Thursday Morning: 23 May 2019 – Mark 13:1-23 ~ on signs and persecution (end times pt 1)

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 13:1-23 (NLT)

Jesus Speaks about the Future

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”

Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
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Morning Reflection:

on signs and persecution

“Tell us, when will all this happen?
What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”

– Mark 13:4

At some point, every believer asks the question, “When will this present age end? What will be the signs that the end is near?”

In today’s reading, Jesus answers negatively with a warning us against false signs and the expectation of persecution.

False Signs will precede Jesus’ return:

  • People claiming to be the Messiah, claiming to be God.
  • Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and famines.

Severe Persecution:

  • From Jews and Gentiles, from religious and secular courts. However such treatment will also provide opportunity to bear witness for Jesus.
  • From betrayal by family members and blood relatives. All kinds of people will hate us for our testimony.

And where is the grace in Jesus’ warning? The Holy Spirit will give every believer under persecution and trial the appropriate words to speak at the appropriate time. And those of us who endure this persecution and suffering until our life’s end, or until Jesus returns, will be saved.

Questions for consideration:

  • While all kinds of people are seeking some sort of protected status, it seems to be “open season” on Christians. Have you experienced persecution in one form or another? Please explain.
  • Have you experienced social or legal difficulties because of your faith? How did you respond? Did the Holy Spirit help you in any way? Please explain.
  • How has your family responded to your faith in Jesus Christ? Are they supportive, or dismissive? How have you responded to them? Please explain.
  • It seems as though there are always “wars and rumors of wars” in every age. Do you think that present time is different? What does it mean for you to “watch out?” Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for churches to rise up:

Lord Jesus: Awaken your church to the critical needs of believers around the world who are suffering calamity and great persecution. Grant that we would be faithful in prayer, and generous in our giving for physical support. Rally your church around those who are suffering for your name’s sake. And empower us by your Spirit to engage our political leaders, especially here in America, in order to remind them that Christian persecution is a real issue that must be addressed in our time. I ask this in your name, and for the Father’s glory. Amen.

My Prayer: “We must not be silent” (ACNA)

Heavenly Father, we bring before you today the people of Syria and Iraq, asking you to be their defender and help in their time of need. Walk with them in their suffering and loss, and give them strength to face the days ahead. We pray for release of the captives and freedom for those held hostage. We pray for your intervention against the violence and evil against your people. We pray for your provision for the hungry, the homeless, and the bereaved. We pray for you to help your people who are called by your Name, Jesus’ Name, and it is in His Name we ask these things. Amen.
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“O God, Do Thou Sustain Me” – Anabaptist Martyr Hymns

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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