Week 61 – We have reached the last chapter of the Chronological Bible reading… congratulations!

As we come to the end of our reading with mounting anticipation, a great “HALLELUJAH” is being prepared in heaven, to which we will give voice HERE ON EARTH!

DAY ONE – 1 John 1-5, 2 John, 3 John

(The following references are from Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.)
  • 1 John 1:6– we are not practicing the truth
  • 1 John 2:4– not living in the truth
  • 1 John 2:8–Jesus lived the truth
  • 1 John 2:8–the true light is already shining
  • 1 John 2:20-21– all of you know the truth
  • 1 John 2:21-22–you know the difference… truth and lies
  • 1 John 2:27–what he teaches is true
  • 1 John 2:27–teach you what is true
  • 1 John 4:3–the truth about Jesus
  • 1 John 5:20–know the true God
  • 2 John 1–I love in the truth
  • 2 John 3–who live in truth and love
  • 2 John 4–living according to the truth
  • 2 John 10–the truth about Christ
  • 3 John 1–I love in the truth
  • 3 John 3–living according to the truth
  • 3 John 4–following the truth
  • 3 John 12–as does the truth itself
  • 3 John 12– we speak the truth

Since truth originated in God and was revealed in the creation, it can be discovered only in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. When all the lies that have been perpetrated and propped up in the hearts of the ungodly are revealed for what they are, ONLY TRUTH will perpetuate into the ages beyond. Even Pilate, the authority who delivered Jesus up to be crucified, asked, “What is truth?” Sadly he never got His answer, even though he was face to face with THE TRUTH.

DAY TWO – Revelation 1-5

This is a revelation OF Jesus Christ which was given to Apostle John. Remember, John was the disciple especially loved by Jesus, who was next to Jesus at the Last Supper, while still in his teens. John was one of the three who SAW Jesus in His glory on the mountain and heard God’s voice; and he was the oldest surviving original apostle at the time of this revelation. The seven churches (assemblies) in Asia were the recipients of the messages Jesus Christ wanted us all to have. Seven times we are exhorted to “listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.” In fact, the readers of this revelation are promised a blessing for even reading it!

Exiled to a small island because of his faith and his preaching, John continued his life of devotion and service to Jesus. Then one day these striking scenes began to unfold before him. Scene one took place in the sphere of earth, in which John was introduced to Jesus in a way He had never before seen. Jesus was glorious and powerful, above and over everything, and obviously before, during and after everything! He introduced Himself as “the First and the Last.” Well! That got the old apostle’s attention for sure. Then came the messages from this ONE who identified Himself as LORD over all the gatherings of His ‘called-out ones.’ And for each of these seven messages, we are asked to pay CLOSE ATTENTION to their commendations and corrections. Promises are made to the faithful, to the ones paying attention and taking corresponding action. The second scene opened in heaven, in which John was privileged to ‘see’ Almighty God in visions and appearances that almost defy description–certainly persons and mysterious creatures not before seen on earth. This Great One was holding a scroll that was sealed, and no one seemed qualified to open it. But there was One, and He was introduced to John as “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, (who) has won the victory.” Revelation 5:5 (NLT) John remembered the day when, as a young man, he saw Jesus ascending into heaven with clouds and heard angels:  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11 (NLT) But the Jesus he remembered is now the Ancient of Days, resplendent with glory and power. This Shining One commands all authority in heaven, with millions of angels at His disposal. There is NO OTHER LIKE HIM! The message that John was getting, and the message we desperately need to hear today is, LOVE JESUS, SERVE HIM, OBEY HIM, while there is yet time. We are in The Revelation, the last Bible book, and there should be some urgency in how we prayerfully respond to Him.

