It Won’t Be Long Now

I don’t think it will be long now until Jesus comes for His Bride!  So I write this blog to help myself (and my loved ones) to be ready when He appears.   The problem  is, we have wandering hearts and we think He is delaying indefinitely. 

I mentioned before that I was “going” to “Virtual VBS For Grown Up Girls” with writer, speaker, and encourager Christin Ditchfield Lazo, a Bible study in the book of 2nd Peter. I must say that it was really life changing for me.  To be honest I never took much notice of 2nd Peter before. Not that I hadn’t read it, but I guess I just wasn’t paying attention…didn’t have ears to hear.  This time was different. It addressed a lot of the questions and doubts that I had allowed to seep into my mind about God’s  intentions, His timing, and even His character.  Questions will always come in! Suggestions,  accusations. That was actually the first temptation in the garden:  “Hath God said…?” That’s why time spent with HIM & HIS Word  is essential.

Me? I LOVE to read! I have my favorite Christian authors and writers who expound on topics relevant to Christian life.  One says this, another says that, and still another has a different viewpoint.  Exploring is good, unless you are a sheep with a tendency to wander far afield.  We must pray each day that our ears will be attuned only to the Shepherd’s voice, and no other.

2Peter gives strong warning and great advice in Chapter 3: 17 & 18:

 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. KJV

When we read the warning of verse 17, we have a tendency to think, “Not me! I could never be led into the error of the wicked!” Really?  Peter knew how easy it is to fall into bad thinking.  He knew how vulnerable we humans are to fear, pride, and thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. His own heart failed him, didn’t it?  Still, we never would lump ourselves with the wicked, would we?

The word “wicked” there in the Greek (atheamos) actually means “lawless.” Think, people who are going their own way!  The Amplified version uses the word “unprincipled.” Teachers who have their own agendas, or whose teachings are contrary to the Lord’s.

We see this all the time in our culture: people with their own agendas trying to convince others to join their sides.  But do we really think about it when it comes to our teachers in the religious realm?  Are we discerning about what we are being fed? Peter wants us to remain steadfast in our faith. Sure of what we believe. Not gullible and easily led astray.

Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?  I grew up in a denomination that read the Apostle’s Creed every Sunday. So a few years ago (in another Virtual VBS!)  I prayed, pondered, and wrote down my own creed.  It has helped me to become more confident when exploring spiritual concepts and ideas.  I am still testing, pondering and considering aspects of the faith.  I think we always will if we truly want to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.”

Jesus is coming back for us one day!  Do you believe it?  Is it part of your creed?  It won’t be long now!  Be ready!

 

 

Guess Who’s Coming?

I have had something on my mind for a long time now.  And it sent me back to reading my own words on the subject.   I am learning that most of what I write here is for ME!!  I am exhorting myself in the areas I need the most reminding.  Please feel free to eavesdrop on my conversations with myself!

I decided to re-post this one with a little editing from June 2015, “Company’s Coming!,”  because needed to hear it again! So perhaps you do, too.  Sometimes I feel like my brain is like this:

Everything has a tendency to leak out, and soon I am back to my old ways.  My family came again this week-end, and there I was again, rushing around to get ready for company.  When will I learn?

So here goes:  A few weeks ago my phone rang and I had to drag myself away from the computer to answer.  It was my brother.  “Hey, you guys going to be home this weekend? We thought we’d come for a visit.”  “Great!” I said. “Awesome! Can’t wait to see you!” …gazing around my house at the dust, debris, and doggie hair.   Now, we hadn’t seen Steve & Barbara for a while, so I was happy for the visit…I could finally give them their Christmas present! (Well, maybe we should call it an Easter present now.)  But was I ready for company?   No way, Jose’!!   So, it was a  crazy cleaning marathon to get ready!  Company’s coming! Get a move on!

Oh, come on!  Admit it, it’s happened to you, too, right?  Well, maybe not, but I want you to notice that I said I had to drag myself away from the computer to answer the phone.  My problem is that I allow myself, all too often, to be lured into doing the stuff I like (Facebook, Ancestry, reading) before my work and preparations are done.  It’s so easy to do.  We don’t have a lot of visitors so it’s really easy to just let things slide a little.  After all. it’s just us here. No hurry…

Well, guess what?  Company IS coming! And his name is KING JESUS!  Just take a look around.  Are we ready?  Are you ready?  Do you have what you need?  Are you prepared?

Let’s take a look at Matthew 25.  This is Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins who were to go out to meet the Bridegroom.  They all had lamps, but 5 wise women also took extra oil with them, and 5 foolish women took no extra oil.  Well, the Bridegroom tarried and everyone fell  asleep. In the midnight hour the watchman called out, “Behold! The Bridegroom cometh! Go ye out to meet Him!”  They all woke up to trim their lamp wicks, but the foolish virgins’ lights had gone out. They tried to get the others to give them oil, but the wise women said, “Not so!”  (KJV) So they went out to try to buy more oil.  Meanwhile, the Bridegroom came, and the wise virgins went in with the Bridegroom for the feast, and the door was closed.  When the others came back, they were not allowed in. The Bridegroom said, “Verily, I know you not.”  Then Jesus, who is telling this story, says, “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh,”    He’s telling this story because He wants us to be ready! He is giving us a “heads up!”

