Archive for August, 2010

John 14:1-10

John 14 is a powerful chapter.  It begins with a directive and contains many more that are central to our walk with Jesus.  “Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me”.  Jesus is giving the disciples some last minute coaching during the next few chapters in the book of John.  He is preparing them to take over the ministry they have been doing together the last three years, and is passing the baton to the guys who will lead the charge after His death.  These are important chapters.  His first instruction is not to allow the circumstances of the day drive them off course.  When things go differently than we expect, often we drive into the weeds and lose the basic foundation we have been connected to.  The chaos of the day causes us to take a turn away from God.  But Jesus is telling them to stay the course.  When things are difficult – that is when faith has to kick into another gear and take over.  We need to believe.  We need to hang on to the Lord.  He assures us that He has not forgotten us – “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”.  There is a promise we need to cling to.  Jesus never takes His eye off us as His followers.  He has executed God’s plan and prepared a place for us.  He will come again to bring us to that place so we can be with Him.  That is a promise.  Jesus is always thinking of us.  Are you troubled?  Or worried?  Or living in fear?  Jesus is the answer.  Faith is how we overcome those things.  We need to believe and trust Him.  He is in control.

Verse six contains the words that are some of the most important in all of scripture.  Many people believe that all roads lead to God.  After all, following Jesus is just one path to heaven isn’t it?  Absolutely not.  Jesus is extremely clear in what He tells us: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me”.  There are lots of folks saying things that are absolutely not in line with scripture about how we get to God.  Jesus is clear – He is the only path that leads there.  Period, end of discussion.  There are not multiple paths.  All religions don’t end up the same place.  Only being a Christ Follower and being obedient to His direction and believing in Him will take us to the Father.  We can wish for lots of other options, but there are none.  Jesus is the way – the only way.  Now many say that just isn’t fair, it can’t be right, it is too limiting or a host of other reasons why they want it different.  But it isn’t different.  It never has been, nor never will be.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  He is our only path to God.  Is it too harsh?  Not really.  God has made the path pretty simple actually.  It takes a simple act of faith to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord by repentance and taking that gift of grace.  It actually is about as easy as it could possibly be.  Becoming a Christ Follower is not a long list of things we must accomplish. Jesus already did all those things.  What is left for us is to accept God’s offer and gift.  But it does mean we give over control of our life to the Savior.  It means we put Him on the throne and spend the rest of our days walking with Him to become like Him.  Wonder if this is all true.  Jesus tells us this is not just His idea: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works”.  This is God’s plan.  It is the way it is because God put this in place as His plan to save us – a bunch of sinners bound for destruction.  Are you on the path to God through faith in Jesus?  If not, it is time to get on that path.  He is the way, the only way.  Don’t miss the road!

John 13

John 13 gives us a few more details about the last supper.  Jesus is getting ready to depart the 12 and this earth.  Scripture tells us that He “loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end”.  What an example of how we are to love.  So often we treat love as one of the conditional things in life.  In God’s world – love is not conditional.  It is complete and total and given without regard to the receiver. Love is forever in God’s economy.  It isn’t turned off and on based on what people do or say.  Unfortunately that is how a lot of us treat love.  We will shower others with love when we are happy with them, or we are getting our way, but if they don’t do the things we want to turn off the spigot.  That is not the kind of love Jesus models for us.  He shows us God’s love – unconditional and never ending.  He goes on to put that love into action as he washes the feet of the 12.  Jesus is serving and loving his followers.  Isn’t that backward?  Why is the leader washing the feet of the led?  Peter says wait a minute Jesus, you can’t wash my feet.  “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head”.  But Peter misses the point here – it is about servant leadership.  It is about setting an example for us to follow.  It is setting the standard for love.  Jesus explains it this way: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you”.  Jesus is showing the disciples, and us, how we should lead and love those in our patch.  Have you ever had your feet washed?  It is a truly humbling experience.  And washing the feet of another is equally so.  If you have never done it, I suggest you give it a try starting at home with your family.  There is no more powerful way to show yourself a servant leader than kneeling before your spouse and kids and washing their feet as you bless them before God.

