Certainty in Uncertain Times

Welcome to Tuesday’s Daily Joy!

Editor’s Note: You may have seen Jasmine Timm on a Sunday morning. She serves with the kids’ and women’s ministries, helping teach and develop curriculum and Bible studies as well as contributing to this blog. She is currently studying counseling at Western Seminary, and thus, we have asked her to share with us today a bit about what God is teaching her during these times of isolation, along with a few practical things to aid in helping our mental and spiritual health flourish in times like these.

Defending Our Faith

For a little book, Jude is packed. What a great book to study as it is especially relevant for us today. What did I find so relevant? First, I note Jude’s desire to confirm for the faithful their standing with God. Jude wants them to know how special they are, to understand they are chosen by God, loved beyond human comprehension, and kept for the day to come by the power of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who endured all manner of cruelty for our sake. They are beneficiaries of a power that keeps us safe when we remain within that love. Read more…

Toolbox #6: Black Gold to Flourish

Editor’s Note: As a reminder, we aren’t meeting in person for our final session of Jude, but we encourage you to read this last Toolbox piece by Jamie Harms and a summary of Jude 24 and 25 from Kathleen Harwood, both shared below. Then, tomorrow, you’ll find a reflection piece from Andi Hines on Jude, and to wrap up our study, we encourage you to listen to Jackie Hill Perry’s concluding session at lifeway.com/jude. You can either pay for the audio download or the video. Both are the same teaching. As always, reach out to us through the “Contact” tap on the blog or by sending an email to ufcwomen.blog@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

Saying “No” in Order to Say “Yes”

A friend of mine from Portland, who is in ministry, helped me put what I have been feeling regarding the coronavirus cancellations into words. She said, “Sometimes courage means saying ‘no’ when everything in you says ‘yes.’” I so want to say “yes” to finishing up our last week in Jude together in-person and so want to say “yes” to continuing to gather the mamas for a time of encouragement. Yet, in light of our situation worldwide, I need the courage to say “no” to these things in order to say “yes” to showing love to my fearful neighbors in a way that they understand, “yes” to protecting those in our community who are most vulnerable to the ravages of disease, and “yes” to respecting our government and the decisions leaders are making to the best of their ability to keep our community safe. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we cancel some of our regular connection time, but I encourage you to see even this time of loss or inconvenience as a gift — a gift to rest.  

We, as your women’s ministry team, are working hard to creatively find ways for us to connect virtually over the next few weeks. One thing that we will have available coming up on the blog starting on March 29 is a two-week study of the Psalms of Ascent as we prepare our hearts for Easter. Each day we will do a post emphasizing a psalm along with some questions to help us engage with the passage. We can use the comments section of the blog to connect with one another and to share what we are learning as we reflect on the psalm. We are also working on a few other things, so you will have to check back again soon or watch your email.

Take courage, dear ones. May God fill you with compassion, peace, and hope as you rest in this next season.

from Jamie and the Women’s Ministry Team

He is Able

One of my favorite memories from childhood is spending warm summer evenings riding bikes around the neighborhood. My older siblings and a handful of neighbor kids would get together and race each other up and down the steep hills surrounding our homes. At first, my little bike with training wheels satisfied my thirst for inclusion and speed, but my ambition soon grew to include the goal of learning to ride an adult-sized bike all by myself. On my own, this would have been a disaster ending in at least one broken bone, but my dad taught me to ride his bike, step-by-step. He showed me how to climb onto the long banana seat and reach for the handlebars to steer. Soon, I was able to balance the bike on my own for several seconds at a time, but he was always there, ready to grab that handle as soon as I started to fall. When I started riding down the hills, he kept me from crashing by holding on to the seat handle, while running behind me.

Toolbox #5: A Few Extras for Your Toolbox

Before the seeds and starts of my garden can actually go into the ground, I curl up inside under a blanket with a cup of tea, my gardening book, and a paper and pencil. I sketch out my garden to create a visual of the space in my mind and then add and rearrange the elements of my garden for the new year. Taking time to sketch out my garden helps me see more of what is currently there and where it could go in the future. The tools we are talking about today are some ways to engage with Scripture that will give us a better layout of the land, helping us to make connections and to understand truths in a new way.

