I was at the food store, hardware store, and gas station yesterday. Every place was packed with people. Like everyone else, I was getting what I thought we needed because of the impending blizzard forecast for the east coast. We have all the warning signs. The forecast is continually updated telling us when we will see the first snow flakes, and how much to expect over the next hours. We are all very attentive and responsive to the news. You probably know where I am going with this. There is another event that is coming, about which we are told signs to look for, and precautions to take – the return of our Lord. In Luke chapter 12 Jesus told the parable of the master of a house going on a journey, leaving his servants in charge, and telling them to be prepared and watch for His return. He concluded that parable by saying, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”(vs.40) We say that the time table for our Lord’s return is not as clear as the impending blizzard. Maybe not, but the instruction is still the same, watch and be prepared. This preparation is not stocking up on food and water. It is a heart preparation of desiring and praying for His return, and continuing to live and work daily for His glory. Let this be for us even more of a preparation than what is needed for a blizzard.
[category Good Morning]
Well, there is a white blanket covering everything – again! We were teased with a number of beautiful 60 degree days, and now show. Everyone is waiting for Spring. By the calendar it is only four days away, but the ground outside sure doesn’t look like it. We are like little kids waiting for Christmas or a coming birthday party. When will it ever get here?! As Christians, there is another event we are awaiting. The return of our Lord. Scripture has assured us that Jesus will come again. It has given us signs to observe and told us to be watchful. We see the problems in our world, and how far modern life is from the way our Lord created it to be. Like the coming of Spring we say, how can He delay much longer? Spring is a date on the calendar. We are clearly told not to put dates on our Lord’s return. But we are told to stand firm in our faith, watchfully waiting, and continue to proclaim the gracious message of salvation in Jesus Christ. As surely as the snows will melt, our Lord will return. Let Him find us faithfully serving when He comes.
Well, the run will be on today for milk, bread, and toilet paper. People are going to the stores ahead of the snow storm predicted to blanket parts of the eastern U.S. It always happens. People rush to be prepared. Jesus once said, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”(Mathew 16:3) With all of our technology, we do a marvelous job (sometimes) of predicting the weather. We prepare for what is coming by wearing the right clothes, taking an umbrella, picking up extra items, whatever is needed. Yet we fail in the one area that is important above all, understanding the times we live in. In these times mankind has grown far from the purpose for which God created us. Both Old and New Testaments speak of the time when Christ would return to earth. Jesus taught us that we should watch, and be prepared. This is not by building shelters and stockpiling food, but preparing our hearts. He is looking for hearts that are set on Him in love, and longing for His presence. We are to live each day by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in showing His love through our actions to others. That is our greatest preparation, and today really could be the day.
It is easy to recite a litany of the worlds troubles. Jesus said that we would hear of wars and rumors of war, famines and earthquakes in various places. Besides these are the myriad of social ills, redefining marriage, killing our children, polluting our world, etc. We apply our technologies, our smart weapons, our years of leaning, but the problems persist. We like to point to our progress, but we fight the same problems century after century, only covered with a modern veneer. The only progress possible is progress in the human heart, of growing more deeply in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Only He can bring about a heart change. Until He returns the world will not be at peace. But until He returns we can have His peace as we allow Him to touch and change our hearts. The world’s ills will remain with us, but be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome the world. (Jn.16:33)
It sounds like Harold Camping is at it again predicting the end of the world. We laugh at Camping, and he really is being foolish, but that doesn’t mean that an end will not come. Both Old and New Testaments speak of a final battle where evil is overcome. The Lord and His Apostles taught of the time of Christ’s return. We confess in our creeds that we believe in the Lord’s second coming. We do not know exactly what that time will be like, and we are told not to predict when. We are not told, as Camping’s followers, to sell everything, sit in our houses and wait. We are told to expect, and in fact desire, His return daily. Materially, we are in tough economic time. Wisdom dictates that we get and keep our financial house in order as much as possible. Beyond that, I am not one to hoard a years supply of food in the basement. Our preparation, above all, is preparation of our hearts, to ask forgiveness and to forgive, to worship and to learn of Him, to grow in grace and trust, to learn more fully the joy and peace that our Lord gives for all situations. In this we will be ready whenever He comes.
Things can happen very quickly, without warning. A fall, an auto accident, an earthquake. We prepare as best we can with insurance, and various safety drills, but we never know when something unexpected is going to happen. Scripture tells us that the coming of our Lord will be that way, coming unexpectedly like a thief in the night, or a woman going into labor. Even so, we cannot live in fear. Paul wrote to the Colossians that, “your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”(see 3:1-4) We are in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean that we will never go through bad circumstances, but we can trust our Lord for all things, for all times and needs. And we have the assurance that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.(Romans 8:39) No, we do not even know what this day hold for us, but we really don’t need to. We walk forward in the complete trust of our Saviour.