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April 22

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“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28 NKJV).

From: April 22, 2020

LIFT UP YOUR HEADS REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH

After some of His disciples expressed admiration for the beauty of the Jerusalem Temple, Jesus told them that a day was coming when not one stone would be left upon another. The disciples asked when such a thing would happen. So Jesus described to them the signs of the end of the age. He told them that there would be false messiahs, and an increase of wars between nations. There would be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences. There would be persecutions of the saints and fearful sights and great signs in the heavens. And many more details, He gave them.
 
Yet as He concluded, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to be anxious or discouraged when the world seemed to be declining into chaos and becoming more wicked. Instead, He told them to “look up,” essentially to set their minds on heavenly things all the more. He told them to “lift up your heads,” in other words, don’t be afraid or discouraged, chin up! Because “redemption draws near.”
 
We know that the redemption of our souls has already come. For when we believed in Christ, our souls were redeemed. Yet, we await the redemption of our bodies on that Day when Christ returns (Rom. 8:23).
 
As I was writing this devotion, I was humming a hymn that came out in the early ’70s by Gordon Jensen entitled, “Redemption Draweth Nigh.” The chorus goes like this:
 
“Signs of the times are everywhere
There’s a brand new feeling in the air
Keep your eyes upon the eastern sky
Lift up your head redemption draweth nigh”
 
I think Jesus approves of singing while looking up, don’t you?
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, as we look around our world today, we see an increase in every sign that the Lord Jesus predicted. But we will not fear. For we have set our eyes on You. We look to You and all the more as the Day approaches. Our bodies join with the creation in groaning for the redemption that Your Son brings. Until then, may we long for His coming, yet work according to the Spirit that energizes us to witness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22 NLT).

From: April 22, 2018

JESUS SAID PROPHECY WILL BE FULFILLED
Many of the prophecies of the Old Testament have been fulfilled, many of them in Christ’s first coming. Yet, there are still prophecies in the Old Testament that have not been fulfilled. This is an important consideration because some would suggest that the prophecies concerning Israel have either been already fulfilled or given over to the Church. But I believe Jesus was speaking of the turbulent end times that belonged to Israel and would precede His second coming. Certainly, there was a partial fulfillment when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. Yet, it was only a foreshadowing of the time of tribulation to come, which will follow after the “period of the Gentiles comes to an end” (Luke 21:24). This is Daniel’s 70th week and the apostle John’s seven years. After which, the prophecy concerning Christ’s second coming will also be fulfilled.

“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites” (Luke 21:1-2 NKJV).

From: April 22, 2017

As Jesus watched the people putting their gifts into the Temple offering, he offered several insights into how God sees our giving. One insight is that God sees our giving. He watches over our giving, looking to see who is generous and who is not. Another insight is that God sees the proportion of our giving. He knows whether we give sacrificially or not. He cares less about the amount of our giving and more about the motivation and proportion of our giving.
 
That Jesus sat near the place where he could watch those giving their offerings, and that he used it to teach his disciples about giving, should not surprise us. He wants us to understand that God cares more for the heart of the giver than the amount of the gift. Love and giving are connected. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).

“…Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24 ESV)

From: April 22, 2016

The disciples had been talking about the beauty and grandeur of Jerusalem, when Jesus interrupted them to say, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6).
This must have been a troubling prophecy for the disciples to hear, so they asked for more specifics. Jesus offered many details about signs and times, not only of Jerusalem’s destruction, but also of His future return and time of redemption. Within His prophetic response, there was the mention not only of Jerusalem’s destruction, but also the hope of its future return to the Jews. Jesus described this season as the “times of the Gentiles” that would some day be “fulfilled,” or finished. In fact, Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem came true in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city. And it wasn’t until the Six Day War of 1967 that Jerusalem again came under Jewish rule again. Nineteen hundred years passed before Jerusalem again belonged to the Jews. Regardless of one’s eschatology, the reality of these historical facts gives one much to ponder. Can it be much longer before the rest of Christ’s predictions come true? Are we the generation that will see the return of Christ?

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28 NKJV)

From: April 22, 2015

Jesus concluded His description of the signs of the age of the end times with the above verse. Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to be anxious or discouraged when the world seemed to be declining into chaos and becoming more wicked. Instead, He told them to “look up,” essentially to set their minds on heavenly things all the more, as earthly things must pass away. He told them to “lift up your heads,” in other words, don’t be afraid or discouraged, chin up! Because the “redemption” of your bodies “draws near.” The redemption of our souls has already come when we believed that Christ died for our sins, was buried and raised again on the third day. Yet, we await the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23) on that Day when Christ returns.

“Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27 NLT)

From: April 22, 2014

Jesus speaks of His Second Coming in a manner consistent with the prophet Daniel’s words (Dan.7:13) concerning the “Son of Man,” a Messianic title. His return will not be like His first coming, in weakness and in obscurity, a baby born in a Bethlehem manger. No, it will be in “power and great glory” for all to see. Those who are ready for His return will be filled with joy for their salvation is near. But those who are not, will be terrified by His coming judgment. Our hope for Christ’s future return is as sure as our faith in His past resurrection from the dead. Christ has come. And He is coming again.

“Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel” (Joshua 24:31 ESV)

From: April 22, 2013

As long as there were elders living in Israel that remembered the Lord, there was peace and prosperity in the land. But when the last of these elders passed, the era of the Judges began, a time when the people forgot the Lord and lived according to their own way. How does a nation, family, or church retain the memory of God’s blessing from one generation to another, so that they don’t stray from God?

“The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31)

From: April 22, 2012

The time of the Judges followed the passing of this great generation. This reminds us that we are always only one baton-pass away from apostasy. Teach your children.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15)

From: April 22, 2011

This is still our choice today. We are always only one generation away from apostasy. Parents must choose. Pass the baton of faith to your children and your children’s children.