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Monday, June 27, 2005

Word of worship

In our Experiencing God study, it encouraged us to look at many of the different descriptions of Who God is. We were then to spend time in worship to God about those attributes. I spent time in prayer to God about it, but want to do more. This blog actually seemed like a great way to declare the glory of God. (For every bit as bad as my writing is, it's infinitely better than my singing.)

The description that caught my attention most came from Jude 24:

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-25, NASB, of course!)

Him who is able to keep you from stumbling...

I never known God so intimately as when I have discovered the depth of my depravity in the last couple years. Jude just concludes some admonishments to the church: "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh." (Jude 20-23). Reread that list. I can't do all that in a day. If I'm lucky, I could focus on one thing and fulfill that for the day, but not all six things. Uh, actually, I can't even do one.

That's what I love about Jude's confession. It is Him who keeps me from stumbling. In our era of self-help, self-esteem, self-motivation...I've been caught in the trap of thinking God's grace ended at my salvation. I obviously knew better, but deep inside, I thought I could take at least a little credit for my walk.

Two things have since hit me:

1) What credit? Overall, my life is still a mess. In my heart I am regularly breaking the ten commandments, often manifested in my actions. I'm self centered and self absorbed. I'm self-righteous, thinking I compare favorably to others. But when I look at His Word, I realize I deserve death. I give into flesh far too often.

2) The righteousness that is in me is not mine, it's Christ's. My very passion for God and my obedience to Him is only made possible by Him...the One who can keep me from stumbling. Left to myself, I would turn my back on Him and walk away. But the Holy Spirit, "The Pledge" (2 Corinthians 5:5), assures that I can not depart.

I mourn for the ways I have taken the credit away from God. I've taken praise for myself. I've looked for praise for myself. I've even praised myself. But thanks be to Him who does not allow me to continue in self-worship, but instead, returns my eyes to Him and His Word.

Thank you Lord for keeping me!

1 Comments:

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    God is able to keep me from stumbling. And yet I stumble. Therefore, even though God is able to keep me from stumbling, He sometimes chooses to not exercise that ability and allows me to stumble. Jesus said to Peter, "Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." I'm reminded of Cuba Gooding Jr. (?) at the end of Jerry McGuire, when he has just scored a touchdown and gotten knocked silly in the process. As he regains consciousness, he's laying flat on his back and smiling. He says, "Just let me enjoy the moment." I can think of times when I've stumbled (or been tripped)and I've asked God why He didn't "keep me from stumbling." It is His love, grace and mercy that allows us to stumble. If I scrape my hands, scar my head and bruise my side in the process, I bear a closer resemblance to the one who was wounded for me.

     

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