24 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. 25 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. – Jude 24-25 NLT
Our prayers should always contain adoration and praise for our Creator. He alone is worthy of our praise. Just as any parent wants to hear their children say “I love you”, so does our Father want to hear us say it. Take the time to sit in His presence and commune with Him. He has something to say to you, so don’t talk “to” God, talk “with” God, Speak to Him and then wait on Him to respond. Most of all, remember, not every prayer has to be a request, sometimes He wants to hear from us just because we love Him. Consider the possibility that if God answered each of our prayers immediately, He knows that He wouldn’t hear from us again until another need arose. He is our Creator, but He is also our Father. Once we have acknowledged Him as our Lord and Savior, He also wants to be our closest Friend. So, as we pour out what is in our hearts to Him, we also need to praise Him and just love on Him. He is waiting to hear from each of us.
This gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.
— Psalm 45:6 NLT
This prophecy about Jesus was repeated and expanded in Hebrews 1.
It was decided before the foundations of the earth were laid and before man was ever created. The Godhead knew that the creature they would create would fall and need a redeemer. What kind of love causes a Creator to create a creature that the Creator knows will fall and He, Himself, will have to die to redeem the creature? This could only be conceived in the mind of a loving, compassionate Creator. A Creator who was willing to give up His position in Heaven and become as one of his creatures. From a throne to a manger. From a manger to a cruel death on a cross. From a cross to a grave. From a grave to the throne room of the Creator. It is the birth of that Creator that we celebrate in this season. Truly, He, and He alone is worthy of all praise, blessing, honor, and glory. Fill each day with hymns, psalms, and shouts of praise and give Him glory. Let the whole world know that God alone is worthy and eternal.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
7 Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.” — 2 Chronicles 19:7 NLT
Jehoshaphat had always been a king who served the Lord. He obeyed God and tore down all the places of idol worship. Then he arranged for his son to marry Ahab’s daughter. In those days and sitll today in some countries, when members of the royal families married, it was seen as a type of political contract between the countries. The kings could depend on each other to help in times of troubles and wars. So, Jehoshaphat had gotten himself and Judah entangled with evil Ahab and Israel. God sent a prophet to warn Jehsoshaphat not to go to war with Ahab, but Jehsoshaphat joined with Ahab anyway. Because of this, God became very angry with Jehoshaphat. God sent Jehu, the seer, to deliver the message about His anger and to tell Jehoshaphat that God still saw some good in him. When he heard this message, Jehoshaphat obviously repented and started, once again, to teach the people of Judah the correct ways of obeying and worshipping the true God of Judah. He had learned the lesson that God does not tolerate impurities in any form or fashion. God expects and deserves 100% commitment in our worship and in our lifestyles. We should not become entangled with the world or we will make bad decisions based on our commitments to the world instead of being free to worhsip God with holy hands lifted high.
15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.
–2 Chronicles 13:15 NLT
After Israel was divided, the northern and the southern kingdoms were often at war with each other. On this occasion, Abijah, king of Judah had amassed 400,000 select troups and Jeroboam, king of Israel, had gathered 800,000 select warriors. From the human viewpoint, it was fairly easy to see who would win the war, but God had other plans. Judah had the original powerful weapon of mass destruction on their side. They trusted in God. They still worshipped God as they were supposed to but Israel had polluted their worship service with false prophets and false priests. God only accepts purity, He will not accept being one of many gods, when He is the only true and living God. Even though Judah had enemy troops behind them and in front of them and they were outnumbered two to one, they showed no fear, but trusted God to do what He promised to do. This obedience and trust in God resulted in God winning the battle for them. “God defeated Jeroboam and all of Israel”. All Judah had to do was the “mopping up” and retrieve the bounty. If we refuse to accept God’s gift of salvation and love, then we will have to face His wrath. No one can stand against the wrath of God. The only time satan thought He had defeated God, he soon learned that was his worst defeat. Do not be deceived by appearances and false claims, there is only ONE GOD! He is the Victor and only through Him will we obtain the victory!
10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
— John 8:10 NLT
In this short passage of Scripture, we get to look at sin from all four sides. There is sin as the devil sees it, a tool for death and destruction. There is sin from the human viewpoint as seen by the accusers. There is sin from the viewpoint of the one who commtted the sin. Then there is sin from the viewpoint of Jesus, a wrong that demands forgiveness. The accusers had caught this woman in the very act of adultery, how this happened we are not told and we don’t need to know. Under the law, the woman was guilty and deserving of death. Jesus had come to change all of that. He was bringing a new way of looking at and treating the guilty party. From the reaction of the accusers when Jesus questioned them, we know that, at some point, all of them had transgressed the law. In Jesus’s way of thinking, regardless of what they had done, they were as worthy of death as the woman was. Under the law, there was big sin and little sin. Under grace, there is just sin, liars are lumped right in there with murderers. We may often find ourselves in the postion of the accusers or in position of the woman who committed the sin. Jesus was using this situation to teach a two-fold lesson. First, He was teaching them the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If we were caught in this situation, would we want others to show us mercy? Then we msut show mercy. The second and most important lesson is that sin is forgiveable and that is the road we should choose.
To receive God’s forgvieness, we are required to forgive others of their sins.
34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. — John 4:34 NLT
The disciples knew that Jesus had been tired and weary because of the journey from Judea, so they were encouraging Him to eat physical food. Jesus tells them that He has a food that they know nothing about. They don’t understand that He is referring to a Spiritual food that refreshes Him more than physical or natural food ever could. It was hard for them and it is hard for us to understand that Jesus could become so involved in doing God’s work that nothing else matters. The work of the Father was His very life and HIs sustenance. Natural food has to be taken and eaten to give us refreshment and life, but Spiritual food must be given away to have the same effect on the giver and the receiver. In the natural order of things, we have to plow, sow and wait to reap and eat the food and the fields can only be harvested at certain times of the year. In the Kingdom of God, the spiritual food is always available. The fields are always white and ready for harvest. Let each of us pray that the work of God becomes more important than food and water in our lives. What good is there in sustaining the natural if the spiritual dies? We can eat all the Spiritual food we can get. It will fill us with Life but we should never be satisfied. Our work is to duplicae the work of Jesus.
7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” — 1 Kings 19:7 NLT
God had just used Elijah to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, after that, God had given Elijah supernatural physical strength so that Elijah could catch and outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel. Now, Jezebel had threatened his life. She promised to kill him before twenty-four hours had passed. After seeing the miracles God had just performed, how could any human being think that they could do anything to one of God’s chosen people? Even worse, after all Elijah had experienced, how could he possibly believe that God could not protect him from the threats of Jezebel? Is the God on the mountain not still God in the valley? Yes, He is! We want to spend our lives living mountain top experiences. We should take notice that there is very little life on the mountains above the timberline. The view is great and the atmosphere is exhilarating, but there is not enough dirt or oxygen to sustain life. The life-giving elements are down in the valley and we need to spend some time there as well. Elijah was having his valley experience, wallowing in self-pity, as we so often do. God said “get up and eat”. He was preparing Elijah for a journey that would take all of his strength. When God calls us to do a work, He always provides everything we need to accomplish the task. It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to “eat” the spiritual food that will prepare us for the trip through the valley and to the next mountaintop.
If we don’t eat the spiritual food God provides, the road will be rough and the journey will be miserable. But if we do eat and prepare, the road will seem to be smooth and the journey will be a joy as we experience the presence of Jesus leading us home.