God is able to Keep you!
I cannot tell you how many times I meet and talk with believers who are worried about things. Worried about tomorrow, worried about sinning, worried about not making it through a trial, worried about falling away, worried about all kinds of things. Worried, worried, worried!
I find God's Word has a promise for the worriers among us. (I should know. I have been one of them.) The sure promise is: GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU!
This blessed truth came to me in a new and dramatic way just recently as I was pondering the sayings of the book of Jude. The Spirit seemed to illuminate the book's theme in a way I had never seen in all my years of Bible reading and walking with God.
(It was 1978 when I first found Jesus bringing His wonderful salvation to my needy, dying heart. Thank God for the Blessed Lamb! He is my Life! Jn. 1:29)
As I heard the book of Jude today with new ears, I suddenly realized how THE KEEPING POWER OF GOD is probably Jude's strongest resounding theme. Notice Jude 1 & Jude 24-25. Deliberately, the intro and ending of this short book BOTH emphasize the KEEPING POWER OF GOD. Amazing! I had never noticed that before. And my! What fills the between verses (some of all those things we're worried about)!
Verses 3 - 20 describe people falling away, others getting lured off into sexual immorality (falling to temptation), some denying Jesus, others suffering eternal loss, spiritually anointed ones letting error ruin their ministry and drifters losing the life of the Spirit. A sad lot, all of them! And I realized these are some of the very scary things which tempt and try us or threaten to pull us away from the Father. Things sometimes we are afraid of. But what is God's promise? Jesus said: "No one can snatch you from my Father's hand!" John 10
Since times will get worse and frightening things WILL happen all around, it is important (Jude says) to know the KEEPING POWER OF GOD in the midst of troubled times. Dare to believe Psalm 91. Take it personally! Rest from worry and behold the Lamb!
Jude 1-2 & Jude 24-25 promise:
"To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and KEPT by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance....Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU from falling 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."
You're not able. But God IS! GOD is able to keep you. His mercy is abundant. His keeping power, strong and sure! How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord!
And part of how He keeps us is godly FEAR. A fear that is healthy and freeing, the FEAR of GOD. Psalm 19:9-11, Proverbs 1:7 Look again in Jude. Notice the deserved judgments and scary destruction which is promised to come upon God-forsakers (Jude vv. 3-19). Let the truth scare your soul to RUN TO THE REFUGE, to find Shelter in the shadow of His wings. Take heart to run to the Keeper and cry out for a life that's pure and a soul that's cleansed, footsteps that keep His way! God is the One who can "throw soul and body into hell" (Jesus said). Yet, for those who FEAR MY NAME, the Son of Righteousness (your Salvation) will rise with Healing in His wings. Glory! Malachi 4 You don't have to be afraid of dire consequences when you walk with God. But make sure you are walking with Him!
Not by might, nor by power but BY JESUS! You will be saved and kept, forgiven and preserved for eternal life. Find that humble recognition which fears the Lord and keeps your heart on His straight and narrow. Fear the Judge of mankind, but remember His mercy. Receive His love. Know He is able to keep you. Receive the KEEPING, sobering FEAR OF GOD which frees you and keeps you for eternal life!
Jude 1-2 & Jude 24-25: "To those who...are loved by God the Father and KEPT by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance....as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU from falling 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."
So often I talk with Christians who fear falling, or worry about "losing" their salvation or fear they'll wander from God. Such is a tormenting fear, from satan, which oppresses and discourages. I have dear, fearful friends who read verses warning of apostasy in the last days, take one look at their own struggles and weaknesses and begin worrying whether they too will wander from the fold or lose their heart for God. And as the years go by, friend, I have known pressures and concerns at times myself! But fear of falling and fear of failing is a crippling fear that discourages. Beloved one, instead look to God! Jn. 1:29 See His strength and KNOW "Him who is able to keep you!" No one can snatch you from His hand. No one. Not even your weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9-10 Fear not!
In Jude, before and after the promises of keeping, there are strong messages of God's judgment. Jude 5-7, 11, 13-15 And for those who believe, obey and receive grace, God's judgment is a GOOD thing. It frees, delivers and cleanses us. Keeps our hearts honest, separate and free. Marks us as His own. Heb. 12:1-13,
1 Cor. 11:32 Yet sore destruction awaits those who reject mercy and follow stubborn wills into persistent blind darkness! Outside of God's grace, all fears come true.
Judgment rightly falls on wanderers, grace-rejecters and straying, denying souls in Jude. Yet the promise to God's struggling, weak ones is even more clear: "To those who have been called, who are LOVED by God the Father and KEPT by Jesus Christ: MERCY, peace and love be yours IN ABUNDANCE....as you wait for THE MERCY of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (Note: It's His MERCY which BRINGS us, not our efforts or performance.) "To Him who is able to keep you from falling 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." Jude 1-2 & Jude 24-25
Keep these promises in mind. It is JESUS Who presents us blameless on His own merits (not our struggling attempts). Read 2 Cor. 5:21 with new eyes! It's ONLY JESUS! He is our RIGHTEOUSNESS. Abide in Him. Ours is to believe & yield. His job is to KEEP.