DAY THREE – Revelation 6-10

Dear Reader, we are today given a glimpse into the Great Tribulation coming upon the world, variously referred to as the Day of the Lord. Words fail to inform our emotions sufficiently, so we cannot possibly register the correct feelings that match the scope and nature of the calamity . When the Great Flood occurred in Genesis, there were no words to describe the carnage, for there had previously been NO RAIN on the earth; and the enormity of the tragedy was unknown in human history. Such is the Great Tribulation. NO AMOUNT of war, famine or cataclysm prepares us for the worldwide destruction and suffering which will follow in rapid succession, one event upon another. However, incredulous as we might be reading these chapters, remember that THE ONE WHO OPENS THE SEALS was Himself the victim of all the world’s evil, turned against Him with savage force and incalculable rage, to rid the world of His sovereign grace and salvation. The devil himself inspired the brutal crucifixion of Jesus, and that same destroyer would gladly take out every one of us who follows Jesus with similar rage and evil prejudice. That we live and thrive another day is attributable to the great love and protection of our Heavenly Father who has commissioned us to give testimony of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Reading this Revelation again is a stern reminder that we live in a temporal world that has given itself to establishing a permanent order WITHOUT GOD. Those of us who tremble before the Lord in humble repentance and worship Him with gladness of heart, struggle to fully appreciate this great, final conflict that has begun and is playing out in full view of the nations. We may not understand everything, but we can certainly see the unexplainable increases in catastrophic occurrences in nature and international politics. And yes, there is a universal awareness that our world cannot indefinitely continue its present erratic course without intervention. The real tragedy is that, while public religion appears to be waning in the nations of the world, defiance toward God’s Kingdom is gaining momentum. People of God everywhere should be on constant alert and highly sensitized to changes in the spiritual climate around us. In the west, we are so thoroughly plied with technology, social connectivity and instant information about everything, that our distractions threaten to overrun our desire to remain faithful to Jesus. My plea as a fellow believer/follower is that we will read and understand; read and wake up; read and take appropriate actions to encourage, help and support one another in our common faith. Religious and political differences must give way in favor of our total reliance on the Kingdom of Heaven–now our highest priority and the world’s ONLY HOPE. What shall we do today to make a real difference?

DAY FOUR – Revelation 11-13

It is important to remember that, as Genesis is a book of beginnings, Revelation is a book of endings. Our Bible begins with these words: “In the beginning God…” It is only fitting that at the end of time, this same Almighty God–Creator of heavens and earth; Savior of mankind; and ruler over all there is, MUST RESOLVE all that has, since the days of Adam and Eve, corrupted the earth and troubled all of mankind. Human beings themselves fell prey to the evil rebellion against the Creator; that must be resolved. Satan, the devil and destroyer, led the rebellion against God; that too must be resolved. Finally the corruption that has brought misery to mankind must be resolved permanently. In John’s great visions events unfold rapidly–no longer in years and millennia, but in days and months. Prominent in all of this is the land of Israel, that little centerpiece of earth’s real estate that dominates nearly all of the Old Testament narrative and forms the backdrop to all of God’s dealings with this world kingdom. We can only ponder, sometimes wonder, where we are in all this drama. Are we witnessing in our 21st century what Jesus and the apostles described in scripture? Are their predictions unfolding before our very eyes? Has the Day of the Lord dawned on planet earth, the beginning of suffering that presupposes the final conquest of evil, rebellion and corruption? What John saw he could barely explain in words we can understand. Yet we are asked to look… and understand. What John heard we are asked to hear… and believe. Where are we to get this kind of wisdom and understanding? Our universities and think tanks are filled with propaganda that empowers kingdoms and kingmakers in this world, in their unquenchable thirst for power and wealth. To whom then can we turn? WE MUST TURN TO JESUS. The God who came from heaven to earth to reveal the eternal Kingdom of Heaven was killed here–died for our sinful rebellion to RESOLVE sin and provide eternal life to all who will follow Jesus. The visions in this Revelation depict the final stages of earth’s rebellion against heaven and against God, ALL OF WHICH WILL SOON give way to the Resurrected Jesus who has all power and authority in heaven and earth. We cannot look elsewhere for answers to the mysterious events and creatures featured in John’s visions. Rather than trying to pinpoint God’s timeline for all of these things, we do well to simply humble ourselves in reverential fear of our Holy God and WORSHIP HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, who towers over this world kingdom and is preparing to REIGN FOREVER AND EVER! The Revelation belongs to God and His Son, and He will crush the rebellion in a manner that FULLY RESOLVES all of human history in order to usher in His glorious and eternal  kingdom. And we… we are here… for such a time as this.

