Is the End Near?
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Read the passages below and look for answers to these questions:
1. What are we to be doing while we wait for Jesus to return?
2. How is Jesus' return described?
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people who are His very own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:11-14).
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Because everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him" (2 Peter 3:10-14).
Make a mental list of five or six things you're looking forward to. These can be things that you're looking forward to this year (such as your birthday) or things you look forward to on a regular basis (such as lunch) or milestones (such as going to college). Now tuck the list away in your mind for a few minutes. We'll get back to it.
As the calendar flipped from 2010 to 2011, we've had the usual "best of" and "worst of" lists for 2010, along with the expected predictions and "things to look for" in 2011. One prediction has been a bit more intriguing than most: the end of the world.
Whether it's the end of the cyclical Mayan calendar, the galactic line up of the Milky Way and our solar system, or the biblical calculations of an engineer from California, speculation about the demise of the world (particularly in 2012) has picked up some steam.
These predictions can sound interesting and even be intriguing to investigate. What's a believer to do with all this? While Jesus gave us a heads up about when His return would be approaching, He solidly said no one—not even He—knows the exact time. He was, though, pretty emphatic about what we should be doing until He gets here. This message is echoed in several other New Testament places, including the two passages below. Maybe these words can give us some wisdom on how to engage the subject of the end of the world.
Spend a couple minutes meditating on all the info you found in these passages regarding Jesus' return. How is it described? How will we know it's Jesus' return and not just something weird going on (such as a giant solar flare)?
Now look at all the info you found that tells you what you're to be doing while waiting on Jesus' return. This actually would be good info to make into a list—a physical list, not simply a mental list. In fact, take a minute to do that; either text/type it into a file or write it on a sheet of paper.
The So What
Now get hyper-practical for a minute. Think of one specific task you can do for each instruction that will help you live out that instruction. For example, what's one specific thing you can do to help you say no to ungodliness and worldly passions? Add these tasks to your list.
If you're like most folks, you probably haven't done a lot of thinking lately about Jesus' return or the end of this age. Not many people do, but it's clear in Scripture that God would like us to think about Jesus' return more than we probably do. With interest picking up about the end of the world, you might have opportunity to share what Jesus said. So maybe this devotional can be a starting point for you to put Jesus' return on your list of things to look forward to if it's not there already.