Jesus goes on to give us the truth that is beneath His act of servant hood: “a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him”.  Servant leadership is God’s plan – Jesus came to model it – and it is our job to live that way as we touch others.  So many leaders have the wrong impression that the people are there to serve them.  That is what is wrong with politics today.  It is all about the few who are elected rather than those they serve.  Jesus turns all this stuff upside down.  He gives us new marching orders.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”.  It isn’t about me – it is about loving others.  It is about living like Jesus lived.  The focus is not on self, but on those in our patch.  Is that how you are living – focused on loving those around you?  It should begin at home and spill to all we touch.  Why?  Because it shows who we belong to.  It shows that someone other than self is in charge.  “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”.  It is the sign that we are walking with Jesus.  We need to really ponder how we live.  Are we people of love – where others are put first?  Or do we spend our days focused on self and what we can do for me, myself and I?  Jesus way is very different than that. It isn’t just a suggestion either – it is our commandment! 

Luke 22

Luke 22 gives us a few more details of the events leading up to the crucifixion.  Dr. Luke is a bit more of a detail guy than the other gospel writers.  He tells us that “Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot”.  The enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy, and every one of us is his target.  Remember that Judas Iscariot has spent the last three years literally in the company of Jesus.  And yet, with all that first-hand experience and training, he still is a target.  Satan comes after him and takes advantage of his weaknesses – greed and power being the key ones that appear to cause Judas to betray Jesus.  At the Last Supper, Jesus lets the 12 know that one of them will betray Him.  They immediately look around and ask who that might be.  But very shortly the focus changed from identifying who the betrayer might be, to who is the greatest.  Check out what Luke writes: “they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.  A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest”.  Do you see the transition?  From being concerned about who would be the one to betray Jesus to arguing about who would be the greatest. The focus changes to self and completely moves away from the issue at hand.  Is Satan tempting them by working on their humanness?  Sure, just like he caused them to fall asleep while they were to be praying as Jesus asked. Jesus doesn’t get wrapped up in their petty arguments but gives a very important statement: “I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom”.  Jesus is telling the 12 that the time is near when they need to step up and continue the work that He had started. They definitely are not tuned in, but the words are important.

Jesus also makes it clear that Satan wants to come after Peter.  He says Satan wants to get to Peter “that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”.  Jesus knows that Peter will fail and fall to temptation.  He knows that Peter will deny Him.  But as we often see in scripture, there is grace for those who fail.  God can not only restore, but can then turn and use sinners to make significant impact after restoration.  That is Peter’s fate.  He completely falls off the bus – he denies ever knowing Jesus at all.  But Jesus tells him that he will play a critical role in the early church – to be one who strengthens the brothers.  Elsewhere we know Jesus said Peter will be the “rock” on which the church would be built.  That doesn’t sound like a guy who would deny the Man he has followed for the last three years.  But that is how God works.  He takes us where we are and exercises grace as we repent and come back to Him.  We know that Peter denies Jesus three times as different people accuse him of being one of the 12. Luke adds one critical fact: “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter”.  Remember that Peter was not close – he was hiding in the shadows and staying away from the crowd.  Jesus turns and looks at Peter.  He makes eye contact.  At that moment scripture tells us that “he went out and wept bitterly”.  Peter knew he needed to repent.  He had failed His Lord.  He had turned his back on the One who He had been following and decided to give his life to.  But when the chips are down, he turns his back and denies Jesus.  Our relationship with Jesus is very personal.  Jesus knows us deeply.  Jesus knows our heart.  He is the intimately knowledgeable of who we are and how we relate to Him.  Do you deny Jesus?  If you do, it is time to evaluate your relationship with the Savior.  Are you in denial?  Or do you just need to come to the Savior?               

Mark 14

Mark 14 gives us another look at the events just prior to the crucifixion.  Jesus has a couple of his disciples go to prepare a place for them to have their last supper together.  He sends them off with some very specific instructions of what to do: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us”.  I can’t imagine being one of the guys sent ahead to prepare.  Sure Jesus…..we are going to walk into a city and be able to spot this guy carrying a jar of water who will just happen to lead us to the place we are to go and when we tell the master of the house we want to use his place he will take us there.  But guess what – it happened exactly as Jesus said.  They went…they saw….they followed his direction…they prepared.  The group met and ate and drank and shared together for the last time.  Jesus tells them this night that “after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee”.  I am not sure they were listening because they had just been told that one of them would betray Him.  But it will be an important statement after the resurrection – another prophecy or foretelling of the truth that they will come to remember. 