DAY FIVE – Revelation 14-18

The Genesis story informs us that God created the inhabited world in six days, and rested on the seventh. All was in motion, in perfect harmony and calibrated to maintain predictable order in His universe. Adam and Eve were placed there; biblical genealogy indicates that some seven thousand years of human history have unfolded to the present. We have been reading this history for more than a year in our Bible adventure. But the chapters we read today are filled with apocalyptic predictions of terrible destruction as not seen up to this time anywhere. What does it mean? John’s visions of a world gone mad, of the crumbling heaps of human achievement, are punctuated with pictures of heaven in which the hundreds of millions of souls from earth that have lived, believed in and trusted God throughout the ages are now ‘saved’–that is, they are alive and beyond reach of the sin, rebellion and destruction that have troubled the nations of the world since the beginning of time. A conspiracy of evil, driven by demonic passion, idolatry and gross immorality, has reached a feverish pitch, having enslaved the masses and led to the worldwide acceptance and worship of the ‘beast,’ so called because of his dark rage and rebellion against Creator God and His Son Jesus. The world of humanity has descended into the black darkness in which reason and sensibility have totally lost their power to restrain evil. The final judgments of human government and mortal supremacy have begun. As trumpets sound, swords clash, nations rage, and angels move swiftly to enact God’s orders throughout the earth, a fateful dread and fear begins to wash over humanity, the realization that ALL IS LOST and there is NO MORE REMEDY. The topography is catastrophically leveled, the sea turns to death, the rivers to blood; even the great Euphrates River is dried up so that an army two hundred million strong can begin its march of death. The world economy has finally collapsed under its own weight of incalculable debt and greed, ending the dreams of every nation. There is nowhere else to turn, no one who can now step forward to lead into tomorrow. The nations are AT AN END, and the time has now come for the LAST PLAGUES–the final thrust of judgment and the end of the world as we have known it. Revelation 18:20 (NLT) “Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes.”  It is time for God’s ultimate Salvation to step forth from heaven, to preside over His triumphant victory over evil, and to disclose the working of His eternal plan set forth at the beginning of time.

DAY SIX – Revelation 19-22

Peals of praise–like the sound of thunder or roaring rivers–flowed from heaven, one after another, marking the transition of power on earth–from governments run by earthlings to that of our Lord Jesus Christ, making Him “King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” As earth’s armies, amassed to avenge the fall of human rule and the world economy, and to break free from heaven once for all, waited with their leader THE BEAST for the Son of God on the white horse to appear, the stench of death and hell was already beginning to assault their senses. Then He came. His servants seized the beast and his prophet and threw them alive into the lake of burning sulfur, as His sword slew the armies of defiance. And then it was over. The battle for heaven’s rule was instantly and finally won by Jesus, and He brought His heavenly kingdom fully to earth to reign for a thousand years, to be followed by an eternity filled with God and His wonderful new creation! This Revelation began with Jesus and it ends with Jesus. He is the very spirit and testimony of all true prophecy, making Him the worthy recipient of all our worship, loyalty and allegiance. And He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam and Eve to save from among the world of humanity ALL who will worship and serve Him. God has ALWAYS had His gracious plan of salvation which He freely offers to all.

A footnote to Revelation is that it is THE END of human rule and THE BEGINNING of the new heaven and earth for all of those who have lived, loved and followed Jesus in a life of faith and obedience. Even John himself, the old apostle who had survived boiling oil poured on his body, ascribing all glory, honor and praise to Jesus–whom he first knew as a young man of Israel living under Roman government; whom he followed from his youth; and to whom he devoted the rest of his life in the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven–gushed with anticipation as he cried, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” That was two thousand years ago. Then John rested with the saints and has waited these two millennia, as we ALL NOW WAIT, for Jesus to take His righteous scepter and begin to reign as promised. We too join two thousand years of faithful believer/followers who welcome these days of conflict which MUST COME on the earth in order for HEAVEN to finally RULE AMONG MEN. And while we wait we worship and serve our Father and His Lord Jesus Christ. We have died to any future except that which involves Him and welcomes Him into our daily existence here and now. As did Jesus, we ignore the humiliation of the cross and despise the shame in the eyes of the world in order to believe and follow Him. Thus with John, our life is a praise and a prayer… “EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS!”

