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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

II Timothy 4:8

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

For further study - II Timothy 4:1-8

I love the promise of a "crown of righteousness" that will be given to me at the "Judgment Seat of Christ" according to our key verse, verse 8, in our devotional reading for today.

I'll take a closer look at verse 8 in a moment but first let's look at the entire reading for today. Paul gives us a charge for today, even though it was written for the first century Church.

The principles of scripture are "timeless". Think about that statement. As we see even what have been "good" churches in our day slipping away from their connection with God's Word and His direction in every day life, especially in these last days, we must heed Paul's exhortation.

Paul gives us this charge before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 1Verses 2-5 reveal what the charge for us today includes. Verse 2, "preach the Word," the Word that we are to study diligently, II Timothy 2:15.

Here's what we are to do, preach the Word and do it "in season and out of season". That means when we have an opportunity, "in season;" or when we make an opportunity, "out of season."

"Preaching the Word" is for reproof, rebuke, exhortation and doctrine, verse 2. We must "preach the Word" before there will be a time when even the members of the "body of Christ", the Church, will not endure "sound doctrine".

We are quickly approaching that time, a time when people will be going after their own lust, looking for teachers that "tickle the ears" of the hearers. We are quickly approaching the time Paul describes here when people turn from the true doctrines of the Word of God to man's fables.

Paul tells us, as he told the first century Church, to do the work, making full reproof of our ministry, verse 5. Paul then gives us his "swan song", verses 6 and 7. Paul realizes that his time of service is coming to an end. He "fought the fight", he "finished the course" and as he did so, he "kept the faith".

This is the example to follow, "fight the fight, finish the course and keep the faith" along the way. Now, at the end of Paul's thirty years of ministry, he is prepared because of what he tells us in II Timothy 4. He is looking forward to receiving the "crown of righteousness" at the Judgment Seat of Christ because he loves the "any moment" appearing of Jesus Christ at the Rapture.

Then Paul shares with us that we too can look forward to that same "crown of righteousness" if we also love His appearing and long for Him to come to take us to be with Him.

We must "love that appearing" more than anything this world has to offer. An in-depth study of Bible prophecy will help us to realize where we are in God's time for the last days. An understanding of "current events" in light of Bible prophecy will intensify our longing for His return.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to fight the fight, finish the course and keep the faith as I eagerly await Your shout for me to join You in the heavenlies.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

II Timothy 3:1

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For further study - II Timothy 3:1-17

II Timothy is the last book that Paul wrote, even though Titus follows II Timothy in the New Testament cannon.

Paul is actually continuing his training of young Timothy in the ministry. Timothy had been given the responsibility to travel to churches that Paul was unable to visit.

Timothy was to be of assistance to the church leadership and, in fact, he was to help the believers to set in place a good leadership team who would be responsible for making certain that the body of Christ was being taught correctly from the inspired Word of God.

Another of those famous "3:16's" is found here in Paul's letter to Timothy. II Timothy 3:16 is the absolute statement about scripture. Paul relates to Timothy, and to us, that all of the scripture was "breathed into" men for the purpose of revealing God's love, plan and doctrine for the body of Christ.

Timothy was to help men, those in Jesus, to become mature, "thoroughly furnished unto good works," verse 17. Our key verse, verse 1, is a direct warning to the Church at that time, around 65AD, and for the Church today as well.

Technically the "last days" began after Jesus left to go back to heaven, Acts 1. However, from a practical standpoint, today must be considered the "last days", the period just prior to the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Paul's description of the "last days" surely fits our day. Verse 2, in our reading for today reveals that "men will love themselves more than they love Jesus," and others. Notice the rest of the list, in verses 2-4 where Paul describes the last days. As we read through this list we can recognize our day, and the activities of people today.

As it relates to "love", Paul says men, humankind, will "love pleasure more than God", verse 4. That thought is a prefect description of our society today. Verse 5 describes much of the Church today, "having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof."

