Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 26 October 2017

For our “God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12, verse 29.

My son in law (one of them) is a firefighter; the other is a military police officer.  Josh (the fireman) serves in College Station, Texas, and is combined firefighter, EMT, and paramedic.   He has skills and passion for this kind of work that I can only imagine.   A few years ago, when he was still in training, we were driving around town and saw a house under construction that had just caught on fire.   He was mesmerized watching it, and I was fascinated at how he described what the fire was doing to the building.   Josh predicted that the fire would spill over from room to room and engulf the whole floor; as if on cue, that’s exactly what happened.   The building went from somebody’s future home to a pile of ashes in a matter of minutes.

That’s a consuming fire.

Or there are the wildfires that happen out west every year.   Every year, fires consume thousands of acres of land that is both under-maintained and over-developed.   When we lived in Colorado Springs, I watched one particular wildfire rise from a pillar of smoke to miles-high mushroom cloud almost instantly.   I later read that the fire (the Hayman Fire of 2002) was caused by arson.  I remember driving out Highway 24 west of Pikes Peak and seeing mile after mile of emergency responder vehicles, makeshift responder camps, and mobile command facilities.  According to Wikipedia, that fire burned over 138000 acres and killed six people.

Consuming.

Intense preaching; short-term deadlines; focused workers; heated arguments; passionate evenings:   these are all consuming things that regularly show up on our lives.  They consume our focus and consume our attention.   They’ll consume our lives in obsession if we let them.  Have we ever considered how God is the consuming fire mentioned in the verse?   Is he like the fire mentioned when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, a fire that burned to nothing even soaking wet logs?   Is He the fire in your fireplace that warms your house while destroying old wood?   Is He nuclear fire, both destructive and immensely powerful in its magnitude?  Or is God a candle in the dark, giving the only light to an empty space?

You know the answer.

Our God is an awesome God; ok, over-used platitude and verse.  But it’s true!   God is awe-inspiring, awe-inducing, awe-producing.  His overwhelming power and His understated but equally-overwhelming love are the ultimate sources of the only real awe in the universe.   When we let Christ be the Lord in our lives, He consumes us from within and without.   He changes our heart, He evolves our attitudes, He teaches us better ways to act.   Those become self-fulfilling prophecies because when we display cleaner hearts, new attitudes, and those better ways, things around us change.   People treat us differently and we act differently.   That’s the crux of it (the cross, if you will):  we react more as Christ would have us react.   We pro-act, acting out of His love instead of just our own perspectives.  The world doesn’t change immediately but it does change.

It’s all because Christ consumes us.   He paid the price for our sins, and when we let Him into our lives, He scours out the shame, guilt, anger and hurt that held us hostage.   He replaces those feelings with His love and makes it possible to move forward in better ways.  In this way, He, our God, is like Elijah’s fire; He’s like the fire on top of Mount Sinai.  He’s the fire in our fireplace that helps us survive, comforts and warms us, and provides us with what we need.   And He’s the candle in the dark, replacing (and consuming) the darkness with undeniable light that provides focus, guidance and hope.

For further reading:  Deuteronomy 4:24, 1 Kings 18.

Lord, consume me with Your holy love-fire. 

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Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 25 October 2017

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.  Hebrews 12, verse 28.

Awe.   That concept comes from Malachi 2:5, which mentions revering God with awe.  When was the last time you really felt awe about something?   One time when I was at sea, I felt in complete awe being caught in the middle of a storm off the coast of Alaska.   And standing on the ridge of the Grand Canyon was awe-inspiring (and awesome).  The courage of my son standing up to give his very real confirmation testimony gave me a feeling of awe.   And now, during my last days on my east Texas farm, when I look out at the simple beauty of morning mists shimmering off the pond my heart is full of awe and wonder at the beauty of it all.

God has that effect on us.  Imagine the feeling of awe at falling at the feet of Jesus when this life is over, of having Him reach down and take your hand and lift you up.   “I’m so glad to see you,” He might say.   Imagine the awe of having the very much alive Jesus speak those words to you.   Of simply being in the presence of the Alpha and the Omega.  Of knowing He chose you and I to be with Him forever.

