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.

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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.