Lord, help me to see the noble purposes for which You have called me and to persevere to the end.
Read: Matthew 24:3-14
 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ 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 the one 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.
Reflect: What is your response to Jesus’ words here?
Thanks to the popularity of the Left Behind book series in the 1990s, the notion of the “end times” has become widely talked about. Yet, as we see here, the idea is firmly rooted in the Bible and in the words of Jesus himself.
The list of end-times signs that Jesus gives is as difficult as it is compelling. It’s hard not to try to tick things off, or scratch one’s head, wondering if this is literal or metaphorical.
Perhaps, however, it’s less helpful to focus on how close we might be to Christ’s return, and better to consider some of the bigger principles discussed. He urges his followers to be vigilant against those who might seek to deceive the church (4,5) and stand firm in the face of persecution (9-13). Perhaps global evangelism must happen first (14).
All the signs Jesus points to are present in some form or other today. We could spend much time considering their significance. But most importantly, Jesus tells us to stand firm, to beware false prophets, and to invest ourselves in his mission. These three are our best preparations for his return, whenever it might come.
Ask yourself: what do you think and feel about the idea of Christ’s return? Write or talk to someone about it.
Lord, help me to be prepared for Your return and to live in light of the hope of Your coming.