We are to "turn away" from all that Paul has listed in these verses that is contrary to God's desired lifestyle for us. Paul warns each of us that in these "last days" it is not going to be all "roses". There will  be "thorns", verses 10-12.

The Apostle exhorts Timothy to remember what he had been taught from the scriptures, as a child, and he was to do those things he had been taught. Timothy was to “live out” what the Word of God had taught him. We also must live a life dictated by the Word of God.

In our "post-modern" world some believe that the scriptures are "old-fashioned". This is a lie from Satan. The scriptures are profitable, we must study them, II Timothy 2:15, and live them out in these the last days.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, as I study Your Word to live by what it tells me to do in these the last days.
Monday, May 29, 2017

II Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

For further study - II Timothy 2:15-26

As I did this devotional for today it was very difficult to pick the key verse from the options available. I chose the one that exhorts us to "study" because I thought it would help us to do what the other two options would exhort us to do.

Verse 19 says "depart" and verse 22 says "flee". What "meat" one finds in these "Tips to Timothy in Troublesome Times," written by Paul.

I love to study the Word of God and I don't say that to be bragging. Since I started really studying prophecy in depth back in 1972 I have so enjoyed digging into God's Word, especially into the prophetic passages. Remember, you can not understand prophecy, which is 32% of the Bible, without studying the entire Bible. But for these 45 years the study of prophecy has been a blessing to me.

Notice it says, "study", not "speed read" the text. Don't misunderstand me, but some who read the entire Bible through every year have to read so quickly to keep up with the schedule and I want you to know that is not "study".

I am not opposed to reading the Bible through every year. To do that is a great spiritual exercise. But, don't substitute that for "study". This is "study" that is approved by God and that helps me, and you, to be workmen that are not ashamed.

This type of study and the results listed from that "study" come from "rightly dividing" this Word of Truth. That means "study" that will give us the true meaning of what God's Word is saying to us and what we can get out of our time in the Book.

There is so much that is good for us to learn in our extended passage. Let me look with you at two more verses. Notice the "depart" and "flee" verses.

In verse 19 Paul writes to us, through Timothy, to say that if we call ourselves Christians and name the name of Jesus, then we must "depart" from iniquity, from sin. That will only happen when we "study" the Word.

Then, verse 22 exhorts us to "flee" youthful lusts. Please don't think that this verse is only applicable for young people, some of us "old guys" can allow ourselves to return to the days of our youth and those "youthful lusts".

Again, as we study the Word and allow it to "dwell in our heart richly", Colossians 3:16, we will be better able to "flee" youthful lusts.

I would love to be able to spend more time in this passage, but what a blessing to be able to receive from God, to Paul, to Timothy and then to us these three great nuggets.

"Study", "depart", and "flee" and notice that these instructions are given just before Paul warns us of the "last days", II Timothy 3:1. These instructions found in our devotional passage for today tell us how to live as we await the shout from Jesus at the Rapture to join Him in the "air".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord as I await the shout from Jesus to join Him in the heavenlies, to "study" your Word, "depart" from sin and "flee" youthful lusts.
Sunday, May 28, 2017

II Timothy 2:11-12

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

For further study - II Timothy 2:1-14

Each day as I approach my time in the word of God, I realize how rich each and every passage is with the nuggets of truth that enhance my own walk with the Lord.

Paul takes a young man to assist him in his ministry, but at the same time, as he instructs young Timothy in his ministry among the churches, Paul is continuing to build Timothy in the Lord as well. I am eager to see how Paul instructs Timothy so that I may appropriate these useful truths for my life also.

Notice that with Paul's instruction there is the foundational truth for how Timothy or for that matter you and I can live by the exhortations for a mature Christian life. Paul tells Timothy to "be strong" to stand up in the Lord, but then quickly reminds him that can only be done because of the "Lord's grace" bestowed upon all believers, verse 1.