You’ll remember from our study of this section in Matthew that Jesus took the three disciples in His inner circle – Peter, James and John – with Him to pray.  They didn’t – they fell asleep.  But beyond praying for the events to come, Jesus gives us a deeper glimpse into why prayer is so important.  Check out what He says: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”.  Prayer is one of the ways we can deal with temptation.  Scripture is clear that we will be tempted.  The enemy is focused on tempting us to cause us to sin.  But here Jesus tells us to watch and pray so we don’t fall to temptation.  It is a key weapon in our walk toward holiness – along with the Scriptures – to doing battle with the enemy.  Jesus asks these three to pray and prepare for what was to come.  Unfortunately they fall asleep instead – but we see the principle here.  Are you spending time in prayer?  It is a spiritual discipline we all need if we intend to walk with Him.  One last thing Mark captures here that is different: “And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked”.  Could it be the first streaker?  I had never caught this little sentence before, but it is certainly interesting.  Pray much – it is key to our ability to deal with temptation and to experience the power of God in our lives!     

Matthew 26:31- 75

Matthew 26:31-75 captures the story of Jesus betrayal. Jesus warns the twelve that they willall fall away because of me this night”.  Of course they all say they won’t ever do that, but Peter is the spokesman and really puts it on the line when he boasts “I will never fall away”.  Jesus tells him exactly what is to come when He says “before the rooster crows you will deny me three times”.  Jesus is troubled by the coming events and takes His three closest disciples with Him to go and pray.  He asks them to stay and watch and pray,  He goes a bit further and pours out His heart saying “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will”.  Jesus is agonizing about what is to come.  He seeks the Father to see if there might be another way.  But His agenda is clear – He is totally committed to following and obeying God’s will and direction even unto death.  Jesus is all in.  His key disciples – the inner team if you will – are overcome.  Three times He asks them to “watch and pray” and all three times He returns to find them sleeping again.  They do not completely understand the gravity of the situation.  The third time He awakens them is right before Judas Iscariot shows up with the mob to arrest Jesus.  Judas had set forth a plan: “the one I kiss is the Man”.  And that is exactly how it went down.  Judas comes up to Jesus and “kissed Him” and betrays Him into the hands of the crowd to be dragged back to Caiaphas the high priest and the religious leaders. There was a momentary challenge put up by one of the disciples when he “drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear”.  Momentary delay as there were four of them against a mob of angry people that had been assembled by the leaders to go get Jesus. 

As Jesus had predicted, “all the disciples left Him and fled”.  Peter “was following Him at a distance” but none of the ones who had spent the last three years living and walking with Jesus daily were with Him now as He is accused and facing death.  Only hours earlier they had all said they would be with Him through it all, but now that they have seen what is happening they scatter like flies. Peter wants to be close enough to the situation to know what is going down.  He stays in the shadows at a distance watching as Jesus is falsely accused and sentenced as a blasphemer.  Then it began to happen.  One by one people began looking at who was in the crowd watching.  “A servant girl came to Peter and said “you also were with Jesus…..but he denied it”.  A bit later another servant girl came and said “this man was with Jesus…..again he denied it”.   Soon thereafter one of the bystanders came up to Peter and said “certainly you too are one of them….he began to invoke a curse on himself and swear ‘I do not know the man’”.  Three times people recognize Peter as having been with Jesus and three times he denies it, each a little more strongly.  He does exactly what he told Jesus he would not do – fall away and run from knowing him.  Peter is focused on saving his skin and not being associated with the Man whom he had followed for the last three years to protect his own life.  “Immediately the rooster crowed…..and he went out and wept bitterly”.  Peter remembered what Jesus had told him – that before the night was over he would deny Jesus three times.  He did, and the rooster was the reminder of that prophecy.  Peter is devastated.  He has done exactly what he said he would not.  So how do you respond when your faith is challenged or someone asks you about Jesus?  Do you run and deny that you know Him?  Or are you completely sold out for Him, willing to stand firm and defend Him as your Savior and Lord?  Is Jesus only there when you are alone and no one else knows?  Or are you living life so that everyone sees and knows that He is King in your life and you are all in for Him?  Do you deny Him?  We will learn that Peter does not lose his place of importance in God’s plan with this denial.  But it is a very hard time as God builds his character and grows him to become the “rock” of the church as Jesus told him earlier.

