December 1, 2011

Dec. 1: Expectations for the day of the Lord

Emma_Brooks

By Emma Brooks, a junior art major from Littleton, Colo.
SCRIPTURE: Peter 2 3:8-15a (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
We all have expectations of what the ‘day of the Lord’ might be like. I remember as a child wondering what it would be like, though I was strongly influenced by the “Left Behind” movie. I remember having irrational rapture scares when my dad forgot to pick me up or when I would return to an empty house.

The return of Jesus is not something that I think about often. It seems so far away and not in touch with the reality of today.

I took a confirmation class at my church when I was in middle school. The day we talked about the day of the Lord, a student shared how she had a strong feeling it was going to be in her lifetime. My response was skepticism; “She’s crazy,” I thought. “She can’t know that.” Looking back, to have the mindset that Jesus is coming back soon, very soon, may help us to remember how it should influence our lives.

Personally, the return of Jesus does not influence they way I act or think. Peter poses the question, since we know, vaguely, that the day of the Lord is coming and we believe that God keeps promises, how then should we act? “What kind of people ought you to be?”

Peter advises that we be spotless and blameless, which I find to be extremely difficult. I also don’t like thinking that I just have to try harder, because inevitably I will fail. But what I do know is that God is patient and God’s patience means salvation.

SCRIPTURE: Peter 2 3:8-15a (NRSV)
8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10But 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 in it will be laid bare. 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as 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. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

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Comments (12)

  1. MS BROOKS, YOU ARE WISE BEYOND YOUR YEARS
    WONDERFUL DEVOTION
    YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
    MITCHELL

    MITCHELL JONES December 1, 2011 |
  2. Thanks for this message, Emma. I, too, express skepticism about this happening in my lifetime. Although I often wonder if it’s fear that I’m not “ready.” You give us encouragement to live as today is our last (which it may be for me, whether I know it or not), while embracing God’s merciful and patient love and salvation on a long journey of a normal life span. Amen!

    Tony December 1, 2011 |
  3. One theologian said, wisely, that the return of Jesus will be to finish what he began in his first appearance and will therefore be in character. As the disciples were told at the ascension, it will be “this same Jesus,” the gracious and loving person we meet in the Gospels, not the angry character portrayed in the Left Behind books.

    Marlin Jeschke December 1, 2011 |
  4. Emma, you have such a great gift of expression, in words (as we read this morning) and in images (as we regular Record readers have seen each week). Thanks for sharing your gift!

    Duane Stoltzfus December 1, 2011 |
  5. Emma-girl, Thanks for this. I love you, my spirited friend who can hold skepticism and hope in the same breath.

    “In keeping with his promise…”

    Heather December 1, 2011 |
  6. Sometimes I think that Jesus’ return can seem more real to us than the far more likely alternative– that he will take us home in death. Either way, we should always “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

    Marie December 1, 2011 |
  7. Thank you Emma for your thoughts. As a child, I never thought I’d graduate from high school, because of the prophecies I heard on a radio program, daily. But at 66, I’m amazed that God has waited “so long” with all that is happening! Knowing about God’s salvation and grace is such a relief for me, too.

    Jan Andrews December 1, 2011 |
  8. Perhaps the spotless and blameless parts belong less to our effort to be blemish-free and more to our striving to be “found by him” as another translation phrases it. I’m mulling over how repentance is key to being close to God and living where righteousness is at home.

    Elaine Kauffman December 1, 2011 |
  9. A somewhat more direct and perhaps easier way of modifying our behavior is to answer W.W.J. H.M. D.?
    That is, what would Jesus have me do? and then asking for help to achieve this. PK.

    Peter Kufeke December 1, 2011 |
  10. I haven’t ever been on this site, but I diffinetly will be back. God always knows what and when I need something…Thank you for sharing your faith with me… blessings and peace to you. Sandi

    Sandi December 1, 2011 |
  11. Emma, Your authenticity and wisdom proclaim God’s grace. Jesus emerges in you.

    Bill December 2, 2011 |
  12. Thanks, Emma. You helped me understand more deeply “God’s patience means salvation.”

    janice December 2, 2011 |