All that is possible because His kingdom is unshakeable.   The verse doesn’t just talk about the temporal, earthly kingdom here.   No, it’s talking about His kingdom inside us.   We are the church; we are His church and His vessels for carrying Him to the ends of the earth.   We do that because He lives and reigns within us.   When we live our lives following Jesus, we can’t be shaken.   The world around us may quiver, tremble, and quake, but we won’t.   We may get knocked down but we won’t be knocked out.   We may be hurt but we won’t be vanquished.   With Jesus as our lead, we will always advance.

That’s because His kingdom is within us.   Noodle that thought for awhile and you’ll find it’s awesome as well.  It will inspire real awe, real star-struck feelings within you.  He who died on the cross thinking about you, He who faced down the moneychangers and Pharisees and Pontius Pilate, He who walked on water and talked with Moses and Elijah on the mountain, He who was born in that manger, He who told Sarah she was pregnant, He who walked in Eden, He who spoke and made everything appear:  He has built His church on your heart and lives day to day here on this earth through you.   He’s real and He’s now.  When you live in godly ways, you’re letting Him work through you.   When you have mercy, you’re letting Him act out through you.   When you choose real love, you’re letting Him love through you.  You are a knight in His kingdom because His kingdom is alive and in your heart.  The world of hurt and pain can inflict those on you but it can’t destroy what Jesus has instituted within you.   Nothing can.

Yet His kingdom is also physical, tangible, and on its way.  Jesus’ coming kingdom will be a real, physical place here with real, physical work and real, physical actions.   There will be true government that is un-corrupted by sin.   There will be true justice that is measured by love.  There will be true leadership that is exemplified by Jesus on His throne yet walking with each of us.   There will be real people and real angels and real apostles and real work to be done.   To paraphrase my friend, Phil (of Calvary Chapel here in Paris), our personality, passion, character, and skills – core traits of Christian servants – will be put to work in service of Jesus’ real kingdom, even more than they are here and now.   In that day we will live in the kingdom He intended for us all along:  a place for us to thrive in harmony with Him and in unity with others and even nature.   Remember those words about the lion and the lamb living together?   They weren’t poetry.   They were an advance preview of what’s to come.   Real peace in the life we’ve all longed for.

And it is awesome to think of it all.

My friend, Mark (of Water’s Edge in Frisco), is fond of saying “you’re part of eternity now.”   Right on brother.   You and I get to choose that awe right now.  We don’t have to wait for the end of this life to be in awe of Jesus.   We get to do that now because He has made us righteous and worthy of Him now through what He did at Calvary.   That’s more awesome than an Aleutian storm, or a misty morning in Paris, or even the love of my kids and grandkids.   You and I:   we’re part of Him now, and it is an awesome God we can ponder.

For further reading:  Psalm 15:5, Isaiah 11:6, Daniel 2:44, Malachi 2:5, Hebrews 13:5.

My Lord I am in awe of you, of Your love, Your power, Your heart.   Align my life more and more with Yours.

 

 

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 12 October 2017

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  Hebrews 12, verses 22-24.

One of my favorite Christian songs is “Days of Elijah.”   There’s a particularly good version of it by Twila Paris that’s not saccharin, not too rock & roll, not too corny.   It’s just uplifting, and one of the verses in the song says “out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.”  Look up the geography of Jerusalem and you see that Zion is the hill on which the first and second temple’s were built.   It was literally God’s home address on terra firma.  It’s where the Temple was located, where King David reigned and is buried, where the Last Supper was held, and it’s not far from Calvary.   In contemporary usage, Zion refers to the land of Israel itself, and to the cause of establishing the modern nation of Israel.  Yet in days of old it was where God lived.

That’s a lot to draw from just a few verses.  Then again, Jerusalem has been ground zero for most of human history, and Zion is the spiritual heart of Jerusalem.   There’s a lot to consider with it.