Matthew 26:1-30

Matthew 26:1-30 gives us the details of the coming death of Jesus.  He was with his disciples and tells them “the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified”.  Can you imagine receiving that statement?  They have walked with Him the last three years and then one day out of the blue He begins talking about His death.  Of course it shouldn’t have been a surprise, after all there were many prophecies about it and Jesus has more than hinted previously, but this day would prove to be one where they really began to see the events that were coming.  The religious leaders “plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill Him”.  There was still fear of what the people would do if they messed with Jesus.  But they were now committed to getting rid of Him.  They decide not to do it during the Passover feast to avoid the wrath of the people.  Meanwhile, Jesus and the disciples were going on with life.  A woman comes to the place He was eating at a house in Bethany and pours a flask of very expensive oil on His head.  “When the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘why this waste’”?  They were definitely not seeing the big picture yet.  Jesus tells them to leave her alone as “in pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare Me for burial”.  The guys hadn’t quite put two and two together yet.  They weren’t quite picking up what He had put down as the reality of the next days.

Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests to ask “what will you give me if I deliver Him over to you”.  Talk about being an opportunist.  Judas was driven by greed.  He enjoyed the gig the 12 had going and wasn’t about to let Jesus derail his interpretation of building the Kingdom which was not even remotely close to what Jesus’ version of that was.  Judas Iscariot was looking for an earthly kingdom where he could be one of the ruling team.  Of course Jesus came to die for our sin and prepare the way for God’s Kingdom in heaven, but there was a complete disconnect between that and what Judas was expecting.  So he went and put a price on Jesus’ head – “they paid him thirty pieces of silver”.  Not really much but enough for Judas because “from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray Him”.  Later that day they gathered and shared the first communion together by breaking bread and taking the cup from Jesus.  It was at that meal that Jesus tells the 12 that someone would betray Him.  And here is the response: “Is it I, Lord”?  They all were asking.  Even Judas Iscariot asked that question and Jesus identified him as the one but didn’t really call him out or make a big deal out of it.  Why?  Because Jesus was on the course of obedience to God’s will.  He knew He had to die to fulfill God’s plan.  So the time continued with the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.  It had to be a powerful time for them then, just as it should be for us now when we partake of it in our worship time.  “When they had sung a hymn, they went out”.  This really sets the stage for the events that are to come.  The group now has been told – they still don’t understand all that it means – but it will become very evident over the next hours and days as Jesus goes to the Cross and then rises from the grave.  Have you experienced the power of His crucifixion and resurrection?  Do you realize that your sin put Him on that Cross?  We all need to ask “is it I” when it comes to Jesus.  And the answer is – yes – He went to the Cross for your sin and mine!

Matthew 25

Matthew 25 is a couple parables that Jesus uses to teach some powerful lessons.  The first is about the 10 virgins.  Five are called wise because they came prepared by bringing along extra oil for their lamp, the other five foolish because they made no preparation.  We need to be ready.  There couldn’t be a much clearer way to tell us to wake up and prepare for Christ coming again.  As the bridegroom approached, the five foolish virgins had a problem their “lamps are going out” and they plead for oil from the five who were prepared.  The prepared didn’t have enough extra so the fools went to buy oil.  But the bridegroom came and “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut”.  Did you catch that?  He went in with those who were ready and shut the door.  As the other five return they say “Lord, Lord, open to us” but it is too late.  The door has been closed and they are on the wrong side of it.  The second parable is that of the talents.  Jesus shares that one servant is given five, one two and the last a single talent. The Master is gone for a while and upon return asks to see what they had done with their gifts.  Of course the first two had doubled their amount, the last just returned what he had been given.  Jesus says these words to the first two: “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much”.  Those are words we should all long to hear.  We are in the same spot as these servants were.  God has entrusted things to us to be stewards of during our life here on earth.  We will give account one day for what we did with the things He entrusted to us.  What will your story be?  Have you taken the gifts, talents, money, time and every other thing God has given and used it well for Him?  Will He say “well done” when you stand before Him on judgment day?  Or will your story be like the last servant – who hid what he had been given in the ground and didn’t use it at all for his Master?  The response to that poor guy was not positive: “cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness”.  How we live matters my friends.  We need to be prepared and we plan for how we will serve our Lord.  And we need to use what He has given us wisely to make a difference for His Kingdom.  It makes a big difference for what our eternity will look like.

