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Build yourself up.
Jude — Ah-a-al-l-l-l-l-l of it
Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation. When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”. But the word “contend” is used in many translations. It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal. This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.
Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith. Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas. Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not. I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from. This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.
In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself. Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind. Continue to tread towards the summit.
To carry this Faith you must know what the task is. And use the Faith you already possess. Could it be you are honing your Faith? Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way. At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course. The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.
Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy. Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others. I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid. I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose. But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.
A verse to help us “cope and not loose hope” during this time “Covid 19”.
Prayer – there is more to prayer than God answering a list of wants and needs. Try listening to God and meditative prayer.
Watchful – The early church faced opponents of the New Faith on the block, yet they were preaching and teaching. How about us — be sensitive to the times — help stop the spread of Covid 19 and you may also meet someone who needs to see your Faith.
Thankful – take time to list, mentally or on paper, what you have to be grateful for.
The Jesus – God relationship is what our relationship (you and me) is to reflect.
Also Philippians 2:3
John 17, verses 11 and 22
Submission: one of the more difficult areas of Faith. Submit to a group, organization, individual person, God alone. What is God’s will? How is it qualified, quantified? Confusion and competition when so many people and organizations want our attention, obedience.
We need to focus on Christ.
I foster the personal side of our relationship with God; where God communicates with us (substitute the word “me” for “us”) directly, unencumbered, open, raw — a relationship available for believers and non-believers, on an individual level. (Admittedly, it would be hard for an unbeliever to have this personal thing going on while not believing).
I consider this relationship:
higher – it lives in Heaven above Earthly standards
more important – directly influencing
deeper – the most meaningful
our story – what we were meant for
further – wears better, like some old tattered jeans
more encompassing – a relationship without bounds
beyond – not held by Earthly bonds
Example: As a Christian Musician, an ability not mentioned very much in this blog, I run across songs and instrumentals, or let’s say, ‘some melodies with words attached’ and ‘melodies without words’. I am inspired by both! and I know both would be inspiring to Christians in the context of worship. Yet when meeting with church musicians and pastors, I usually discover a much different view of which piece of music is “inspiring”, with the vast majority are “melodies with words attached”. It causes me to wonder if we are losing the art of instrumental music in our worship services?
Do I listen to what I deem an “urging”, the call of the “Spirit within”, or not?