Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Darkness, Forgiveness, Heaven, Inspirational, Repentance

TOTAL ECLIPSE

JOEL 2:31

“‘The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.’”

I have seen a number of eclipses. They are so cool. I remember the last one I saw. My wife and I went to our church parking lot. We had on some special glasses that were being handed out everywhere. When the sun disappears in the middle of the day, it’s kind of strange, isn’t it?  When there’s a total eclipse, it is very unusual. The darkness creeps in and then back out again.

Joel is describing the heavens on that day of the Lord. There will be warnings. This day of the Lord will be a day of judgment. Joel is warning the Judeans to turn to the Lord. They need to repent. Can you imagine how they responded to these signs in the sky? They didn’t know what we know about astronomy. These signs in the sky would be terrifying.

APPLICATION

Do you respond well to signs? When you’re driving on a mountain road and you see the curve signs, do you ignore them? What would happen? You would drive right off the mountain road. Crashing off a mountain road doesn’t sound very safe. But the sign was there. You just ignored it.

God warns us and warns us. He is simply trying to keep us safe. But the great thing about God is He won’t force us to do anything. We have to choose to follow. Hmmm. That sounds too easy. But it’s not, is it? Surrender is hard. It can be painful. But it is worth it.

Signs in the sky don’t happen every day. If you’re waiting for that, you may be too late. Oh, but there are warnings. They are all listed in His Word. You have to read it to see them. Will you do that? He is giving us a message. He loves you and wants you to be ready when all these things happen. Are you?

Father God, I know You are sending Your Son soon. I am ready to come home.

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Attention, Belief, Bible, Christ's Return, Dreams, Eternity, God's Will, Prophesy, Visions

PROPHESY

JOEL 2:28

“‘It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, Your old men will have dreams, Your young men will see visions.’”

A lot of people love to study prophesy. Why is that? Because they want to know what’s coming. We are all curious about the future. Attention!! Spoiler alert!! We win! No matter what prophesy you look at, we are winners. Those of us who are in Christ are guaranteed eternal life. That’s better than winning the lottery.

But here in Joel 2:28, we read a verse that is often quoted and preached. God’s Spirit has been poured out on all mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell mankind. We have read a lot lately of sons and daughters, old men and young men having dreams and visions of Christ. Hallelujah! He is near.

APPLICATION

Let me step out on a limb here. I want to ask you a question that you may think is … well, out there. Are you ready? Have you had any dreams and visions lately? Is God speaking to you in this way? God is still talking to us. He speaks to us through His Word. He speaks to us in our prayers. And He still speaks to us in dreams and visions.

Now before you stop reading, let me explain. I am not suggesting that you seek these. God speaks when He is ready. And He doesn’t expect you to start a new church or denomination based on dreams and visions. These come to direct us. I would dare say that the majority of the time these come to us and are meant to be kept private. Just listen to Him.

The Lord has given all the prophesies necessary to lead us toward understanding the future. It really all comes down to trust. Do you trust Him? He may be trying to speak to you right now. He wants to speak into your life. Listen! He wants to whisper in your ear the truths of life. Listen!

O Father, I am listening. Speak to me through Your Word, though my prayers and yes, Lord, even through dreams and visions, if that is what it takes for me to hear Your voice.

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Abiding, Advice, Bible, Christ's Return, Destruction, Encouragement, Eternity, Gospel, Heaven, Modeling, Scripture

DOOMS DAY

HOSEA 10:15

So it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.”

I have often wondered what it would be like to know the day you were going to die. I wonder what I would do on those days leading up to it. Would I quit work and do all the things I have always wanted to do? Or would I continue doing all the things I am presently doing? I don’t fear that day. I am ready for it.

Hosea gave the warning to Israel. “At dawn the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.” Wow! What a warning! Because of their wickedness their kingdom would be destroyed. There was nothing they could do to change that fact. God had spoken. Dooms day was upon them.

APPLICATION

There is coming a day when we all will face our last day. What is your plan for that day? If God is not a part of that plan, you are in a heap of trouble. Let me ask you the question I pondered at the beginning of the devotional. If you knew the day you were going to die, would you change your behavior? Why not change it now?

God wants us to live each day as if it’s our last. We never know when He is going to call us home. We have to be ready. We have to be doing His work until the very end. What has the Lord asked you to do for Him? Do it today. Don’t wait. You may not have another chance. I pray you will not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I know the days are drawing to a close. It can’t be too long until the Lord returns. I want to be found doing His work on that day. There are so many people who need to hear about Him. I want to be caught telling someone about Jesus. Don’t you? What better way to enter glory that the words of Jesus on your lips?

I do not know when I will meet You face to face, Lord. But I do know I am looking forward to that day. Help me share that story with many before I come.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

TOO LATE NOW

HOSEA 9:7

“The days of punishment have come, the days of retribution have come; let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, the inspired person is insane, because of the grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I prefer to do things ahead of time and get them out of the way. I had rather be an hour early somewhere than one minute late. That’s just the way I am wired. But I know other people who will be late to their own funeral. They are never on time and can’t seem to get anything done on time. That would drive me crazy.

