Heirs of God's Kingdom
The disciples of Jesus and indeed all his followers couldn't quite wait for Jerusalem to be restored to its glory and for His kingdom to be established. Think of ourselves now, in this present moment. Are we as anxious about God's kingdom and for Jesus to sit on the throne and rule over us forever (his second coming)? Aren't I more anxious about what i will cook or what I will wear than I am, of being prepared for his coming?
Why have we lost the zealousness that was a hallmark of the early church? I always wonder about that. Is it because they had known and walked with Christ or heard of him from people who had experienced proximity to him? But then the holy spirit was sent to the world to fulfill that need. The indwelling holy spirit is equal to the experience of having walked and talked with Jesus, right? Then why are we not as moved, why are we so lukewarm? Do we have the holy spirit in our lives, in the midst of our church communities?
Lord Jesus, please anoint me with your Holy Spirit so I may be empowered to work tirelessly for your kingdom, amen.
Why will God send a powerful delusion during the time of the man of lawlessness, so that the wicked may believe in it? Is God aiding in the efforts of the man of lawlessness to establish his (the latter's, not God's) kingdom here on earth?
No; God wants to separate the chaff from the grain. Who is deceived by the powerful delusion that God will send? Those who refused to accept the truth and be saved. They are the chaff and those who truly believe are the grain. God wants to separate the chaff from the grain and so he uses the reign of the man of lawlessness to do so.
There are many of us who think that the sufferings and trials mentioned by Christ in His statement "In this world you will have many trials and tribulations but lo, I have overcome the world" alludes to sickness and/or poverty/servitude - in short the trials and tribulations that we don't have a say in/cannot bring upon ourselves through the choices we make. But I think the reference is entirely to suffering for His name. Having to make a choice in the face of intense adversity and still choosing Him. Faced with the lion's den or the burning fire like Daniel and his friends, what would we do? Notice that there is the question of a clear choice in such a situation, as opposed to falling ill or falling into hardships which isn't by human choice.
Given the choice of leading a life of peace and comfort here on earth or losing that peace and comfort to be assured of a spot in God's everlasting kingdom, what would we choose? And what if we know that choosing the latter would lead to intense persecution whilst we are still alive on earth?
Lord Jesus, help me to hold steadfast to my faith in you at all times, no matter what the temptation or trial, amen.