2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 The question "Will we go through the tribulation?" has been discussed in many books and by many teachers. People do not like the thought of going through any tribulation. In fact, when tribulation comes, they want an easy out. One of the promises of God we do not like to claim is, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus said this, and we will all suffer some tribulation in this life. There will be a day, however, when there will be tribulation as never before on this earth. This is a seven-year period at the end of this age when there will be horrific trials. All of us would like to escape this period of time, but the more I study Scripture, the only promise I can hold on to to comfort me about the last days on earth is, "We are not appointed to wrath." If one studies Revelation, he will discover that the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation will be a time on earth when all kinds of plagues are poured out on the earth. This is the time of God's wrath, and these various trials are called the bowls of wrath. I am convinced the church will not be on earth during this last three and one-half years because we are not appointed to God's wrath. The statement is made in Revelation that at this time no one left on earth will repent.
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2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 My husband and I were so excited about beautifying our backyard, so we went and bought some brightly colored azaleas and other plants. We labored to plant them. As we look today at our back garden, we see only dried-up bushes. We had such a drought this summer, and because of water restrictions, we could not water the plants. They all withered and died.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28 Do you know what you are called to do on this earth? We all as believers have common callings such as being witnesses in this earth, lights shining in the midst of darkness, salt to give flavor and preserve the lives of others by introducing them to Christ and discipling them. I believe, however, that each believer has a specific calling from God on his life.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3 A new series of books has just been produced that speaks of the last days. The series is called Left Behind. These fiction novels, which are based on Scripture, speak of the day of "the Rapture,"a day many believe the saints of the Lord will meet Jesus in the air. That day is described in detail in this series. Trains, planes and cars will crash suddenly, and those left behind will not know that something supernatural has happened. Some members of families will be taken in the Rapture, and others will be left behind.
Jeremiah 14:11-16:15 We are living in the last days, and many of the prophecies in God's Word about Israel have been fulfilled. One of these main prophesies is in our reading in Jeremiah today. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of a time when Israel will no longer say, "'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers" (Jer. 16:15).
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8 I was at a time in my life when I felt I needed to get more education and go to work. My sons were facing college later, and I wanted to do my part in paying for their education. One morning as I was having my quiet time, I read 1 Thessalonians 2:7: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children."
Colossians 3:18-4:18 One of the major problems with youth in our culture today is their lack of respect for parents and teachers. Our son Ron wanted to be a teacher of chemistry in high school. He finished his degree at Georgia Tech and then began his practice teaching at a high school in an exclusive neighborhood. He experienced such a great lack of respect from his students that he decided not to finish his practice teaching. Later Ron had the opportunity to teach in China, and the students respected and honored him. He loved teaching in China, and he plans to return.
Colossians 3:1-17 Not a day goes by that we don't have to dress ourselves. I love to have what I call "robe days." These are days when I go nowhere and just stay in my nightgown all day. Even on those days, however, I have to put a robe on just in case someone comes to the door. Often I find myself thinking ahead about what I am going to wear the next day. Jesus, however, tells us not to think ahead about what we will wear or even what we will eat. Granted, we do need to make some preparations ahead of time, but we should never be absorbed with thoughts of what we will wear or eat. It is interesting that when I get together with other ladies we often are talking about clothes and sharing recipes. I believe our times together would better be used if we talked about the Lord together. After all, without Him we would have neither clothes nor food. When we are absorbed with what we wear and eat, we are declaring we do not trust God to provide these things.
Colossians 2:8-23 It was the custom in the days of Paul for a conquering nation to parade down the streets in triumph with their spoil and their prisoners of war in chains behind them. Triumph is the celebration of victory. This scripture speaks of King Jesus having spoiled principalities and powers. He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them. What a comfort to know that every demon has been spoiled. They have been made a show of openly.
Colossians 1:21-2:7 For so long in my own life I did not understand the mystery Paul speaks of in his letter to the Colossians. I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior at nine years of age, and from nine to twenty-six years of age I struggled to walk in the ways of the Lord. I would do well for a season, and then I would find myself drifting. Finally the day came when I was twenty-six and that mystery began to be unveiled to me.