The people of Israel had been told by the false prophets that the day of judgment was either way off or wasn’t coming. So, they put off repentance. We have plenty of time to set things right. But Hosea is telling them in today’s verse that the time has come. And it was because of the “grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

APPLICATION

Oh, listen to me today. The time is short. Jesus is returning. It may be today, or it may be five years from now. We don’t know when, but He is coming again. He will rapture His church. He will take His children out of this world before the great tribulation. Where will you be?

I don’t want to be like one of those false prophets who told the people they had plenty of time. No! Get ready. And do it not so much to escape hell, but to enjoy heaven. Come to Jesus now to enjoy the blessings of life. He wants to show you how to live abundantly. He wants to walk with you through this life. That’s worth coming to Him now.

But too many around us are ignoring the signs. They are ignoring the warnings. They truly believe they can live however they wish and still slide into heaven. Heaven will not open its gates to everyone. Only the repentant and those in Christ will enter. We need to spread the message loud and clear to anyone who will hear. Join me today in doing this.

Father, I know the time is approaching when Christ shall call His bride home. I am ready. Help me share with those around me how they too can be a part of Your family.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Brokenness, Christ's Return, Creation, Destruction, Scripture, Sin

CREATION MOURNS

HOSEA 4:3

“Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the animals of the field and the birds of the sky, and even the fish of the sea disappear.”

Have you ever seen a natural disaster? I, unfortunately, have seen this firsthand. I have seen the devastation of tornadoes and hurricanes. I have seen the effects of droughts and floods. I have seen animals suffering from lack of water or food. We forget how fragile our earth is in these circumstances. But do you realize how creation is tied to the fate of man?

Hosea is reminding us here how we are so knit together. God used nature to show man the effects of sin. I am not talking about the carbon footprint of men on the earth. I am referring to how God uses nature. We see it all around us. We are so dependent on each other. Just think about it. Scientist have warned us how the demise of the little honeybee could devastate crop production, thus bringing famine across the globe.

APPLICATION

Creation groans for the return of Jesus. We are told that in Scripture. We have seen the increase of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, cyclones and the such. Creation is preparing. The question is are we. We seem to ignore these and blame it on global warming. Who do you think really controls the balance of nature? It’s not us.

We are a mere speck on the fabric of time. God orchestrates the heavens. He determines where and how much rain falls. He gives or withholds the snows. And even though we think we can change time by adding or taking away an hour in each day, there are still only twenty-four hours available to us.

So, what can we do about this? Very little, except to yield to the almighty hand of God. We must bow before Him, recognizing His power and majesty. Just as Israel ignored God’s hand on their nation and suffered the consequences, we are just as susceptible to the same ignorance. We have to acknowledge that it is He who is in control over everything.

Mighty God, I bow before You, recognizing You as the supreme power over all that exists. I praise You for allowing me to be a part of Your creation.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Contentment, Encouragement, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Remembering, Scripture, Testimony

JUST LIKE HIM

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Don’t you love it when your children put on your shoes or clothes and pretend to be you? It is so cute. In those days they totally admire you. They want to be just like you. You probably have pictures somewhere of them doing that. Precious memories.

Listen – we should be doing the same thing as it relates to God. We should be trying every day to be just like Him. John is telling us in this verse that our ability to do that depends on our vision of Him. Huh? Yes, we shall see Him one day fully, but we can see Him daily now. His Word shows us how to live. His Word directs our thoughts and actions.

APPLICATION

Break out some of those pictures of your kids I mentioned earlier. Or even better, find some of you doing the same thing. Your kids will get a kick out of that. If you have young children, do it now. Play dress up. Let them put on your shoes and clothes. Then read them this verse and talk about what we just discussed.

Explain to your kids the importance of walking in God’s shoes. Unlike yours, His will fit. He molds them especially for your journey. Unlike your pants or dress, His clothes will fit you just right. He doesn’t want you tripping or falling. He desires each of your steps to be unobstructed.

Are you struggling to be like Him? Maybe you are trying too hard. Stop trying to figure out how to be like Him and let Him be Himself through you. That is a lot easier. He knows how to be God. You don’t. But guess what – the more you do this, the more you look like Him.

Father, make me to look just like You. I want others to see Jesus in me – not me.

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Antichrist, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Fear, Inspirational, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

THE LAST HOUR

1 JOHN 2:18

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

Picture yourself at a ball game. Your team is behind and the clock is ticking. You have the ball and are driving towards the end zone (yes, this is a football analogy, lol). Just before the clock hits zero the ball is snapped to the quarterback who makes an incredible pass into the end zone for a game winning catch to his receiver. You cheer and yell. Your team has won.

We should be doing that very thing regarding the antichrist. We don’t know when he will appear, but it is no matter. We have already won. There is no way we can lose. We’ve already seen the end of the war. Jesus is victorious and there is nothing that the antichrist can do about it.

