The Day

The Day

fig tree

 Now think of the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and greenish, as soon as it begins to sprout leaves, you know to expect summer.   In the same way, when you see the wars and the suffering and the false liberators and the desolation, you will know the Son of Man is near—right at the door.  Matthew 24:32-33
Don’t be worried with evil workers
or envy the gains of people with all-wrong-upside-down ways.
Soon enough they will wither like grass,
like green herbs fading in summer’s heat.
Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good—
live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness.
Take great joy in the Eternal!
His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires!
Commit your path to the Eternal; let Him direct you.
Put your confidence in Him, and He will follow through with you.
He will spread out righteousness for you
as a sunrise spreads radiance over the land;
He will deliver justice for you into the light of the high sun.
Be still. Be patient. Expect the Eternal to arrive and set things right.
Don’t get upset when you see the worldly ones rising up the ladder.
Don’t be bothered by those who are anchored in wicked ways.
So turn from anger. Don’t rage,
and don’t worry—these ways frame the doorway to evil.
Besides, those who act from evil motives will be cut off from the land;
but those who wait, hoping in the Eternal, will enjoy its riches.
You’ll see . . . the wicked won’t know what hit them;
you’ll blink, and they’ll be gone;
you’ll go out looking for them, but you won’t find them.
But the humble-hearted will inherit the land;
they will take pleasure in its peace and enjoy its abundance.
How that wicked man devises evil against God’s righteous ones!
He grits his teeth, consumed by hate for the upright.
But oh, how the Lord laughs at him!
He knows the wicked man will get his; the day is coming. Psalm 37:1-13
The Day…
I don’t know about you but I can get really wrapped up, fearful and anxious about all the trouble in the world. Lately I have tried to offset that by thinking about the promises our Lord has made to us about His return.

At the end of it all we walk this walk by faith. Faith that God will bring about what He promises. Faith that there is a better day coming. Sometimes in the midst of the confusion and evil we forget this. In this post I want to draw my attention and yours back to the promises and the warnings. Jesus will return and set things right! The day is coming.
On the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter;
Matthew 12:36

Keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:13

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.
Romans 13:12

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
1 Corinthians 1:8

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:25

So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.            1 Peter 1:7

The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are.
2 Peter 3:10

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
1 John 4:17

It is one thing to believe, to have faith in these promises and warnings but what do we do in the meantime? How should we live as we wait for the day of the Lord’s return or for the day we return home? We find the answer in Psalm 37

Don’t worry about or be envious of the wicked
Believe in God and do what is good
Live in the land he provides
Rest in God’s faithfulness
Take great joy in Him
Commit your path to Him
Put your confidence in Him
Be still
Be patient
Expect God to set things right
Turn away from anger
Don’t worry

Antichrist

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Anti-Christ

The mention of the name “antichrist” sends a chill up the spine.

And every age brings forth a potential candidate

Napoleon

Nero

Genghis Khan

Stalin

Hitler

Yassar Arafat

Bill Clinton

Ronald Reagan

George Bush

Our current president

Antichrist is normally associated with the number “666′ and Armageddon from the book of Revelations. The word anti-christ however is not found in the book of Revelations.

The English word for Antichrist is taken from the Greek antíkhristos, which means to “oppose Christ” or “instead of Christ” and only appears four times in the New Testament in 1 John and 2 John

Jesus never mentions the word antichrist. But in his answers to the disciples questions concerning the destruction of the temple, the sign of His return, and the end of the age he describes the spirit of antichrist that is to come in the future.

Matthew 24:5 : Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many

Matthew 24:11, Many false prophets will arise and deceive many.

When Jesus spoke about false christs, false prophets and deception this certainly influenced John (he was present when Jesus gave these warnings) as he writes in 1 John 2:18 some 50 years after Jesus departure*

“My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antichrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming, but in fact, many antichrists are already here. This development tells us how late it really is”.

It appears that John is not primarily concerned with who the antichrist might be or when he will appear “You have heard that the antichrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming” but with the danger presented by the antichrists who were already present.

What can we learn from his warning in our present age?

The final hour

1 John 2:18My children this is the final hour”

The apostle Paul echos this in Romans 13:11

“It is time for you to wake up and see what is right before your eyes”

The apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:7

“We are coming to the end of all things, so be serious and keep your wits about you in order to pray more forcefully”.

John, Paul and Peter all point to a closing of history that is drawing near. If it was close 2000 years ago it is even closer now.

It is a time to be to be serious and prayerful, to be aware of what is going on around us.

Many antichrists are already here

It is important that we take the admonition given in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 seriously.

“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good”.

Just because it looks good, sounds good, is on the New York Times best-seller list, doesn’t mean it is good. Popularity does not equal truth. John is adamant in his warning

1 John 4:1 “My loved ones, I warn you:do not trust every spirit. Instead examine them carefully to determine if they come from God

Don’t buy the lie

In 2 John 1:7 he writes “The corrupt world is filled with liars and frauds who deny the reality that Jesus the Anointed has come into the world as a man of flesh and blood. These people are deceivers and antichrists”.

