Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Last Days

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

In a few days, I will be leading you through My Revelation to John; it contains My message to the churches of Asia Minor — and to you — about the last days. To prepare you for these messages in your Bible’s last book, I want to remind you of some things Paul, Jude, and Peter wrote for My churches facing hard times.

The last days began with the launch of My church in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-17). My return has been ever near (Philippians 4:5; James 5:8-9). My sudden and unexpected coming (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) has been waiting for the Father’s command — only the Father knows the day and hour of My coming (Mark 13:32). Even though you can’t know when My return will be, you can know that it is certain.

I want My followers — I want you — to pray always, constantly staying ready for My return, not losing heart, and remaining faithful to Me (Luke 18:1-8). Like my followers who came before you, the difficulties you face were to be expected. In fact, as the verses below indicate, they were predicted by My apostles and earliest servants of My people. So don’t lose heart!

Verses to Live

Remember, dear friend, when people act in ungodly ways and treat you unfairly, don’t be surprised. You live in the last days. However, don’t despair. You have work to do. Redeem the lost. Reclaim the fallen. Restore those who have strayed. I know that there will be mockers, scoffers, persecutors, and doubters. Don’t be surprised when they belittle you, ridicule your faith, and persecute you. These opponents of My way of life are to be expected. The Holy Spirit spoke through the writers of the New Testament to warn you of these times. Your brothers and sisters who have shared these last days with you since the beginning of My church have endured such things. Avoid these scoffers. Stand firm in your faith as you reclaim the fallen and restore those who have strayed. Be faithful to the end!

And know this: in the last days, times will be hard. You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people. They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good. Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God. Even though they may look or act like godly people, they’re not. They deny His power. I tell you: Stay away from the likes of these.

(2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Anyone wishing to live a godly life in Jesus the Anointed will be hunted down and persecuted. But as for the wicked and the imposters, they will keep leading and following each other further and further away from the truth. So surely you ought to stick to what you know is certain.

(2 Timothy 3:12-14)

But you, friends, remember the words of the emissaries of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King: “At the end of time, some will ridicule the faithful and follow their lusts to the grave.” These are the men among you — those who divide friends, those concerned ultimately with this world, those without the Spirit.

You, however, should stand firm in the love of God, constructing a life within the holy faith, praying the Spirit’s prayer, as you wait eagerly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, which leads to eternal life.

Keep being kind to those who waver in this faith. Pursue those who are singed by the flames of God’s wrath, and bring them safely to Him. Show mercy to others with fear, despising every garment soiled by the weakness of human flesh.

(Jude 1:17-23)

Remember the words spoken earlier by God’s holy prophets and the commandment that our Lord and Savior gave to you through your emissaries. Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus? For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”

When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water. The waters later flooded and destroyed that world. By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire, preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.

Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.

Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise — slow is how some people want to characterize it — no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s.

(2 Peter 3:2-9)

Response in Prayer

O God, You are the Almighty LORD Who loves Your people and Who will bring justice for us. We trust that You will send Your Son and our Savior, Jesus, to bring us home to You. We sometimes grow tired and weary in our waiting. We grow discouraged because of the ridicule that comes from those scoffers who doubt You and who doubt us and our faith. We grow discouraged because we see those who were once passionate followers of Jesus now grow cold in their faith and slip away from our fellowship. So we ask, O LORD, that you revive us by the power of Your Spirit. Give us strength to endure. Send the Lord Jesus to us soon. We pray in His name. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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