Today, We Prepare

Hebrews 3:13   (KJV)   13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

One glorious day, we will be meeting our long-awaited beloved Lord, beholding Him with our very eyes, to spend time with Him and with our God for eternity. That will be one day, and we pray, one day soon. Today, we prepare.

exhortPart of our proper preparation is urgently exhorting and warning each other daily to be passionate about our God and His Word; to be watchful and vigilant against the insidious tactics and hideous attacks of our enemy.

God has powerfully set us free; we live in freedom. We don’t unwisely subject ourselves again to the cruel sin overlord. In freedom; we’re repeatedly commanded to be careful, to guard our hearts, to make sure our hearts don’t get hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and cause us to turn away from God.

We aim to be faithful to our Lord, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith, to trust Him as firmly as when we did at first—even more. We don’t make light of the admonition for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to strive with the power of God’s Spirit that’s continually working in us to will and do what pleases Him. These we restfully do—in freedom, in His grace.

Worst Late Ever

Luke 13:25   (KJV)   25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

Luke 13.25 - The Worst LateThere will be those who won’t be saved not because they don’t recognize the Savior but because they procrastinated and lost the biggest opportunity in their lives.

Punctuality begets big blessings. We can’t even calculate all the advantages and benefits we enjoy of being on time. We may get away with procrastination, but it does add unimaginable amount of stress when we always have to cram to beat a certain deadline. Often, we still end up late.

Salvation is something we don’t want to procrastinate on. Being late on this is one of the biggest if not the biggest mistake and regret any person can experience. Living in the Lord is the best life there is–here and in eternity.

Others don’t know what they’re missing. We do because we’ve experienced both. God is good–He’s the best. Why wait until we have very little time to enjoy the best and most blessed life? Worse, why wait until it’s too late?

Blessedness of the Watchful

Luke 12:38   (KJV)   38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Luke 12.38 - Blessedness of the WatchfulServants who will be found expectantly and readily waiting for the Lord’s return will be blessed.

The Lord will and can return any moment. Although others believe differently regarding the notion of imminence—that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father—we all believe that He’s coming again. As surely as His return is, He also wants us to be prepared.

The Kingdom of God is our preoccupation. We lay up eternal treasures. We’re free from greed, from love of money, from materialism. We understand the value of life is more than the entire world itself. And God is infinitely greater than anything and anyone. We seek Him first—His Kingdom and righteousness. We may not have thousands in our bank deposit, but we have a rich relationship with our Father.

We serve Him gladly—our lamps continually burning, with extra flask of “oil.” We see the ever-increasing appearances of the signs of His return; we don’t neglect them; we pay serious and careful attention. When He comes like a thief, we won’t be caught in surprise.

 

When God Finally Comes

Ezekiel 37:28   (KJV)   28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

A day is coming when God’s sanctuary—His temple—will be among us; God Himself will be living here on earth—in Jerusalem. On that day, His people will really be His people, Ezekiel 37.28 - When God Finally Comesand God will really be our God.

We won’t ever lose our free will. But God will have a way of making Israel and all His people holy. He has a way of changing our hearts from that of hard, stony, and stubborn hearts to that of tender, sensitive, and submissive hearts. He has a way of giving us a new spirit through the presence of His Holy Spirit so that we will be obedient and faithful. We will be holy, not just positionally, but practically.

Oh what a day that will be—when God Himself is our ultimate King and Shepherd, and God’s people are really walking in holiness and righteousness; when God’s enemies are humbled, defeated, and silenced; when peace, love, and righteousness rule in the earth. This is not just a dream; it will have its fulfillment. Maranatha—come, oh Lord; the Lord is coming!!!

Watch and Keep Clothed

Revelation 16:15   (KJV)   15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Revelation 16.15 - Watchful and ClothedJesus’ return is unannounced; it’s imminent; no one knows the day or the hour. This truth is so emphatic in the Scriptures. Not even the angels in heaven or the Son know when. We won’t discuss the “three Persons in one God” at this time.

