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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives. (2 Peter 3:10-11 NIV)

Have you heard the latest predictions? The world is coming to an end on December 21, 2012 – so some people think. Search Google and find out for yourself about some of these wild predictions. Does this put fear in your heart?

Our Bible passage was written almost 2000 years ago with a message that is quite similar, but the world seems to have dismissed this warning. Only a few have taken it seriously in recent years. But now with this new prophecy more people are tieing it together.

These doomsday predictors are missing one significant point. The day of destruction will come like a thief in the night. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus tells his disciples, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

According to this passage contemporary prophecies like December 21, 2012 are wrong. How can any mortal man have more knowledge about the end of time than Jesus and all the angels in heaven?

The Bible tells us there will be rumors of this kind in the end times. So for that reason I believe the end times may be very near. We may see it in our own lifetimes. But we have no guarantee of three more years, it could come today or tomorrow or next week. Like Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

The other side of this issue is that the end of the world may not happen for another thousand years. Many have predicted a specific day for Christ’s return and the day came and went without incident. These people were prepared to go to eternity, but they weren’t prepared for tomorrow and the day after that. Our nation and world have become very unstable in many ways. We need to be paying attention and preparing ourselves to survive within our communities by working together and living in harmony with one another.

What would Jesus find in your heart and life if he came today? Are you focused on yourself or on the needs of others? 2 Peter 3:11-18 offers a plan of action for preparing for the last days. Become pure and blameless. Live at peace with God.

Make certain of your salvation. Your life in eternity is at stake. Seek the LORD while he may be found;  call on him while he is near.. (Isaiah 55:6)

Are you ready? Jesus is eagerly waiting for you to seek his face.

Dear Father God, guard over our hearts and lives. Help us to seek you with all our hearts so we will be ready for you when you come. Guide our steps in the way you would have us to go so that we may spend eternity with you in heaven.

For more on the end of time, read both of these chapters in their entirety by following these links: 2 Peter 3, and Matthew 24.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 NIV)

Do you have days, sometimes weeks, months, even years, when you find it hard to be thankful? …times when life’s disappointments and burdens weigh you down and you find yourself dwelling and stewing over them? It seems unpatriotic or sacrilegious to mention such a thing now, one day before Thanksgiving, but for many it is reality. Thanksgiving and Christmas bring with them great expectations of family celebrations and traditions… and disappointment over unmet expectations.

I suggest Colossians 3:16 may offer some insight to how we can rise above these situations and cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. If we cultivate the peace of Christ in our hearts, and if we make it a matter of will to keep our eyes on Jesus, we will feel his presence lifting us up even in our disappointments. The Bible often mentions a “sacrifice of praise.” This happens when we praise God in spite of our disappointments, even daring to praise him for the things that cause us grief. In my own experience, it has been the hard times that brought me closer to God. What I would have missed if life had always gone my way – what a spoiled brat I would have become.

Make your Bible your favorite book. A good concordance may help you find scriptures to meet your particular needs for the day. The Psalms are a great place to go when your spirit needs a lift. Spend time in prayer, and sing praises to God. If you listen to Christian music, especially scripture and praise songs, you bring in the assistance of those recorded voices to lift your spirit. Be pro-active in your praise and sing with them. God isn’t concerned over how well you sing, but he loves the sound of your voice when it is praising him. If you feel like crying, then cry your heart out to God. Remember that the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” He cares about your grief. Keep the music playing until you have cried it through, and let the praise songs lift you up into his presence.

A song that brings out how God blesses us through our trials is entitled, Through it All. Click the link and listen to the version I found on YouTube by The Booth Brothers. I hope these words bless you like they do me.

Father God, help us to truly be thankful to you as we experience the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Bless the needy out of your bounty so they can see your face and feel your peace.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Read John 14 (Click on the link to read it in NIV or select your prefered version when the window opens.)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

You hear it a lot today… “I’m a good person. I don’t need the church or all that Bible stuff. I’ve tried to live a good life like Jesus said we should. I’m not worried about the afterlife because I believe God will be okay with how I’ve lived my life.”

Others will ask, “How can God punish these ‘good’ people?”

I don’t believe God wants to punish people as much as people want to imply. That isn’t the problem at all. The problem is that God didn’t create a perfect and glorious place like heaven for people who don’t want him.

