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“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3

Jesus’ disciples were troubled over His words that He was about to go from them to a place where they could not yet come (cf. John 13:33, 36). Jesus spoke words of comfort to them, telling them of the many mansions (dwelling places) in the house of His Father in heaven. Jesus was going to prepare a place for them, and He would come again and take them to be with Him forever in heaven.

To prepare a place for His followers to be with Him in heaven, Jesus had to go to the cross, suffer and die for the sins of the world, and then rise again and ascend to the right hand of God the Father (cf. Luke 24:46-47). From there (this exalted position of power and authority), He rules and fills all things for the good of His church; He intercedes for believers and leads and guides them by His Spirit (cf. Ephesians 1:20-23; Romans 8:34; John 14:16-18,26). Jesus continues to work for our eternal salvation; and He is preparing a place for us, that we might be with Him in the mansions of His Father’s house.

And Jesus will come again and take us to be with Him where He is! When He comes to judge this evil world, He will gather up all who have trusted in His name and take them to be with Him forever in heaven!

The Scriptures say: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

O dearest Jesus, cleanse away our sins with Your shed blood and prepare us to meet You on that glorious day when You come again to gather up Your elect and take them to be with You forever in heaven. Amen.

[Scripture quoted from the King James Version of the Bible]

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Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Why would David ask the omnipresent and omniscient God to know and test his heart? Why would he ask God to reveal any wicked ways in him?

As we are by nature, we would rather not let the light shine upon our innermost secrets. We would rather not have the true thoughts and intents of our hearts exposed – and especially so since “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). It is as Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).

As a believer in the LORD God, trusting in His promise to send the Messiah and Savior of the world who would “redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130:8), David desired that the God who searches men’s hearts and tests their minds (Jeremiah 17:10) would search and test his own heart and reveal any iniquity in him that he might repent of his wicked and sinful ways and look to the LORD for mercy in the Son and the atoning sacrifice He would make for the sins of all. And he desired that God would not only forgive him but also give him the help and strength to amend his ways that he might walk in the ways of the LORD.

And what about us? Are we willing to ask God to turn on the light, to search and test our hearts and reveal our true thoughts and desires? As sinful human beings, that can be a frightening thing. But, like David of old, we too trust in the LORD God to be merciful to us and forgive our sins for the sake of Christ Jesus and His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for the sins of the world.

We seek God’s mercy and forgiveness for our sins. And, as believers in Christ, we seek to be like Christ (Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:8ff.; 1 John 3:2-3). Therefore, we desire that God would search us and reveal to us those areas and aspects of our lives where we are not like Christ that we might repent, receive mercy and then amend our lives to live for Christ Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15).

David prayed that the Spirit of the LORD God would reveal His sinfulness and lead Him “in the way everlasting.” And we, too, seek that the Spirit of the LORD – given to us in our baptism, who dwells in us and keeps us in the faith – would lead us in the way everlasting by moving us to acknowledge and confess our sins and wickedness and to receive the forgiveness and cleansing offered and given us for the sake of Jesus’ blood shed upon the cross for the sins of the world (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2). We seek God’s pardon and cleansing, and we seek to amend our ways and be more and more like Jesus, our Savior!

Search my heart, O God. Examine my ways, my thoughts and my desires. Reveal to me all wickedness within me and lead me to repent of my sinful ways, trust in You for mercy in Christ Jesus and amend my ways that I might live for You and walk in Your ways. I ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1

Do you remember when Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matt. 16:13)? And when His disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (v. 14), Jesus asked His disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 15).

What did Peter, speaking for all the disciples, answer? “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).

Do you see the difference? Most people recognize that Jesus was a great teacher and prophet because of His words and miracles, but only those to whom the Spirit reveals Jesus’ true nature and identity recognize Jesus for who He really was and is: “The Christ, the Son of the living God.”

As Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (v. 17), so it is a true blessing, of God’s gracious working, to recognize that Jesus is the promised Messiah (the Christ) and Savior of the world.

And what does John say of love? Those who love their Father in heaven who gave life to them by bringing them to faith in Christ Jesus will also love those begotten of their heavenly Father. They will love their brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus because they recognize that the same God who generated them and gave them faith and life also did so for their fellow believers.

And, such love for our fellow believers is evidence of our rebirth from above – of our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We love God when we come to know His love toward us in Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. We love our brothers and sisters in Christ because God loves them, too, and gives them salvation for the sake of Jesus.

Reveal to me Jesus as the promised Messiah, Your Son and my Savior, O God. Grant that I see and take hold of Your great love toward me in Jesus, and grant that I also love You in return and love my fellow believers, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3 (Read Matthew 24:1-51)

Jesus’ disciples asked a twofold question. The first dealt with the destruction of Jerusalem of which Jesus had just spoken. The second part with the sign of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the age.

Notice that Jesus said the wars, the famines, the diseases and the earthquakes were only the beginning of sorrows and “the end is not yet.” There would be false Christs and false prophets who would deceive many, but it still is not the end. Persecution would arise against followers of Jesus, and times of great tribulation would come. And all this was fulfilled already in the lifetimes of Jesus’ disciples. Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed, Christians were persecuted and killed for their faith in Christ Jesus.

But when will the end come? How can we know when it is near? Jesus said: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (v. 14). When the good news of God sending forth His Son as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world has been preached and proclaimed around the world as a witness to all peoples, then the end will come.

And the fact that all these things have occurred should tell us the end is near. No one knows the day or the hour, but the time is ripe. As Jesus said, “When you see all these things, know that it is near — at the doors!” (v. 33).

So, when will Jesus return and carry out His judgments upon all who have not turned from their sinful ways to Him for mercy and forgiveness? I don’t know. What I do know is that it could be anytime now — today, tomorrow, soon. Then “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (v. 29-31).

What is the point? Be ready! Don’t assume Jesus won’t come back today! Don’t live as though you have days and years to repent and come to faith in Christ Jesus as your Savior. Live as though He were coming any moment! Don’t let sin reign in your life; repent and look to Jesus for mercy and forgiveness now, before it is too late! And, trusting in Jesus, live each day and each moment of each day as though it is the one “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Dear Lord Jesus, grant that I hold fast to You and continually await Your glorious return that I not be caught unawares and unprepared at Your coming. Grant me sincere repentance and faith in Your blood shed upon the cross for the sins of the world that I may rejoice in that day and not weep and lament because I was found not ready. Grant this for the sake of Your death and resurrection. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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