Daily Readings & Thought for November 19th. “TO THIS END WE ALWAYS PRAY”

Today’s readings.. (Nehemiah 7), (Joel 2), (2 Thessalonians 1,2)

Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians portrays details of some of the dramas that will occur at the return of Christ. He stresses how the enemies of God will be destroyed “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” [1 v.7,8] So there are those who, while being aware there is a God and a Saviour “do not obey” – do not seriously give heed to the gospel, the good news, or having at first responded, become distracted, or should we say, attracted, by the nature of the life that surrounds them.    

Could “the flaming fire” be literal? Or is it symbolic language to emphasize the impact and world awareness of Christ’s return?  There are verses today in Joel describing how the “earth quakes … The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining  … the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it?” [2 v.10,11] 

The good news of the original gospel has now spread into all the earth, being now available in every language.  Sadly, many will be aware of the gospel, but fail to “obey” it and “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed.” [v.9,10]  This pictures events that we find it impossible to imagine in any real way.

Then Paul adds a vital message that we should especially take notice of!  He writes, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfil every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”[v.11,12]  How much do we pray for each other – following the example of Paul?

It is the Lord’s ongoing work today to “make you (and I) worthy of his calling.”  We cannot by our own efforts, make ourselves worthy. We must become, and hopefully already are, effective “ambassadors for Christ … that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him” [2 Cor. 5 v.20,21; 6v.1 – continuous verses]

To this end we always pray” every day,” that he will, until he returns, ” comfort (y)our hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”  May we all be comforted and established in these ways.

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