READY TO GO

Luke 12:35,36 ¶ Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.

I got saved in the Jesus movement back in the 1970’s. Each move of God has distinct characteristics, this one was permeated with a sense of the soon return of Christ. We talked shamelessly bout the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture of the Church. I can remember thinking I would probably not finish Bible School before the Lord returned, That expectancy kept us on the streets sharing our faith and kept a strong sense of the fear of God on us. I couldn’t imagine falling away or compromising my faith in those days; Lord send that same expectancy on us again today.

Recently I began to think and reflect on the Rapture of the Church. As I did, I began to think of the pictures of the Rapture that are scattered in the scriptures. Enoch first came to my mind; the Bible says that Enoch walked with God and God took him. Hebrews says that he was taken up and that he never saw death. What lesson can we learn from Enoch? All we know about Enoch was that he walked with God. That was the quality that stood out in his life that made him different from everyone else. Could there be a message here for the last day church? I think there is. I believe the final outpouring of the Spirit will produce a generation of Christians who will walk with God like Enoch. Do I sound a little naive or idealistic? Maybe so. I still think the best is saved for last. What better than a generation of Christians who walk with God like Enoch in this dark world. Maybe that will be the catalyst for the final harvest.

I also began to think of Elijah and how he also was taken up into heaven before he ever died. Elijah also leaves us a lesson about the last days. Elisha was asking for a double portion of the anointing that was on Elijah. What was the prerequisite for Elisha to get Elijah’s mantle? He had to be ready and watching when the Lord came for him. That was it and Elisha was ready. The chariot came, Elijah was caught away, and the power of the Spirit fell on Elisha. That’s it. He is preparing a people ready for His coming and ready to take up Elijah’s mantle.

THOU FOOL

Luke 12:20 Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Jesus wasn’t known for mincing words. How could He? From His perspective, eternity was at stake. He recognized the consequences of wasting your life. It wasn’t just a few years, eternity was being wasted. The Lord recognized the urgency that living for eternity involved, after all, He lives in eternity with is Father. To Him, the biggest waste was to live only for the here and now. He knew there was much more important stakes involved. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explained it.

“So that if we improve our lives to any other purpose than as a journey towards heaven, all our labor will be lost. If we spend our lives in the pursuit of a temporal happiness; if we set our hearts on riches and seek happiness in them; if we seek to be happy in sensual pleasures; if we spend our lives to seek the credit and esteem of men, the good will and respect of others; if we set our hearts on our children and look to be happy in the enjoyment of them, in seeing them well brought up, and well settled, all these things will be of little significancy to us. Death will blow up all our hopes and expectations, and will put an end to our enjoyment of these things. The places that have known us will know us no more, and the eye that hath seen us shall see us no more. We must be taken away forever from all these things. And ’tis uncertain when. It may be soon after we have received them and are put into the possession of them; it may be in the midst of our days, and from the midst of our enjoyments. Where will be all our worldly employments and enjoyments when we are laid in the silent grave? For “man lieth down, and riseth not again: till the heavens be no more” (Job 14:12).”

This is quite unnerving to the natural man. The natural man only concerns himself with temporal activities and temporal enjoyments. He lives his life as if heaven doesn’t exist. For the spiritual person, heaven is his destination. His life has become consumed and focused on this heavenly journey. If that is you, you won’t be disappointed.

LIVING ON THE BRINK

LIVING ON THE BRINK

Luke 21:20 ¶ “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.

He looked like Bob Breck with a a Cat 5 hurricane in the gulf, this was 1973 and my Pentateuch teacher, Jim Lewis, came to class that night all stirred up. There was conflict in the Middle East and the professor felt we were on the brink. I remember him saying that Russian tanks could be surrounding Jerusalem by morning. Needless to say, we didn’t do much Pentateuch that night, we spent the whole night talking about the implications of Israel in God’s prophetic plan. That was quite a significant night for me. Since that time I have had an eye on Israel knowing that it has always been used as a sign to us of things to come.
In the last few days, the Middle East has erupted again. This age old struggle between Ishmael and Isaac never seems to go away. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is a large segment of the Muslim world that will not rest until Israel is wiped off the map. This belief within the world of Islam thinks that it is their God given duty to destroy Israel. No matter how much you reason with them, that will never change. Only a conversion akin to the Apostle Paul’s could ever change that. Until then, the strife continues. This struggle will ultimately culminate with an orchestrated military attack on the nation of Israel which will precipitate the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Several passages in the Bible give a detailed account of that great and terrible day.
For us today, how should the unfolding of these prophetic events effect us? Jesus spoke often of these kinds of birth-pangs in His prophetic teaching. One thing He said was that when you see these things taking place, “Look up, your redemption is drawing near”. This was His way of saying that these things will never destroy you. Some unfolding prophetic events can be quite scary, but at the end of the day, He will work everything out for good for those that belong to Him.
He also said in Luke 12:35 ¶ “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” In this passage Jesus is reminding us what is really important as we see that day drawing near. These words teach us the importance of spiritual intimacy. Our lit lamp is the fire of love for God burning in our soul. Have you been lit up lately? When we see the middle eastern world on fire it means that we should stoke up the fire of God in our souls.
Jesus also spoke about stewards and stewardship when we recognize the lateness of the hour. These unfolding events cause the christian to search the scripture allowing the Lord to strengthen the foundation in our souls. This stewardship also speaks to our God given work. He has left us here to be lights in the world. Our lamp is to be burning with love for God bringing an impact to our lost, hurting world. Find a place to serve in His kingdom, there is not much time left and there is a place of service for each one of us.