The writer of Hebrews invoked Zion to symbolize heaven made possible by Jesus.   It is the new heaven, the new dwelling place of the living God.   You and I get to go there, to worship in His true temple, to make our home with Him (to tabernacle with Him).   Where Sinai symbolizes our need for Jesus before heaven, Zion symbolizes our heaven with Jesus both here in this world and in the next.  Sinai was a place of power and fear:   Zion is a place where the greatest power in the universe – God’s love – took root and grew.   Sinai was law:  Zion is love.   Sinai was remote:   Zion is connection.

I can hear Twila singing about “righteousness being restored.”

Read, too, about Abel.   The writer recalls Abel, invoking that the sacrifice of Christ means more than the sacrifice of Abel (both the blood of the animal Abel sacrificed as well as his own as the victim of history’s first murder).  Abel gave a representation of divine blood in a sacrifice about his personal faith; Jesus actually gave His own blood as the faith sacrifice for all persons.

Read, too (again) about the firstborn.   Recall the story of Esau and Jacob (or, for that matter, Cain and Abel, or any of the first-born sons of the patriarchs).   Jesus makes us all as if we are first-born.   We ALL get to inherit the best of the family.   We all get to be treated as special because of what Jesus did in dying on that rugged cross.

“These are the days of Elijah declaring the word of the Lord.”   Elijah declared God’s word to an unbelieving world.   You and I get to do the same, thousands of years after Elijah, thousands of years after the Word of the Lord Himself.

Finally, there is the new covenant.   We’ve discussed how a covenant is more than just a contract or an agreement.   It’s a blood oath, a God-affirming vow made in faith and justice.  God had made covenants with humanity all through the age of the patriarchs yet all of them were made to point us to our need for His redemption.   When Jesus came, He delivered that redemption and made it possible for men to speak directly with God.   He restored balance by making the perfect atonement.   He made a path for us to spend both now and eternity in God’s presence.  The Old Testament covenants pointed us to our need for God, yet the covenant made by Jesus points us to God in our lives.  God has always judged all people yet now we get to see His judgment more clearly, more as an act of loving justice instead of punishing vengeance.   We get to see that God’s holy law from Sinai was made perfect by His holy sacrifice from Zion.   That the covenant Jesus made by Zion is one to which we can still be bound today.

Go download Twila’s song.   I guarantee you’ll like it.

For further reading:  Isaiah 24:23, Revelation 14:1, Galatians 4:26, Exodus 4:22, Revelation 20:12, Genesis 18:25, Psalm 94:2, Philippians 3:12,Galatians 3:20, 1 Peter 1:2, Genesis 4:20, Hebrews 11:4.

Lord, thank You for so many messages in so few words.   In these days of Elijah, help me to declare Your Words to those around me.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 2 February 2017

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.  Hebrews 7, verses 18-19.

You can read it as easily as I can:   these verses are talking about law (and, in context, about the divinity of Jesus, our true priest forever in the order of Melchizedek).   Let me draw another parallel for you, though.

I’m struggling to not hate right now.   If you’ve read these words for awhile, you know that my (now) former company laid me off at the end of December.  They didn’t need me anymore, and I hadn’t done anything wrong or illegal or immoral.   They simply didn’t need me anymore and I wasn’t a fit in the company culture; they didn’t want me, so they let me go.   Since then, I’ve been working part time in a call center.   There, I recently switched to a new account because the previous one also scaled back.   Along with two of my co-workers, I’m learning how this company uses a system I’ve known for over fifteen years.   It should be a good fit for me, especially as a part-time gig, yet I feel more discouraged than I have in months.  I’ve interviewed for a number of full-time positions but none has come open yet, at least not for me.   It’s discouraging to be out of work, and my wife and I are scaling back our spending drastically, contacting creditors, and trying our best to keep afloat.  I’m worried, and scared, and I feel ashamed to be out of work when I would so much rather be moving forward in success.

