Posts Tagged 'the second coming'

Avoid Distractions

JESUS SPEAKING

     “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly.  For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21: 34-36.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Jesus warned His followers to be ready for His return (second coming.)  They were encouraged to remain focused on the future kingdom.  The Lord acknowledges that human beings are prone to distraction, and so He addresses some of those distractions in this scripture. Every follower is cautioned against chasing after excess wealth and material possessions (the cares of this life.) All manner of sexual immoralitty and drunkeness are to be shunned as well. In this world, believers must deny their own wants and desires; placing others ahead of themselves.  Whenever a person loses sight of the eternal, they inevitably begin to live selfishly; chasing after wealth, prosperity, and social standing; they indulge in their own wants and desires, often without restriction (they lay down the future to take hold of the present; whereas believers set aside the present distractions for their future hope.)  Jesus likens the day of His return to a snare (a hidden trap designed to catch unsuspecting prey.) When that moment arrives, many people who aren’t prepared will be caught by surprise and separated from God.  We need to be expecting Christ’s return every day and behave accordingly; avoiding any deadly distractions.

     Text messaging is a relatively common practice in American culture today; it can be a wonderful tool that connects people. However, recently text messaging has been associated with a number of tragedies.  All over the country people are more regularly text messaging while driving.  The results have been disastrous. One very prominent case involved a plastic surgeon who was text messaging when he drove off of a cliff and tumbled to his death.  You might ask, “What could have been so important that it was worth dying over?”  Sadly, Dr. Frank Ryan was tweeting a message about his dog, who was with him in the car when he drove off the cliff; he died and his dog was badly injured.  Dr. Ryan set out on a journey, but got distracted, and as a result he never reached his destination.  So many people who believe in Jesus Christ start out on a journey toward an eternal destination, but never make it because they get distracted by some meaningless worldly pleasure or concern. This doctor wasn’t thinking that death would arrive at his doorstep when he was eating breakfast; he never imagined that would be his final car ride; he didn’t wake up in the morning and savor the sunrise knowing it would be his last.  Yet death came for him quickly, and without sounding an alarm.  Jesus as well, will come for each of us in like manner.

     Today, we need to be expecting Jesus’ return.  We need to avoid focusing on the passing cares of this life. We must not allow distractions to take our eyes off of Christ?  How can we keep our eyes on Jesus and not get distracted?  Firstly, the word of God is a road map that will help us to continue heading in the right direction.  Reading the bible daily is essential for reaching our destination.  Praying is another tool that allows God to guide and direct our lives.  The key is to stay connected with God in our hearts.  Also, fellowshipping with other believers is very important, as is ministering to non-believers.  We should be talking to others about our faith and spreading the gospel. Anytime that we are following God’s commandments we will continue to move forward and keep our eyes on the eternal things. The best way to not do the wrong thing is to continually being the right thing.  We need to give our whole lives to the Lord, making Him the central figure in our hearts; and on the day that He returns, we will not be surprised, or frightened; but rather we will be filled with joy when we contemplate the eternal life that awaits us.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we lift You up; You are worthy of praise and honor and glory.  We ask that You would please help us to avoid distractions as we focus on the return of Your Son.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit speak to us and give us the knowledge of Your will; may we find opportunities to serve You and to serve others. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen. God bless all of you!”

The Rapture

JESUS SPEAKING

    “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man (Jesus Christ):  For they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all […] even so will it be in the day that the Son of man (Jesus Christ) is revealed.  In that day, he who is on the housetop and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away.  And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  I tell you in that night there will be two men in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.  Two women will be grinding together; the one will be taken and the other left.  Two men will be in the field; the one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17: 26 – 27, 30 – 36.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    The event Jesus describes in this scripture has collectively become known as ‘the rapture.’  In a moment, in the blink of an eye, God will gather up his faithful believers from around the world before pouring out His wrath upon the earth.  Co-workers, relatives, friends, and complete strangers will vanish in an instant.  Those who are left behind will face God’s judgments.  How can we be prepared for the rapture?  By loving eternal rewards more than worldly possessions (wealth, homes, jobs, belongings, etc.)  Jesus asks us to consider Lot’s wife; a woman who was ill-prepared for God’s deliverance.  In the Old Testament, she and her family were lead out of the wicked city of Sodom and Gomorrah just prior to its destruction.  Sadly she disobeyed God’s command, by turning around and looking back upon the city with fondness and affection.  As a result she was turned in to a pillar of salt.