PEOPLE GET READY

PEOPLE GET READY

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
Lk.12:35,36

The last day of our trip to North Carolina Parris and I took a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. It was like a trip into the past of Western North Carolina. It was fun listening to the accents of the conductor and all of the railroad staff, it was so thick that if I didn’t know better I would think it had been staged. Then there was the passing through the little towns, going over the old bridges, passing by old railroad stations, it was quite a trip into nostalgia. The thing that really struck me is what happened at our only stop. The conductor (plus everyone else that worked for the railroad) warned us repeatedly about being back to the train on time. They said we are leaving promptly at 2 o’clock, if you are not there you are on your own. They seemed pretty serious, no one wanted to find out the ramifications if they got left behind. The short stop for lunch left little time for leisure. At the stop, there was the sit down “leisurely lunch” or Joe’s Barbecue, we settled for barbecue, we didn’t want to miss the train.
The whole ride back all I could think about was people missing that train. Suddenly I remembered a song from the sixties, “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield. Here are the lines from the song that kept going around in my head.

“People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord

People get ready for the train to Jordan
It’s picking up passengers from coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board ’em
There’s hope for all among those loved the most.

There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all mankind just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there’s no hiding place against the Kingdom’s throne

So people get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord”

As I reflected on the urgency in the voice of the conductor I was struck with the urgency of the hour we live in. There is a gospel train coming for all the children of God, there is an urgency in the Spirit in this generation, whatever you do, get ready for the train. Just like at the lunch time, there is little time for leisure, there is work to be done before the train departs. How do you get ready? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. How do you stay ready? Walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is one thing to get left behind by The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, it is an entirely different matter to miss the gospel train. The last thing I heard the conductor say was, “Don’t be late, there is not another train or a taxi service”. All I can say is “Amen to that. Come quickly Lord Jesus”.

WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN TODAY?

WILL JESUS CHRIST RETURN TODAY?

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
Lk.12:35,36

Most Christians that I know say that they believe Jesus is coming back in their lifetime. I have always believed that, at least I thought I did. Every few years someone will make a calculation about the date of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. These predictions are usually ignored and if they are not ignored they are usually mocked. This recent prediction by Harold Camping has fallen into the mocking category. All of us, even the non-christians will quote the verse, “No man knows the day or the hour…”, and just laugh about another foolish nut job or make accusations about impure motives. I know because I have done both.
Something happened to me the other day when Parris and I were talking about this recent prediction. We began to say what if this man were right, just pretend he is right, and as I said that something began to happen in our conversation. We began to talk about the “what ifs”, what if this loved one gets left behind, what if one of us gets left behind? What would their life be like if they didn’t make it, what would my life be like if I didn’t make it? Then we began to discuss the possible scenarios with the church and society in general. Suddenly, the coming of Christ became very real in our conversation. As we sat there we became aware of the nearness of heaven and what it would be like, what we would be like in the kingdom of God.
Maybe you say you believe in the imminent return of Jesus, but have you thought about it lately? I mean, have you really thought about it? Have you thought about who will be there and if you will be there? If you think you will make it, do you have a solid answer for why you will be with Him? If the Lord were to ask you today, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”, what would you say? You may technically know the right words to say, but are those words and beliefs real in your heart.
If nothing else, we should be grateful for the insight or the foolishness of Harold Camping. At least he has everyone talking about things that really matter. By the end of the day today we will all know if he was right, hopefully it has caused you to think about eternity, the end of the world, and about your spiritual condition. If one of us don’t make it, it has been good knowing you.