Jude

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

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. 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.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangelMichael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

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

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

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

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

Categories: Jude

3 John

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name (NIV).

Categories: 3 john

2 John

The elder,

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings (NIV).

Categories: 2 John

Asaph

Asaph is one of the musicians highlighted in the Old Testament.

He gets credit as the author of Psalm 78.

The term “maskil” is explained in great detail here.

Categories: asaph, psalm

Psalm 78

A Maskil of Asaph.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
    we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a decree in Jacob,
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
    so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow,
    turned back on the day of battle.
They did not keep God’s covenant,
    but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot what he had done,
    and the miracles that he had shown them.
In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
    in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
    and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
    and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness,
    and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock,
    and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
    by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
    “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
    and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
    or provide meat for his people?”

Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
    a fire was kindled against Jacob,
    his anger mounted against Israel,
because they had no faith in God,
    and did not trust his saving power.
Yet he commanded the skies above,
    and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
    and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
    he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
    and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
    winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
    all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
    for he gave them what they craved.
But before they had satisfied their craving,
    while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them
    and he killed the strongest of them,
    and laid low the flower of Israel.

In spite of all this they still sinned;
    they did not believe in his wonders.
So he made their days vanish like a breath,
    and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought for him;
    they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock,
    the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths;
    they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
    they were not true to his covenant.
Yet he, being compassionate,
    forgave their iniquity,
    and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
    and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a wind that passes and does not come again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again,
    and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not keep in mind his power,
    or the day when he redeemed them from the foe;
when he displayed his signs in Egypt,
    and his miracles in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood,
    so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
    and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,
    and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail,
    and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail,
    and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his fierce anger,
    wrath, indignation, and distress,
    a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
    he did not spare them from death,
    but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
    the first issue of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep,
    and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
    but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy hill,
    to the mountain that his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
    he apportioned them for a possession
    and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Yet they tested the Most High God,
    and rebelled against him.
    They did not observe his decrees,
but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;
    they twisted like a treacherous bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
    they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath,
    and he utterly rejected Israel.
He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
    the tent where he dwelt among mortals,
and delivered his power to captivity,
    his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people to the sword,
    and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men,
    and their girls had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword,
    and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    like a warrior shouting because of wine.
He put his adversaries to rout;
    he put them to everlasting disgrace.

He rejected the tent of Joseph,
    he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
but he chose the tribe of Judah,
    Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
    like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose his servant David,
    and took him from the sheepfolds;
from tending the nursing ewes he brought him
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
    of Israel, his inheritance.
With upright heart he tended them,
    and guided them with skillful hand (NRSV).

Categories: psalm

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book is as clear a description as any of the need to eliminate noise and choose to do the right few things with our lives.

If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, if you’re missing a sense of purpose and direction, then I highly recommend this book.

Categories: book review

Wisdom Is Protection

Wisdom protects us against a wide variety of poor choices.

Categories: proverbs, Wisdom
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