We CAN be ready!  He will help us, because it is His desire to find us waiting for Him. In fact He paid a hefty price that we might become one of His own.  The first step is really pretty simple, but it is absolutely necessary to become a child of the King!  We must acknowledge our sin; ask Him to forgive us; believe that He shed His blood and died on the cross, to take the punishment for our sin upon Himself.  This is Salvation: He is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins.  Inviting Him to become the Lord of our Life is only the beginning…He comes into our ransomed heart and makes His dwelling place right there.   This is the miracle: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Col. 1:27     We are made alive unto God. A new creation. A new beginning.  Now we can ask Him for oil!

Let’s pray:  Heavenly Father, We do want to be ready when you come.  We want our hearts to be made alive unto you.  Thank you for sending your only begotten Son, as a ransom for our poor wounded, sinful hearts.  Forgive us for our sins and make us Your own because of the blood Jesus shed for us. Show us how to burn ever more brightly for You. In Jesus’ Name.

AMEN!….This video by Misty Edwards will rattle your cage & even your bones!  Pretty intense, but don’t we need to wake up?

 

Are You Wearing Your Habit?

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite pictures with you.  It is a picture o a woman with a secret that brings her so much joy.

This picture makes me smile every time I see it! What is this woman so happy about? She seems to have a secret joy.  Maybe it is the secret of the “habit.”

We can all think of people of certain religious organizations or “tribes” who can be recognised right away by their clothing: Catholic and Orthodox priests and nuns; Amish and Mennonite sects with their plain clothes, caps, and aprons; conservative Pentecostals whose women wear long hair and long skirts.  These are outward expressions of inward convictions.  Their effect is to make others aware of who or what the person wearing such things is serving. A little like a military uniform.

I bet that these clothes also serve as a reminder to the person wearing them about their own identity… about whom or what they serve.

I am not advocating that we adopt a uniform or “habit” to identify ourselves to the world. But I think it would be helpful if we developed “habits” that we use everyday to gird ourselves for our journey.

Remember that old song: “They will Know We Are Christians By Our Love?”   That love only comes by developing the “habit” of spending time with Jesus.  And by “habit,” I mean spending time consistently …ie)habitually with Him.  And doing all the things we need to do to stay spiritually  focused and healthy.

Jesus himself had good spiritual habits and customs.  St. Luke describes  these several times.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.            Luke 4:16 

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  Luke 6: 12 KJV

And again in Mark 1:35, Jesus takes personal time for prayer:

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Jesus loved to spend time with His Father.  It was necessary to His ministry on earth.  Matthew 14:23

 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Jesus told us to follow Him.  If we are going to do that, shouldn’t we stop at the very places that He stopped? The solitary place of prayer and renewal?  If the Lord Jesus needed prayer time;  if He set aside time to seek His Father; how much more do WE need the same?  Shouldn’t His customs be our customs?

Heavenly Father, we don’t want empty “habits,” and meaningless rituals.  We want customs like Jesus.  Customs that feed us and transform us into your likeness and love. Fill us with desire and determination to follow on with YOU.  In Jesus’ Name;

AMEN 

 

 

Follow On!

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hosea 6:3 KJV

“Follow me,” said Jesus, time and time again.  He beckons to us even now to follow Him.  “Where to?” you may ask.  The answer is: somewhere that you might not want to go. Matthew 16: 24  “Then Jesus said unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” KJV

Now, where did Jesus go with His cross?  To Calvary; to be crucified.  That is a scary thought, isn’t it?  Makes you want to think about it, doesn’t it?   But wait! We are not finished following!  Keep going!  Follow Jesus right into Resurrection Life!

John 8:12  Then spake Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  KJV

The purpose of this faith following of Jesus, is to KNOW Him.  and to be made like Him.

Ephesian 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of Christ.
I like this verse in the Amplified version, too:
and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. AMP
 The knowledge we are after is not just a head knowledge or understanding, but the EXPERIENTIAL knowledge of His Presence in our lives.  It is so easy to lapse into leaning on  what we know about Him, rather than focusing on His actual presence in our lives.  We can get busy and miss our time with Him, sitting at His feet, being in His presence. (the ONE thing He said is “needful.” ( Luke 10:42) We cruise along in WHAT we know rather than WHO we know. We may not be backsliding, but we aren’t really following on!
In this day of social media, we hear the hue and cry  to “follow me on Twitter or Facebook.”  We might be following a number of people or groups. But that is not the kind of following Jesus is calling us to.  He is calling us to “know” Him.  Not just in recognising Him, but in full discernment of who He is.  Being awake and aware of Him in all of our circumstances and activities.  There is such blessing in this kind of knowing:
2 Peter 1: 3    According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue
Philippians 3: 10 – 11 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
 And  so, my prayer is the prayer that Paul prayed in Ephesians 1: 17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him.  As you FOLLOW ON!