Matt. 24:9-14 talks about a horrible and great falling away. It declares that only "he who STANDS FIRM TO THE END will be saved." And the perilous times we live in will surely see apostasy increase and swell. (Yet I doubt the standing firm needed will be discovered in my own effort or sinless performance. I believe keeping and standing firm is a response to grace, a simple abiding, a heart fixed on KNOWING JESUS, a struggling, weak person who KNOWS WHERE HIS REFUGE IS, who has learned a simple life of prayer, living before God's Presence, dwelling in His Shelter, a daily collapse upon God's mercy, grace and help. Friend, you are KEPT BY GOD. Jude 1-2 (Not by trying hard.)
The good news is: the GRACE we are to walk in is a STANDING FIRM IN JESUS, a continuing in His grace, a holding to the hope held out in the gospel (despite our shortcomings). Our weaknesses will not make us failures. If only we hold to grace. We need simply a heart which holds to Jesus, His Righteousness, His faithfulness, the Word of His keeping. Hold Jesus FAITHFUL TO THE END. He is all we need!
Though today, you may be languishing, weary, sometimes stumbling, be always believing and hanging on to Jesus, always returning, no matter how tough it gets. Let your heart look up. Look away from your failures and see Jesus! He is your only Hope. Trusting Jesus separates the men from the boys. The saved from the damned. Who holds to Jesus' hand? (The sheep.) Who trusts in his own self-effort to walk? (those in imminent danger)
MY KEEPER IN TRIAL
What about trials? Who is able to keep you then? I know a man who recently suffered a massive heart attack. Great fear came over him after surviving this as he considered his future. As I prayed for him I felt the Spirit give me Ps. 23:4. God is WITH YOU IN THE VALLEY! He will never leave you or forsake you! Hallelujah!!!
I have known fear in many and various trials myself the last few years. For numerous seasons (and "repeat engagements!"), I have seen a very rocky (and thorny) Christian walk. Sometimes I question why my life knows so much pain. Life often has seemed like one desert after another. I have endured physical distresses & times of great illness & more than a few financial difficulties. There have been many painful seasons of hurt and misunderstanding. I still suffer the after effects of broken relationships. And have had multiple incidents of scary persecution and threats of bodily harm from evil men.
All these raging difficulties are commendations to God's grace (from the end of our rope). He is able. We are not. Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come. But God WILL KEEP US! His eye is on the sparrow. Jesus is faithful. ALWAYS. HE WILL KEEP US. TRUST HIM TO KEEP YOU!
Today I heard Matthew 6 with new eyes. See how Matt. 6:25-34 (just like Rom. 8:35-39) promises the KEEPING sustenance of God through times like these. Matt. 6 especially struck me because I never knew that Jesus' classic passage on worry talks about NOT BEING AFRAID OF SICKNESS OR DEATH (or harm coming to your body)! For some, these are the ULTIMATE worries, but Jesus brings FREEDOM! Jn. 8:31-32, 36
Notice the worries Jesus discusses in Matthew 6: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Did you notice where Jesus says to His children: "Do not worry about...your body." And "...who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Did you see it? He said worrying won't improve our bodily health one bit. And concern over illness or death can't increase our life span even one day! Conclusion: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow."
I don't know about you but this was liberating to me. Don't worry about getting old. Lose concern about physical trials you face or even the day of your death. Raise the artillery of Matt. 6:33 and point 1 Peter 5:7 straight in the devil's face. And blow those burdens away! Find peace by keeping your mind stayed on Jesus. Your life, your hope, your Answer. Is. 26:3 Jesus is our Keeper. We are kept by Jesus! So live today, seeking first His kingdom, free from all concern. Hallelujah!
And remember God's Word is full of promises (blessed antidotes for all our worries). For starters, try: Psalm 91:16 or Ex. 15:26. There are many more! His Word is part of the keeping power of God. Those who dwell there often (in the Bible and its promises) will know His peace.
I sense the Spirit of God's Peace saying: "Children, shut down that scary view which makes you wince and worry. And instead, behold the Lamb of God! I WILL KEEP YOU! I will deliver you. I am Faithful and True. Rely upon Me. I am God!" (I believe this is God's message to hearts which fear. Friend, take to heart His love. Know His Love which keeps you. Always. Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5-6, Joshua 1:5-9, Jer. 31:3 He is your life.)
And in a world where all else fails and many wander from the truth or flounder all about you, even when multitudes shun the grace which could be theirs, you be lifted up in the promises of God! YOUR destiny can be DIFFERENT. The Father loves those who seek Him as His very own. And He will KEEP YOU! His eye is on the sparrow. And YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Not a day passes by that your name is not heard, spoken before His throne. Jesus ever lives to intercede. Heaven extends power to keep you. Always. In the strong hand of Love Jesus holds your future. Seek Him always. He is trustworthy, True.
Friend, God wrote you a love letter through Jude. He speaks your liberation in Matthew 6. And Jesus means these assurances today. Take His Word personally: "(You are)...called...LOVED BY GOD...KEPT by Jesus Christ: (Yours is meant to be) Mercy...in abundance....(and God will) bring you to eternal life....(He) is ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING... (He will) present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy--through Jesus...before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1-2 & Jude 24-25 The work is God's. Yours is to yield. Trust. Believe. Follow. Behold the promise: Phil. 1:6, 2:12-13 HALLELUJAH! The LORD is faithful and HE WILL DO IT! 1 Th. 5:23-24 What a MIGHTY GOD we serve!
Grace to you, my friend. In Jesus, Jeff
1 Thessalonians 5 "Pray continually...Avoid every kind of evil. (Avoid all appearance of evil.) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is FAITHFUL and HE WILL DO IT. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
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