I pass this thought on because of the closing word “Maranatha” often used before signing off. I heard several references to “end times” this past week and reflected on the scriptural implication for myself.
Peter provided a clear list of activities to be undertaken in the last days:
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:7-11 NIV (1984)
What are the things I should be doing, particularly in these days? In what ways are each to be done?
Jesus startled everyone when he said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:13-15)
If Jesus said this in our church or any gathering of religious people what would they think or say? What would you say?
Seems like the issues is do I love God or money? It is not both/and but in Jesus’ words, either/or. This is a hard statement in our day. So is the follow-on summary, “…that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
Take a moment to reflect on these verses. What is the Lord saying to you?
There seems to be trouble all around these days. Certainly when we read any news source or watch any news broadcast, trouble is what is discussed. Then we look at the people close to us or even our own experience and know that trouble is all too common. The daily reminder of our global pandemic with its hardships and danger remind us of our frailty. Where do we find help in times of trouble? “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” … “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” … “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” (Psalms 46:1-3 , 7,10-11)
Take a few minutes to reflect on this passage in light of the trouble before you and your loved ones. What hope does this passage bring? What perspective do you gain? Thank the Lord of hosts for His help.
We are bombarded by messages of conflict, hopelessness and hate. The media attempts to separate us and urge us to look with evil eyes toward the opposition. How do we maintain a spirit of hope when the world says there is none unless their party wins or all “unjust” past acts are rectified? Hope and peace are hard to find these days.
Paul has some advice that is relevant today. Before you read this, please note that he wrote this while in a Roman prison.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)
Take a minute to read this short passage. What is the Lord saying to you? How does He want you to apply this today? May He give you hope and peace in these days.