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Lord, It’s Useless to Fight Against Your Will—Acts 26:13-18

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1-44

**This prayer is for December 4th’s scripture reading

Heavenly Father, as Paul re-told the story of his conversation to King Agrippa and his wife, I thought, “who wouldn’t serve You with a conversion like this one!”

About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’

“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’ —Acts 26:13-18

Lord, I didn’t have a dramatic conversion like Paul. I became a Christian when I was ten years old. I didn’t see a light and hear a voice but there’s one thing that Paul and I have in common…

It’s useless for us to fight against Your will.

Lord, like many Christians I’ve spent much of my life searching, looking, and even fretting over Your will for my life. Sometimes we’re “working” so hard trying to find Your will that we actually are fighting against Your will. I definitely don’t have it all figured out but I know this–

I will arrive at Your will for my life with a less wounds and bloody knees if I just release MY will and rest in the fact that You will get Your will accomplished in my life.

I am learning that my greatest prayer is…

Lord, Your will be done–

on earth

on this day

and

in my life

–as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-13)

Lord, please anoint my desires so that they line up with Your will.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-31, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

Lord, I Want to Be a Risk-Taker—Mark 15:42-43

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Heavenly Father, I know I change my biblical heroes with everyday’s reading but today I’m amazed by Joseph of Arimathea.

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation,the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) —Mark 15:42-43

Lord, I know this is an important story because You inspired four different authors to record it. When I put the four accounts together Joseph definitely is someone we can learn a lot from.

Joseph risk his wealth, reputation and status to take on the role of a servant and honor his savior. Rich people don’t take bloody, beaten, dirty, and smelly people down from crosses–they have servants for that. Influential people don’t publicly honor someone who their peers and colleagues despise, it’s professional suicide.

Joseph took a risk and humbled himself to serve and care for his savior; talk about a public profession of faith!

Jesus, I can’t physically honor and care for You the way Joseph of Arimathea did but I can be that same kind of risk taker.

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ —Matthew 25:40

Holy Spirit, show me who to serve in Jesus Name as I go about my day.

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43. Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19–23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49

Lord, How Did She Do It? —John 19:25-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-24, Matthew 27:32-34, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17, Mark 15:25-32, Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43, John 19:18-27, Mark 15:33-41, Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37

Heavenly Father, as I read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion my thoughts went to Mary. How did she endure every mother’s worst nightmare—watching her child’s inhumane and torturous execution happen before her very eyes?

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. —John 19:25-27

Jesus, how did she stay there?

I’m sure it would have been easier for her to go home, cover her head and try to silence the mental images of what was happening. But Mary didn’t do the easy thing. As a mother who’s seen each of her children suffer through some hard times that look like a walk in the park compared to Your suffering, I can only see one way of getting through that day—the supernatural spirit of God.

Jesus, part of Your suffering on that day was to face crucifixion without Your Heavenly Father.

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” —Matthew 27:46

Jesus, no one could take the place of Your Heavenly Father. Mary couldn’t save You. She couldn’t ease Your pain. All she could do was stay with You. I can just imagine when Your eyes met Mary’s eyes. Love, comfort, and strength must have gone straight to Your heart like a laser beam. I have to believe Mary was Your Heavenly Father’s representative at the cross. I believe He was loving You through Mary.

Lord, in today’s world there is so much suffering and sadness. My natural reaction is to run and hide but people need Your love, comfort, and strength.

I need the courage of Mary. I need the strength to stand with them in their suffering to show Your love. Lord, give me the privilege of being Your representative in their tough times.

Holy Spirit, give me supernatural, unexplainable love and compassion for those You place in my life today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Lord, Does My Denial Disqualify My Calling? —Matthew 26:69-75

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

Heavenly Father, I really feel bad for Peter:

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. —Matthew 26:69-75

Peter’s words “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you” (Matthew 26:34) waved the red flag to Satan, the enemy of Peter’s soul. Satan said “Game On” and crafted a plan to get Peter to do the very thing that he never wanted to do—deny his Lord.

The same evil that caused Judas to betray Jesus caused Peter to deny Him. Satan used fear to get his plan accomplished in Peter’s life. He was afraid for his life, afraid for Jesus, afraid for the future and afraid of failure.

Jesus, Matthew recorded Your conversation with Peter (Matthew 16:17-19) where You changed his name and said You will build Your church upon this rock (Peter). I’m sure Peter thought his denial disqualified him for Your calling but the next time You saw him You did his first training session on building Your church (my interpretation) and there was no mention of denial, roosters, or fireside chats, just a check to make sure he still loved You and a charge to get to work and feed Your sheep.

