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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.

Isaiah 53:1-9 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

What was behind it all? Why did Jesus allow people to abuse him the way He did? I remember a time when a friend of mine suggested that Jesus had just given up on the world and let His enemies put an end to His life. According to my friend there was an article in Playboy magazine about it.

Read what God had to say about Him before Jesus ever came to earth. Here is Jesus’ destiny spelled out in words only those who choose to be ignorant can deny. Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself in Isaiah 53:1-9.

Jesus didn’t attract crowds because he was handsome or winsome in his manner. He attracted crowds by doing miracles of healing and feeding people.

The people loved him for the things he could do for them, not for his messages of faith. His true followers were few. He knew the people’s hearts and thoughts. He knew they would abandon him when there was conflict.

Jesus experienced the sorrow of this knowledge long before he experienced the sorrow in its highest hour: his crucifixion, separation from God Himself, and death. He experienced the torture of the Roman soldiers. First their ridicule, then the crown of thorns, then the beating with the whip containing fragments of bone to tear His flesh. Then he had to carry his own cross up the hill (until he stumbled and fell under its weight and a bystander was ordered to carry it the rest of the way). He was then nailed to the cross, the cross was lifted up and dropped into the post-hole that had been dug in the ground. There he was left to die a grueling death of suffocation that resulted from the way crucifixion was designed to torture its victims.

Why did Jesus do this? Why did he allow this to happen to Him without opening His mouth to defend Himself? Because He knew that He was the only person in all eternity who would be in a position to be the sacrifice to pay for our sins. The only sacrifices God would accept had to be perfect in every way. No other human would ever be able to come close to this, yet Jesus had fulfilled the requirement completely.

All of Jesus’ sufferings were endured for one reason alone: to show us his unconditional love and to pay the price God requires to cover our sins. Put your name in the scripture verse every place you see a pronoun such as “we” or “our” or “us.” It is that personal.

If you accept this wonderful news along with this most gracious gift, then you are accepted by God as His own. You will be welcomed into His Kingdom when this fleeting life is over. If you reject this news as foolishness, then you declare yourself to be a fool who says in his heart there is no God. (See Psalm 14:1) There is no hope for you outside of what you get in this life.

If you have accepted His gift of salvation, you will be blessed. Consider how you have thanked Him? Do you simply say “Thank you, sir” and then go your own way forgetting the price he paid for your sins? I can not imagine a more ungrateful heart.

A gift is free, true, it is getting something for nothing. But I can’t help but wonder if many think they have accepted this gift when in fact they only accepted a fake ticket, like the thousands who ate the bread on the hillside when Jesus fed the multitudes. They ate the physical bread but rejected the spiritual bread Jesus had to offer. They ate to fill their stomachs, not their hearts.

Consider fresh and new if you have indeed accepted God’s gift of salvation. Reread Isaiah 53:1-9. If you heart is not filled with the kind of gratitude that makes you want to serve Him, you may never have accepted his true gift of salvation in the first place. Don’t settle for temporary bread to fill your stomach, accept the true Bread of Life. Accept Jesus for who He is, not who you want to make Him out to be, and your heart will be filled with gratitude and joy.

Father God, you know my heart. Break it if you must, but don’t allow me to settle for temporary bread that makes me think everything is OK with You when there may be real problems I need to deal with. Open my eyes and my heart to the awesomeness of your sacrifice for me so that I can respond with nothing less than full gratitude and a life dedicated in service to you.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

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Isaiah 11:1-3  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Jesus is the branch that was to come up from the stump of Jessie. This is one of the prophesies of the Old Testament that predicted the coming of the Messiah. Jessie was the father of David, and the Messiah was foretold to be descended from King David.

The rest of this passage elaborates on the attributes of Jesus as they were foretold by the prophet Isaiah. Jesus came with the Spirit of the Lord resting in him including the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of power, as well as the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Verse 3 tells foretold that Jesus would not judge by mere appearances and here-say, but he would be able to judge correctly by seeing deeper.