The appropriate response to the imminence of our precious Lord Jesus’ return isn’t negligence or lack of attention. When He said it’s not for us to know the times and the seasons which our heavenly Father chose to keep for Himself, He wasn’t telling us not to be uninterested towards the truth of the 2nd coming. The converse is true; He wants us to be watchful, to be always ready for His return.

This is one of the reasons we don’t walk uncovered. We continue to live day by day clothed with Jesus and His righteousness. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in the shameful state of having our sins and guilt laid bare—totally exposed before the presence of our Holy God. Is it even possible for a child of God to be found “naked” and shamed? As unpopular as the answer may be, the passage seems to tell us so.

This same passage doesn’t tell us to debate about all the differing interpretations regarding His return. It clearly tells us the blessedness of those who watch and who keep their garments. That’s our part; that’s our focus; that’s what we restfully and joyfully strive for. And undeniably, as much as we know that we have loved ones and friends who may be left behind, we really get excited and thrilled about our Lord’s return.

Rapture and Tribulation

Revelation 12:12   (KJV)   12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Two things are happening here simultaneously; there is rejoicing in the heavens and those who live there, and there is woe to the inhabitants of the earth. This may very well Revelation 12.12 - Rapture and Tribulationbe referring to the Tribulation or Great Tribulation period that will be coming to earth.

There are many reasonable theories presented and forwarded when it comes to the timing of the “catching away” of the church more familiarly referred to as the rapture. I’m aware that there are some very well-meaning Christians who take offense in the term “rapture,” but however we feel about it, it’s indisputable: the church will be caught up.

Prior to the unleashing the devil’s wrath here on earth, the Scriptures declare: “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). The “she” here is often interpreted as the nation of Israel, and the “child” as the church. Clearly, the child will be “caught up” before the devil and his angels lose their battle against Michael and his angels, and gets thrown down to earth (see Revelation 2:7-11).

Whether or not the interpretation about the woman and the child is correct, the truth remains: during the unleashing of the devil’s wrathful tantrum here on earth because of his defeat, there will be rejoicing in heaven, and a catching away will happen first,

Let’s faithfully walk before the Lord, and diligently live out our mission—reaching out to the unsaved and discipling the saved, as we humbly and joyfully look forward to our Lord and His return.

Moderation

Philippians 4:5   (KJV)   5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Moderation has much to do in relation to the coming of the Lord. The Lord’s return is near. Readiness for His return—wise preparation includes this most often overlooked virtue.

Philippians 4.5 - ModerationInstead of insisting on our own preferences, we give way. We don’t enforce our choices; we don’t lord it over others; instead, we reflect the gentle spirit of our Lord, His graciousness, His unselfishness, mercy, and understanding. It isn’t easy, but it’s doable. People often do things that are very foolish and can easily anger us, especially when their thoughtless actions result to more hard work for us—grrrr.

But we can’t be preoccupied with anger and frustration. It takes a lot of yieldedness to God’s Spirit, but we choose to see past people’s senselessness. Through this, we avoid anger and conflicts that can render us less effective in our testimony. We’d rather be more focused on the Lord’s coming than our own personal fulfillment. People are watching; we represent our Lord; we watch for His return; we watch our actions and reactions.

We’ll be Prepared

1 Thessalonians 5:23   (KJV)   23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s commonly known that we’re a tripartite being—consisting of three parts: body, soul, and spirit.  Our body is the material, tangible, and visible part; our soul is composed of our intellect, emotion, and volition (or will); our spirit is the part of our being that 1 Thessalonians 5.23-24 - We'll be Preparedconnects with God.  Prior to our salvation, our bodies and soul catered much to sin, and our spirits were dead; we were separated from God.

When we placed our faith in our Lord Jesus, when we placed our full dependence on Him for our forgiveness and salvation, when we surrendered the throne of our lives to Him, we were made alive; our spirits were reborn. We’re become new creations; the old “us” are gone; the new has come.  We’re now experiencing and enjoying eternal life, seated with our Lord in heavenly places (the full meaning and implications of which He alone knows).

