Archive for January, 2016

Waiting

If you recall, my previous post was very literal when talking about that while we wait for Christ to come, we must not assume that He will delay His return. Our job is to be ready for Him to return at ANY time. Directly following then, is the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, which simply reverses the previous point. (Matthew 25:1-13)

Being ready for Him to come back at “any time” means NOT being caught off guard even IF He does delay. A mature Christian understands that there is a balance in those expectations.

In my lifetime, I have seen several groups over the years that thought they had figured out the right timeline from the Bible for Christ’s return. They came up with an arrival date and then planned to be there to welcome Him. In some instances, these people sold everything they had; homes, cars etc. only to be disappointed. These people were absolutely certain about their date and some even went to the mountaintop for the arrival. But, as it turned out, and always has turned out, these people were wrong and left discredited for their blunder.

Guys, there is no doubt that the return of Christ is fast approaching because the Bible tells us:

The time is short…for this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:31 NIV)

Understand that there is absolutely nothing that stands in the way of His return…nothing. Knowing that, it is our job to be ready if He comes back today.

The problem is that we live in this “instant” world where we think we need some gratification immediately rather than waiting for something to take its normal course…over time. Our society struggles with waiting for anything. Think about it, Amazon is creating a delivery service to bring you what your ordered in 2 hours so you DON’T have to wait. Why do they do that? You know why.

But remember this important point guys, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day”. We cannot be ignorant about when Christ will return. “God is patient towards us not willing that anyone should perish but that all would come to repentance”. But when He comes, “it will be like a thief in the night”(2 Peter 3:8-10).

So in the interim, we must be ready and faithful to what we are supposed to be doing while here on this earth and not getting distracted with everything else we see. That is why He told us this parable about the ten bridesmaids.

The story is simply one about being prepared. In the parable, we hare told about 10 bridesmaids whose only responsibility was to light their lamps when the bridegroom arrived for the wedding. As we see right away, 5 of them were wise and 5 were foolish. The wise bridesmaids remembered to bring extra oil with them and the foolish ones forgot. As it turned out, the bridegroom was extremely late in getting to the wedding. We are not told why he was late but when he did arrive, he still wanted to go through with the ceremony. When the cry came that he was here, the foolish ones asked the wise ones to share their oil but the wise ones told them their wouldn’t be enough for all of them so the 5 wise bridesmaids entered the ceremony and the 5 foolish were left outside. When they begged the bridegroom to let them in, He game them this chilling response, “Assuredly I say to you, I do not know you”.

Even though the bridegroom was late in arriving, everyone there was ready for Him except the 5 foolish bridesmaids…they were out trying to find more oil for their lamps. Think about this; their only job was to keep their lamp burning and they couldn’t because they didn’t think to bring extra oil. They weren’t prepared for His return.

I know this story is simple, but it illustrates a huge point for everyone of us; Christ is the bridegroom and He is coming back. He may be late or He may be on time…no one knows. Our job is simply to be ready for Him no matter what the hour may be of His return.

Every day and every hour that passes is one more closer to His coming back and the need for us to pay attention and be watchful is even more important. Guys, my prayer for you is that you are watching and waiting for His return and that you are NOT shut our permanently.

Keep your eyes pointed upward.

Until next time guys…

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32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.

36 If he comes suddenly do not let him find you sleeping.

37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch’!   (Mark 13:32-37 NIV)

As you may or may not know, Christ is coming back for his people and the scriptures are full of references to that very fact. But the reality is that NO ONE knows when…not even Christ himself as told to us in the verses above in the book of Mark. So what does that mean for you and me?

We must wait faithfully for His return.

In my last blog post, I told you there were three things that God requests us to do while we are waiting and today, I am going to focus on the first one on the list.

Christ revealed this to His disciples in the form of a parable and in fact, Jesus gave all 3 of them as parables in order to help the disciples better understand and apply them to their lives. Here is the first one:

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’

49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.