At the beginning of time God created the heavens and the earth. He brought mankind onto this earth, and he gave them the choice to accept or reject his commandments. Just as Adam and Eve rejected his first and only commandment in the Garden of Eden, man has continued to reject his commandments unto this day.

God gives us the opportunity to accept his forgiveness for our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. It was no small sacrifice for Jesus to endure the crucifixion and death on a cross to pay for our sins. The choice is ours. Do we want God or don’t we? If we choose Jesus we choose God. If we don’t choose Jesus we are saying we don’t want his Father, the God of all creation.

Those who don’t want God, have no right to expect him to open heaven’s doors to them when their time comes. By choosing not to follow God’s commandments people have messed up the earth already. The problems of humankind’s sins are escalating before our very eyes. Why should we expect God to allow this to happen to his glorious heaven as well?

So what about the punishment of hell? Do people who have tried to be good in their own strength but didn’t choose to accept Jesus have to be punished the same way as terrible criminals do? I won’t attempt to give an absolute answer here, only food for thought. If all the people who accepted Jesus go to heaven to be with God, Jesus, and all the heavenly angels; and only those who chose not to accept Jesus are left outside to fend for themselves with Satan and all his demons who are eager to offer their brand of spiritual help, what is it going to be like? 

The final word will be one of two: You wanted him and accepted him. {Or} You didn’t want him – you rejected him.

Father God, I pray for those who don’t understand, for those who are so willing to let themselves be fooled into believing their only measuring stick for entering heaven is how they measure up to the persons around them. Wake us all from our slumber and give us eyes to see who you really are. Show us your compassion.

Read the entire passage of John 14. It is so powerful.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

In the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses read the Ten Commandments to the people after he brought them down from the mountain where God gave them to Moses.

In chapter six Moses instructs parents to pass on the teachings and commandments of God to our children and our children’s children. Verses 4-9 are so powerful:

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How powerful and convicting are these words! I’m divided over how I should punctuate that last sentence… Perhaps it should read, “How powerful and convicting are these words?” At question is the spiritual temperature of Christian people today in a land that has been blessed to the point that God’s people have taken him for granted.

Re-read verse 4. Is God really first in our lives? We don’t have the option of setting God on a shelf along-side our wide-screen TVs, and our other personal treasures and beliefs. First means first, as in number one.

Re-read and consider verse 5. Where are our hearts and our souls? Where do we put our energy and our strength? Are we giving God our all, or is he getting snacks along the way – like the biscuits we throw to our dogs every now and then?

Verse 7 should be written on the heart of every Christian parent.     “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Is this happening in our Christian homes today? Do our children hear about God and Jesus at home, or do we expect our Sunday school teachers to do all the teaching on the Sundays we happen to show up? I am thankful that I have known a few strong Christian parents who took this verse seriously, and their children are a living testimony to the fact that they did. But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the norm in many church-going families today. When was the last time you talked to your child about Jesus? How are you setting the example to put God first in everything? Have your children seen you reading your Bible today? Have they heard you pray? God holds parents accountable to instruct their children in matters of faith. If you love God with all your heart, you are teaching your children faithfully.

Father God, you have told us what you want us to know, but we haven’t always been willing to listen. Enable us to clean out our spiritual ears so that we may hear you. Help us to clean up our rusty dusty hearts so that we may love you fully. Never let us forget the price you had to pay just to get our attention, let alone to forgive us of all of our sins. Help us to draw nearer to you every day of our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

I can’t help but have a mixture of feelings as I read this passage. God’s love is so true, so faithful, so deep…  But my love is so faltering, and so conditional, so dependent on my fickle moods.

But one thing I can count on – if I immerse myself in His word and bathe myself in prayer, my feelings of relationship with Christ become like a full cup. And as I drink my fill, I find myself wanting more.

The problem is that even though I know this in my head, and it penetrates into my heart when I take the time; I all too often get too busy with stuff, and days pass with only spurts, bits and pieces of relationship.

This verse is Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Philippi. This should be a reminder for us – to pray for each other that we will continually seek, find, and grow in the love of Christ, that we will grow in knowledge of Christ, and that our insights will be deep. Then we will have Godly wisdom to guide us in all our lives and we will be able to joyfully serve Him and bring peace to our hearts and glory to His name.

Father God, lead us in your righteousness. Draw us unto you. Give us willing spirits to continually seek and love you with all our hearts. Help us to bear the fruit of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can give to us. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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