Colossians 1:1-20 When my children were young, I used to pray Scripture prayers for them aloud. Most of the Scripture prayers came from the letters Paul wrote to the different churches. Today's reading in Colossians has one of the prayers I prayed regularly for my three sons. It is an excellent prayer that you can pray for anyone you love. Paul said, "I do not cease to pray for you." These were the things he prayed: "That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy" (vv. 9-11).
Philippians 4:1-23 Most of us are familiar with the phrase that is "batted about" so casually today: "Don't worry, be happy." There is a way you can not worry and be happy no matter what you are facing in this life—pray. The phrase should be revised to say, "Don't worry, Pray!" If we followed this admonition, our lives would be filled with joy (not just a happy "ha-ha" joy, but an inner joy that will strengthen us in all circumstances).
Proverbs 24:15-16 Yesterday's reading spoke of the ultimate destruction of the wicked. The proverb for today speaks of what will happen to the wicked and the just. The wicked man falls into mischief. The just man may fall even seven times, but he will get up each time. The just man always rises again. The wicked, however, falls forever.
Psalm 73:1-28 All of us from time to time in our lives have been besieged with doubt. In this psalm David was saying to God, "What is the use of living a righteous life? All the wicked are prospering, and here I am suffering." He felt this way until he went into the sanctuary and sought the Lord. As he quieted his spirit, he began to hear the voice of the Lord, and he understood the end of the wicked. He understood that the wicked ultimately would be judged and destroyed, but he would be accepted by God and not destroyed. Then David makes this wonderful statement: "Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" (vv. 23-24).
Isaiah 60:1-62:5 So many Christians spend their lives looking forward to when their ministry will be released in power. While they are waiting, they miss so many opportunities. The great ministry they hope to have one day may never develop. Many years ago when I almost died, the Lord taught me about the ministry of the moment. As I felt my spirit leaving my body as I was hemorrhaging after a miscarriage, I realized I might not have another minute to live. At that time I learned how precious every minute is. True ministry is seeing every moment as an opportunity to minister to another person or to the Lord.
Isaiah 57:15-59:21 It has been my custom over the years to have seasons of fasting. Fasting has many benefits, but the goal of fasting is not to get God to do something for you. When we fast, it is our time to intercede for others and also to have our own hearts changed. This passage in Isaiah lists several ways we can pray for others during a season of fasting. I must add there are different ways of fasting. Perhaps because of medical reasons you are not able to do without food. Many people do a Daniel fast, which is simply eating vegetables only. Other people fast on fruit juices. Some fast from watching TV.
Isaiah 54:1-57:14 A rejected person is always vulnerable to the enemy's weapons. This passage in Isaiah lists the ten weapons the enemy tries to use against rejected people.
Isaiah 51:1-53:12 One would think it would be impossible to read all about the life of Jesus in the Old Testament. There are, however, many prophetic scriptures in the Old Testament about the life and death of Jesus. Our reading in Isaiah today has one of the most famous ones. I have a friend who is a rabbi in a Messianic congregation, and he always tells his Jewish friends who do not believe in Jesus to read Isaiah 53. This is an amazing prophetic chapter that tells all about the rejection of Jesus and how He bore our sins, griefs, transgressions, iniquities and punishments in His death. It speaks of how God made His soul the offering for sin.
Isaiah 48:12-50:11 This passage in Isaiah speaks of God's greatness and His infinite interest in mankind. This very morning I enjoyed a lesson on the "Fear of the Lord" that gave documented facts about the great expanse of our universe. The teacher shared how many light-years it would take for us to travel to a far galaxy, and it was mind boggling. We are just now coming to the understanding of the vastness of our universe. Yet, God says He spans the heavens with His right hand. The span of my own hand is about five inches or less. Think of how big God is who can span the whole universe with His right hand.
Proverbs 24:3-4 We have only built one house in our lifetime, and it was interesting to watch the structure being formed day by day. First, the foundation was laid carefully. Some of the plumbing even went into the foundation area before the cement was poured on top. Then the wood frame went up, and the rooms in the house were carefully measured and framed. Finally the roof trusses were placed, and the roof was laid. Perhaps you have never built a house to live in, but we all are building spiritual houses. This Proverbs reading talks about how we should build our spiritual house: "Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."