Devotional

Unity, Please!

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.   Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB20- emphasis mine)

Unity. I crave it.

The news reveals how divided people have become. I’m tired of the fighting between and within political parties; race issues; disrespect for police and other authority; and the Covid-19 pandemic with its isolation, closures, new disease variants, and people battling about mask use and vaccines.

It grieves me that many battles are causing division between followers of Jesus. Instead of being united in Jesus Christ, I’ve read and heard people question the salvation of others because they think differently on issues. It is one thing to become informed, another to bash or shun others who disagree.

Oxford Languages defines unity as “The state of being united or joined as a whole.”

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Followers of Christ Jesus are supposed to dwell together in unity. How can we build unity? Let’s look at the steps given in Ephesians 4:1-3

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to be unified with Christ and with each other. We are commanded to share to Gospel of Jesus with others, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19. 20) In order to walk worthy of our calling, we need to be obedient to Jesus.

With all humility and gentleness…If we want unity, we can’t let our pride get in the way. We need to acknowledge when we are wrong and seek forgiveness. We need to be gentle with others, recognizing that like us, they are on the journey to know Jesus better. Even if we believe we are in the right, we must be humble in spirit and treat each other with respect.

With patience…It seems when we pray for patience that it is then that we have trying situations. But it is in the difficulty that we learn to be patient. When that person who drives us crazy comes up, may we pray and practice listening graciously.

Bearing with one another in love… The Living Bible states this as “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  If we focus on everything negative about our spouse or child, it makes it hard to love them. We choose to overlook some of these areas because we do love them. Likewise, let’s look at others through love like we want them to do with us.

Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… Are we making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit? Is being like-minded as Christ more important than the style of worship, or the choices others make for their own medical care? May our love for each other and for God hold, or bind, us together.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for focusing on differences instead of on what I have in common with other believers – You. Please forgive me for making my own viewpoint more important than the unity of the Spirit. Help me to be patient, humble, and gentle with others. Help me to make every effort to preserve unity, just as You and Jesus are One.

# # #

Thank you for joining me and for reading my blog. Devotionals post every other Thursday, with past postings still available under Devotionals. You may follow my blog and it will be sent to you. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

Devotional

When Will We See Jesus?

When We Meet Jesus series – Part Three of Three

…as [the disciples] were looking on, [Jesus] was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 RSV

When will we see Jesus?

I grew up hearing Jesus is coming back someday, I never expected His return may be in my lifetime. In my mind, my life is plotted out until old age and death claim me. Jesus will carry me home.

However, the past several years make me wonder if I may meet Him in the clouds! It seems like so many of the signs predicted to happen before He returns are occurring. Even Israel became a nation again in 1948. No other nation has re-established itself after being eliminated for hundreds of years. I think Jesus is coming back soon!

Jesus is coming with those who have died in Him. Those who have died in Christ will rise first, and then those who are still alive will join them in the air. (I Thessalonians 4) Imagine what that will be like! Flying through the sky with no wings or pixie dust required.  Picture what a crowd there will be as Jesus and His followers from all the years go through the clouds to heaven. 

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

When will Jesus come?

No one knows. The disciples asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming and the close of the age?” Jesus gave to them signs to look for (false Christs and false prophets, persecution of Christ’s followers, wars, famines, and earthquakes), and called them the beginning of birth-pangs. Jesus foretold His coming, including a trumpet call when He will gather His elect from one end of heaven to the other. We have signs, but not the time. (Matthew 24, Mark 13) Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Therefore you also must be ready: for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24: 42, 44 RSV

Some people believe that the Church will be taken away in the rapture before the seven-year Tribulation shown to the Apostle John in Revelation. Others think it will occur at Mid-Tribulation after the first three and a half years, while others say it will be after the Tribulation. I will not try to convince you of one over another.

Our salvation does not hinge on which viewpoint a person holds of the timing of Jesus’ return.

What is important is that we expect Jesus to come, and that we are ready for Him to do so. Time has passed and that means we are closer to Jesus’ return than before. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking Jesus is not coming, nor fall for the tricks of false prophets and people claiming to be Christ. Neither should we be so busy looking for His return that we fail to obey His commands.

As Jesus went up in the clouds He left final instructions: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8) Let’s pray for the Lord to open an opportunity to witness to someone this week. Perhaps someone jumps into your mind. We don’t share Jesus alone; the Holy Spirit will empower us and give us the words.

Let’s be ready for Jesus to return. Let’s help others be ready, too.

Jesus, I want my friends and family to know You. Help me to share You with them. Amen.  

# # #

Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.