Then comes the instruction - endure hardness as a good soldier. Do not be entangled in the affairs of this life, which will be pleasing to the One who has chosen us to be His soldier in this life, verse 4

Verse 5 reveals to us that it is not the crown, the first prize that is our goal, although that is not a bad goal. But we should strive for the best we can do in the Lord's power and for the Lord's glory and leave the results to Him.

With this basic training, we can now endure all things so that we will be able to lead others to salvation, the eternal life that the Lord offers. To me, even with the basic training and the provision of His grace, I must totally rely on Him so that I can "endure all things."

I mentioned that we may not come in first in each race but we must do the training to do our best for Him. However, there are rewards in the future, at the Judgment Seat of Christ that we can and should focus on.

Notice that if we suffer, we shall reign with Him, verse 12. John the Revelator made a similar statement to all those who are "overcomers". Revelation 2:26-27 records the letter to believers, those who are "overcomers" in the church at Thyatira. They shall rule with the Lord in His kingdom to come.

I love how Paul concludes our reading for today. He tells us to remember these things as we remember what to do, how to do it, in and through His grace, then we can look forward to why we do these things. We do all to be able to "rule and reign with Him in the future".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for revealing the what, how, and why to live the Christian life.
Saturday, May 27, 2017

II Timothy 1:9

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

For further study - II Timothy 1:6-13

Paul, in this letter of instruction to young Timothy, is encouraging his young partner in ministry. He first tells Timothy of the salvation and call of the Lord upon both of them. He reminds his young partner that the Lord does what he does for His own purpose and by His grace, and all of this done in His mind before the world began.

How thrilling it is that the creator of all things, the Lord Jesus Christ, has purposed a calling for each of us, and He did this before our birth, before we were even formed in the womb. He did this before the world began, in eternity past.

Verse 12 in our expanded reading speaks of the future, the day of His return, "that day." Here we are encouraged to understand why we have to sometimes suffer in this world. Paul himself said that he suffered and was not ashamed to do so.

The reason that is possible is because we can know whom we have believed and we can be persuaded that He is able to keep that which we commit to Him until the day of His return.

The basis upon which this is all true is His death, burial, and resurrection, verse 10. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the "cornerstone" of our faith. There is enough evidence that this event, the resurrection, did take place almost 2000 years ago, that the verdict has to be, Jesus Christ is guilty of resurrecting from the dead, abolishing death and bringing to us life and immortality.

Not only is the resurrection the cornerstone of our faith, it is the foundation of Bible prophecy. Revelation 1:18 is the record of the testimony of Jesus that He was alive, dead, and then alive. The death of Jesus was for the washing away of our sin. His resurrection was proof that He was the one who could take away our sin.

The resurrection of Jesus also is the basis upon which He can reveal to us the future as we serve Him until "that day," verse 12. This is our help to ward off the "spirit of fear" and embrace the "spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind", until He does come again.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your call and purpose for me that you will have happen until that day!
Friday, May 26, 2017

I Timothy 6:11

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

For further study - I Timothy 6:1-15

Paul was giving young Timothy, in his first letter to him, such timely tips for how to live in troublesome times and he tells his young ministry partner to share these truths with others.

That exhortation is applicable for us in the troublesome times we find ourselves living in today. Paul was so practical with these principles. He tells Timothy to be a "servant", verse 1, and to give honor to his leader.

Verse 2 is the exhortation to teach these truths to others. And notice, in verse 3, it is doctrine we are to teach. Many today shy away from teaching doctrine because they say "doctrine divides" which is the exact opposite, "doctrine unites" us all under what God wants for us.

We can have contentment by the measure of our "Godliness", or God-likeness, verse 6Verses 7-8 remind us that we brought nothing into this world and we take nothing out of it when we leave, either at death or at the Rapture. Therefore, be content with the provision of food and clothing that God gives us.

Notice how practical Paul is about money. We should not strive to be rich and the "love of money" is the root of "all evil". Notice Paul did not say having money and being rich was wrong. But striving to be rich thus having a "love for money" is what is bad.

In fact, God has given some in the body of Christ the "gift of giving", Romans 12:8, and therefore that person must have money to give. The people with this gift would be those who do not strive for riches or have a love for money, but God blesses them so that they can give to support His work.

I love the next couple of verses that challenge us to flee, follow and fight. Verse 11 says a man or woman of God will "flee" the evil things, and "follow" after right living, becoming God-like, having faith, hope, patience and meekness.

Verse 12 says, then we are ready to "fight", to fight the good fight for the Lord. Paul concludes by saying we do this until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, "the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and only Potentate", verse 15.

Paul tells us that Jesus is coming and it could be soon, so live in light of that truth, until...

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to flee evil, follow righteousness and fight the good fight until You call me into the heavenlies.
Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Timothy 4:6

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

For further study - I Timothy 4:1-16

Paul's instructions to Timothy, a young co-laborer with the Apostle, were based upon the understanding that the Lord is coming soon even though history tells us that was not the case. Paul lived his life and ministry as if the Rapture could happen at any moment and especially in his lifetime.

This is evident in his statement, "we shall be caught up", in I Thessalonians 4:17. Therefore, his instructions to young Timothy were given with that urgency. In fact, Paul believes the "Rapture" is very close in his time as indicated in verse 1.

There were those who at Paul's time in history were departing from the faith. They were not only departing from the faith but were "giving heed", accepting, "seducing spirits", evil spirits and "doctrines of demons." Paul was sending Timothy to the churches the Apostle had started to warn them that the "Last Days" were upon them.

Timothy was to put the churches in remembrance of these things and then make sure they were being nourished in the Word and "good doctrine." Timothy was to help the churches exercise themselves in godliness. That was even better than physical exercise.

It is interesting to note the instructions to Timothy from Paul about his own personal study and application of true biblical doctrine, verse 6, 13 and 16. Timothy was to watch against the "doctrine of demons," verse 1.

Many people are afraid of "doctrine." They say "doctrine" divides and causes division in the “Body of Christ”. This is not correct. The Word of God which was "breathed" into the authors of the Bible, II Timothy 3:16, is "profitable for doctrine." The truth be known, the true doctrines from the Lord unites, it does not divide. Doctrine is the principles that the Lord gives to us to know His plan and direction in all matters.

Paul tells Timothy that he should be reading, meditating and continuing that which he had learned from Paul and then pass it along to others for their benefit. Remember, these instructions were given in light of the times in which they were living, "the latter times."

We are living in the "Last Days" and it would do us good to heed Paul's instructions to Timothy and appropriate them for ourselves.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to discern true doctrine from Your Word, make it applicable to my life and share it with others on a daily basis.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Timothy 3:15

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

For further study - I Timothy 3:1-16

As I sat reading through I Timothy 3 before I took time to rehearse some of my thoughts on our devotional reading for today, I realized what I was reading was a manual for how every man should live his Christian life.

I understand that I Timothy is one of the Pastoral Epistles written by Paul to help guide the young leadership of the first century church in the world at that time. Young Timothy was being trained by Paul and then dispatched across the then-known world to help build up the new churches. Remember, many of the churches Timothy would visit had been founded by the Apostle Paul.

Paul lays out the qualifications for both the "spiritual leaders" of the church and those who are to be spiritual, as well, the "servants" (deacons) at the churches. The leaders are the "bishops", the "overseers", which lead every church to become what the Lord requires them to be in the final analysis, as dictated by His Word.

Paul starts with a "true saying." "If any man desires the office of 'overseer', he desires a good thing." When I read that, I realized that all men "must desire" the office of "overseer" because it is a "good thing."

Please read the list of qualifications, as I did. Now, let me point out several things from these qualifications. Verse 3 says one in leadership should be "someone not given to filthy lucre." This is some one that does not have as his main focus the acquisition of large amounts of money.

Verse 7 says this man, "overseer", as every man, should have a good report from "them" which are from without the church. We cannot be leaders of the Church and have a bad testimony among those who are not in the Church, those not saved.

Starting in verse 8 we see the qualifications of the "deacons" those who God sets aside for "service in the church," the local gathering of born-again believers. Verse 13 indicates that an "overseer" of the church as well as the "servants", they both must have great "boldness" in the faith.

Paul was addressing the leadership of the Church, in these new local groups of born again people who were coming together to learn the ways of the Lord and then going out to win lost people to the Lord. Paul referred to these "bodies of believers" as the "church of the living God".

Notice that Paul, in verse 15, doesn't say that the "church" is the source of all truth, but the "safeguard", the pillar and ground of the truth. The "source of truth" is not the church but the Bible, God's Holy Word, which is "absolute truth". Paul wrote that the leadership of the church is the "caretaker" of all of God's truth.

Paul refers to Jesus as He who was "received up into glory", verse 16, and is coming again, soon. But until then the "church safeguards" the truth and spreads it to a needy people around the world.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to study the qualifications of a man who desires leadership as I endeavor to lead our ministry under Your direction and, at the same time, live my life out as a Christian.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Timothy 2:1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

For further study - I Timothy 2:1-8

Each passage of scripture we select for our daily reading is always laden with additional spiritual application beyond what we focus on for the reading and in my prophetic prospective for that days reading. This is true in today's reading as well.

We are exhorted to pray in our key verse and we are told how to pray. I'll look at this in a moment. Please notice the next verse in our expanded reading, verse 2. The focus of our prayers is to be our political, governmental leaders. We are to pray for them first, before the pastor, the missionary and the evangelist. In other words, pray for the "minister in the government" before the "minister in the church".

Let me get back to the "how to's" of prayer found in verse 1. "Supplications" are mentioned first in the different aspects of prayer. This is specifically asking for something to happen. Then there are the "prayers". These are prayers that are offered on a 24/7 basis, it's praying without ceasing, I Thessalonians 5:17.

"Intercessions" are prayers we offer to God and are on the behalf of someone who needs to have their name or situation mentioned before the throne of God. The last mentioned type of prayer, "giving of thanks", should actually be the first prayer offered up to God. We must thank Him before we present our petitions to Him.

Notice again, who we are to pray for first. We are to pray for the kings and all those who are in authority first. These would be political, governmental officials that direct human government in the direction God wants it to go. Remember, God brought human government into existence, Genesis 9:6.

God will use human government, governmental leaders, Revelation 17:17, to accomplish His will and set the world stage for the final drama to play out. In essence, we're talking about God's "prophetic plan" will unfold as He uses human government to direct the world towards the end times.

Therefore, we are to first, pray for those who have the authority. He is preparing this world for the return of His Son and all that follows, as foretold in Bible prophecy.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to remember my priority in my prayer life.
Monday, May 22, 2017

I Timothy 1:15

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

For further study - I Timothy 1:12-20

The key verse for our devotional reading today, I Timothy 1:15was written by Paul near the end of his ministry. His statement speaks volumes of how the apostle had grown in his own life during almost 30 years of ministry.

I am reminded that early in Paul's ministry he referred to himself as "the least of the apostles", I Corinthians 15:9About half way through his thirty years of ministry, Paul realized that he was "the least of the saints", Ephesians 3:8. Now, towards the end of his ministry, Paul realizes that he is the "chief of all sinners".

It is true, that the closer we get to Jesus, the worse we see ourselves to be. Remember, the way we get close to Him today is by talking to Him and allowing Him to talk to us, through the reading of His Word the Bible.

We talk to Him in prayer, as I said, which Paul tells us to do, "without ceasing". The Lord talks to us through His Word, and this is one of the reasons to have a time everyday when you study the scriptures.

First and Second Timothy are referred to as the "pastoral epistles". The author of these "pastors' manuals" gives his young partner in the ministry, Timothy, the instruction that must be passed along to the leaders of the churches that are springing up all over the known world at that time.

Young Timothy is to travel to these churches and assist them in the selection of a leadership team and the training of these newly elected leaders in the proper method of administration in the local church.
God has selected to reach the world through local churches that are planted around the world. The Lord has a way and a plan that these churches must administer.

