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The Perspective of Time

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“What a difference a day can make”.I’ve heard that remark so many times through the years.

Imagine the difference then that a few years can make. That’s what I was thinking the other day as I read several chapters in the book of Job. As I began reading it dawned on me that I had neglected this Old Testament book for quite some time.

I always loved it’s beautiful descriptors of the battle of “good vs.evil”,Satan vs. God. It always seemed that no matter how hard Satan tried to discredit God,the faithfulness of God always prevailed.It was great to reconnect with this old,familiar book.

Now,for those of you who are not familiar with the book of Job,it is often regarded as one of the greatest studies of the human response to suffering.More importantly,it is a study of trust.If the reader will carefully study the book of Job,he or she will see the subject of trust come to the forefront as Job ultimately concludes that God is just and righteous.

Many people who read this book quickly form the opinion that God is not fair,that He was unjust in allowing an upright man such as Job to suffer. This is understandable, considering the Biblical description of Job is as a man that was “pure and upright,and one who feared God and turned away from evil”.

I believed that myself,long ago. Just like I believed that God was not fair because He refused to allow Moses to enter the promised land because of one mistake. Boy did I ever struggle with that one!

Just like I believed that God was not fair when tragedy struck my own life. Just like you may be thinking right now concerning a situation you are dealing with. We all want to shout aloud “how can a God of love allow this to happen” at times,don’t we?

Can I tell you something that time has taught me about the “fairness” of God?

Unlike God,we lack the ability to see the future. The hear and now is our dwelling place,and we are forced to deal with life as it comes. That includes those things we identify as unfair.

Just like Job,we cannot see the end of the trial while we are in the midst of it. But He can,which is why we must learn to be slower to question the “fairness” of God. Remember,God always has a plan where you are concerned. And that includes the trials you go through. Coincidence is not in His vocabulary.

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

The perspective of time has taught me the deeper meaning of this present life being a place of preparation for the eternal one that is to come. Time has taught me that God knew all along what he was doing when he permitted Job to be attacked by Satan,that he knew what he was doing when he refused to allow Moses to enter into the promised land.

That he knew all along what he was doing when he allowed me to walk through the fire,instead of quenching it first.

Nothing takes God by surprise. Nothing.

The perspective of time has taught me to trust God. To trust the refining process that all of us are going through. To trust that while I may not understand the things that have happened to me,or the things I am presently enduring,He does.

To a child of God,this is enough. If we’re faithful,the perspective of time will teach us this principle.

Have a blessed day,

Ron

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Reclaiming Biblical Faith

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Have you ever went to bed with a specific thought on your mind,only to awaken the next morning with that exact same thought being the first one to enter your mind?

Most of us have probably experienced this,as I did the other morning.In my situation,I’d been mulling over a verse of scripture found in the book of Jude that deals with believers contending for the faith. You’re likely familiar with it as it’s often used in sermons.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”   Jude 1:3   contend-for-the-faith

The part of this verse that I have been in deep thought about was the part about “earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints”. Specifically,was there something different about their faith as opposed to our faith? Also,what had happened to their faith?

To make sense of this this we need to understand that the book of Jude was written approximately 80 years after the death of Christ. What is most striking about this fact is that in less than one century,there was apparently such a serious lack of faith in the church that Jude felt compelled to address the issue. How could this have happened in such a short time?

Jude gives us the answer beginning in the next verse.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Jude 1:4

False Christians who knew not God,unregenerate men,had come into the church unnoticed by those who were responsible for protecting the flock. Once “inside the gate” these false disciples began sowing discord by teaching things contrary to the Word of God. Jude specifically mentions “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”.

Lasciviousness? Now there’s a word you don’t hear very often,if at all.Of course,that’s the Kings English version of the word. Different versions read the word as lewd,immoral,decadence,or sensuality. Anyway,I’m sure you get the picture.

This word “lasciviousness” means lustful or lewd sexual behavior. In other words,the pure,sincere love of God that believers had for one another had given way to sexual immorality in the church,resulting in the faith of many being shipwrecked. All in the span of less than 100 years since Jesus was here on earth.

It is almost incomprehensible that such a thing could occur to the church that had turned the world upside down only a few decades prior.Yet that is what happened.

The church learned early on that the cost of not defending their faith against false believers was losing their faith. Let that sink in for a moment.losing-faith

This is why it is so important to stand up and defend the gospel. It is worth defending against its enemies,for if we do not defend it the gospel becomes weakened and powerless. It becomes what Paul described as “another gospel”,which is really no gospel at all (Gal. 1:6).

Jude’s exhortation to “earnestly contend for the faith” should indicate to us that “the faith once delivered to the saints” is the model for Christian faith today.So,we must ask what was this faith that was once delivered to the saints?

It’s pretty simple actually.Their faith was built upon a foundation of love,the love of Christ,and the love of one another.This agape love,the highest form of love, separated Christianity from all other religions of the day.

The faith once delivered to the saints was one of sacrifice and serving one another.It looked outward instead of inward. It was selfless,and I can’t think of a better example of the faith that was once delivered unto the saints than one of selfless love.

It’s certainly worth earnestly contending for. Agree?

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