Our scripture this week is Mark 13:24-37, taken today from the New International Version (NIV).

“But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Jesus has told us continually to be awake, aware and awaiting His return. He wants us to understand how important it is that we keep His commands in our daily lives until God’s kingdom comes. We mustn’t forget how He taught us to live even though He isn’t physically present with us.

His promise to us is the same today as it has always been – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). We know that He will return and we must always be ready for that day. There won’t be a chance to change our lives when He appears.

Jesus tells us that God will choose the time and no one knows when that will happen, so being ready all the time is essential for those who follow in faith. We must prepare our hearts and minds, sharing His gifts and His love with all people. He has told us what is necessary, it is up to each of us to obey and be ready.

Loving Lord, we want to be ready when You appear. Help us to be strong in our faith, showing the world the joy of a relationship with You. Amen.

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