Jesus clearly tells us what will happen at the end.  “He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”.  That seems pretty harsh doesn’t it?  Doesn’t really seem to be fair at all.  But God is not about fairness, He is about justice and being true to His Word.  And the time is coming when there will be a very distinct separation made.  “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”.  There will be one group that will inherit eternal life and spend eternity with God in heaven, and another that will be separated from God and spend eternity in hell. It doesn’t get much plainer than what Jesus tells us here.  He goes on to drive home the point that how we live really matters.  Check out what He says:

–       For I was hungry and you gave me food

–       I was thirsty and you gave me drink

–       I was a stranger and you welcomed me

–       I was naked and you clothed me

–       I was sick and you visited me

–       I was in prison and you came to me

Never believe that life doesn’t matter.  How we live has a huge impact in our relationship with God.  Jesus tells us that many will come to Him in those last days and say “Lord, when did we see you……” in one of these situations.   Jesus is very clear when He responds:Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”.  How we live makes a huge difference.  We need to live and love like Jesus.  To do that we need a personal relationship with Him.  The judgment won’t be about life being fair.  It will absolutely be about what we did with Jesus.  Are you ready?   

Matthew 24

Matthew 24 addresses the Second Coming of Jesus.  It contains much of the same information we studied from other writers.  Matthew focuses a lot on the deceivers.  “Many will come in my name saying ‘I am the Christ’ and they will lead many astray”.  We are entering a time of deception and false teaching along God’s timeline toward eternity.  Deceivers are not blatantly wrong in what they say.  They mix a part of truth with their deception.  There are enough things we know to be so, that it becomes difficult to know what they are teaching that is a lie.  It has been happening since the beginning of time as Satan is the great deceiver.  But more and more we will see it in our patch – in churches and other places we trust – and we have to know how to identify it.  People who are experts in counterfeit detection learn that skill one way – by studying the original and true things before they begin to try and identify those that are knockoffs or human attempts to recreate it.  The only way we will ever know when deception comes our way is to know God’s truth so we can compare the things that are said with that.  We have to know the Bible and what God has told us.  That is the only way to know when deceivers are at work.  Does it matter – or can we just go along with the crowd and take in all that deception without any impact.  Jesus says it this way: “many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another… many false prophets will arise and lead many astray….love of many will grow cold”.  Identifying deception will be key to our ability to stay connected with God and not miss eternity with Him.

As Jesus continues He tells us that “the one who endures to the end will be saved”.  It comes down to our knowing Jesus and staying true to Him and our faith in His blood shed on the Cross.  We are taking the coming of our Lord pretty much in stride.  We live our lives like tomorrow will come and be just like today.  It won’t be that way when the appointed day comes.  We will “see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.  He is coming again.  And here is the reality of how we live, just as scripture tells us: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”.  We are just going on with our lives like nothing will change or happen.  It is all about us.  We need to heed Jesus advice to “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming”.  All we know for sure is that He is coming back.  He will come and bring His followers to eternal life in heaven. Jesus is the real deal and will come to claim those that are His.  We stay awake by spending some of our 168 hours in prayer and God’s Word and fellowship with others.  We are enduring when we walk in obedience to His direction for our lives every moment of every day.  We will be sorely disappointed if we think we can just wait until the last minute and get everything in order.  We need to get ready and stay on task and stay awake and endure.  Jesus is coming again.  Are you ready?