Week 60 – Nearing the end of our Bible reading journey.. we can do this!

“How long, O Lord?” Our reading this week tells us not how long, but HOW.. how we get from here to there!

DAY ONE – 1 Peter 1-5

In the middle of a moonless night, a man is crawling across a stretch of what appears to be endless dunes of sand, his parched countenance grimacing with each effort he expends. Everything within him wants to stop, to end it right there; but on the horizon he can see bright light penetrating the canopy of darkness, evidence that civilization and safety are not so far ahead. So he keeps moving toward the light. Addressing Jewish refugees who fled their homeland of Jerusalem and Judea because of persecution of their faith in Jesus; who left all behind to seek safety and an opportunity to live their faith; who were having to rebuild their lives in a strange place and were finding it very challenging, Peter wrote to encourage and strengthen them, to give them hope in a dark world where suffering abounds. Most of us are too busy to do a spiritual inventory, to painstakingly write out the problems we face, the emotions we tolerate, the shreds of hope to which we cling. So, like the man crawling across the dunes, we go about the business of living, often suffering quietly and gallantly, hoping that tomorrow things will be a little easier. But what of tomorrow? What can we write about tomorrow, seeing we don’t know what is there? Not so, says Peter; we do know; we do know, for tomorrow belongs to God, as does today. Now that you are saved through your faith in Jesus as your Lord; now that you are his child, the recipient of His grace and favor; and now that you live under His wonderful promises of salvation and eternal reward, live in a manner as befits the incredible inheritance that belongs to you as a co-inheritor with Jesus. Peter connected the blessings of God’s favor toward us now, with future blessings that are reserved for us in heaven. He also connected the short period of Jesus’ unspeakable suffering with the sufferings we encounter in our lives, on our way to the glorious home He has prepared for us. More than once Peter insisted that we are closer than we think to the end of the world. Yes, I realize every generation has to process that truth, and every generation discovers that the world goes on, and it is still full of challenges to our faith and well-being. But how well we live from our heart, how well we feed and maintain our faith, renews and builds our hope in a glorious future with our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, we remind ourselves that we are not suffering alone; all around us are others who are believing and trusting Jesus to get us from here to there, to save us to the very day of our salvation, and to keep us along the way. Everyone suffers along the way. The difference is that we who trust in Jesus see the bright light on the horizon that strengthens us and keeps us moving forward with joy, courage and anticipation.

DAY TWO – Hebrews 1-4

We must at once understand that this letter was written to Jewish believers in Messiah (the Anointed One, or Jesus). However, it has universal appeal, because the central theme is Jesus (Hebrew ‘Yeshua’). If I were to simply complete this paragraph by writing the name ‘Jesus’ over and over and over, it would fully convey the most important revelation of the entire book. How important?  Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. Hebrews 1:1-4 (NLT) Given that Peter, Paul and our Lord’s other apostles all regarded their times as the last or final days, we may therefore conclude that NO FURTHER REVELATION ABOUT THE LAST DAYS is needed to prepare us for the coming of Christ. We are fully informed and, by the Holy Spirit, fully equipped to prepare for that day. So complete is the revelation in God’s word, that we are warned to not ‘drift away’ from what we have received and what we know. In fact, Jesus made this prediction regarding the end of days.  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:12-14 (NLT) As we proceed through Hebrews, we will understand that what Jesus did in His life, His death and resurrection, is so complete that we have only to appeal to heaven on any and all occasions in His powerful Name to receive the help we need. By comparing the Old Covenant (our Old Testament) with the New Covenant (our New Testament) we can see how God’s work of grace through Jesus is superior in every detail to any other religious ideal or explanation. Why is it that people still attempt to come up with ANY OTHER MEANS of salvation than that offered by God through His Son Jesus? As Apostle Paul warned,  Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Galatians 1:8-9 (NLT) End of story.

