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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.

2 Peter 3:8-10 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

When my daughter was very young I began reading Bible stories and children’s devotions to her at bedtime. I told her about heaven and that Jesus was going to come one day. I told her that there would be no pain and no tears in heaven. Due to the tension between her father and me, our home was not a happy one, and she often asked when Jesus was going to come. She was so eager for him to come.

In a similar way, many scoffers point out how many years Christians have been waiting for Jesus to come as an excuse to justify their disbelief. This passage speaks directly to this situation. God tells us He is not being slow. Rather, He is being patient. He wants to give us maximum opportunity to accept Him so we may enter His Kingdom according to His time. If a day is like a thousand years to God, we are about to enter the third day since his promise was given.

Likewise, it was approximately about 2,000 years from the time God promised that a Messiah would come until Jesus’ birth. God keeps his promises, but He does so in his own time frame. We have one instruction from him in light of this promise: He tells us to be ready.

Father God, keep fresh in our hearts the reality of Your promises. Help us to appreciate your faithfulness and generosity instead of becoming impatient or losing faith. Thank you for giving us the gift of your Son and for all the promises that He brought to us.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Peter 1:5-8 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens. 

This passage doesn’t ask much does it? (I ask with my tongue in my cheek.) This list of virtues can be a bit overwhelming at first glance.

This is such a huge passage to get my mind around, but as I look at it, I recognize a growing kind of pattern to the list: 

We start with proclaiming our faith in Christ Jesus as our Savior. Then we set out to do the good things that we know Jesus wants us to do. We soon realize that there is much we need to learn if we are going to follow his teachings. The more we learn, we begin to discover areas of our lives that we need to change requiring a measure of self-control. Some of these changes may be difficult for us, and we may struggle to persevere in them. As we make these changes we will show more godliness in our manner. This godliness should express itself in brotherly kindness to others, and ultimately a measure of love that only Christ can help us to attain.

Verse 8 tells why these qualities are so very important. If our Christian walk is to be effective we must continually reach higher in our relationship with Christ. What Christian in his/her right mind would be satisfied to be ineffective and unproductive?

I believe it would be helpful to print out this list of virtues as a challenge to ever grow in our faith. Here is the list if you would like to print it out. Or you may click on the link at the bottom for an MS Word file you can print out. I think it best to begin at the bottom as growing in our faith makes us taller in our faith.

Love

Brotherly Kindness

Godliness

Perseverance

Self-Control

Knowledge

Goodness

Faith

God’s Growth Chart (2)  (Click on link for 8.5 x 11 poster with clip art.)

Lord Jesus, enable us to see ourselves honestly in light of these virtues. Give us such a great hunger to know you better and to serve you more that we will grow closer to the top of this list day by day. Don’t let us settle to be second class Christians who are satisfied to blend in with the world and look and act like everyone else.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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