Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Blessing, Confession, End Times, Judgment, Rapture, Scripture

THE DAY OF VISITATION 

MICAH 7:4 

“The best of them is like a thorn bush, the most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, your punishment is coming. Then their confusion will occur.” 

Don’t you love it when family comes to visit? I do. I enjoy reconnecting with loved ones. My wife and I have always lived away from family. So, when the opportunities were there for visits, we looked forward to them. Those were good visitations. 

The “day of visitation” in the Bible meant several things. Listen to Isaiah 10, verse 3. “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” This is the same message Micah is giving. God is here. And when He comes, things happen. 

APPLICATION 

Jesus is coming again. There is no doubt about that. When? No one knows, not even Jesus. One day (and it could be soon), the Father will turn to His Son, seated at His right hand in the heavenlies, and say, “Go get Your bride.” Then Jesus will come and take up the Church. 

When He comes the next time, it will be in judgment. He will come to judge the earth and all who are still dwelling there. The evil one will be dealt with. All things will be set straight to prepare for the new heaven and new earth. 

This is not a cliff note version of the end times. I just want you to see that when God visits, things happen. And the most important visit He will ever make in your life is when you accept His Son Jesus as Savior. Have you done that? If not, prepare for His visit! 

Lord, I know You are coming again. In the meantime, use me to lead many to You so they can experience Your presence in their lives. 

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NO MORE WAR

MICAH 4:3

“And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

As I write this blog, war is still raging in Ukraine. When that will end is anyone’s guess. Through the ministry I am a part of, Trans World Radio (TWR), I know of believers on both sides of this war. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are struggling. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction of some beautiful cities and villages, not to mention the loss of life.

Micah prophesies, however, that one day there will be no more war. We have all heard this verse quoted over the years. Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. I love that last phrase – “nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” Just think of the billions of dollars that could be redirected towards healthcare, food and clean water. This will be an amazing sight to behold.

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, Sure, that sounds great, Carl, but we will never see that in our lifetime. You never know. I believe the Lord’s return for His church is imminent. With that event, the end-time clock speeds up – rapture, tribulation years (yes, I am a pre-trib guy), thousand-year reign and then the second coming of Christ.

How do we play a part in this? How about not making war with your neighbors? How about not looking at someone as if they are beneath you? How about extending the olive branch of peace towards someone who has harmed you? We can all help with these things. Peace begins with us.

I am personally not at war with anyone. I do, however, show my prejudices at times, politics and sports, to name a couple. I have to make sure I am not showing myself to others. I need to be showing Jesus at all times. Only He can make the change happen in others.

Lord, we await the day when there will be no more war

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HOOKS

AMOS 4:2

“The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness, ‘For behold, the days are coming upon you when they will take you away with meat hooks, and the last of you with fish hooks.’”

I love to fish. I don’t get to do it as often as I like, but I love it. If you have ever gone fishing, you know you need hooks to catch the fish. Those hooks can be on an artificial bait or used with live bait. But you have to have hooks. And when you catch a fish, you jerk it and bring it to the boat or shore. It’s kind of a violent act, if you think about it.

In the same way, Israel was going to be snatched away. The imagery of the meat hook and the fish hook was one every Israelite could relate to. Because of their rebuke of God’s holiness, their judgment had arrived, and they would be snatched away by other nations – violently and aggressively snatched away.

APPLICATION

We face the same, if we are not children of God. At death, we will be snatched away by the evil one to an eternity of torment. But praise be to God, as children of God, we are protected. We will be snatched away, but into the loving arms of our Lord. If we are alive when He returns, God’s Word says we will be snatched away to meet Him in the air.

Unlike the snatching away that happened to the Israelites, our snatching away won’t involve sharp hooks. Sharp hooks are painful. I know from experience. I’ve had more than one hook stuck in my finger or hand. Our snatching away won’t be painful. It will be peaceful and gentle.

I am so ready to be snatched away. I look forward to our Lord’s return. But my heart aches for those who don’t have this confidence in our Lord. Their snatching will be painful. Will you join me in trying to reach as many as we can for Christ before His return? Let’s help them avoid those hooks.