The liar is anyone who attempts to discredit Jesus Christ as Savior, His deity or offers another way to salvation 1 John 2:22

 Keep the faith

Finally in the little book of Jude we see that our faith is something we will have to contend for. This word implies a struggle, to compete or contend with an adversary.

“Friends, I have been trying to write you about our common salvation. But these days my heart is troubled, and I am compelled to write to you and encourage you to continue struggling for the faith that was entrusted to the saints once and for all. 4 Vile men have slithered in among us. Depraved souls who stand condemned have made a mockery of the grace given to us, using it as a pretext for a life of excess, lived without any thought of God. These poor fools have denied Jesus the Anointed, our one Lord and Master. Jude 1:3-4

There are two things we must keep in mind:

 1.  We are to persevere

Lord God help us fight the good fight, -To stay on course and finish the race, and through it all, to keep the faith “. 2 Timothy 4:7

2.  Remember our victory in Jesus is secure

Revelation 12:10-11

Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.
11 By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.

 

Courage

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Joshua had been Moses right hand for many years and now the responsibility for God’s chosen people rests on his shoulders.
God’s instruction to Joshua after the news of Moses death-

“Prepare yourself and the people to cross over the Jordan River to enter the land I have given you.

I will give you every place you walk upon and no one will be able to oppose you”

Up until now it sounds great and then God says-

“Be strong and courageous”

“Never be afraid or discouraged”

Looking down the list of responsibilities to come Joshua must have seen some opportunities to be at least a little afraid and a little discouraged.

Maybe even weak and not courageous.

But God’s expectation is clear. After telling Joshua to be strong and courageous two times the third time it is preceded by

“This is my command” be strong and courageous

If I were in Joshua’s sandals I probably would have felt this was a little unfair.
What God says next is what makes His command and instruction to Joshua possible
Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One and I will remain with you wherever you go.

 “I will remain with you wherever you go”!

Maybe for you the giants are big

Or the news was bad

Maybe those you were counting on let you down

They said “we’re with you” but they weren’t

Maybe it looks impossible

Or it looks like it will never change…

Maybe the obstacles are too great, the walls too high, the fear too great..

Whatever you are facing remember He is your God and He remains with you wherever you go. And whatever you are facing this promise makes victory possible for you.

 

Hebrews 13:5

For God has said,

“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”

Matthew 28:20

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Deuteronomy 31:6
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

 

Joshua 1:9
This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.

Victory

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Is Victory the Word you would use to define
your experience?
Perhaps not victory, but a different
WORD would better describe your appearance?
If left to ourselves our identity is
treacherous.
 
The words which describe who we are
can sound
so perilous.
Words Like:
Religious.
Stingy
Angry
Or Anxious
Self ­ Reliant
Lazy
Haphazard
Or Pretentious.
What would give us the guts or the
courage to define our identity in a word
like Victory.
When, if we look to our selves the
best word might be filthy.
____
In the beginning was the WORD.
The Bible says
The Word dwelt among us
Gods Word in the form of humanity
lived with us.
The Word, is Jesus.
Wholly man. Wholly Divine.
Fully. human. Completely God.
He Lived a life as a servant among us
Died a death, as a sinner, that
wasn’t Glorious
Raised to life, as a king, so you and
I could be Victorious.
Victorious.
His history becomes our history
Our righteousness not from ourselves
but caught up in mystery.
Now we have a new Word for our identity.
And the word that describes those in
him. (Pause)
You and me.
That word is victory.
 
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me before I even knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Written by Brandon Lindell

Hope:Post-script

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In the weeks leading up to Easter this year I have sensed the Lords presence in a very special way.

Many times as I was writing and reading scripture, tears would come to my eyes and at times I felt overwhelmed by His love for me.

That He suffered all that He did for me. That He won the victory for me.

And the hope that I have is to know that victory.

Victory over my weaknesses, my fears, my thoughts, my circumstances and sin.

 But when I compare my experience to His or even to the dictionaries definition of victory

“to vanquish, to completely and utterly defeat, ultimate decisive superiority, to have success”

I come up way short…

I see this when-

I don’t give in to temptation (and sometimes when I do) the desire is still there

I am jealous of others

I am angry and spiteful

I am unkind to those I love

I am unkind to my wife, my children

I question if God will come through this time

I am afraid and not courageous

Does freedom or victory define my life? No!

 I am not alone in this. Someone long ago said

” I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate”.I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely”? Romans 7:15-17

 Is there anyone who can free me?

I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Romans 7:25

The hope for freedom which leads to victory is in Him.

Jesus.

Yes I have a responsibility to be obedient to what I know, I must be willing to change, to live life differently.  I must have faith in the promise He makes

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

 But it is not now nor has it ever been about what I can do on my own.

Understanding this brings the beginning of freedom. Freedom from self.

It is not all up to me.

 And as I trust in this, the old me begins to pass away day by day along with pride and self-sufficiency.

I begin to experience His power, His love, a relationship with God, and Father, a friend that sticks closer than a brother and I will not be the same.

And Scripture will be proved right when it says-

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Victory in Jesus! Our Savior forever!

 The song many of us learned long ago is still true

“Jesus loves me this I know,

for the Bible tells me so!

Little one to Him belong,

they are weak , but He is strong!