From the Newsletter

August 2020

 

Eugene Peterson points out, “Our spiritual communities are as susceptible to disease as our physical bodies. But it is easier to detect whatever is wrong in our stomachs and lungs than in our worship and witness. As much as we need physicians for our bodies, we have even greater need for diagnosticians and healers of the spirit. Jude’s letter to an early community of Christians is just such a diagnosis.”

 

TRUTH IN OUR TIMES

We have in our New Testament the Letter of Jude. Jude was the brother of James and Jesus and probably wrote his Letter in the mid 60s A.D. The theme of his letter was to point out the dangers of false teaching and to return to the true thinking about Jesus. Do not abandon the truth of God’s Word.

 

Unfortunately in our own time we are the midst of repackaging truth We are in the age of “You have your truth and I have mine.” This world view seems to dominate the horizon and rule postmodern society.

 

Jude wanted to write a letter about their common salvation but instead finds the need to guard against the teaching that is invading the community. “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God, into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1: 4)

 

As Christians we stand shoulder to shoulder as a community of believers who have been in the past and are now in the present. We are therefore part of a mighty army of God and we must now stand as that army against the forces that are attacking us. Polls conducted in the past have shown that a big majority of Christians think that you can be a good Christian even if you don’t go to church. Jude is saying that is not possible when we are bound by our everlasting common salvation.

 

Our faith is under assault by false teachers who have crept in to pervert the grace of God. Jude tells us to beware as the apostles warned us in verses 18 and 19. “In the last time there will be scoffers, followers of their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in the most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

 

Here we come to the meat of Jude’s message to us about division. Divide and conquer is a tried way to disrupt the current thinking. Instead of one avenue of attack use several. The language of Sin is so easily manipulated to confuse and destroy the past. “Morals” were at one time the guide to a Christian life style. Now we use the words “Value” to replace the previous moral standards. It is so much softer and and can be whatever you want it to be. We used to have “Character” and now we have acceptable “Lifestyles” and the old “Principles” that were the foundation of life have been reduced to simple “Preferences.”

 

These subtle shifts in meaning begin their destruction of the old definition of Truth. This is the work of false teachers and false teaching. The divisions brought about by constantly redefining our position leads to the final destruction of what was the bedrock of faith. Jude admonishes us to keep our feet on solid spiritual ground and this will prevent us from falling out of the love of God.

 

Let us pray.

Lord help us to see the truth, keep our faith strong, and keep us in God’s love. Help us to be merciful to those who doubt, and to love one another as Jesus taught. May we continue to hear and obey your Word.

Amen.

 

FRUSTRATIONS OF THE TIMES

Life with masks and social distancing is frustrating. What was just everyday freedom has been limited by the requirement of the of the virus. The mask may be a preventive but it is also a disruption. For one with a hearing deficiency there was the use of lip reading to supplement hearing. With the mask that is covered and lost. The mask also results in runny nose, and cough and a hot face. The latest suggestion is that we could also use googles and face shields.

 

Rethinking your shopping to follow the marked paths in the aisles and not go down the wrong way is punishable by “timeout training.” Sparsely stocked shelves is curious and back to WWII rationing.

 

Let us pray earnestly for a speedy return to normal living. Restrictions to the way it was in the past, isolation from friends and pleasant gatherings and the division brought about by current political squabbles is contributing to a very testing time. God is in the midst of this so let us watch and be faithful.

 

GOD IS GOOD

We are thankful that we have been able to have worship services for the past ten Sundays and have the community together. With recent rain the draught conditions of earlier in the summer have been somewhat reduced. The fire danger has been lowered to moderate and the heat has dropped. Thank

you, Lord, for a cooler summer here in Cloudcroft. We give thanks for those summer friends of

Epiphany who have made the return to the mountains. We await the arrival of the virus-delayed arrival of others of our summer congregation in the near future.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Fred