DAY THREE – Hebrews 5-8

In order to fully appreciate who Jesus is and what He has done, there are two terms with which we need to be exceedingly familiar: the Kingdom of this World; and the Kingdom of Heaven. When Paradise was lost to Adam and Eve, they were put out of the Garden of Eden to make their home in the Kingdom of this World–that is, the realm in which humans live disconnected and apart from God, who lives in and rules over the Kingdom of Heaven. In this world people have to find their own way, their own resources and their own future. It is a struggle and requires that we use up our time and energy to survive. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the perfection of Eden is exceeded, for God lives and rules in light, peace, life and abundance. In order to bring us back into His world (although He owns this world as well!) our Lord sent His Son Jesus into the Kingdom of this World to reconnect us to God. But more than a thousand years before Jesus came, Father God was already doing a mysterious thing by calling Abraham to be His friend and colleague. Through Abraham and his descendants, the Lord eventually raised up Moses to be a deliverer of the Hebrew people, and at Sinai gave them the Law (Torah) of Commandments to reconnect them with heaven through RELIGION. Judaism is the ONLY RELIGION God ever gave to this world; and there were priests, a meeting place, sacrifices and offerings, and every other accoutrement necessary for the continual practice of their religion. Everything was specified and required by God. It was a physical and visible representation of what the Lord would later do when He reconnected heaven and earth through Jesus Christ. So the Jewish priests lived and died and were succeeded by their offspring. Jesus lived, died and LIVED AGAIN through resurrection. So He is a priest FOREVER AND EVER. He is our High Priest in HEAVEN, where He has all authority in heaven AND EARTH! The Covenant of Grace is far superior to the Covenant of Religion God gave the Jews. This grace extends to all people everywhere and restores eternal life to the human race, but only if we trust in and follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior. While the Kingdom of this World is under the law of sin and death, the Kingdom of Heaven is full of grace and life through the blood of Jesus. And while earthly religions–even the Jewish religion–offer FALSE HOPE to people who practice them, Jesus Christ offers genuine hope of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven with God’s true family. Paradise Lost is Paradise Found when we trust Jesus to save us and bring us safely to His Eternal Kingdom. Kingdom of this world–lesser Covenant, lesser priests; Kingdom of Heaven–greater Covenant and Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ… should be an easy choice for all of us!

DAY FOUR – Hebrews 9-13

Ours is a physical world, but is it the real world? To us it is, for it is all we have known. Yes, it’s real, but it is only temporary, no matter how long we think it has been here. “In the beginning God…” God was before our world, for He created it. So what comes after our world? What’s beyond our view, beyond our temporal understanding and beyond our human reach? It’s the OTHER WORLD, being prepared for God’s growing family. Jesus came from the other world; He came into this world to declare the Kingdom of Heaven to us and to open the way for us to enter that place. Heaven is the REAL WORLD– if real means perfect; and if real means forever; and if real means everything this world can never be. To struggle and to overcome in this world; to become our best in this world; to find peace and happiness in this world is still not permanent. We are all leaving this world in one manner or another, and our Creator has invited us to join Him in His great kingdom to live in a perfect state forever. Abraham, Moses, kings and prophets lived and died waiting for the real world to open to them. We are told they died “IN FAITH.” That means they believed the testimony of God and lived for the real world to come. This letter to the Hebrews, many of whom suffered terribly for their belief in Jesus, fled to other places just to survive. And now they are being begged to keep their faith and endure every trial in order to make it to their real, forever home with the Lord. The religion God gave to the Hebrews (Judaism) was temporary and unable to give them permanent forgiveness and safety. They had to perform its rituals over and over again to receive covering for their sins. They never really understood or knew God as He wanted to be known. So He sent Jesus. Jesus came into our world. He reconnected us to God through faith and obedience. He gave us eternal life by faith. And He has gone into the real world of God’s making to rule heaven and earth until He can gather all of His people into our forever home where He is. THIS IS REAL! Though we cannot see it, we yet believe, for Jesus is real and He was here, and He became our forever sacrifice for sin to reconnect us to heaven and our Heavenly Father. Our hope is well founded, and our faith will take us from here to there. Nothing in this temporary world is WORTH COMPARING OR HAVING if it destroys or impairs our faith. Hang with those who have accepted God’s testimony and are willing to stake their life on it. Hang with those who worship and serve God through our Lord Jesus. Hang with those who by faith live in this world today in order to enjoy the grand entrance into our permanent home tomorrow. Live it out every day, enjoying the peace, love, hope and joy that comes from heaven into our hearts through Jesus.