Mark 13

Mark 13 gives us a glimpse of Jesus telling His disciples about the coming of the end times and the end of life as we know it on earth.  They are looking at some of the great buildings of their day, and Jesus gives them a very graphic description of what is to come: “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down”.  Are you getting the picture?  When He comes again, when this life on earth ceases to be as it has been, it all changes and is destroyed.  We spend our entire lives building and accumulating stuff that will be gone in an instant when He comes again.  There are a number of things that will happen first, and we would do well to know what is to come: “wars and rumors of wars….nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…..earthquakes…..famines”.  Any of that sound familiar to you?  There is a very specific set of things that will happen before our Lord returns, but we are definitely moving toward that day.  Will it be a cakewalk?  Absolutely not.  “You will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them”.  It is not going to be a painless and enjoyable time for Christ Followers to experience.  Yet it is what is to come.  But before it can occur, Jesus tells us “the gospel must first be proclaimed to all the nations”.  God will not rush on this.  His will is that none should perish but all have the opportunity to find eternal life through Jesus.  So there is a lot of work to yet be done.  There are many who have not yet heard, and that message must be spread to all.

Jesus goes on to tell us “in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now”.  There have been some pretty horrific things occur over history.  Lots of them actually.  But scripture tells us that we haven’t seen anything yet.  It is going to get rough for sure.  “False christs and false prophets will arise…..to lead astray”.  There will be people who come telling folks things that are not true preying on their fear.  We need to know scripture clearly so we can identify what is false.  We need to be able to recognize truth and know what is of God versus simply from an impostor.  Jesus tells us to do a few things: “be on guard…..stay awake”.  Two simple rules we need to heed as we watch for His coming.   We must be careful not to be led astray by those who are trying to keep people from the Father.  We need to guard our faith.  It isn’t as simple as just believing and then sitting and waiting for Him to come again.  We need to be diligent to protect our faith by prayer and fellowship and study of His Word.  We need to work at being a strong Christ Follower.  We also need to stay awake and pay attention, because the attacks will come when we least expect them and from places we would not look for them to originate.  We need to be alert.  We need to watch and pray and be ready for God’s timing.  Are you ready?  Have you put your life in order and know where eternity will be spent?   It is time.  Get things right with God!

Luke 21

Luke 21 tells us about the end times.  Jesus gives us more insight into what is to come.  Things will be overturned – the routine will go away – that which we think is unchangeable will be shaken.  “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down”.  Things are going to get interesting for sure.  Along the way “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them”.  There will be a lot of people crying that the sky is falling that will not have it right.  There will be many trying to round up followers by creating fear of these coming events.  We see it all around us.  But no one ones the day or time – scripture is clear on that.  Jesus did tell us what events will take place as we move toward the final day of reckoning.  He tells us not to get too worried as we hear many things – “when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once”.  There is a lot of water that has to go under the bridge.  Jesus tells us to watch for these things:

–       “Nation will rise against nation

–       kingdom against kingdom

–       There will be great earthquakes

–       in various places famines and pestilences

–       there will be terrors and great signs from heaven

–       But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you

–       delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons

–       you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake

Lots of things have to happen before He comes again.  Jesus tells us what we need to do as we see these things coming: “This will be your opportunity to bear witness…. I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict”.  We aren’t just supposed to sit back and watch it happen.  This is our opportunity to speak truth – to share God’s love with all.  Will everyone receive it well?  Not exactly.  Jesus tells us “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake”.  Now that really makes you want to speak up doesn’t it?  Knowing that the response of many will be hatred and likely blaming you for being part of the wheels coming off their comfortable life.  It’s easier to just keep the old mouth shut isn’t it?  But Jesus tells us why we need to speak boldly about these things and bear witness to Him: “By your endurance you will gain your lives”.  Did you catch that?  It is by living consistently and daily for Him that we will be able to maintain our lives and not get sucked into the terror and fear that most will face.  We need to stay close to Jesus.  “The powers of the heavens will be shaken”.  All that we thought we knew will likely be changing.  We need to cling to the Rock, to hang on to the one thing that is the same yesterday, today and forever.  We need to realize that soon we “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”.  It doesn’t get any better than this!  Jesus is coming again.  We are told to “stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man”.  Are you ready for Jesus to come again?  Are you walking with endurance and staying close to the Savior?  Are you speaking truth and bearing witness to Him?  We have work to do.  Let’s get after it!

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