Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are You Still Growing?

            Never stop growing.  People often admire how quickly children grow, but do not recognize as often or as long when someone becomes a babe in Christ.  Hopefully the growth of the Christian does not stop.  So why do people stop taking notice?  Maybe we need to encourage one another more often in spiritual growth.  When was the last time you encouraged someone in a spiritual nature?  Encouragement can go a long ways.  It may just make a terrible day turn bright, and it is free to give.  The only thing it costs you is what God has given you, breath.  This is encouraged in 2 Peter 3:14-18,

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

            Peter wrote this right after he described the end times.  It is urgent that we walk in righteousness since Christ’s second coming can take place at any given second.  With this in mind, Christians have all the more reason to encourage one another and continue in growth.  It can be seen if one measures body weight on a consistent basis that it constantly fluctuates.  If you weigh yourself in the morning it will be different then when you weigh yourself that night.  On a regular day, a person will weigh more in the evening than they did that morning.  Our spiritual weight (i.e. growth) should measure the same way.  Have you grown more spiritually by the end of the day?  If not, then you have not consumed a healthy spiritual diet.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).  Growth comes with a good spiritual diet and encouragement.

Monday, January 30, 2012


            The “study of the last things” is both exciting and frightening.  It should be easy for Christians to say that there is no fear in the second coming.  Revelation tells us who is going to win the spiritual warfare in which we are fighting.  God will overcome evil.  The frightening part is in the unknown.  Nobody knows the day or hour that Jesus will come again, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come…Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake” (Mark 13:32–33, 35-37, ESV).
Jesus states the warning four times to remain “awake,” and once he said “Be on guard.”  The Bible describes how things will unfold in the eschaton, but there is still widespread interpretation of the timing and events of the judgment day and eternity.  “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–2).  Paul then echoes what Jesus said, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober” (5:6).  Satan is lulling people away from anticipating the end.
Paul describes how it will be when Jesus does return, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (4:16–17).  What happens then is described in great detail in 2 Peter 3:1-13.  Once everything is burned up and dissolved, a new heaven and a new earth are prepared for the believers and the “second death” for the wicked (Revelation 21:1-8).