There is nothing of the ostrich in the true Christ-follower.
Our heads are not buried in any kind of sand. We are called to be a watchful people, carefully observing events and people around us. We observe events because these are the Last Days and civilization is hurdling toward an end and a new beginning. We observe people because this is an age of deception, of false messiahs preaching false hope. Careful observation is a necessity. This is the lesson Jesus taught in the Temple courts.

“…the kingdom of God is near.”
Jesus established a routine. He spoke all day in the Temple courts and spent the nights on the heights of the Mount of Olives. He and His men found a grove where they could rest. Early every morning, a crowd gathered in the Temple courts to hear Him again. His message was simple and pressing. Just as one could observe the signs of the seasons, we can also observe the signs of the times.

“So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.”

It was a not a new subject; Jesus had been explaining the details of the Kingdom of God for the three years of His earthly sojourn. This was the content of His teaching. The time was short; an urgency sounded in His voice—this generation would not pass away until all was fulfilled.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”

What should the people do? His words to them are His words to us.

“Watch therefore, and pray always…”

Looking to the Heavens
Jesus tells us to look up for our redemption is drawing near. This means that our understanding of what we see in events and in people is interpreted through a particular prism: the Eternal Word of God. We are commanded to observe but the Spirit helps us understand what we see. There is a God in heaven who watches the earth. He has a people of faith who have been redeemed from the wickedness of this world even while remaining in it. He is working through these people to reach the lost and save the sick, just as He did when He walked this earth so long ago.

Set Our Affections on Things Above
There is a Kingdom higher than those of men—the Kingdom of God. It is here that our affections must be planted. When the Kingdom of God is ushered in, justice will prevail at last. Wrongs will be righted forever. Freedom will sound its clarion call from shore to sea to shore and back again. This Kingdom is higher than any other and it is coming! In no other port should our passions anchor. In no other castle should our hopes reside. Our worship must sing of no other One but Jesus. Only the things above can help us make sense of things below.

Behold the Lord
Far from holes in the sand, our heads are tilted heavenward! Through our worship we can see our Savior in those regions above! To see Him there, to behold Him there, is to be changed. This is not some cosmetic change but a deep transformation—from glory to glory—the Bible says.

Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.
Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, as the Bible predicted, perilous times are here. The kingdoms of this world press on us from all sides. Help me to lift my eyes beyond their glittering towers to Your Kingdom above. I want to fix my heart there. I set my affections on Your throne, Lord Jesus. Let me interpret events and people today in the light of eternity. As I behold Your glory, change me Lord from glory to glory. In these Last Days, may I find the Outpouring of the Spirit and shun the great falling away. I want to be a watchful, faithful follower of You, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Open Our Eyes, Lord

Words and Music: Robert Cure

Open our eyes, Lord, We want to see Jesus,
To reach out and touch Him, And say that we love Him.
Open our ears, Lord, And help us to listen,
Open our eyes, Lord, We want to see Jesus.

Open our hearts, Lord, That we might receive You,
Open our spirits, and teach us to worship.
Open our lips, Lord, and teach us to praise You,
Open our eyes, Lord, We want to see Jesus.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

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