As a result, I find myself struggling to stay away from the selfish spiraling of blaming my former employer, of succumbing to hatred.   If you hate the people who hate you, they win, and that would simply make another wrong.   I thought I was doing the right thing in the way I led the projects they had me working on,  but the culture there had become mistake-free.   I made mistakes, didn’t do what they wanted me to do even as some of what they wanted me to do was wrong.  I find myself fighting off the urge to truly hate the men who put me on the street, to wish on them pain and hurt like they’ve inflicted on me.   It’s a real struggle; it’s a real fight, like two parties are warring for my soul.   I’m so angry and feel so hurt, and I’m really trying to not feel sorry for myself.   There are so many other people struggling worse than we are.   Yet I find myself wanting to scream at those men, to meet them in an airport someplace and punch one of them in the eye, or worse.   It was unfair, it was cruel, it was just plain wrong what they did to me, and I feel an empty burning anger inside of me because of it.

Now is the time to re-read the verses and address what God is saying in them.   In all I’m going through, God isn’t indifferent.   What was behind me is behind me.   God bless the folks still working for those wretched men and I honestly hope they do well.   As for me, God has me out of there for a reason.   In that, God is teaching me things, first and foremost reminding me to rely on Him.   My God is bigger than some job.   It isn’t Pollyana-ish to say again and again that something good is coming.   I don’t know how soon it’ll happen, but it will happen.   Until then, in good and in bad, God is still with us and is providing what He knows we need.   He has me doing what I can to move forward along a new path.  What is now in the past is rightfully in the past, relegated there because God is growing me beyond it.   It’s no longer needed for the path He has me on.

This whole job-searching process then becomes an exercise in trust, in trusting God.   He prepared me in the past for things I need to know now.   All that He’s going to use to put me in some new place has already been set in motion, even if I can’t yet see how it all fits together.  It’s frustrating, it’s anger-inducing, it has my emotions on edge and under stress.   It did the same to Job, and to King David, and to Elijah, and to Jesus in Gethsemene.  God is active in where He has my wife and I, and He’s building us up for work He’s readying for us in the days to come.   God is drawing my wife and I nearer to Him.   Imperfect as we are, we’re close as one and closer to God than we have been in a long time.   That will bear only good fruit.  What it bears will be washed in Jesus’ hope.

I still want to sock my old manager in the eye, though.   But instead of that, I’ll pray the “Fiddler on the Roof prayer,” the one the villagers asked of their rabbi concerning the tsar.   “May the good Lord bless and keep him…far away from us.”  God’s active in their lives even when they were (I feel) unjust to me.   In a way, I hope He’s active for their best as well.

For further reading:   Romans 8:3, Romans 3:20, Galatians 3:20, Hebrews 3:6, James 4:8.

Lord Jesus, thank You for saving me when I so don’t deserve it.   Bless those who persecute us, and lead me to the new place You have in store.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 25 October 2016

He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.  Hebrews 3, verse 2.

Moses was God’s servant.   When Moses was a tiny baby, floating in the reed ark in the Nile, Jesus knew him.   When Moses murdered the Egyptian and fled in hypocritical fear, Jesus knew him.   When Moses stood in front of God’s presence and doubted himself and this God, Jesus knew him.   When Moses was an old man dying on top of Mount Nebo and looking into the Promised Land he was told he would never enter, Jesus knew him.  And when Moses, along with Elijah, appeared to Jesus, Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, Jesus knew him.

You get the picture.   Jesus knew Moses.

And Moses, try as he did otherwise, knew Jesus.   He may not have known Jesus as the man incarnate, yet Moses knew Him as the three in one.  As Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 6 in the great Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”   Moses saw the Three in One personally, as God, as three persons in One.  He knew Jesus was God’s person abiding with Israel as it struggled with its newfound identity.   He knew Jesus as his deliverer and mediator when he stood in God’s presence and pleaded for his rebellious people.   He knew Jesus when He spoke comfort into Moses’ doubting heart.   And, after death, He knew Jesus as Lord, friend, man, and brother, talking with Him on that mountain in the desert where Jesus revealed a taste of His glory to a hungry world.

Through it all, Moses was God’s servant.   Just as Jesus was God’s servant.   Just as you and I are God’s servants.   Noodle that thought for a minute.  You and I have things in common with Moses and Jesus, the two greatest figures of antiquity, the deliverers of millions, the founders of Western civilization, and one of whom is God Immanuel the Savior of all mankind.  It isn’t just similarities, chance behaviors or traits we have in common with figures in history; you could say that about anyone.    No, we have a brotherhood, a familial bond with Jesus and Moses that goes beyond our shared humanity.   By God’s grace, He considers us to be His servants, doing His good and loving will in a world that needs to know Him.