This doesn’t mean we’re now in our full heavenly state—no, not yet. Our bodies and souls still show signs of many flaws and imperfections.  Although, we’re slowly changing even in these areas—from glory to glory, He’s changing us into the image of His Son—our dear Lord and Savior Jesus.  I’ve heard it often, “we’re not sinless; we just sin less.”  Not to be used as an excuse or in pride, but the statement is true.  We humbly admit: we’re not perfect—yet.  But we don’t fear.  We have different levels of maturity and different rates of growth, but when our Lord returns, we’ll all be made ready. We who despite our “working out of our salvation,” and despite our “striving” and wanting to be holy for our Father in heaven is holy, still mess up, will be “qualified” because: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (v.24).

Life and Legacy

Genesis 49:33   (KJV)   33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

Before he passed away, Jacob pronounced blessings upon his sons and commanded them some. He’s one of the most named patriarchs—often mentioned in identifying our Lord. We hear it often written or said: “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  With this genesis-49-33-life-and-legacynobility, he’s still just a man; with his humanity, he was godly, and that matters. He acknowledged God, and passed that knowledge on to his children.

We all share in this appointment with death, at different times, and different ways—except those who will be alive when the Lord Jesus returns. We’re all given this wonderful treasure of time. We have great opportunities to fill it up with good and beautiful things, great experiences and memories. The part we’re entrusted to occupy is very different from each other. Some find theirs more difficult than others. Not all are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

With all the differences and similarities, we are all blessed with opportunities to be a blessing—to invest in other people’s lives, dreams, and destinies. We don’t always receive all we pray for; we don’t always get the life we aim for, but we all enjoy God’s undeserved and priceless blessings—the most precious of which is He Himself. He is the greatest “Possession” we ought to not miss and the greatest “Legacy” to leave to our children and others. We obviously don’t own the most luxurious palaces in the world—we don’t need to, but we, as treasures of clay, are possessors of the greatest Gift all of us have or ought to have. He’s the Gift that keeps on giving. With the golden but limited time and space we and our children have, we fill these sacred endowments with the most and best: Him. We continue learning, living, and teaching. And the Gift goes on.

The Return of the Son

Matthew 25:31   (KJV)   31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

There will come a time when peace will be a reality in a worldwide scale. More than a hand sign, more than a bumper sticker, more than a wish from many nations’ ambassadors, more than a Ms. Universe contestants’ response, it will be a reality. It won’t be peace for a matthew-25-31-the-return-of-the-sontime; it will be permanent. The Lord Jesus is coming again in majestic splendor. With Him are His holy angelic armies. This time, He won’t be laid in a manger; he will sit upon His glorious throne.

His return is a clear and established biblical truth. There may be differences in interpretation as to when and how, but there’s no question about Him coming back. When He ascended to heaven, two-white robed men—probably heavenly angelic beings—declared that He will return from heaven in the same way they saw Him go. The popular (Apostles’) Creed states: “And seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”

The King of kings and the Lord of Lords is coming. Every injustice will be remedied; justice and righteousness will prevail. We will have the kind of one world government that’s perfect—led by a non-corrupt, perfect, holy, absolutely good and loving Ruler. That’s why I oppose any one world government to be supremely ruled by an imperfect individual or imperfect group—more so, by selfish, greedy, corrupt, and power-hungry tyrant/s.

As for now, we live in joyful faith and hope—in watchfulness and readiness, longingly waiting for our beloved Lord and Savior. We make sure we have enough “oil” for our lamp—always excited and ready to welcome and meet our heavenly Groom on His second advent or arrival. We’re seizing the gift of time, making the most of every opportunity He gives us, blooming where we’re planted, enjoying and making the most of the potential of our present, celebrating the memory of His first advent as we eagerly look forward to the heavenly curtains pulling back, the clouds breaking open, and our Jesus… oh…