Daily Devotional 22 Sept 2020
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21).
I recently received a forward of a message given by a Pre-tribulation Pre-millinealist Dispensational preacher. If you don’t know what that means, it’s really not that important for this devotional. Suffice it to say that his message was a familiar one...it entirely aligns with the teaching I received about the end times as a child in the church I grew up. But it’s not the only view...and is no longer one I strictly hold to. The video left me somewhat disturbed though and my knee-jerk reaction was to mount a rebuttal...a response I quickly rejected.
There’s a lot of talk these days about ‘end times’ and, in my estimation, too much time is being spent on studying and debating the different views. For me there is only one question to answer: Is Jesus coming back? Absolutely. Will there be a ‘rapture’ of the saints in order to avoid a great tribulation? In my estimation, it really shouldn’t matter. Jesus has promised to come back anytime. Period. Will He ‘catch’ us asleep or working for Him? That’s what we should be concerned with. He didn’t give us a day and time, just a mandate to be ready...looking for signs, rebutting other points of view and playing ‘pin the tail on the anti-Christ’ takes our focus away from what is truly important. And what is that? Read again the above verses from Romans 12.
The enemy loves nothing better than to stir up trouble within the body of Christ...and how quick we are to accommodate him. We get argumentative with one another and sidetracked from our purpose and mandate–to show others the way to God through our love of one another. In responding as I have, I do not intend to create offense; we need to give each other permission to disagree on ‘lesser things’ of Scripture. I am simply questioning how helpful the time and energy we spend on researching these debatable areas is to the overall cause of Christ.
Paul’s words remind us of what is most needful. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”–it’s a really good starting point for us...in addition to all the other things he listed in his perspective on what it means to live as a Christ-follower. Whether Jesus comes back today or not for another thousand years, it is my prayer that He will ‘catch’ His Church hard at work, extending His love to others, being the light we are called to be...not arguing over whose understanding of end times, or any other subject, is correct.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!