Tag Archives: end times

Joel 1-3, Matthew 10

Over the years as I’ve read through the Bible, I saw hints of Jesus in the Old Testament. Today’s pairing of Joel and Matthew 10 remind me of Revelation, whether that was intended or not. In Joel, there is scarcity, darkness, mourning, and fire.

Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the Lord is upon us. It is a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds and deep blackness. Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains, a great and mighty army appears. Nothing like it has been seen before or will ever be seen again.

Fire burns in front of them, and flames follow after them. Ahead of them the land lies as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. Behind them is nothing but desolation; not one thing escapes. They look like horses; they charge forward like warhorses. Look at them as they leap along the mountaintops. Listen to the noise they make—like the rumbling of chariots, like the roar of fire sweeping across a field of stubble, or like a mighty army moving into battle. (Joel 1:1b-5, NLT)

An army moves in like a flood over the land, consuming. Earth quaking, heavens trembling, the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. It reads like the trailer to End Times.

The Lord is at the head of the column. He leads them with a shout. This is his mighty army, and they follow his orders. The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can possibly survive? 12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. (Joel 2:11-13, NLT)

In Matthew, Jesus prepares The Twelve. He doesn’t speak of a simple task. In fact, this mission comes with risk, and he is clear about it.

16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:16-22, NLT)

26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! 28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:26-28, NLT)

These passages from both readings show me a mighty Lord. Focused. Authoritative. Clear.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36     Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39, NLT)

In the preparing, in the warning, there is an underlying message of turning to the Lord. Of following him. In the hindsight of history, I can wonder why Adam and Eve would ever question God in the garden–why they would make such a grave error of choice, and yet, every day that choice is offered to me: am I going to follow Jesus or not?

Lord, you told the disciples to go out and tell your people that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Help me to keep that focus as I live my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Revelation 15-18

What does Christmas feel like? Our regular radio station played Christmas music almost every day in December. We drove down streets with houses festooned in colorful, blinking lights and displays. Our house had its tree decorated and lit; shimmering red ribbons curled and placed across a mantel; snowflakes and ornaments dripped from light fixtures and windows. I tried to recreate my favorite childhood memories of the season–purchasing boxes of chocolate covered cherries, baking a Christmas morning warm cinnamon pastry, playing music throughout the house to signal the celebration of the new day.

Despite the outward display, though, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Christmas. So, what does Christmas feel like?

In Revelation, End Times approach and there’s no escaping it. From my vantage point, I read of what will happen, and wonder: then and there, would it feel like End Times?

So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. (Revelation 16:2, NLT)

The first of the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out. I noted by the fourth bowl, a first mention: They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory. (Revelation 16:9b, NLT)

What will End Times feel like? And would one know when the time is upon him?

15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.” (Revelation 16:15, NLT)

So much in the Bible requires further explanation by the speaker. Revelation describes a future yet to take place, people yet to be born, and items yet to be made.

“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits …” (Revelation 17:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Back-to-school morphs into packages of candy in October, sharing shelf space with Thanksgiving and Christmas–a blending blur of season. Christmas seems out of place in October, and yet, its date is fixed and arrival certain–whether it feels like it or not.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 14, Acts 18, Jeremiah 27, Mark 13

And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Mark 13

Since childhood, this passage has haunted me as did all of chapter 13. There is something encouraging and terrifying about it. I don’t know why it has stuck out at me like a sore thumb throughout the years but I distinctly remember reading this at a young age and being deeply affected. I grew up when the Frank Peretti novels and Left Behind series were popular. I would peak around corners in my home scared of my own shadow. I was completely convinced that Jesus would return by the time I graduated high school. And when high school came and went, I just knew in my heart he would return before I had children. I have watched the news; wars come and go, evil rise to power, right become wrong and wrong become right and men evangelize truth and lies. I long for His return. This one passage has affected me probably more than any other from God’s word. I have been watching and waiting for the signs. But not even Jesus knows when he will return to take home his elect.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake.[a] For you do not know when the time will come.  37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13

Though I did not grow up learning that works were required for eternal life, I did strive greatly in my heart hoping that my good deeds would make be better, more presentable. I think that’s what was terrifying about the passage. Jesus will return unexpectedly. There will be wars. There will be suffering. We may have to stand up for what we believe and be harmed in the process. It is happening, all over the world. The sprouts are on the fig tree but we have no idea when the leaves will blossom. It could be tomorrow or in a thousand years. My encouragement comes from knowing no matter how bad this world gets, it’s only temporary. I will be called up with Jesus one day. He has warned us so we can look on with great expectation and without fear. We know he will strengthen us during trials and the Holy Spirit will place the words in our mouth at the right time. I am encouraged to know that the Earth will not pass away until God’s plan has been fulfilled. He is in control and not one of the elect will be snatched from his hand, not one of the elect will miss the boat.