    Like Lot’s wife, many people throughout history have mistakenly loved worldly possessions more than their own lives.  One day as my dad and I were driving through the town where I grew up, we happened by a certain building.  He informed me that decades earlier the building had caught on fire.  The owner foolishly rushed in and went to the basement to collect some of his valuables.  Unfortunately he became trapped inside.  He desperately tried to crawl through a basement window; but it was too small for him to fit through.  Unable to help, onlookers could do nothing but watch as he perished in the flames.  He died because he valued his possessions more than his own life.

    Similarly, some people today value their belongings more than their eternal lives. Those who take great comfort in their worldly possessions might be ill-prepared for the coming kingdom.  As believers we must be ready for ‘the rapture;’ an event that could occur at any moment.  To be completely prepared is to love God more than anything else.  We must make truth more important than trust funds and make people more valuable than possessions.  As our values change we will come to embrace the rapture and look forward to it with great joy and overwhelming anticipation.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to value the things that are truly important.  Prepare our hearts and minds for the rapture; may our thoughts be continually focused upon Your coming Kingdom.  Strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit that we might accomplish your will and bring honor and glory to your Holy name. We love you, and praise you, and thank you, and ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name,  amen.”  God bless all of you!

Being Ready for His Return

JESUS SPEAKING

      “Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes […] But understand this:  If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12: 35-37, 39-40.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      In ancient times, Jewish weddings were relatively prolonged engagements; often lasting for many days.  The guests would recline on pillows, feasting day and night; often falling asleep beside the table.  The length of the celebration was uncertain; it could end at one in the morning, or three in the afternoon. In turn, when the master of a household attended a wedding, his servants had to be prepared for his return at any moment.  Therefore, Jesus used this parable to illustrate His second coming.  After ascending into heaven, he promised to return; yet provided no specific day or hour. He could return today; in a month; or a hundred years from now.  Consequently, his servants must eagerly await his arrival every second of every day.

     Many years ago, prior to my conversion, I practiced a life of sinful disobedience.  I lived alone, in an apartment paid for by my Dad.  He would occasionally pop in to make sure the apartment was clean and in proper condition.  One evening, while hosting a drunken bash, things got out of hand.  We smashed beer bottles in my living room.  I also broke an exterior window, and another partygoer broke my car window with an empty beer bottle.  Somehow the toilet clogged and overflowed as well; leaking into the apartment beneath me.  I eventually passed out; thinking I could clean up in the morning without anyone noticing.  However, early the following day, I was rousted from my sleep by the shouts of an angry man. “Get up,” my dad yelled in my ear!  I sprang from the mattress, in utter shock.  I was embarrassed, ashamed, and filled with fear.  I hadn’t expected him; never contemplating that he might witness the carnage of my drunken behavior.  He stood by, patiently watching as I picked up every shard of broken glass.

      Much like my Dad, the Lord is coming at an hour when we least expect Him.  We must always be ready for his return.  Those who obey the teachings of Jesus Christ are prepared to meet him.  If we continually love and serve others, then when our savior arrives, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant […] enter into the joy of the Lord.”

      “Lord Heavenly Father may our hearts be filled with the expectation of Your return.  Reveal to us any areas where we are being selfish, rather than selfless. Convict our hearts and give us the strength to repent.  May we always be giving, kind, and obedient; never missing an opportunity to serve You and our fellows.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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