Life can keep us busy! Life can keep us focused! Life can keep us engaged! Life can turn then what? It depends on your foundation! It depends on your source of wisdom and strength! It depends on your purpose! It depends if you have built your trust up!
Where are you at today?
Each morning I turn to God’s Word knowing that He wants to speak to me through His Word! My day isn’t the same if I can’t start it out with God’s Word! The Lord fills me up each morning in preparation for today! He knows my very situation! He knows what I am going through and He knows what is coming too! When I learned this truth about having a relationship with Jesus and how important it is for me to start my day with Him, it impacts the way I am able to live out the rest of my day!
17How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! 19O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! 20They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.
21O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? 22Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Each day I know that without God’s filling, there will be a hole, an emptiness, a lack. Without God filling up my heart, my attitude and my words and my actions are off. I need Him to fill me up! I need Him to search my heart in order to make sure anything that will keep me from accomplishing His purpose and plans can be removed out of the way!
Without His truth there would be no absolutes! Without absolutes then things sway back and forth like getting tossed around like the waves! We need to hear from God! We need to stand on the truth! We need absolutes! Through Jesus we are called to go beyond average and raise the bar so that instead of the average moving to the lowest common denominator God’s desire is for us to grow and become more like Jesus!
When we know the truth, the truth sets us free and we won’t be lead astray! There are many who would try to deceive and lead us astray! The devil’s plan is to rob, kill, and destroy us and anyway he can find to instrument he will do it in order to draw us from God and the truth of God and the eternity with God that is offered to us through a relationship with Jesus! So beware of false teachers! Compare what they say against what God’s Word says!
Greetings from Jude
1This 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.
2May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
The Danger of False Teachers
3Dear 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. 4I 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.
5So 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. 6And 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. 7And 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.
8In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9But 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.) 10But 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. 11What 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.
12When 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. 13They 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.
14Enoch, 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 15to 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.”
16These 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
17But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19These 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.
20But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and 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.
22And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue 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
24Now 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. 25All 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.
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit working in us and through us to become who God desires us to be! Let’s make sure that it is the sins that we hate and not the people! Let’s love people and hate sin! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s speak truth in love to the people around us!
Today’s devotional summarizes Jude’s points as follows:
Jude gives a description of the characteristics of false teachers and false teaching. Typically, cults will display at least one of these:
- They are deceptive. They ‘have secretly slipped in among you’ (v.4)
- They reject authority. They want to replace ‘sheer grace’ with ‘sheer license’ (v.4, MSG)
- They deny Jesus Christ ‘as our one and only Master’ (v.4, MSG)
- They look down on and ‘sneer at anything they can’t understand’ (v.10, MSG)
- They ‘do whatever they feel like doing’ (v.10, MSG)
- They are immoral: ‘carousing shamelessly’ (v.12, MSG)
- They grumble, complain and find fault (v.16)
- They grab for themselves ‘the biggest piece of the pie’ (v.16, MSG)
- They are ambitious, ‘saying anything they think will get them ahead’ (v.16, MSG).
God’s people are encouraged to be desperate for God’s truth. The beginning and the end of the letter speak of an intimacy with God and how to live as those desperate for God’s truth.
I love the way that Jude begins this letter. He sees himself as ‘a servant of Jesus Christ’ (v.1). There is no higher calling or a more liberating job than to see every day as an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ.
He then reassures his readers that they are ‘called’ and ‘loved’ by God the Father ‘and kept by Jesus Christ’ (v.1). This is true of every Christian. What he wants for his readers is ‘mercy’, ‘peace’ and ‘love in abundance’ (v.2). If these were the only verses we had in the whole Bible, we could meditate on them for the rest of our lives.
He ends by urging them to:
- Study the truth: ‘Build yourselves up in your most holy faith’ (v.20)
- Pray: ‘Pray in the Holy Spirit’ (v.20). The Holy Spirit will guide us into the truth
- Stay close to God: ‘Keep yourselves in God’s love’ (v.21)
- Be merciful: ‘Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin’ (v.23, MSG)
–from Day 342: Bible In One Year 2018
So let’s live out our lives in a way that will glorify God! Let’s live out lives that will show truth and love to the world around us! Let’s seek God’s purpose and God’s plan! Let’s pursue lives that will align with God’s justice in hopes of living within His overwhelming blessings! It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy but it does mean it will be worth it! Let’s live lives that point people to Jesus so that we can spend eternity in heaven with them with God! Let’s be ambassadors of Jesus who want them to avoid the final judgement in order to find true freedom with Jesus! Share the truth in love for the truth shall set them free!
A Flying Scroll
1I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.
2“What do you see?” the angel asked.
“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”
3Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”
A Woman in a Basket
5Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”
6“What is it?” I asked.
He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain, and it’s filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.”
7Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. 8The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.
9Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.
10“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
11He replied, “To the land of Babylonia, where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”
Don’t lie! Don’t steal! Don’t cheat! Turn to God and pursue His ways! As the end draws near the purpose to make Jesus known grows! As the end draws near the need to share to hope and truth of Jesus and how we are created to have an intimate relationship with Him is necessary! As the end draws near lets share the reality and not sugar coat it! The reality that there is a real heaven and there is a real hell and that based on our choice one of them will be the final destination! Choose Jesus! Invite Jesus into your heart and follow Him all the days of your life! Spend time in God’s Word! Pray to Him throughout your day! Take time to hear what He desires of you and how He wants you to live out today! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!
1Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4“And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
5The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”
7The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.
8Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”
The Crowning of Jeshua
9Then I received another message from the Lord: 10“Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’
14“The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.”
15People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.
Have you heard of the four horsemen? Have you read it in Zechariah or Revelation? There are many terms or sayings in life and without the wisdom of God you won’t realize the source and the truth of such things! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world when He first came! God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life!
A Call to Justice and Mercy
1On December 7 of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the Lord. 2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech, along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor. 3They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
4The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: 5“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? 6And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? 7Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”
8Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: 9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
11“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
13“Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 14As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”
So how will you share the truth of God that His blessings will be seen and He will be glorified? How will you be able to pour out God’s blessings if you aren’t filled first? So let’s take time and make time to be filled with God’s Spirit by spending time in His Word! Let’s allow His Word to speak truth! Nothing is impossible with God!
Promised Blessings for Jerusalem
1Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: 2“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!
3“And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.
4“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. 5And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play.
6“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
7“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. 8I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.
9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. 10Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other.
11“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. 13Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!
14“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 15But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”
18Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace.
20“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: People from nations and cities around the world will travel to Jerusalem. 21The people of one city will say to the people of another, ‘Come with us to Jerusalem to ask the Lord to bless us. Let’s worship the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I’m determined to go.’ 22Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing.
23“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
So let’s live in the truth of God! For the truth will set you free! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is our one and only way to the Father! God’s plan and hope for us isn’t that we are harmed but that we will have a hope and a future!
- Desperate for God’s thoughts … Psalms 139:17-24
- Desperate for God’s truth … Jude 1
- Desperate for God’s Justice and God’s Blessing … Zechariah 5, Zechariah 6, Zechariah 7, Zechariah 8
Today’s reading from God’s Word: