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THE JOY OF EVERY BELIEVER

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ACT. 1: 10-11

“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: 11 Which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”

The “second coming” is the term used to refer to the future event when Jesus will return to Earth, conquer His enemies, and reign as King of the world. Jesus described His return in Matthew 24:30: “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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.” John saw Jesus as a mighty warrior in Revelation 19:11-16: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the Name by which He is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a Name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”


The concept of Jesus’ second coming was a mystery to Jews and Jesus’ followers until He ascended into heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection. The Jews knew of the suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) and the conquering King, but they didn’t understand that the work of the Servant and the work of the King would occur at two different times (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7; Zechariah 14:4). People laid down their coats and palm branches for Jesus during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem because they expected a military leader to save them from Roman rule. Even after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples didn’t understand He had to leave and return. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the angels explained to the confused disciples, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

People today still confuse Jesus’ second coming with the rapture of the church, which occurs prior to Jesus’ second coming. The rapture is described in I Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” During the rapture, Jesus will come down to the skies to collect His followers, but He will not set foot on the Earth; He will remain in the air.

Zechariah 14:4 says that Jesus’ feet will “stand on the Mount of Olives.” When Jesus returns, He will fulfill prophecy, destroy His enemies (Zechariah 12:1-9; Revelation 19:15-16), gather and bless His people (Isaiah 11:11; Zechariah 12:10), and reign as King (Isaiah 11). We cannot know when Jesus’ second coming will occur (Matthew 24:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2), although we can look for signs—events that must occur beforehand (Matthew 24:4-29; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 6–18). Like the other prophecies about the end times, the promise of Jesus’ return is to give us encouragement (Titus 2:13) and to exhort us to continue to trust and obey Him (Matthew 25:19-21).

It is so amazing to see wives/husbands looking forward to the return of their spouses, children always love to see their parents return home, and laborers count calendar to the day they will receive their wages.  

In all these, the relevant question for every professed child of God is: are you ready to receive Him back? are you prepared? are you even looking forward to this great return of our Lord, Master, Elder brother, our nearest kinsman, husband of the Church, Savior, Messiah, The Rewarder, Jesus The Christ.

OUR RISEN LORD!
Who is Worthy in the Heavens or on the earth to pay the debt of Sin for everyone?
Who can win the Victory over satan, death, hell and the grave?
He is The LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
Ohhhh! He alone is Worthy!
To Worship and Adore!
The Lamb of God, Victorious- OUR RISEN LORD!
He purchased our Redemption
Our righteousness is HE
Please, Exhalt the Name of JESUS CHRIST, THE KING
HE IS WORTHY!

Freely give!

WHY IS PRAYER A DIFFICULT TASK FOR SOME CHILDREN OF GOD?

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PRAY AS IF EVERYTHING DEPEND ON GOD

Luke 18:1 says, “He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up.”

Yes, the Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever. Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

 

We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer. The following article, entitled “Focus on the Father” by Rusty Rustenbach (excerpted from Discipleship Journal, Issue 6), explores how our attitude can make prayer an adventure rather than a burden.  As you read through the article, underline any portions that stand out to you. Then respond to the questions and exercises.

 

Privilege of Prayer

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer. According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day. This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled. Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

 

1. What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

 

_Too busy or tired

_ Can’t concentrate

_ Don’t know what to pray about

_ Don’t feel like it

_ Feel guilty

_ Not convinced it makes a difference

_ Other:

 

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God. We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). God seems more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

 

If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master. I once regarded prayer as “gutting it out” before God. It meant trying to bring reams and reams of petitions before the Lord. The more requests I could bring, the more spiritual I was.

 

2. What similarities do you see between the author’s approach (bringing “reams and reams of petitions before the Lord”) and Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7?

 
 
 

3. How would you compare the focus of prayer in Matthew 6:7 with the focus in Matthew 6:9-13? Which of these is most like your approach to prayer?

 

Communion or Wrestling Match?

I also misinterpreted statements from godly men about the importance of prayer. Martin Luther’s statement that “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” implied to me that prayer was a guaranteed formula for success.

Rather than being a dynamic communion with the sovereign Lord of the universe, to me prayer was an exercise meant to wrestle effects into the lives of people and to manipulate God’s hand. Prayer became lifeless

and tedious. It was like castor oil: terrible tasting, but good for me.

 

4. Which of the following statements describe your general attitude toward prayer? Check all that apply.

_ Prayer is like a marriage—it is hard work but can be very rewarding.

_ I want to like prayer, but I really don’t.

_ Prayer is like writing “thank you” notes—it is an obligation I need to fulfill.

_ I look forward to prayer.

_ I enjoy the time I spend in prayer, but I would like to go deeper.

_ Other:

 

Yet God reminded me of the truth I was neglecting: He wanted to commune with me. What does this mean? Communion is defined as the intimate sharing of thoughts and emotions, and an intimate fellowship, rapport, or communication. This is the kind of relationship God wants with me.

 

5. How is God’s desire for communion (intimate relationship) with us expressed in the following verses
a. Isaiah 30:18

b. Isaiah 65:1-2

c. Jeremiah 33:3

d. Matthew 23:37

e. Romans 5:8-10

f. 1 John 4:9-10

6. Summarize in your own words the most significant or meaningful insight you gained from the verses above.

 

What Is Your Picture of God?

I saw I had become hardened to the excitement of walking in continual awareness of God’s presence. I realized afresh that He desires open communion with me. He has little interest in the petition gymnastics I was trying to perfect in prayer. He wants me to be preoccupied with Himself. Seeing God this way enables us to stand in awe of Him. It stimulates our heart to vital communion and conversation with Him. Seeing God as He is requires faith on our part, but whoever is enamored and thrilled with God is then rightly motivated to pray. Discipline will still be necessary, but prayer won’t be drudgery. I believe that is hat John 4:24 is hinting at: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (emphasis added)

7. Read John 4:4-30, the context of the story of the woman at the well:

  • a. How did the Samaritan woman’s inaccurate picture of God affect her ability to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  • b. What aspects of God’s character are hardest for you to grasp (for example, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, faithful, and so on)? How might this affect your prayer life?
Freely give!

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