I don’t know about you but I’ll admit that my independent American nature doesn’t like being told the best I can be is a servant.   I’m no slave…and yet I am one.  God forgive, then, my stupid head and ignorant heart.

Just this morning at the gym, I spent 10 minutes alone in the sauna.   I often do this at the end of my workout, and today I spent my time praying.   Going in, I decided I would only pray thanks to God for things that crossed my mind.   That and I wouldn’t pray for the same thing twice; it would only be new things that came to me during the prayers.   10 minutes doesn’t seem like that long of a time, but in reality it was.   Yet the longer I prayed, the harder – and easier – it became to pray for things.   By the end of it, I was praying for even simple things I’d taken for granted, things like dry floors and warm showers and clean clothes and even the air I breathed.

When I was done, I was left full.   I felt both satisfied and tired; can you imagine the thrilling exhaustion of praying for days-straight the way Nehemiah did before rebuilding the Jerusalem walls?   As I was walking out, I prayed again:   where would You have me serve today, Lord?   The God who appointed Moses to lead Israel out of slavery and into a new birth of liberty is the same God who sent His Son to deliver all of humanity out of slavery to sin and into the true birth of real liberty.   He is the same God who was with them in their most glorious and most trying moments.  And He is the same God who lives in the fires of the sun, the renewal of springtime, and the simple miracle of a newborn child.  God speaks to us in many ways, but in all those ways He calls to us to serve Him by using our lives and our talents in His purposes here on the Third Rock.  When we do this, we’re channeling our brothers Moses and Jesus, who were also God’s faithful servants:   servants we can know here and now.

For more reading:   Hebrews 3:5, Numbers 12:7, Deuteronomy 34:5-7, Joshua1:1-2, Psalm 105:26, Deuteronomy 6:4.

Lord God, I am Your servant today.   Thank You for blessing me this way.  Uphold me to do Your bidding as we will today, in service to You and Your good Kingdom.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 13 September 2016

 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Hebrews 1, verse 7.

One more about the angels. And nature.

The NIV study Bible I use to assist me with these writings says “Psalm 104:4 speaks of the storm wind and the lightening as agents of God’s purposes.”   Specifically, that Psalm says “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire from his servants.”

Do you know the story of Elijah and God in the breath of the wind?   It’s from 1 Kings, chapter 19.   Elijah the prophet has been zealously “propheting” for God.   He’s bringing it, giving his all, and what has he gotten for it?   Queen Jezebel is trying to have him killed.   He’s depressed to the point of desperation and needs some encouragement.   God tells him to go outside to witness divine power.   Then God sends a huge wind (maybe a tornado), and earthquake and firestorm but God isn’t in any of those.   When God does show up, He’s in a breath of wind, and Elijah is refreshed to resume his duties as prophet.

The connection between Hebrews and 1Kings?   The power is God, not angels or elements. There’s one I don’t consider often enough.

Now, I’m not going to opine on global warming, man-made climate change, or any of that. Suffice it to say that there are those of us who believe in that and those of us who don’t. Mankind is pretty powerful; we have the means to literally move mountains.   Don’t believe me?   Go to the Black Hills in South Dakota.   Or visit NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain, which is literally a series of buildings inside a mountain. We’ve made nuclear weapons (and safe nuclear power), explored deep space, cured diseases, built the entire nation of Dubai, and we can talk instantly all across the planet.   But those aren’t supernatural.   They’re fantastic (and wonderful) but they aren’t supernatural.   They aren’t ‘something from nothing.’   They aren’t speaking creation into existence, or two ‘men’ destroying two immoral cities all by themselves.   They aren’t parting a sea, stopping a river midstream (or the sun in the sky), turning water into wine, walking on water, or any of those things. The greatest feats humanity can offer are uses or manipulations of created nature, not creating nature out of nothing.

