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Monday, August 3, 2020

A Highly Selective Kingdom

August 3

(Luke 17:33-37 NIV) ““Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. {34} I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. {35} Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” {36} Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” {37} “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.””

(Matthew 24:30-44 NIV)  ""At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. {31} And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. {32} "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. {33} Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. {34} I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. {35} Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. {36} "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. {37} As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. {38} For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; {39} and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. {40} Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. {41} Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. {42} "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. {43} But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. {44} So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

God’s coming Kingdom will come suddenly and without warning. It will also be highly selective. Not everyone is allowed in. Humanity may find this appalling, but we have been warned. If the Kingdom of God is not present in us, we will not be admitted into the coming Kingdom. “Christ in us”, qualifies us for God’s coming Kingdom. In this selective process, Christ’s coming Kingdom will even separate families. One will be taken -- another will not. Admittance is based on faith, and God knows those who are His. Those who have believed God will join Him in His Kingdom. Those who have not believed will be left behind for the destruction of God’s judgment. Those who have a relationship with Christ will be saved. Those who don’t will perish. It’s a graphic, but simple equation. Now is the time to believe. Today is the day of salvation. Be one of those taken, not one of those left behind. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sudden and Final

August 2

(Luke 17:26-37 NIV) “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. {27} People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. {28} “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. {29} But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. {30} “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. {31} On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. {32} Remember Lot’s wife!”

(1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 NIV) ““Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, {2} for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. {3} While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. {4} But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. {5} You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. {6} So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. {7} For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. {8} But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. {9} For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. {10} He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. {11} Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.””

When God’s coming Kingdom finally arrives, it will come suddenly. There will be signs of its coming, but it will happen in a heartbeat. It took years for Noah to build the Ark, but when the flood came, it was sudden. People will be engaged in the normal, daily routines of life when that lightning flashes across the sky signaling Christ’s return. But that will be their last normal day. Just as in the days of Lot, Christ’s coming will surprise the secure and the sensual. As they are striving for power, prestige, and possessions, Christ will come. They will be eating and drinking like there is no tomorrow -- and then, there will be no tomorrow. Just as fire came down suddenly from heaven to consume Sodom, Christ will come for those who are His. We must be ready. We must not be detoured or distracted. There will be no time for looking back -- only looking up. Hold on loosely to this world. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Coming Kingdom

August 1

(Luke 17:22-37 NIV) “Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. {23} People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. {24} For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. {25} But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”

(Matthew 16:21-27 NIV) ““From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. {22} Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" {23} Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." {24} Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {25} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. {26} What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? {27} For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.””

In contrast to the present Kingdom, Christ’s coming Kingdom will be visible to everyone. When Jesus returns as King, his presence will light up the sky and all mankind will see His glory. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But our Lord taught that before His Kingdom could come, there must be a suffering. The coming King would be rejected by those who should have known better. Many today (who also should know better) do the same thing. We create a god in our own image. Our god looks like us and thinks like us. We minimize His suffering, because it predicts our suffering. We embrace a god of health, wealth, and prosperity -- a god who is always on our side. And though the Kingdom comes visibly, many fail to recognize the King because they worship a different god. Don’t be among them. Know the King! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Present Kingdom

(Luke 17:20-21 NIV) “Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, {21} nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in you.”

(Matthew 4:17 NIV) ““From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.””

(Colossians 1:13 NIV) “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”

Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom was coming, but that it was also already present. They were looking for a Kingdom they could see -- a visible throne with a visible person on that throne. They wanted a political king, but Jesus said they weren’t going to see that. The Kingdom was among them because the King was among them, but they were not going to find what they were looking for. The Kingdom was not observable, because it was internal, not external. Christ’s Kingdom was not of this world. The Kingdom of God is still among us. It lives inside of God’s people. It’s not external, except as it is reflected in the lives of those who believe. It doesn’t have a set geographic location, because it’s not a geographic Kingdom. It is a spiritual Kingdom. It lives inside the hearts of those with faith in Christ. Does it live in you? Does Christ live in you? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day