The Key to Perseverance

As we huddled together in a cold Sunday school classroom on a Thursday evening to listen to Jackie Hill Perry, I could feel my paranoia rise. Jackie cautioned, “There will be false teachers among you — your favorite Christian authors and speakers, and even Bible study leaders — some of them will turn out to be amongst these disobedient people.” I found myself thinking, “Is it I? Could some of us in this room be deceiving ourselves? Do false teachers even know that they’re false teachers? What if some of us in this room believe ourselves to be sheep when we in fact are amongst the people who are practically denying Jesus as Lord by the way we live?”

Toolbox #4: A Little Pizzazz

Until we moved into our current house, I had lots of garden space. I let my tomato plants sprawl, my cucumber bushes take over large plots of space, and my squash vines creep into the yard. However, now that I am more limited in space, I am contemplating some additions to my garden — beautiful iron tomato cages to force my plants to grow up and some colorful ceramic pots to contain my other sprawling plants. I technically don’t need cages and pots for my garden to grow, but these extras would give my garden a bit of pretty pizzazz. The three Bible study tools that we are going to talk about today are very much like cages and pots. They are not foundational to study, but they are extras that enhance our time in God’s Word.

Throwing Shade: An age-old sin in our modern culture

A grumbler is someone who has negative opinions about something but only makes enough of a fuss to cause more problems, offering no solutions and vehemently mumbling indecipherable words under their breath.

Jude had a lot to say about people who couldn’t control their tongues. In his letter, Jude called out false teachers by their ungodly deeds AND their ungodly words. In verses 15-16, he revealed specific ways these ungodly sinners spoke against God using their tongues — with harsh words, grumbling, malcontent, loud-mouthed boasting, and favoritism. As we all know, it is not just false teachers who can be guilty of these sins. Believers can just as easily fall prey to the temptations of the unruly tongue.

Toolbox #3: The Good Old Standbys

The sun taunted me this week as I am itching to get out into my garden and put some plants into the ground. I have my gloves and spade next to my backdoor, and they are set and ready for the first day following our last hard frost. I did end up contenting myself with planting some seeds for starts in my window sill, but the outside garden must wait a few more weeks. However, when the day comes, my gloves and spade — my good old standbys — are ready to go. I always take them out with me just in case I need them. They are not specialty tools like the stump grinder we talked about last week, but they are foundational to daily life in the garden.

Your Gut Will Know

Our teaching this week comes just after Jude realizes he can’t talk to this body of believers about good news. Instead, Jude must address the danger of tolerating erroneous doctrine, writing they had “abandoned themselves to the error” of wrong teaching. They would need to remove this harmful element to be well, which makes me think about how I accept the need to change.

Toolbox #2: The Right Tool for the Job

We have tools to study God’s Word that help us till the soil and plant seeds of truth, so it can be fruitful … For the next few weeks, we are going to take a look at specific tools that will help in our study of Jude. Some of them Jackie uses in our study guide but can be applied to any study we do in the Bible. We will not use every tool each week, but we’ll have them available when the need arises.

Contending as the Beloved

Here’s an excerpt from today’s post in our series on Jude’s letter: To contend for the faith is an effort of the mind, for we must know God’s Word to adequately defend what it true. It’s also an act of the will as we choose with godly love to respond to those who oppose us. And finally, struggling is about engaging in a spiritual battle, one fought on our knees through prayer.

Toolbox #1: Planting a Garden

Welcome to the first week of Bible Study Toolbox with Jamie Harms. In this Sunday series, she will share different tools to help us study Scripture accurately and to apply God’s Word to our lives.

Introduction to Jude

UFC Women begins a new Bible study today, using Jackie Hill Perry’s newest book, “Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture,” and it’s not too late to sign up. Here at ufcwomen.blog, you can expect a Bible study tips column each Sunday and a reflection post each Thursday. We have two reflections today as an introduction to this brief New Testament letter!

Bible Memory for Eternal Impact

As a child, I struggled to see the point in wrestling to memorize verses, but I started to understand the eternal impact of hiding God’s Word in one’s heart as my parents read aloud The Hiding Place.

Review: Gay Girl, Good God

In her first book, Jackie Hill Perry says of her transformation in Christ, “I am what God’s goodness will do to a soul once grace gets to it.” Today we provide a brief look at Jackie’s early years as we prepare for our work through her study of Jude.

Don’t Miss What’s Next

UFC Women has an exciting winter ahead here online and face-to-face as we look at the topic of evangelism, and then delve into a new study of the New Testament letter of Jude.  Beginning Thursday, January 16, Pastor Brett Gilchrist will take the UFC family through the three-week Continuing Ed class Ambassadors of the Kingdom … Continue reading Don’t Miss What’s Next