Aug. 13 – (Matt. 24:1-14) As we read in these verses about the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of the end times.  Is there some apprehension as you read this?  How much will apply (or is being applied) to us in our specific lifetime? We want to be safe and secure. Yet many “earthly” things threaten our security – losing a job, an income, health, or loved ones.  Our ability to handle these threats will depend on the source of our security.  The author of Proverbs wrote that the name of the Lord is a strong tower, and the righteous run into it and are safe.  As you think about the challenges you face, envision the Lord surrounding you with His strong, powerful presence.  Spend a few moments in the safety of His presence before continuing. 

Aug. 14 – (24:15-31) Daniel 9:27 tells of the abomination of desolation.  Several times in Jewish history, it was thought that this prophecy was being fulfilled.  But Jesus clarifies that the complete fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy will be found in (1) the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 and (2) the setting up of the image of the Antichrist in the last days (compare 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:14).

                It’s interesting to note that during the Jewish revolt (A.D.67), Jesus’ warning was fulfilled when Christians fled to the mountains of Pella.

                Few of us have ever faced deadly peril for our faith. What pressures do you face for your faith in Christ?  What can you do to lessen the effects of the pressure?

Aug. 15 – (24:32-51) The time of Christ’s coming is discussed in verses 32-41.  What can be known about the timing? What can’t be known?  How does this help us prepare for His coming? How does this effect our telling others of His coming?

                How do the parables of the thief and the wise or wicked servant (vv. 42-51) emphasize the importance of living in the light of Christ’s return?  What has this chapter taught you about perseverance and watchfulness? Reflect further on what the assurance of Christ’s return means for your life, including your choices, goals, priorities and relationships.

Aug.16 – (25:1-13) This is the parable of the ten virgins. That only five of the virgins are admitted to the chamber (vv. 1-13) seems harsh.  What might be the reasons for such a “hard” parable?  What was wrong with the attitude of those who were excluded?  What was right with the attitude of those who were included?  Oil for the lamps is a metaphor for being prepared.  What do you think is the “oil” you need in order to be prepared for Christ’s return?  Is your “lamp” full? Selah

Aug. 17 – (Matt. 25:14-30) As a child, my family was deeply connected to a United Brethren church.  Emphasis was on prayer, doing good works, and enduring till the end (my perception).  Wednesday nights were prayer meeting and of course our whole family went (Mom and 3 kids at this time). Of course, I was not into kneeling for an hour or so as people prayed out loud.  There was one older man who always prayed, and his prayers went on forever (my recollection) but He always ended his prayer with a phrase something like this: Heavenly Father, help thy servant to endure to the end so that thou wouldst say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of the Lord forever.”  Of course, I always listened to hear that phrase because that meant the torture was finally over. Now as an adult I think back on that situation every time I hear or read those phrases.  I see a man’s desire to use the talents God gave him, so he knew he had done what God gave him to do.  Of course, I then ask myself if I am using all the gifts and talents God gave me. Selah!

Aug. 18 – (Matt. 25:31-46) Early in Jesus’ ministry He had compassion on the people “because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”  In the parable of the sheep and the goats (vv. 31-46) what new insight do we gain about Jesus as a shepherd? The images in this parable shift from personal master and bridegroom to the ruler of the nations.  Identify the King, the sheep, the goats and the “brothers” of the King.  What criteria does the King use to separate the sheep from the goats?   This chapter reminds us yet again that Jesus will return, and we need to be ready. Let’s remember to live each morning with the expectation that we will see Christ before the day is over. Selah

Aug. 19 – (Matt. 26:1-13) in this chapter Matthew narrates the events leading to Jesus’ death.  Jesus reminds the disciples that the Passover will come in 2 days. Keep in mind the Passover was celebrated annually in remembrance of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. What does this specific Passover bring all of us exodus from? Selah