In both First and Second Timothy, Paul gives the warning to the churches, and all of us that read his instructions, He tells us that the Lord's Return is near. Paul believed that the time when Christ would call us to be with Him in the Rapture was very close at hand.

Remember, when Paul was writing to the Thessalonians about the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:15-18, he kept using the word "we", believing that in his lifetime he would see the Rapture of the Church. That was almost 2000 years ago. How much closer we must be to the Rapture now.

That is why Paul wanted the church to be operating in a godly fashion, thus Paul's instruction to young Timothy. He charges Timothy to remember his instruction and his study of prophecy, and to "war a good warfare", I Timothy 1:18.

That is how we must live and administer our churches, always moving forward in light of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. The evidence is very clear, The Rapture can happen at any moment, perhaps today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help my attitude to be as Paul's was, just a sinner saved by grace awaiting the shout to join You in the heavenlies.
Sunday, May 21, 2017

II Thessalonians 3:5

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

For further study - II Thessalonians 3:1-5

The Apostle Paul is very concerned that he be able to help the Thessalonians to grow in the Lord. After leading them to Jesus, for salvation, he writes two letters to them, I and II Thessalonians. These two books have much instruction for their growth. He has watched as the "Word of the Lord”" was glorified, made manifest in these people, verse 1 .

Paul desires the prayers of the Thessalonians so that as he continues his ministry he will be able to minister the "Word of the Lord" among others as well. Here Paul is teaching "intercessory prayer" to these young believers. Paul's prayer also includes a request for his protection from unreasonable and wicked men, verse 2.

The apostle reminds the Thessalonians, and us as well, that the Lord is faithful to His ministry of establishing us in Jesus and keeping us from evil that may come to confront us.

Paul wants these new converts to love the Lord, to really love Him, verse 5. This is love that is more than "lip service", it is a love that is a love like I have for my wife. That kind of love causes me to want to talk to her and let her talk to me. In our love for the Lord, we can talk to Him, in prayer.

He can also talk to us in His word, as we read it on a daily basis. The love that I have for my wife moves me to want to do things that please her. This is the case as well with our love for the Lord.

Notice the last phrase in our reading, verse 5. Paul wants to direct the Thessalonians and each of us into the "patient waiting for Christ to return". It is difficult for me to be patient. That is something I must learn, patience. Let me suggest that as we wait patiently for the Lord to return, we must be "prepared" for His shout to come at any moment by knowing for sure we are born again.

We also need to walk "pure" each day by laying aside that which is ungodly and evil and living that which is godly and righteous, as we look up for Him to take us to be with Him. We must also be "productive", in winning others to Jesus Christ and helping them to grow even as Paul was doing among the Thessalonians.

Again, I say it is difficult for me to be patient as I await the Lord's shout to join Him in the air. I want it to happen today, and it could - even so come, Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me as I await Your coming, patiently, to be pure and productive until you do shout for us to join You in the heavenlies.
Saturday, May 20, 2017

II Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
For further study - II Thessalonians 2:8-17

There are two great truths that we will confront in our reading for today. The first is revealed in II Thessalonians 2:13. Within the words of our key verse, we find the answer to the centuries old debate about election and free will.

I may be introducing to you a discussion that you've never heard of in your Christian experience. Let me suggest that if that is the case, just file this away. It may be that you will need this insight for another time when you may be confronted with this issue. The Lord has the greatest way of reminding us of these things at just the right time when we need them.

II Thessalonians 2:13 speaks of how both election, (God's plan of bringing people to Himself), and free will, (our experience of accepting what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us to bring us to salvation), work together. Notice how this verse combines the two in the process.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that God, from the very beginning, has chosen each of us to be saved. The Lord uses the Holy Spirit to bring us to the point of conviction, revealing to us our need for a Saviour, because we are sinners.

The Bible teaches that we are all sinners, born that way. Have you ever noticed that no one ever sat us down and taught us how to lie? We just knew how to lie because we were born that way.

