Monday, November 15, 2010

Heads-up endtime living

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 21:20-38

TO CHEW ON: "'But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly." Luke 21:34

At the end of a list of prophetic predictions that detail how we will be able to tell that the Kingdom of God is near, Jesus gives the practical warning of Luke 21:34. It tells us to take a step back and look at our own thoughts and actions. Jesus warns against a couple of preoccupations that can distract us from alert end-time living.

He describes our faulty focus as hearts "weighed down." The Greek word for weighed is bareo which means to to weigh down, burden, depress. Isn't it interesting that Jesus mentions as weights, "carousing (dissipation) and drunkenness" — activities we would normally think of as cheering us up. But He knew very well the consequences of such attempts to deal with the pain and drudgery of life. If you've ever lived such a lifestyle, you'll know its tensions and drama when, in the sober light of morning, you have to deal with the fallout of drunken actions from the night before, and when the need for money to keep the party going never ends.

The other thing that can weigh us down are the "cares of this life." Cares (merimna from meiro — to divide and noos - the mind) means distractions, anxieties, burdens, worries. "It means to be anxious beforehand about daily life. Such worry is unnecessary because the Father's love provides for both our daily needs and our special needs" - "Word Wealth" New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1769.

Who of us hasn't let the cares of this life capture our focus at least once in a while? So here, to urge us toward carefree living are a few encouragements in that vein from the Bible:

- Psalm 127:2 tells us it is "vain"  or "useless" to lose sleep over everyday cares. If we're trusting God in the way we should be, we can leave things in His hands long enough to get some rest.

- Jesus, in Matthew 6:25 and Luke 12:29, tells us not to worry about the mundane things of life.

- It is just such preoccupation that chokes the word in our lives, according to Jesus' story of the sower and the seeds (Matthew 13:22).

- Jesus chides Martha over her being "worried and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41). Her symptom: stressing out over serving a nice meal to guests.

- Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi, telling them to replace anxieties with prayers and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).

- We can do this because we know Who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

In this time when many of the "signs" Jesus talks about early in Luke 21 seem to be playing out, let's stay alert to His imminent return by living soberly and carefree.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for spelling out these signs of the times. Help me to live attentive to the right things, smothering my tendency to worry about the details of living with the knowledge that you want me to leave these things in Your hands. Amen.

MORE: Dottie Rambo's "We Shall Behold Him" sung by Sandi Patti

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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