Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Acts 1:6-11 - When is the second coming?

Scripture: Acts 1:6-11

Summary: Jesus told the disciples that they won't know the time when he restores the kingdom of God, but they will receive powers from the Holy Spirit and will be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Then Jesus was lifted up into a cloud. They were told by angels that Jesus would come in the same way as he left.

Thoughts: When I read this scripture I can't help but think of the prophet who has been telling everyone who would listen that Jesus would come back to the earth on May 21, 2011 and the rapture would occur, taking everyone who was worthy up to heaven.  Well, it's now June and I'm pretty sure that the rapture didn't occur or if it did, none of us were worthy!  Now this prophet is saying that he miscalculated and his new date is October 21, 2011. I find myself wondering why people believe in this sort of thing. It says pretty clearly in several places in the Bible that no one knows the time or place and yet several times in my lifetime people have predicted exactly when Jesus was coming (with no serious results). Why is it that we feel like we need to know exactly when something is going to happen? Especially something like the second coming of Jesus? Don't we have enough to worry about without worrying about when this is going to happen?  I believe that we have two choices about how we live our lives. We can spend our lives worrying about when something is going to happen: the second coming, the tornado, our own death,...  Many people spend their lives this way, in constant worry.  Or we can spend our lives making each day count: loving those we come in contact with, praying for others, working to move toward the kingdom of God! What choice will you make? What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

Prayer: God, help me to focus my time today on things that I can change, things that I can do to make a difference in our world! Amen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Acts 1:1-5 - Waiting for the promise of God

Scripture: Acts 1:1-5

Summary: The book of Acts is a continuation of the book of Luke. After his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples, speaking about the kingdom of God. He told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of God, when they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts: It's time to move into the book of Acts and study it. Acts is the story of the early church and there is much here for us to learn 2000 years later. In this scripture the disciples are told by the resurrected Jesus that they should stay in Jerusalem and wait for what God has promised them. When I read this I wonder what the disciples must have been feeling. They are ecstatic that Jesus has risen from the dead and they have all personally seen the risen Lord. How amazing this must have been! But now he has told them to wait where they are, in Jerusalem. I imagine that they didn't feel very safe there. After all, this is the city where the crowd turned against Jesus and crucified him. They are probably wondering if the same thing is going to happen to them. And they know that Jesus is gone. They can't count on him for protection. But still they are supposed to wait. Waiting is the hardest thing for me to do: waiting in the hospital to talk to the doctors, waiting to get your test scores after you take the SAT, waiting 9 months when you are pregnant before you have the baby. But just as it is important to wait 9 months for a baby, so that it will be fully developed, it was important for the disciples to learn to wait for what God had promised them, through Jesus. We just had Senior Sunday at my church last Sunday. As I watched these amazing young people lead both of our worship services, I was struck by what that morning represented. They are finishing their 13th year of school and have done alot of waiting. But now they have brand new opportunities in front of them, full of promise and hope for the future. It is good for us to know how to wait patiently. But when the time comes it is good to know how to act. What are you waiting for? How is the promise of God going to change your life?

Prayer: God of promise, please stay beside me as I wait and help me to act in faith when the time comes to act. Amen.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

2 Peter 3:14-18 - Be At Peace

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:14-18

Summary: While you are waiting for the day of the Lord, strive to be found at peace, without blemish. Some of what Paul wrote is hard to understand. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

Thoughts: The writer says "while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace." This is what I long for in my life, to be at peace. Even when the world is crazy around me, I long for the peace of God. If I have God's peace, then I find that the insanity of the world around me doesn't take me along with it. I am able to resist the temptation to be drawn into the whirlwind. But my ability to achieve this peace is fleeting. I am often found wanting in this regard. So that is what I pray for today. Peace for me, peace for my family, peace for my church, peace for my community, and peace for the world. For we have been too long without it. And by "growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" we can learn how to be at peace.

Prayer: Give me peace, Oh Lord. Help me to spend more time growing in your grace so that I can share it with others. Amen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 Peter 3:8-13 - Hastening the day of the Lord

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:8-13

Summary: One day for God is like 1000 years. God is not slow about fulfilling promises but is patient, wanting us all to repent. But the day of the Lord is coming when the heavens will pass away. What sort of person ought you to be, leading lives of holiness, hastening the coming of the day of God?

Thoughts: We know that at some point the day of the Lord will come. This day is referred to by many names, but in essence it is the day when God's dream will come true, when everything, on earth and in heaven, is as God would have it be. But in the meantime, what sort of people will we be? Will we be judging everyone that we meet, telling them that they are not following God's rules and what the consequences of that will be? Or will we be loving everyone that we meet, telling them about God's love and the difference it has made in our own lives? The choice is ours.  What sort of person ought you to be?

Prayer: God help me to live for You, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord. Amen.