Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Be Alert and Self-Controlled

Today's Reading:
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
Psalm 119:17-24
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6
2 For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

The "Day of the Lord" is a phrase that goes all the way back to the Old Testament prophets. It refers to a final day when God will intervene with judgment and blessing.

The Christians who witnessed Jesus' ascension into heaven were told that he would one day return. Hope in the Christ's promised return has been central to Christianity since the beginning. The Nicene Creed (325 A.D.) says, "He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead, and his Kingdom will have no end."

With this faith and hope, Paul urged Christians to live with an expectation of that "final day." This expectation, he said, should shape the way they live each day—making them thoughtful, alert, and self-controlled.

Response and Action:
Anticipation and readiness for Christ's return should be a part of my daily thinking. Remembering the "Day of the Lord" and believing that it is imminent should heighten my attentiveness to life. Faith in the certainty of Christ's promised return should guide my choices and actions.

Dear Lord, I want to be ready for Christ's return. More than that, I long for it. Bring your Kingdom to earth today, O Lord. Help me to live and work in this world today as a servant of your Kingdom, which is and is to come. Help me to be alert and able to see the world from a Kingdom perspective. Help me to be self-controlled and to walk in your ways. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Revelation 21:1-3
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Recommended Reading:
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
by N. T. Wright

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