Journal Luke 21 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: And (Jesus) said, “See that you are NOT led astray.

For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.

Then (Jesus) said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famine and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

But before all this, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to witness.

Settle it therefore in your mind not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict…” Luke 21:8-15

Observation: Key phrase #1: See to it you are NOT led astray. Key phrase #2: Settle it therefore…(not to play act the scene) beforehand.

Confession: I have failed both plainly spoken directives…

Analysis: What do new Christians inevitably get caught up in? End time stuff.

I remember in my youth (early ‘70’s), setting my jaw (figuratively speaking) that I would “take a bullet for Jesus. Stand me up on the wall, I will not recant my Confession.” Seriously, I thought that…and so did many of my peers.

I remember practicing the preach of Peter in Acts 2:14-41 (right after the Holy Spirit descending and speaking in tongues in public, “Be saved from this crooked generation…” (read also Acts 3-5, stupendous stuff!!)), preparing my own Acts 2 presentation to big shots.

In retrospect, kind of immature and definitely not wisdom in action. I was certainly thinking more of myself than I should: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think—but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Ro 12:3) [In my case, evaluating myself (looking in the mirror, 2 Cor 13:5), my “faith” was probably presumption…]

Clearly, Jesus wants me to be aware of the approaching end, by keeping my head on a swivel and not having tunnel vision about the End Times. There are so many other things to learn and do. And the Triune God has an objective for individual man (each Christian): “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Ro 8:29a)

And don’t let a single scene imagined be the focus of all the practice mentally; but let good conduct, by applying what is learned in the Faith, lead. Paul writes to Timothy (1 Tim 4:6-15; summarized and cherry picked):

  • …being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
  • train yourself for godliness…godliness is of value in every way as it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.
  • …set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity…
  • …devote yourself to the public reading of scripture…
  • Practice these things; IMMERSE yourself in them

Admittedly, if someone is heads over their backsides in the enthusiasm of the End Times, this posting will not be convincing at all. My OPINION? The End Times study (of which Jesus only wants us to pay attention to so we know the seasons) is where people can feel special that they can find the “secret key” to when Jesus returns—which Jesus himself doesn’t know the day or the hour. (“But concerning THAT DAY and HOUR no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son…but the Father only…” Matt 24:36)

Therefore, if I want to do right by my Lord and my confession of Faith, then I apply myself to those things the Scripture indicate to make application to.

Training for godliness, anyone?

Prayer: Ah, Lord, beautiful Savior. You see my struggles lately, because only you know my soul, my heart. Even that which I have trouble articulating, you understand perfectly. I suppose that is what “prayer language” is for, right?

Help me to brush away all those things that hamper me, entangle me, and to hitch up my britches (again) to fully pursue You.


Ricky Two Shoes