Father God, thank you for the Scriptures of the Old Testament which foretold of Jesus’ coming long before he appeared on this earth, for by them we are given yet one more piece of assurance that you are who you say you are and that Jesus is truly your Son. Help us to worship him with our whole hearts.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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13 For the LORD has chosen Zion,
     
he has desired it for his dwelling:
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
     
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it–
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
     
her poor will I satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
     
and her saints will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
     
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
     
but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”

Psalm 132:13-18 (NIV)  

OK, now. This selection starts off with the LORD having chosen “Zion” as his dwelling place. I’ll have to admit that I’ve sung songs like “We’re Marching to Zion” and I’ve always had this warm fuzzy feeling when I heard the name, but today I had to look it up. Zion is often used as another name for Jerusalem which has also been called the City of David. More specifically it refers to a hill in Jerusalem, the highest point, which is considered to be the most holy place in Jerusalem. Zion is also referred to as heaven by many.

God has pronounced his blessings on Zion, declaring her (he uses feminine pronouns for Zion) to be his resting place forever. He has promised to bless and provide for her and her priests and saints forever.

God promises a “horn” which will grow for David. Fortunately for me, I read the footnotes on the word horn long ago and learned that whenever it is used it is referring to strength. These verses are referring not only to David’s son, Solomon, but they refer to Jesus Christ as well, the Most Holy descendent of David.

We mustn’t read these verses without recognizing the validity of the hand of God. Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish faith from the time of King David. It was the center of the Jewish religion when Jesus walked this earth. It was the location where Jesus’ crucifiction, death, burial, and resurrection took place. Even though the Jewish nation hasn’t always held possession of Jerusalem, they have succeeded in regaining control of it. The whole world is focused on Jerusalem and the Middle East today causing many to read or re-read the book of Revelation.

Father God, may these verses increase our faith as we recognize your hands at work in the time of David, the time of Christ, and in our present and future. Give us the confidence and courage to continually put our faith and trust in you alone.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice 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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     16 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:      “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.     18 “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, 19 O LORD. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.

1 Chronicles 17:16-19 (NIV)

What kind of impact did Nathan’s words (prophesy from God) have on David? Did he exalt himself and rejoice in his good fortune like we might be tempted to do if we were to win some great sweepstakes? These verses make it clear that David’s response was just the opposite. He began his prayer with “Who am I, O LORD God…” He was overwhelmed with his own smallness, and asked God why he was chosen to be so exalted. Nothing in David’s words reflect even a hint of his seeking recognition or power; he can only express words of wonder that God should bless him.

How unlike David I am. I want to serve God, yet I crave seeing his blessings on my work. I enjoy recognition to the point that sometimes it seems to become an idol. But even God described David as a man after God’s heart. It was his ability to humble himself that made it possible for God to use him in such a mighty way.

Lord, help us to see ourselves for who we really are. May we, like David, recognize your hand at work in every good thing we do; and may we be willing to give you all the praise, honor and glory when we are able to accomplish good works in your strength. Be with our leaders and help them to aspire to be like David, seeking to please you and serve those you have placed under their influence.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice 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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11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'” 

    15 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

1 Chronicles 17:11-15 (NIV)

God promised to bless David, but his blessings weren’t to stop there. One of his sons would build the house that David wanted to build. This refers to Solomon who would build the glorious Solomon’s Temple that is often spoken of in Scripture. Yet the blessings still didn’t stop there as this prophesy wasn’t only speaking of Solomon and his temple, but of Jesus who was also a descendent of David. Jesus is the Son whose throne would be established forever. Jesus is the one who God set over his house and kingdom forever.

How blessed we are to have the whole story today. David heard these words as Nathan spoke them to him and could only wonder what they all meant.

Father God, thank you for the gift of your Word which reveals your Son to us, even through the words of the prophets who couldn’t fully understand them at the time they spoke them. We thank you for their faithfulness to you in speaking words given to them by your divine guidance. Continue to bless us through your Holy Spirit that we may receive the messages you hold for us in your Word, the Holy Bible.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice 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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