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The Scriptures teach that Christ is going to return, destroy this world, and take those who have accepted the gospel to be with Him forever. The question is: what should be our attitude about that? All things considered, that hope should mean more to us than anything in this present world.
Granted, we sometimes find it hard to balance our responsibilities (as well as our joys) in this world with our desire to be with the Lord in heaven. There are times when we need to stop thinking about heaven and get busy with the work that is right in front of us. But there are other times when we need to pause in our worldly activities and think about going to be with our Lord. The here-and-now has such a powerful pull on us, however, it is probably safe to say that most of us think too rarely about Christ's return rather than too often.
As the old hymn says, "There's a great day coming." In the Scriptures, the "day of the Lord" was often used as a description of God's judgment being brought upon a particular nation at some point in the history of the world. But eventually there is going to come a "day of the Lord" that will eclipse every other such day. When that day comes, the whole world will be destroyed and God's faithful people will be taken to live with Him in the place where He is.
If we love our Lord, how can we not be filled with joy at the thought of His return? After Paul had spoken to the Thessalonians about the return of Christ, he said, "Therefore encourage one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18). In a world as difficult as ours, what more comforting words could there be than these? The prospect of seeing our Lord face to face energizes us with hope.
We are taught that we should long fervently for the day of Christ's return. Peter, toward the end of his life, wrote, "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Pt. 3:11-13). This week, let's consider the greatness of this coming day.
Monday: John 14:1-4
Key Idea: Jesus promised to come back and take His faithful people to be with Him in eternity.
Questions for Family Growth: Why might the disciples have been troubled? What did Jesus say about the place He was going to prepare for them? In v.3, what promise did He make? Why should this promise make such a difference in our attitude and outlook on life?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:25.
Tuesday: Hebrews 9:27,28
Key Idea: We are to wait eagerly for the return of our Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: If we are presently "saved" in Christ, what does it mean that He is going to appear "to save those who are eagerly waiting for him"? In Phil. 3:20,21, what does Paul say about heaven? At Christ's return, what will happen to our "lowly body" (v.21)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:26.
Wednesday: 2 Peter 3:8-13
Key Idea: Looking forward to the day of the Lord, we are waiting for a new heavens and earth.
Questions for Family Growth: What should be our attitude toward the long delay since the Lord promised that He would return? What does Peter say will happen to the present heavens and earth? What does it mean that we should be "waiting for and hastening" the day of the Lord?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:27.
Thursday: Philippians 1:21-23
Key Idea: To depart and be with Christ is far better than any other circumstance.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain"? What were the two alternatives that faced Paul, and why did he say that to depart and be with Christ would "far better"? Should this be our attitude in our own lives today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 30:1-4.
Friday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Key Idea: What God has told us about the return of the Lord should be comforting to us.
Questions for Family Growth: What are the reasons why the return of Christ might be feared by some? In contrast to this, what should be our attitude? According to Rev. 22:1-5, what do we have to look forward to? What is it in this description that we look forward to the most?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 30:5,6.