January 22, 2010
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God."
1 Thessalonians 4:16a (NLT)
When it comes to fireworks displays I want to sit front and center. I don't want to miss even one "Pop!" or "Boom!" And I want to take in every sparkle and colorful explosion. With my eyes wide open and my heart wildly beating, I exclaim, "Bring it on!"
Not everyone shares my enthusiasm though. I've seen children bury their frightened faces in parents' protective arms, and observed their little hands fly to cover shocked ears.
I feel sorry for those not prepared to enjoy the brilliant show in the sky. I remember my first pyrotechnic display. Yes, the noise shocked me. Yes, the incredible brilliance blinded my eyes. But I had been prepared and forewarned about the sound and light show - I was ready and wanted to watch!
When I scan the crowds at fireworks displays and see the fearful eyes of those caught off-guard, I am reminded of another heavenly display that will cause great fear for those who aren't prepared.
Today's key verse describes the moment Jesus returns to earth. His split-second return bursts forth from the pages of 1 Thessalonians 5 and the book of Revelation with out-of-this-world imagery.
Jesus' return will
· Be loud.
· Be displayed in the sky.
· Involve terrified bystanders.
· Intrigue adoring crowds who are waiting for His return.
Revelation 6:15-16 describes those who are not ready for the heavenly manifestation. They will not bury their faces or cover their ears, but will run to caves and beg rocks to fall on them. Why do they plead to die? Because they are not prepared for the great and glorious return of the Lord.
There are many ways to prepare ourselves for the Lord's second coming. The first and foremost is to believe in Him as Lord of All. Romans 14:10-12 tells us that eventually, "We will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God'" (NIV).
Why not choose this day to call on the name of the Lord and be saved? Jesus promises, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10, ESV). That life doesn't end when we die. It carries on into eternity.
I have no idea how or when I will see Jesus face-to-face for the first time. I would be filled with excitement if I knew I'd see Him coming in the clouds. It is likely though that I will see Him the day I die and He ushers me into eternal life. My real concern though is not when I see Jesus, but how.
I want to be ready. I don't want to have an unhealthy fear of God's judgment or any desire to be covered by rocks! I want to be prepared to look into His face without shame.
Are you prepared for that day? If not, what better time for a new start than right now at the beginning of this New Year?
First John 5:12a, 13 promises, "He who has the Son has the life...These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life" (NAS).
God longs for everyone to be in relationship with Him. No one is excluded from the promise of eternal life, but "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13, NIV). He has invited each one of us to follow Him. Won't you accept His invitation and say "yes" to God?
Jesus, I don't know when I will see You face-to-face, but I ask that You prepare me for that day. Forgive me of my sins. Wash me clean. Take away my shame and fear; I don't want to miss one detail of Your beauty. Come, Lord Jesus, come. I pray in Your Name, Amen.
My Prince will Come: Getting Ready for My Lord's Return by Sheri Rose Shepherd
Visit Van's blog for more encouragement.
Reflect on the moment when you will first see Jesus face-to-face.
Am I ready to meet Jesus?
Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him…" (NASB)
Revelation 21:10, 23, "…the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it…" (NASB)
Romans 10:9-11, "Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes…and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation. The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him…will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed." (AMP)
© 2010 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105