Thank You Jesus for the promise of Your return and the snatching away I will experience in You.

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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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THIEVES

2 PETER 3:10

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

Okay, you need to understand something. Peter is not calling the Lord a thief. But I guess you knew that, right. Peter is just using a thief as an example. If you knew a thief was going to rob your house, what would you do? You would get ready for him.  You would make sure all the doors and windows were locked and secured. You would make sure all your valuables were hidden away. But the problem is, thieves don’t give prior notice. They catch you just as you are.

So, the Lord Jesus isn’t going to announce that He is coming a certain day. We know, through Scripture, that He is coming. That means we have to be ready. How do you get ready? By staying in His Word and doing all we can to lead others to Him. We should have our spiritual doors open all the time waiting for Him. We should have nothing in our lives for which we are ashamed. He’s on His way.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids what they would do if they knew their favorite aunt or uncle was coming for a visit. Would they leave their room a mess? Would they put off taking a bath until after their visit. Now, some kids would love that, lol. But seriously, what would they do to prepare for them?

Explain why it is so important to prepare for the Lord’s return. The first thing, of course, is make sure their heart is right. Have they surrendered their life to Him? If that’s been done, let them know He wants them to live each day as if He’s coming back that day. We want to please Him in all we do every day.

Are you living today as if He is coming back soon? Let me encourage you to surrender fully to Him today. Let Him have full control over your life. Allow Him to use you to lead others to Him. And most of all, keep looking for Him. Know His return is close.

O God, I know many people who need You. Help me lead them to You before it is too late. I want them to know You.

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HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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BE A MODEL


2 THESSALONIANS 3:9

“not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.” 

Before you start freaking out about my title today, let me explain. I am NOT telling you to be a fashion model or a swimsuit model. You may want to do that, but that is not what I am referring to in today’s verse. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that he and his companions were examples or models of Christ. He wanted them to only see Jesus in them.

I was told recently by someone that they could tell just by watching me that I was a nice person. They observed this in me not through conversation or interaction. They came to that conclusion by the way I was behaving and interacting with others. I was quite humbled and was very glad I had behaved myself, lol. But our goal should always be to model Christ, so that others would be drawn to Him, not us.

APPLICATION

Well, here we are again. The best way for us to teach our children this truth is to MODEL it ourselves. We have to live it for them to see it. We have to look like Jesus. I don’t mean to grow out your hair and wear a robe. I mean to treat others as Christ would. I mean to parent your child as Christ would. I mean to live and act like Jesus. Be a model of Christ to them.

As we do that our children learn to model Him too. They have to have an example to follow. What better example than Jesus? If your children can learn this truth at an early age, they will avoid a lot of heartaches because of the way they interact with others. Modeling Jesus isn’t easy, but it is the best way to live your life. 

“But Carl, I have blown it so many times.” That’s okay. Start fresh. Begin today to change your appearance. Be a model of Him for others to follow. Make sure when others point out your “specialness” that you point it right back to Him. It is only through Him that you can begin to look and act like Him. 

I want to look like Jesus, Father. I want others to see Him in me. Help me today to share the gospel and, if necessary, to use words.

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OUTLAWS

2 THESSALONIANS 2:3

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” 

Who is this “man of lawlessness” or this “son of destruction”? Well, you could read a dozen commentaries and probably get two dozen opinions. Some believe it referred to one of the Caesars. Others think it was the Pope. Others believe it represented a group of men through history. We won’t know Paul’s exacts thoughts through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit until we see him in glory.

Paul is telling the Thessalonians that certain things must take place before Christ returned. The same still holds true today. We shall always have lawless and destructive men around us. Some men have no other desire than to try to destroy anything holy. That is what Paul is talking about. They are outlaws of the faith. They want nothing to do with it.

APPLICATION

Warning our children of these men’s deception is critical. These types of “outlaws” don’t necessarily wear black hats. They come disguised so as to deceive and lead away unsuspecting people. Our children need to be prepared to recognize and detect these individuals. Leaving them defenseless is not smart and could cost them their very eternity.

