Daily Devotional for Thursday April 17, 2008
They Exchanged the Truth for a Lie
(1 Thessalonians 4:16,17)
The other day I was reading the newspaper and saw the most accurate description of our world today I have EVER read. Let me tell you what the author said. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
Actually, the author of these words was GOD Himself, and this was not in a newspaper article, but is found in God's Word (Romans 1:21-32). I especially like the line in Verse 25, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie." If that doesn't describe our culture today perfectly, I don't know what does. Satan, the great perverter, has told the lie enough times that people have now accepted the lie as the truth, and rejected the truth as a lie exactly as God said they would.
I know there is much debate and controversy within the Body of Christ as to exactly how the events of the end times will unfold. One of the interesting things about Bible prophecy is that you really can't tell someone they are wrong since these are events yet to occur. While the study of eschatology or the end times is interesting, my focus is on our real day to day lives and how to live a victoriously in the context of the Christian faith. However, there are some end time events nobody will dispute and one of those is the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly teaches that NO MAN, only God knows the hour of Christ's return. But make no mistake, this is NOT a Hollywood movie, it is a very real event that will take place. One thing is certain, when Christ returns whatever final events that must take place will quickly unfold and this world as we know it will no longer exist. Even though only God knows the exact moment Christ will return, the Bible clearly tells us what the last days prior to His return will be like. My friend, you do not have to have a Doctorate in Theology to read God's Word and know that without a doubt, WE ARE IN THE LAST DAYS.
In Paul's second letter to his young disciple Timothy, in Chapter 3 Verses 1-5, he describes the last days. "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."
Peter also shared the signs of the last days in 2 Peter 3:3, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." Peter and Paul could have been writers for the USA Today commenting on the state of our world in the year 2008 with their words.
Jesus commented as well on the signs of the last days in Matthew chapter 24. His disciples asked Him point blank what will be the sign of His return and the end of the age. Jesus answered in Verses 4-14, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
You see my friend, this is why those who know Christ as their Savior have to be busy about the work of the Kingdom. We are clearly in the last days, the night is coming and we must work while it is still light. The imminent return of Jesus Christ is a message you will not hear in the church very often because too many pastors either don't believe He is coming back, or they have lost sight of how soon it will happen. God's people need to not only be ready themselves for Christ's return, but must be busy sharing this Good News with the lost and dying world that we live in. The Bible tells us it is only God's patience that is keeping the last chapter from being written because it is His desire that none perish and ALL come to repentance.
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you to take some time today and PRAY over these words. It is no accident or coincidence that you are reading this today, God is speaking to you. For those who have never made a commitment of your heart and life to Jesus Christ by faith, the Bible says that TODAY is the day of salvation. Take a moment right now, pray and ask God to open your heart and go to the following link and read the words there: http://liveprayer.com/plan.cfm
For those who know Christ as your Savior, this is a wake-up call from God that the time is short and you need to be giving all you have each day in serving Christ. Serving Him is not an option but a requirement of ALL His children. God calls most to serve Him right where they are at, in your neighborhood, at school, on the job, where you recreate, in the various hobbies you have. Everyday the Lord brings people into your life who will never go to church, never read a Bible, or never watch Christian media. You are the only connection to God they have. God has put them into your life so that you can share with them the hope and love of Christ. Never forget, when your life is over the ONLY thing that will matter for eternity are those lives you impacted for Christ.
Based on what God's Word tells us about the last days, you can hear the trumpeter in the back room warming up. Christ came to this earth the first time unannounced to the world, born in a lowly manger in an obscure village. However, He is preparing for a triumphant return at any moment that the entire world will witness as He comes back "with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God."