50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.   (Matthew 24:45-51 NIV)

Jesus paints this picture using words of 2 extremes; 1 servant who was faithful and carried out what his master had asked him to do, and the other servant who saw the masters absence as a chance to enjoy himself to the fullest and just party.

The Faithful Servant

Because this servant was faithful the entire time the master was away, he was rewarded beyond any expectation imaginable. He is promoted and given privileges that are almost to the level of the master himself.

Guys, this is a peak inside to the eternal rewards that all faithful Christians will be able to share in.

The Evil Servant

This servant represents a self-deceived doubter who simply pretends to be serving his master. The truth be told, he doesn’t love the master or even look forward to his return and I think he actually believes he isn’t coming back and therefore he can do anything he wants. Moreover, he convinces himself of this idea and seemingly justifies it to himself and then continues down his evil path.

When the master does return, the evil servant is uncovered and punished to the other complete negative extreme, as the faithful servant reward was positive. He is sent to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth…which represents hell.

So this is not a very difficult parable to understand or how it applies to all of us. Christ represents the master and has left for a while but He expects us, his faithful servants, to watch for Him because He is coming back…

So which servant are you?

This is not a difficult question to answer if you’re honest with yourself. But as a simple friendly reminder, you need to figure this question out sooner rather than later and begin to live your life accordingly because Christ’s return is imminent.

 

For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”

And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” (Hebrews 10:37-38 NIV)

 

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.   (Matthew 24:42 NIV)

Guys, if you haven’t figured it out already, the first thing God requests of us is to watch. I encourage you to be the faithful servant Christ spoke about in His parable rather than the evil one who thought he could outsmart his master. Fundamentally, he paid the ultimate price by going to a horrific place and I don’t want that to be you…

So please…keep a close watch…

Until next time guys…

 

 

faithful

Well, 2016 is upon all of us, whether we like it or not. And, as we all can observe, there is a great deal going on in our world right now that just might, and probably does, push you to the brink of fear. It is easy to think that way because we don’t know how all this unrest is going to affect our families and us. What does the future hold for us? Is it, War, Peace? Financial ruin? Only God knows.

What I know is that in the Bible, we are told to remain faithful until He returns and that will be my main focus for the first part of my posts in 2016. I believe that we are given specific responsibilities in scripture that come directly from the mouth of Christ’s that tell us how we are to behave, react and frankly, what to believe. Honestly, I find these scriptures hugely comforting because what I’m reading is describing exactly what I’m seeing around me. God already knew that chaos, unrest and a fear for our future would happen and He gave us His Word to help faithful Christians prepare for the inevitable future.

Guys please do not misinterpret what I am saying (and will say) over the coming weeks. I am not the town crier of doom and gloom. What I am however is someone whose sole purpose is to remind us of what is already there in Gods Word. As I said before, what I write in Ironman strength isn’t new or undiscovered…its been there the whole time, it is just that many of us (myself included) are too busy to take the time to read and listen to what God wants us to see. So for the next several posts, I am going to lay this out and show you exactly what God wants you to remember, understand, and most of all…apply to your lives.

I believe we are in a very unique time in history and God is continuing to unfold His plan around us. I believe that the magnetism coming from this world is greater than it has ever been. This draw, or attraction, is extremely powerful and it takes a strongly, grounded Christian to be able to resist the powerful temptation that is being thrown in our direction. This intense lure towards the things of this world is everywhere and you cannot go anywhere and not feel its pull. But guess what? God already knew this would happen and He gave us scripture to hang onto while we wait for His return.

 

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

(Titus 2:11-13 NIV)

 

Please understand me when I say that my post is NOT meant to scare you…my sole purpose is that you know what is available in God’s Word to use to fight this battle. The pull of this world is super strong. But the strength you have available from Him is far stronger…IF YOU USE IT.

Stay tuned for the next few posts coming soon where we will look at the 3 things we are supposed to do while we wait for Gods return. Believe it or not, we ARE NOT supposed to head into our panic room and try and ride out the storm…

He has other plans for us…

Until next time guys…

Happy New Year…