to hear and ponder.