This passage now gives me confidence, not in my own works and good deeds but in Christ’s work on the cross and his triumphant return. I will continue to watch and wait, longing for my permeant home and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with whomever God grants me the opportunity. I will stay awake, testing what the preachers preach and teach my children three children the truth of God’s word.

Dear Lord, thank you for your warning. Though we do not know the details of Christ’s return, you have shared with us what to expect in your word. Help us to test and approve according to your word. Holy Spirit help us discern the truth from lies. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

Kate

 

 

 

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Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, 2 Thessalonians 2

 

I don’t know why exactly but since I was a child, I have always felt wrestling in my heart: a sort of homesickness though I have never been far from home. I have always had a stirring in my heart for as long as I can remember that wants to be home with the Lord. As an adult believer, this is not so surprising but when I was eight, people thought it was quite strange! I was keenly aware of the happenings in the world around me and would look for signs that pointed to Jesus’ return for his believers. Though I believed in Jesus at a young age, I can still remember feeling fearful of the unknown that may occur at any moment.

 

Today, things have not changed much but as the crazy events of the world seem to be increasing like the speed of an out of control freight train I can hear some of my same childhood fears in my own children’s words. The nightly news, school system, smart phones and social media is very different than when I was young and my children hear so much more than I do and so much quicker but their fears are the same as mine. So, we talk about God’s word and his promises and pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Reading this passage reminds me of a few more nuggets of truth to share with them straight from Paul’s mouth:

 

        Don’t worry- we haven’t missed the boat! Jesus came for our sins and we are currently waiting for his return to conquer sin and death and take us home. Don’t be confused by false prophecy or words from fools! (2 Thess 2:13)

 

        Things are going to get worse before they get better but that’s not a surprise! It doesn’t surprise God and it shouldn’t surprise us. (2 Thess 2:3-4)

 

        Nothing will happen without God’s say so. He has already planned Christ’s return and knows the day and the hour and nothing will happen until then! (2 Thess 2:5-7)

 

        We know Christ has already won the battle! If we are in Christ, the victory is already ours no matter how bad things get! (2 Thess 2:8)

 

        It seems like evil is winning and fools are prospering but it’s only an illusion! (2 Thess 2:10-12)

 

        Believers in Christ were chosen before the foundation of the world and called through the gospel and will glory with Christ! (2 Thess 2:13-14)

 

        Though the world seems to be falling apart, stand firm and hold to the teachings found in God’s word! (2 Thess 2:15)

 

The only way to combat fear is through the powerful Word of God. I am always encouraged when I read that the first believers struggled with the same fears and worries as I did. It’s why Paul was writing.  We will soon be going home but until then, let us continue to walk daily in the truth! 

 

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” Amen.

kateredding

 

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Nehemiah 4-6, Psalm 98, Revelation 6

The battle of good and evil has been raging since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of days. When reading Revelation I am often spooked as the words of scripture start to unfold and play out before me. I am no bible scholar and I have to admit that in most cases, I have to read and re read some passages to try and understand their meaning. But as I read this scripture, I can combat my fear of the seven seals by remembering that the Lord is in control.

“Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals…”

It’s literally my saving grace. My only hope. My light at the end of the tunnel. Are we living in the end times? Who knows! Each and every day is a battle of good and evil. Each and everyday we are called to train our children to know the Lord. Everyday we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and share the good news with all. Reading each individual seal can be terrifying or encouraging. As we look around at the evil that prevails we could be terrified or encouraged. Obviously, it’s a little of both. I never imagined I would be concerned going to the movie theater that someone would fire their gun. My mom didn’t have to worry about me going to college that I would be drugged, abducted or shot at. Never did we think that our police would be stripped of their powers or use their power for corruption. The events I see on my TV across the world are not only alarming but unthinkable. My whispered prayer is so often, Jesus, come quickly! I am so thankful that this world is not my home but the journey to my permanent home is scary unless you look at the encouraging side.

What I find hope and peace in is that God is in control. These 7 seals that are opened are opened by the Lamb. That provides me with a little comfort when we read all of the things that will occur on the Earth we know that God remains in control and these things must happen for Jesus to return. Praise the Lord for his sovereign hand. We are also reminded in scripture that these things must happen for the Lord to return. So, whether or not Jesus returns to Earth tomorrow or next year or in our great, great grandchild’s lifetime is not the point. The point is finding peace that Jesus is our hope and our salvation in this present age and the age to come!

“Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the Kin, the Lord. Let the sea roar and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.”

Thank you, Jesus for your sovereign plan. Help me to rest in you and depend on your Holy Spirit as I walk this journey on Earth till you call me home or return. Amen.

 

 

 

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