“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” - 1 Cor 16:13 (NIV)
Ever since the Lord ascended to heaven, there has been an understandable desire on a part of some of His followers concerning His return. Just as the three wise men were eagerly looking out for a sign of the Lord’s birth (Mathew 2:2); many have also sought to piece together signs and predict his eventual return. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, is noted for once having made a prediction of Jesus’s return based on a prophecy he received, in 1890, which didn’t turn out to be!
About His return, we all know the Lord said, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mathew 24:36). Rather, perhaps for our easiness, the Lord said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (vv 6-8).
The Lord spoke of an increase in persecution of believers (vv 9); the turning of many away from faith (vv 10); an increase in hatred, the rise of many false prophets (vv 11); and “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (vv 12-13.)
I believe our interest in this matter should therefore be two fold. First, is to persevere and keep our faith. Secondly, rather than stay put as some groups decided to withdraw themselves during World War 2 because the signs were all over, continue with the work of sharing the Gospel (Mathew 28:19). “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (vv 42-44).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, creator of heaven and earth, today I pray to guard my faith and continue to share the Good News knowing that only the Father and Son knows the hour, but when it comes, I am found ready, as a bride waiting for her bridegroom!
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!