The Holy Spirit convicts those of us whom God has chosen for salvation, however, the process doesn't stop there. The verse continues to tell us that we then must believe in the "truth". By exercising belief we are exercising our own free will. This is our choice, to receive that which He has chosen to give us, salvation.

I hope this doesn't seem too simple, but God doesn't want it too hard for us to understand. He wants us to see how He is working in our lives. That is what Paul was writing on this issue in his letter to the Thessalonians. Remember that these believers were still fairly "young in the faith" Christians.

The other great principle found in the extended reading for our devotional today is that of the "second chance". Verses 8 to 12 reveal the truth about the possibility that after the Rapture there may be a "second chance" to get saved.

According to the text of this passage there is no "second chance" to be saved after the Rapture. Verse 10 says that those that "received not the love of the truth that they might be saved", then in verse 11 it says, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie".

Verse 12 
states, "that they all might be damned who believe not the truth". In these three verses, 10,11 and 12we see the process by which there is no "second chance". One must first "hear" the gospel, "the love of the truth", then "understand" the gospel and finally "reject" the gospel in order for there to be no "second chance".

These three steps, "hear, understand and reject" must be followed before there is no "second chance". It’s not just "hear" but all three before there is no "second chance".

This may be a hard truth for you to believe but let it be a motivation for either you to get saved or to work and pray for your loved ones to be saved before the Rapture. I pray all the time for those love ones so dear to me to be saved. Remember, it’s not the Lord’s will that any be lost, but all would come to salvation, II Peter 3:9.

Verses 14 to 17 
reveal such great truth as well, I would suggest that you study these verses for a real blessing. This second chapter of II Thessalonians is so "rich" in truth that is so important for the last days in which we are living and in the context of the Lord's shout for us to join Him in the air.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord for "choosing" to save me and giving me the "free will" to accept you as my Saviour. Help me to lead others to this truth as we all await the shout to join you in the heavens.
Friday, May 19, 2017

II Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

For further study - II Thessalonians 2:1-12

Our key verse for this devotional, verse 3, has become somewhat controversial. There are those that believe that the Antichrist will come when the "falling away" of the church, apostasy in the Church, has happened. This then seems to be saying that the church will be here when the Antichrist appears.

This belief comes from a wrong understanding of the Greek word used in the passage and translated, "a falling away". The Greek word is "apostasia", which is used one other time in Scripture in the New Testament book of Acts. Acts 21:21 translates apostasia as "forsake". The context is talking about Jews forsaking Moses, or departing from him.

A close and careful word study of the Greek word apostasia will conclude that the true meaning of the word is found in the phrase, "departing from one place and going to another”, not a falling away from the doctrines of the church.

If the word "apostasia" was communicating that "apostasy" was what it was talking about then the Rapture and the coming of the Antichrist would have happened during the writing of II Thessalonians. Apostasy had infiltrated the early church by the time Paul wrote this passage.

What Paul is saying here is that the Antichrist, the "Son of Perdition", would not come until the Church departs from one place and goes to another. That is what happens at the Rapture. The scenario for the future according to all prophetic passages is that the Rapture takes all Christians into Heaven and then the Antichrist appears on earth.

This "false messiah" will, at the mid-way point of the seven year Tribulation Period, the coming time of judgment, he will enter Jerusalem. This satanically controlled world leader will enter the Temple in Jerusalem showing himself that he is "God", verse 4.

Our reading today sets the stage for how events of the Last Days come together. I will deal with the rest of this passage in another future devotional. The Rapture, the Antichrist, and a Temple in Jerusalem are  the items that we have discussed today.

Let me remind you that all preparations have been made for the temple to be built in Jerusalem. False teachers and deception presently are a part of our society today, which indicates that Antichrist is nearing his appearance on earth.

Remember, before the appearance of Antichrist and the temple is built, the Rapture happens. Actually the Rapture could happen at any moment. Be ready!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today as if this will be the day of the Rapture.