Sunday, 22 December 2013

"WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM STUMBLING" Bible Reading Thoughts for Dec. 2oth

“WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM STUMBLING”

     No one wants to stumble; what is the cause when this happens?  They are not looking at where they are going and not watching where they put their feet; worse still, they have no definite destination in view and are constantly looking at the distractions all around them, God’s word no longer holds their attention..
     I was really shocked once when a young man said to me, “This life is all I want, I can’t imagine living forever.’  This illustrates how great are the distractions of today and the need to read God’s word with increasing attention and for each one to develop their own realization of the Divine presence. Job made the point to the 3 ‘friends, ’in his (God’s) hand is the life of every living thing” [12 v.10] and David declared of God, “You discern my thoughts from afar … and are acquainted with all my ways.”  [Psa. 139 v.2,3]  
     Our thoughts along these lines were provoked by the one chapter letter of Jude we read today.  It is generally understood that Jude is another son of Mary and therefore a brother-in-the-flesh of James and, with him a half-brother of the Lord Jesus.[v.1] – not that relationships in the flesh necessarily help.
      He writes saying, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” [v.3]   It is a failure to maintain a clear vision of understanding of the original faith that Jesus and the apostles taught that is a main cause of “stumbling” and conflict among those who claim the name of Christ.
     “Keep yourselves in the love of God,” he tells them, “waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  And have mercy on those who doubt …” [v.21,22]
     What causes doubts?  We have the whole of the messages from God to digest: with them we can build up our understanding as a wonderful foundation for a real relationship with our Lord Jesus and the Father “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” [v.24].  Let us help each other to overcome any doubts.
      We “must remember beloved the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” [v.17] wrote Jude, and the remarkable prophecies of God through Zechariah we will read next week, among many other divinely inspired predictions encourage us to come ever closer to God “who is able to keep (us) from stumbling.”