Today’s Scripture: Matthew 24
On July 3, 2016, I received the type of call that brings a person to their knees. My beloved twin brother, Mark, had not shown up at work for two days. My brother was a Marine—he was reliable and always on time. I knew something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately, my brother had passed away.
Just prior to his passing, Mark had gone to the doctor for the first time in many, many years. The doctor started him on a cholesterol-lowering medication and ordered many additional tests, but it was too late. Mark died from a heart condition that was caused from years of having untreated high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It saddens me that his death could have possibly been prevented, but he chose not to go to the doctor. With earlier intervention, a doctor would have started him on the proper regimen to lower his blood pressure and cholesterol, and he might still be alive.
Mark’s death changed my life.
It made me realize how short life is and how easy it is to get focused on the wrong things. Since my brother’s death, I have grown so much closer to Jesus. I am so grateful Jesus has changed me. People take life for granted. I did. I wonder if Mark’s life would have been different if he had known he would die that day. Would he have changed the way he lived? I realize what is most important now… loving and serving others, letting Jesus work through me to lead others to him, and helping others take their next steps.
We don’t like to think a family member, friend, or loved one could die tomorrow. We don’t like to think that the world could end, and Jesus could come back tomorrow. We think we have more time: I can do it tomorrow, I am just too busy now, etc. In other words, we are deceiving ourselves and missing out on what is most important—making the decision to choose Christ as our Savior and to follow him.
In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the end times. Read the chapter carefully. These verses send shivers down my spine. It sounds like such a terrible time to live. Jesus describes in great detail how hard life will be for his believers.
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
Jesus goes on to explain that no one will know when the end is coming.
42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
Jesus is point blank telling us we have a choice to make. Are we going to make the choice to believe in him and make him the Lord of our life? Or are we going to live with the repercussions of denying him?
50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow? How would your actions be different? What is really important?
Take time to think about what is really important. If you aren’t saved, pray to God and repent. Ask him to be the Lord of your life. If you are saved, think about whom you need to share the Gospel with. Pray about this.
God, I love you so much. I rejoice that you want everyone to be saved! Matthew 24:13-14 says, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” I know we will have to endure in this life, but you are always present giving us your love, strength, and peace. You are so faithful! I am so grateful your Good News will be preached everywhere! You are giving all of us the chance to be saved. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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