Friday, December 7

Remember what I told you.

Candle Lighter:Now, dear brothers and sisters,…
Response: “…let us clarify some things.

Scripture: II Thessalonians 2:1-12

2 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
As this first week in advent draws to a close, we conclude with Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. By now the persecution of believers had increased, more false teachers proclaiming that the Day of the Lord had already come added more confusion, and the problem of people not working because they thought the End was imminent continued. So Paul spelled out with more specificity the circumstances preceding the Lord’s return.  Paul assured the Thessalonians that the Lord had not returned. He urged them to hold fast to the truths they had learned. And as for those who quit working, Paul was blunt; if you don’t work, you don’t eat! The description of the world’s perspective toward God in Paul’s day is not unlike the world’s view of God in our day. I don’t know what is going on in the world today as your read this… since I’m writing it in September. My guess is that it is not peaceful nor are people very concerned with the Lord…and certainly not with His return. In the midst of uncertainty, the overall summary of Paul’s letter is pastoral and encouraging. I don’t know if you ever get upset at all the bold hatred among people or are bothered by the frequent mockery of Christians or biblical values. Paul reminds them to “keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you.” In our case, keeping a strong grip means studying and absorbing the Scriptures, not simply to know content, but to know and converse with the Lord as we await His coming. One of the goals of these daily devotionals during Advent and Lent is for us to develop the practice of spending time each day with the Scriptures that we might encounter the Lord in our reading and meditation. God called us to salvation, gave the Holy Spirit to teach and to guide, and commanded us to share the Good News as we are going about in this world. Look for the Lord’s action in your life as you go through this day.

Music: “Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus”   Fernando Ortega

Lord God, my Father in heaven and on earth, ours is a very troubled world. People around us ignore You, mock You, defy You, mold You after their own image of You. Sometimes it’s hard to stand up against ridicule and hostility because of our love for You. Help us to hold fast to what we know to be true. Help us to uphold your word in our lives. Grant that we would be bold in speaking the truth into our culture with grace and compassion. We live in a world that has lost its identity. Help us to live as children whose identity is in Christ alone, not in our social status, knowledge, intellect, people group, gender, financial position, or in anything other than You. Grant that we may live lives which reflect the compassion of Jesus. Make us diligent and loving this day until we put our heads on our pillow tonight as we await His glorious return. Amen.
— Daniel Sharp

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