DAY FIVE – 2 Timothy 1-4

It is said that scores of pastors leave the service of the church every day–worn out, burnt out or otherwise demoralized and/or disillusioned. Some are tired of the poverty and the general hassle of trying to shepherd the flock of Christ. The passion they once knew and which was part of their calling to the profession is no longer. The aging Apostle Paul, still in prison, reached out to his spiritual son Timothy with deep feeling and strong passion. The last time they had parted, Timothy was in tears. And now from prison Paul plead with his young elder/pastor colleague to come to him again as soon as possible, and to bring Mark as well. Paul was alone; only Luke was still with him, because all of his other workers had opposed, abandoned or deserted him, perhaps ashamed of his status as a prisoner; or perhaps because Paul was so strongly committed to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and resisted every attempt to change it or adapt its teachings to popular culture. Surely rumors of Paul’s stubborn faith led some to conclude that he was too fanatical or too narrow for their continued loyalty. Paul carefully explained his position to his ‘son in the faith,’ lest Timothy too should lose confidence; he was known to be somewhat timid and needed occasional strengthening from his old mentor. Appealing to his own faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel that kept him in chains, Paul reaffirmed the strength of his convictions and assured Timothy that he prayed for him night and day to be strong in his faith, according to the example of his mother and grandmother; and to stir up the ministry gift that was conferred when Paul laid hands on him. The younger man had done an admirable job in ministry but was perhaps lagging in his resolve.

Not very many are privy to the approach of their own death, but Paul believed that he was nearing his time to leave this world. Unashamed and immovable, he asserted that he was ready to be with Jesus and receive the crown of life that follows the suffering and obedience of this life. Appealing again to the scriptures, the old apostle declared all scripture to be inspired (God-breathed) and effective for bringing us to strong faith and completion in righteousness. We are to guard especially against spiritual treachery and the breakdown of law and love in the last days, as people give in to their own out-of-control desires that lead into all kinds of sinful and aberrant behavior. A saved soul is a miracle of grace; a soul kept by the power of God is a sign to this generation that the Lord is near. May we do well to preserve our faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him daily through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if you have spiritual mentors, find them and give them a hug and a ‘thank you.’

DAY SIX – Jude, 2 Peter 1-3

‘Faith’ is an extremely common word in our Bible. However, Jude and Peter talk about ‘the faith’ given to the people of God. It seems inconceivable that faith in Jesus Christ could be challenged by the things of this world system or be lost to the follower of Christ. But both of these apostles speak of ‘the faith’ as an entity, a commodity, which is received and stewarded by Jesus’ followers–collectively known as the church, or assembly, of God. And both of them give stern warnings about losing this faith by following men who themselves prove to be false teachers. And what is ‘this’ faith we speak of? It is life transformed by the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is life based on the revealed word of God, the holy scriptures. It is life that denies and disavows the sexual perversion that has taken hold of the nations of the world, being peddled to the people for money and personal gain. It is godly men and women who have surrendered whatever gain this world system offers in order to gain the promises of eternal life and heaven with our Lord. Appealing to the examples of Noah, a righteous man in his generation, as well as Sodom and Gomorrah, these apostles remind us that a fiery judgment awaits this perverted and sinful world system when the Lord has finished His great work of grace. We are warned against being deceived by the subtle and crafty lies being told by those who follow their own desires. Peter says, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” And Jude says, “But you, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God.” Our salvation is a completed work on God’s part. Jesus finished all the Father gave Him to do. As we recently read in Hebrews 1, when He had completed His work, He sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I typically finish my work or project before I take the liberty of sitting down to relax. And so did Jesus. Everything we need to sustain us in our faith has already been done–granted and offered. We are already partakers of the divine nature of Jesus, by virtue of our faith and following Him. May we never again allow the destructive heresies of the old world system to gain even a foothold in our life. Keep your faith among your fellow believers, and be strong in the Lord together!