“Wow, Carl, you are getting pretty heavy.” You think? Well, that’s the beauty of going verse by verse in the Bible. This is NOT my soapbox. It’s God’s. I didn’t write this. He did. And He still wants to warn us to be watchful and prepared. Parents for generations have taught their children the truth to protect them from evil men. We must do the same.

Let me ask you a question. Can you recognize these evil men? Are you grounded in the Word enough that you can discern when one of these “outlaws” tries to lead you astray? I pray you are. One good way to know is ask yourself if what you are being asked to do will glorify Jesus. If it won’t, then don’t go down that road. We should always be pointing others to Him.

Thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit can tell me when I am wrong. Help me listen more closely to His voice. Give me the wisdom and discernment to spot evil and wicked people who desire to lead me astray.

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KEEP IT TOGETHER

2 THESSALONIANS 2:2

“that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” 

In verse 1 of chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians Paul makes a request of the church there. This is it! Keep it together! Don’t get upset! Don’t let some spirit or message or letter get you all excited. Rumors were spreading that Jesus had already returned and they had missed Him. People were beginning to doubt the message Paul had given them concerning the return of the Lord. So, Paul was asking them to just calm down.

Have you ever planned to meet someone for an important meeting? What if you had that all planned and when you got there someone told you that you had just missed them? Would you be upset? You may have been planning this meeting for days, weeks or even months and now you missed it. It was a potential life changing meeting. That is what was happening right here in this verse.

APPLICATION

Has your child ever missed the bus or a ride home? Many children do that. In fact, it happens all the time. The next time that happens or you hear of it happening to one of their friends, pull out this verse. The Thessalonians thought they had missed their “ride home.” They were anticipating the return of Christ to carry them to heaven. Now they were “stuck” here on earth, looking like idiots for believing Paul.

The difference in your child missing a ride and us missing Jesus’ return is one is temporal and the other is eternal. If your child is a believer, there is NO WAY they can miss that ride. It’s a guaranteed trip. But if they aren’t a Christian, well… 

Do you have your ticket punched for the ride home? If you do, don’t worry or fret about when Christ is returning. He will, and when He does, He will carry all of us to Glory. Do you know some friends or family who are saved? If so, take the time today to share with them the saving knowledge of Christ so they too can be assured of that trip.

O God, give me the opportunity today to be a deliverer of that ticket to someone. Let me show them the way home to You.

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COMING TOGETHER

2 THESSALONIANS 2:1

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,” 

Isn’t it funny how circumstances can change how we ask people things? For instance, if you know you will never see someone ever again, you might be led to ask them something you REALLY want to know. If you are going to see them the next day, you might wait until later. Timing is everything when it comes to choosing your words.

Paul is beginning this second chapter (remember, there weren’t chapters in the original letter) by saying, “Since Jesus is coming and we will all be together, I need to ask you for something.” We’ll see what he asks for later. But in today’s verse he is setting the stage. He is sure they will be together and that Jesus is coming. So, with that in mind, he feels free to ask them anything.

APPLICATION

We need to teach our children how to be more tactful when it comes to asking people things, right? Have your children ever asked someone something that embarrassed you? Kids can do that. They don’t have a filter yet. As they get older they learn the appropriate time to ask certain things. But they also may lose some of that boldness.

For example, I have a nephew who would ask total strangers on a plane or in the airport if they were saved. I was humbled by his boldness. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed to ask that question. Why should he be? We shouldn’t be. In fact, since the Lord is coming back (as Paul says), shouldn’t we be bold asking our friends and neighbors that very question. 

Will you be bold today? Will you ask the question since He’s coming soon? Don’t put it off. Tomorrow may be too late. He’s on His way. And He wants all who are willing to come with Him to heaven. Don’t you?

I will ask someone today, Lord, what their eternal plan is. I want to be bold and deliberate as I talk to friends and strangers alike. Give me the courage to speak!

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