I was having a conversation with my mother who is 86 years young. With that many years under her belt, she's lived through a lot of history. My mother is the eternal optimist. She always wants to believe the best case scenario. That being said, I was really taken back when she said that she has never felt this way (deeply troubled) about our world as she does now.
Not even the turbulent events of the 60's and 70's made her feel, even remotely, like the present day. When my mother thinks the end of the world, as we know it, is at hand, I take notice.
Sure, people have been saying that the "Day of the Lord" is at hand for centuries. Roughly 30% of the Bible is prophetic writing. Much of what has been prophesied has already come true. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says:
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Jesus' second coming) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...
When compiling data, Christian research institutes agree that 85% of Americans do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. To them it's just another religious book. Compared to belief from years ago, this is a huge falling away from faith. Most do not consider the Bible to be pertinent to their life.
25% of Christians, with the number growing, do not believe that the Rapture will be a literal event even though it is prophesied in the Bible. There are varying opinions as to when the Rapture (Jesus will secretly come in the air and gather His followers up into heaven) will happen. Personally, I believe that the Rapture will take place before the 7 years of tribulation begin (though none of us can know the mind of God). Why?
At the last supper, Jesus, who was a Galilean, tells His disciples (also Galileans) that He is going away, but He will be like a bridegroom coming for his bride (believers). No one, not even Jesus, will know the time or the hour. Only the Father knows. Jesus is preparing a place for us and like an eager bridgegroom who longs to be with his adoring bride, He will come and rapture her to the wedding feast of the Lamb. I believe that He does not want to let His beloved bride suffer through the tribulation and wrath.
14 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:1-3 )
I found this movie/documentary, distributed by Integrity Films LLC, fascinating. It's called "Before the Wrath." https://vimeo.com/ondemand/
beforethewrath It's also available on Amazon. It goes into depth about how Jesus likens His coming for His bride unto a Galilean wedding. A Galilean wedding was different from any other culture's wedding in Biblical times because no one (guests, bridegroom, bride, bridesmaids) knew the exact hour of the wedding, but they were to be prepared because the bridegroom would come "like a thief in the night" for his precious bride.
Jesus will come like a "thief in the night" for His beloved believers.
Our job, as believers, is not to be guessing when Christ will come for us. Nor are we to be burdened or fearful. Our job is to be making preparations and be at the ready for His coming. What does that look like?
* We are to be about the Father's business - doing good works that glorify Him.
* We are to be telling others about the Gospel - being bold in building the Kingdom.
* We are to be doing life: doing whatever we do with joyful anticipation of Christ's return.
* We are to be In God's word everyday and walking it out in our daily lives.
* We are to be praying and interceding on behalf of non-believers.
I am not the greatest about being bold in my faith and leading others to a saving relationship with God through Christ Jesus. There are a few things, however, that we all can do. I used to have long theological discussions with my ex-father-in-law about faith (he was an Atheist). He could argue theology with me until the cows came home. But:
* He could not argue my personal testimony about what God had done in my life and the freedom I had found through Jesus' atoning sacrifice and grace.
* He didn't say anything when I told him that I loved him dearly and that I wanted him to accept the beautiful gift of salvation because I could not imagine eternity without him.
Years later, (after a massive stroke that left him partially paralyzed), he accpeted Christ as his Savior. He told me that the comment I made about not wanting to spend eternity without him had opened the door for the Holy Spirit to do His convicting work in his life. These are the preparations we are to be making.
Our job is to be about opening the door. The Holy Spirit's job is to convict hearts.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be around for the wrath - when the trumpets sound and the bowls are poured out and hail and fire mixed with blood are hurled to the earth; when the mountains are set ablaze and the seas turn to blood. Nor do I want to experience smoke rising up from a great furnace, locusts, painful sores, lightening, thunder, earthquakes, and other abominations. Cities will be split in two and rivers will dry up and there will be torment so bad that people will long to die. (The Book of Revelation)
I don't want loved ones to experience this either. God wants no man to suffer. He wants all His children to come to salvation.
So what can we, as believers, do?
1. Stop living in fear, but live with confidence that God is in control.
2. Step up, speak up, and stand in the gap. We are the silent minority that needs to become vocal.
3. Speak the truth in love to those who need to hear. Don't let Satan silence you.
People are fearful BUT...as believers we hold the message of hope!
If you are a believer, will you share the message of hope?
If you are not a believer, will you accept the message of hope?
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you that you sent your precious Son to die on the cross for my sins. You made a way for me when I was still a sinner. I accept your grace and mercy and I look forward, with great anticipation, for your second coming as you promised in Scripture. Thank you for loving me (your bride) with such love, affection, and adoration. Let me be preparing and be at the ready when you come to rapture me to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Let me be about sharing hope with those who are hungry to know your love. Enable me to not live in fear, but instead, step up, speak up, and stand in the gap until Your kingdom comes so that You may be glorified. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What about you? How are you living in these times? Do you feel a sense of urgency in sharing the Good News? What preparations do you think you need to be about? What tangible things can you do as the precious bride of Christ Jesus? Will you share?
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