APPLICATION

Do or did your children play soccer or another sport? Ask them how hard they would have played a game if they knew they were going to win. Some kids may say they would slack off, but I bet most of them would say they would play even harder because they would know the outcome. The game would be much more fun because they already knew they would win.

Explain to them that’s how we should live our lives in Christ. There is no reason to worry about what the enemy does because there is no way he can defeat us. We have the trump card – Jesus. And the best thing about this is our enemy knows he can’t win. That means we are victorious. We just have to keep playing the game. We can’t stop in the middle of the game.

Don’t read today’s verse and start worrying about the antichrist. In fact, be excited about it. Why? Because that just means the Lord’s return is near. Isn’t that great? Keep living daily as if it could be the day of His return. Don’t cower in a corner.

Lord, I welcome Your return. I will not fear the arrival of the antichrist because I know he is toothless.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture

WHERE ARE YOU LIVING?

2 PETER 3:13

“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would live in Kenya. I have been there several times and feel at home there. I love the people, the country and the opportunities to train Pastors how to study the Word. Sure, Kenya has its problems. What country doesn’t? But that is where I would live.

The Greek word for “dwells” means to feel at home. Look what Peter says in this verse. Righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth. Notice he says “dwells.” Can I get technical for a second? That verb is Present Indicative Active. Do you know what that means? It means righteousness is already dwelling and has been dwelling and will continue to dwell in the new heavens and the new earth. Now that’s a place I want to live.

APPLICATION

Ask your children where they want to live. Tell them they can choose anywhere. I bet they may say Disney World or some other theme park. What child wouldn’t want that? But then ask them why. Well, Dad, it’s a cool place! Well, of course, it is. But ask them for a real reason. Ask them if they think they could live there forever.

Children don’t quite get it, do they? But then again, neither do we. Nowhere here on earth is perfect. Any place we choose to live is going to have its problem. Your children need to understand that. BUT…the new heavens and new earth will be perfect. Why? Because that’s where righteousness dwells. Whose righteousness? God’s righteousness!

So, why are you so worried about your current living situation? Why do we work so hard to perfect our physical living environment? I know we want to be comfortable, but is that the issue that really matters? No! We need to live more righteously so we will feel more at home when the new heavens and new earth arrive. Amen?

Father, prepare my heart to live righteously each and every day. I am looking for that new heaven and earth where You dwell.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Heaven, Hope, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture, Witnessing

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

2 PETER 3:12

“looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” 

The world will never understand believers’ anticipation of the return of Christ. In fact, many scoff at us. They think our faith in His return is shallow-minded. To them, His return is a fable told for centuries.

But we know better, don’t we? Peter says we are to be “looking for and hastening” His return. The Greek word for “looking” is a bit more than just scanning the horizon. It is an eager anticipation, almost a giddy yearning. “Hastening” means to speed it on. How can we speed it on? By sharing the good news with everyone we meet.

APPLICATION

Don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus’ return with your kids. Some parents don’t want to “scare” their children with this news. But this is great news. For believers, it won’t be a scary event. We will be transformed so quickly and ushered into heaven, we won’t know what hit us. It will be pure joy.

I hear many young believers say they want to do such and such before He returns. They want to get married first. They want to have a baby first. They want to…. Listen, make sure your kids know that nothing compares to seeing Jesus. There is no earthly joy that compares.

Are you giddy for His return? Does the thought He could come any day get you excited? It should. As a believer, we should be looking and hastening that day. We should be actively preparing and seeking. We should be telling others about Him whenever we get the chance. Soon and very soon.

You promised You would return, Lord. We are eagerly waiting. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Exhortation, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

HOLY LIVING

2 PETER 3:11

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” 

Forget about the end of the world. That’s what Peter is saying in the first part of this verse. He had just been writing about the destruction of the heavens and the earth with intense heat and fire. Then he says, “Since…” We know this is going to happen. What do we do?  Well, he goes on to tell us.

He actually asks us a question. “What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” What does that mean? How can we live in holy conduct and godliness? Both of these deal with our outward behavior based on our inner beliefs. Living what you believe. Putting feet to your faith. Letting your actions speak louder than your words. You get the picture?

APPLICATION

Children usually learn best by participating in their learning. Heck, most people do. But children need some “hands on” learning for it to sink in. When we read them a verse like this one, we need to help them experience what it means to live in holy conduct and godliness. How can you help them put their faith into practice?

How about taking your kids down to the local soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless? That’s quite an eye opener for a lot of kids. Getting them involved helping a senior adult around the house doing some basic household chores. That teaches them. And, of course, spending time studying the Word and praying for the lost. All of these are part of that.

How are you living? Are you a Christian in name only? Maybe you are saved and are excited about Christ’s return. That’s great. But how are you living in the meantime? We all can improve in our holy conduct and godliness. Will you join me?

Father, I have so far to go. I feel I don’t measure up most days to Your standards. Thank You, Lord, for leading me along the path of holy living.

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