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. —John 21:15-17

 

Lord, we all go through times of fear and doubt. We all make mistakes. Many times we choose the same path as Peter. We make grand claims to love and serve You at all costs and then we adversity strikes, we deny You.  But that does not diminish Your plans for us. You’re not even surprised by it. You understand the spiritual battle that’s raging much better than we do.

Lord, help me to realize the only way I can fail is to quit. Help me to learn from my mistakes and grow beyond them.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-2, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

Lord, Can We Talk Parent-to-Parent? —Matthew 26:39-56

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 18:1-2, Mark 14:32-42, Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:43-52, Matthew 26:47-56, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:3-24

Heavenly Father, can we talk parent-to-parent?

How did You control Your urge to snatch Your son out of the Garden of Gethesemane as he repeatedly pleaded for His suffering to be taken away? How did You do it? I know Your heart was breaking.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” —Matthew 26:39-46

Lord, the hardest trials I’ve ever experienced have been watching my children suffer. It’s heartbreaking to helplessly sit on the sidelines watching their lives head down a road “I” would never want them to travel.  But there’s something harder than that—watching Your only Son suffer for sin He didn’t commit when You have the ability to rescue Him in an instant!

Father, in my humanness I don’t know how You did it but as I read today’s scriptures I saw two reasons why You, Your Son, and Your Holy Spirit were willing to go through this pain and suffering:

1. It was Your will. That’s settled it for Your Son. He didn’t want to go to the cross and die but Your will and Your plan were more important and His human suffering.

The second reason came later in this chapter:

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. —Matthew 26:52-56

2. You do not lie. Repeatedly, in Your scriptures Your Son’s birth, death, and resurrection were predicted. You could have sent angels, You could have rescued Jesus with one word, but it is not possible for You to lie, so You kept Your Word and sent Your Son to rescue ME from sin and eternal death so that Your scriptures were fulfilled!

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. —Hebrews 6:18

Lord…

When I am fretting, crying, pleading for You to rescue my children from their suffering, help me to remember You know, You care, and You understand.

When I’m searching for reasons and answers, remind me that Your will and Your plans are bigger and better than mine and Your scriptures are being fulfilled in the lives of my children.

Lord, let Your Will be done in the lives of my children, grandchildren, and future generations. May we serve You all the days of our lives!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Mathew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

Lord, Sometimes I Don’t Practice What I Teach—Matthew 23:1-4

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:35-37, Matthew 22:41-46, Luke 20:41-44, Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 23:1-12, Luke 20:45-47, Matthew 23:13-39, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4

Heavenly Father, I really don’t want to go here. I really don’t want to admit that sometimes I don’t practice what I teach, but You and I both know it’s true. But it’s hard admitting it to the whole world!

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. –Matthew 23:1-4

Lord, being a teacher is a gift AND a curse. EVERYTHING new that I see, read, hear, think, or learn, I immediately want to share it with the world. When I think of all the “instruction” I’ve given the corporate world, the church, the cyberworld, and my family over the years…all I can say is “Lord, help me! There is no way I can live up to it all.”

I feel bad about not practicing what I teach about health, food, sleep, time management, worry, fear and many more things

but

Not always living out THESE verses is what really upsets me:

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. ’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” –Mark 12:28-31

Lord, I don’t always love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I don’t always love my neighbor as myself. I fail You. I misunderstand You. I don’t always follow through on my promises.

Jesus, trying to live out these verses, also known as the greatest commandment, is a tall order. Yes, I’ve failed at it but I won’t stop trying. I won’t stop writing. I won’t stop teaching. I won’t stop serving You.

I won’t stop striving to practice what I teach.

As Steve Furtick said on a podcast, “The opposite of success isn’t failure. The opposite of success is unfaithfulness. Lord, if I am faithful to You, even my failures will turn into successes.”

Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and grace when I fall short!

Thank you for helping me practice what I teach!

In Your mighty name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-23, Matthew 24:1-25, Luke 21:5-24, Mark 13:24-31, Matthew 24:26-35, Luke 21:25-33

Lord, is the Fear of Being Labeled Judgmental Silencing the Church? —John 12:37-43

images-4Today’s Scripture Reading: John 12:37-50, Mark 11:12-14, Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, Mark 11:20-33, Matthew 21:23-27, Luke 20:1-8

Jesus, I know that John was describing Your time on earth in these verses but they have an uncanny resemblance to our current times.

