Today’s Scripture: Jude 1
Jude 1:3-4 (NIV)
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Greetings from Aruba! Isn’t it great you can serve our church no matter where you find yourself? I am so grateful this is the case for me!
It is so interesting to me that 2000 years ago, the church was facing the very same issues we face today: people taking the good news of the gospel and making it into something it was never intended to be! Just as the serpent deceived Adam and Eve in the garden so long ago and sentenced our world to suffering and death, so the evil one continues to tempt us with his lies and deceptions!
One of the greatest lies the devil wants us to believe is that if you are a good Christian, your life will be blessed by abundance. They claim that this is what God has for you when you “sow into” his plan for you! This “sowing” usually involves sending money (the seed) to the ministry of the one preaching this prosperity gospel. They tell you that God wants you to be happy, and you are free to do whatever it takes to make that happen!
Many of us fall into the lie that if we are “good” and serve him, our lives will be free of pain and trials. I’m sure those thoughts crossed the minds of Kelly and Micah as they dealt with the painful reality of Kelly’s cancer diagnosis. Yet, this is the road they are traveling with their two young kids.
Many, many good Christians have asked these same questions, and there are no good answers but this: If being good and sowing seeds makes God happy, why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Who was ever better than Jesus? And yet he chose a path of sacrifice and suffering on our behalf. How is it that we think we can escape that same sacrifice if we follow Jesus? The answer is, “we can’t.” God has plans for us, established long before we were ever born (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10, Psalms 139: 16).
We have the freedom to decide if we want to follow those plans or take off on our own. But, no matter what we decide, God is sovereign. He uses even our poor choices to draw us closer to him, if we let him. Standing on the truth of who God is—that he loves us, that he is good, that he works all things together for the good of those who love him “and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)—that is what will sustain us as we stand up for God, in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves!
Have you ever thought that God owes you something because of the way you serve him? Have you ever performed a service so God would owe you, not out of the goodness of your heart?
Take time to reflect on the goodness of God. Thank him for not treating you as you really deserve but for loving you as his dear child.
Father, forgive me for all the times I have tried to manipulate you with my actions when my heart was far from yours! Help me to stand up for you in a way that draws others into a curiosity about how amazing you are! It’s your loving kindness that drew me to you. Your sacrifice for me makes me love you more! Help me live a life of sacrifice for you, a loving life that draws others to who you truly are! Amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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