Monday, October 17, 2011

The Godly Womans Journey: Her Cause

Memory/Meditation Verse: "To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy..."~ Jude1:24 (NIV)

A sermon lead me to this passage. My heart craved to linger on it, to dissect and draw from its words. I learned these words were recorded from the half-brother of Christ, Jude. In a single letter, Jude writes to believers warning them to protect themselves from false teachers and their sins. Instead he called them to focus on the their faith and relationship with God. And in doing this He also called them to minister to others with mercy and with a tender heart. Read the full letter here before we settle in on a few verses.

Can you imagine having personally receiving this letter? How many times would you have read it? Who would you share it with? Did anything stand out for you?

As I stated, a reference of this one verse (the memory/meditation verse above), found within this letter immediately captured my heart. This 24th verse confirmed a message, a repeated impression. This impression grows stronger each time I receive it. It is birthed again out of
power found in a few words that I feel warrants the turning of a verse into a prayer.

What was the purpose of this particular verse? What was Jude's intent for this message? To find that out I believe we need to examine the verses before it, especially verses 20-23...

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ Jude 24

Here is the spiritual take I found from this part of Jude's letter...
1. We are called to remain faithful to the impression God lays on our hearts.

But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: "In the last days there will be people who don't take these things seriously anymore. They'll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts." These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There's nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!
(The Message, verses 17-19)

There have been times I have been in a ministry or church that was more focused on the act of the ministry and not on the people it served. Outward appearance may not have reflected this. Intentions were well but in the end, the outcome was for personal glorification and growth, not eternal glorification and growth. We are called to remain faithful to the causes God places on our hearts.

2. What matter in the end is the eternity factor.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and 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. (NLT, vs 20-21)

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!(The Message, vs 20-21)

Through prayer and faith, there is strength power. There is security in God's love. Knowing that should allow the godly woman to heed God's calling on her life. If God has laid a cause on your life, the ability to complete the work can only be done by resting in His embrace, living in His mercy and loving as He loves. Acts of worship, living out your faith and seeking Him faithfully in prayer becomes your drive. As I heard a pastor say once, you are not just a fan of God but an active member of His team!

3. There is a ministry among the saved and the unsaved.

Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven. (The Message)

And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue 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.
(New Living Translation)

As I focused on this blog entries memory/meditation verse above I am compelled to turned it into a prayer to be use for God's plan with my life, the cause he has called me to-a ministry of helping those hungry for God...a ministry of helping others identify the void that is in their life can only be filled by HIM. Loving the sinner, hating the sin. And as Jude cations, protection from the sin comes from keeping focused on the creator of your vision, your cause.

4. God is the only source and power to carry us in our cause.

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. 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. (NLT, vs 24)

The cause He gives us is about His Glory, His eternal plan. The cause is not about you. The godly woman knows this. It is not how much you are behind the growth and success of a ministry or cause and the godly woman accepts this. It is only about what God can do though you to build His eternal kingdom.

Often times the Holy Spirit will impress something on our hearts so much that we cannot escape it. Everywhere we turn, there it is...posted in another woman's blog, mentioned in a sermon, seen in a video on Facebook, caught though a song on the radio. An impression that leads you to your cause...a God-given, God-ordained drive.

So I ask you, what is your cause? What have you been called to? It often changes with the circumstances of our life. Sometimes pain and/or change can open such a window of opportunity which can only be seen when we are resting in God's love and mercy and grace. Embracing such "opportunities" requires one significant eternal goal..."to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy". Make this your prayer as you live out His cause for your life.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela

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