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:

“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,

“The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”

Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.* For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. —John 12:37-43

Lord, pages could be written about this passage but the thoughts that are consuming my mind today are around *the people who loved human praise and acceptance so much that they kept their belief in Jesus quiet for fear of being expelled from their synagogue. For the Jews their synagogue wasn’t just their church, it was their family, friends, school, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. Today’s sociological challenges of peer pressure and bullying were also alive and well in those days.

Jesus, it seems to me that peer pressure progresses to bullying and when not addressed it leads to persecution. It’s ironic that the very reason the believing Jews kept quiet was to avoid persecution, yet over the years they have been severely persecuted. Is this what is going to happen to today’s church?

Lord, Christian persecution has arrived in America, a country founded on religious freedom is now a place where Christians are beginning to keep quiet about their convictions for fear of peer pressure, bullying, and persecution. Fear of being labeled “judgmental” is silencing the boldest and largest Christian voices in our country.

Lord, I really don’t know how to react. I’m confused and feel this desire to pull away and keep my mouth shut. I see the world pulling one or two scriptures out of Your Word and using it to silence the church. I’m afraid it’s beginning to silence me as well. Holy Spirit, please speak loudly. Give me supernatural boldness. My heart is racing as I title this post, fearing that I will be misunderstood. I do not want to succumb to the enemy’s tactics. I do not want to desire human praise and acceptance more that Yours. It scares me to read in Matthew 24:20-24 that in the last days the very elect will be deceived. Holy Spirit, I don’t want to be deceived.

Lord, give our pastors, teachers, prophets, and Christian leaders supernatural discernment, wisdom, and boldness to lead Your people in these difficult times.

Lord, judging is a delicate subject. I know I’ve judged when I shouldn’t and haven’t judged when I should. I know we don’t win the lost by judging them but “not judging” within the church is dumbing down the gospel. We have adapted the same philosophy as the world, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Holy Spirit, without Your help  we will get it wrong every time. Show the church when and how to judge today’s complicated world.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. —1 Peter 4:12-19

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

Lord, I Want to Be Different—Matthew 20:25-28

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:1–16, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27

Heavenly Father,  it’s so easy to get caught up in the world’s way of thinking.

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:25-28

Lord, as I go about my day help me to choose to be different. Help me to make a conscious choice to serve others rather than be served. Holy Spirit, point out these opportunities and speak loudly, because my selfish voice is very loud.

Jesus, I want to serve You and others today. I want to be different.

 

In Your great and mighty name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19, Luke 19:41-44, John 12:20-36

Lord, I Sometimes Forget—John 10:10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

 

Heavenly Father, I sometimes forget that You said …

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. –John 10:10

 

Lord, life on this earth feels like a tug of war. It’s funny, Satan’s entices us with promises of a rich and satisfying life, yet a life of serving him ends in poverty, death, and destruction. You tell us to take up our cross and follow You…

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. –Matthew 16:24-27

 

…And offer us a rich and satisfying life.

 

Jesus, I want Your best life, a rich and satisfying life. Give me discernment to recognize the deceptive tools of the enemy of my soul. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is worth more than my soul.

 

In Your great and powerful Name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

Lord, Teach Me How to Interpret the Present Times—8 Things to Do–Luke 12:54-56

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41

Heavenly Father, I have no idea how to interpret the present times. Yes, it seems like the signs You mentioned in Your Word are happening but I feel as lost as the crowd You were addressing in these verses.

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. —Luke 12:54-56

Lord, I’m only one person. What should I do? Should I get on a soapbox and shout it to the world? Should I store up food to help my family and neighbors? Should I pray against the “signs” that cause me to be afraid?

I think they’re some answers in these verses:

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

“So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.  Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.

“Immediately after the anguish of those days,

the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. —Matthew 24:1-44

Jesus, here’s what I saw in Matthew 24–8 things You tell us to do in these turbulent times:

1. Don’t let anyone mislead you

2. Don’t panic

3. Endure to the end

4. Preach the good news throughout the world

5. Don’t believe rumors that You are here—no one will know the day or hour of Your return

6. Learn a lesson from the fig tree

7. Keep watch

8. Be ready all the time

Holy Spirit, remind me of these eight things. Help me to see them as my “to-do” list for the rest of my life on this earth. Help me to embrace these signs with excitement. Remind me each morning that today could be the day You return!

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture ReadingL John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

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