Only God can do that.   We can’t.   The angels can’t.   Benny Hinn (or Benny Hill) can’t.   Only God can do that.

And only God can use nature to send His messages.   Sometimes I think that, when we humans recognize beauty, we’re seeing the world through heaven’s eyes. God touches and refreshes us using His nature.   A vista of the Grand Canyon, Maroon Bells in the fall, the view from the Matterhorn, a sunset from your own front porch:   beautiful and refreshing.   And I believe they may just be messages from God.   “Look at the beauty of my creation.   See a reflection of Me and know I’m even more beautiful.”

Then consider hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, tornados; devastation.   These things are part of nature, part of the fallen world.   They would be out of place if this were still Eden; they’ll be out of place in the world Jesus remakes after the end of time. Until then, we’re stuck with them.   Nature itself is frustrated by sin, and while people and their sins today don’t bring on these natural events, our world still suffers from mankind’s original rebellion. Those terrible storms happen because a frustrated nature still rails against its own not-frustrated nature.   The elements themselves react in ways they weren’t created to.

Yet through it God is still over all.   He works miracles in the aftermath.   Perhaps His angels are at work exercising protection; we may never know.   The stories of rescue; comforting grieving families. Resolute will to rebuild, the ability to put forgiveness into perspective:   these are expressions of God’s Spirit at work in the wake of sin’s results. In them, they are God using such forces of nature for His own purposes. In them, He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.

For more reading:   Psalm 104:4, Daniel 7:10, Hebrews 1:14, Zechariah 6:5, 1Kings 19, Genesis 18 and 19.

Lord God, You are mighty over all the world.   You are over nature, more powerful than any force, and ruler of all we know.   Thank You for being the Lord of all creation, and for all the ways You minister to us.

Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 6 July 2015

And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”  Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.” Mark 9, verses 11-13.

Are we in the end times?

Last week, a big story in the media was the ‘reappearance of the Star of Bethlehem.’   If you missed it, the planets Venus and Jupiter converged after sunset on June 30 to appear as a bright, brilliant star for the first time in 2000 years.   Kind of blows your mind to think that, in our lifetime, something just occurred identical to an event that was probably seen, through human eyes, by Jesus during His time on Earth.   Now, I won’t go into debating whether or not this was the Star of Bethlehem.   As astronomical events go, if this one brings you closer to the real Jesus, that’s good.   Hopefully it does the same for many people.

I mention the event, however, to pose the question “are we in the end times?”   One sign of the end is the return of Elijah to set things straight before the coming of the Messiah. Scripture tells of wars and rumors of wars, of governments acting in ways they haven’t before, and of signs in the heavens. If the Bible is our measure, someone could credibly say that we must be near the end of history.

The Apostles believed they were witnessing the end of the world.   Jesus’ own words seemed to confirm it.   As He, Peter, James and John were descending from the mountain of the Transfiguration, they asked Jesus about a fine point of Jewish doctrine, namely that Elijah would return to herald the Messiah.   The three apostles knew they had just seen Elijah in person, so they must have been wondering what it all meant.   Was the end about to happen?

Instead of confirming (or denying) the Apostle’s suspicions, He tells them “All those things you’re looking for?   Don’t sweat them.   Eyes on me, guys.” Jesus is telling His closest friends that the signs have already come and gone and we didn’t even notice them.   The more important thing to notice is Jesus Himself.   Keep your eyes on Jesus and watch where He is leading you in life.

The same is true for us.   Jesus tells us in other verses to be aware of the things going on around us, to be advised of the signs in the world and the signs in our times in order that we should be ready for His imminent return.   But my take on today’s verses is that the signs of the times aren’t as important as the signs in our lives that point us back to Jesus. Sure, it would be helpful to know if the end was happening soon, but it’s a better use of time to see how I could help my neighbor in need, or how I could be Christ for someone who doesn’t know Him.   I already know my future, and I already know how history ends.   What time we have left here should be used to help point people to Jesus so that, when He comes, more of us will go home with Him. We don’t need a star to point towards that.

Lord, I’m ready for You to return now.

Read Mark 9, verses 14-29.