Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 18, 2015

Thought For The Week August 23, 2015

 

It is hard to believe that summer is nearly over. One good thing is that Labor Day this year is September 7, which seems like it adds a whole week. I enjoy the spring and fall of the year because of the moderate temperatures and changes in all the plant life. I especially like fall because college football kicks into gear. Some would rather it stay summer all the time, which isn’t so bad. We experienced what that is like living in Guam, an island only a few hundred miles north of the equator. Going to the beach on Christmas Day isn’t so bad. Whatever your preference is, I trust this finds you able to rest and enjoy this time of year.

This week we come to the parts of our basic Bible teachings that relate to the future, specifically the times when the world, as we know it, will finally end. The Bible has a lot to say about that and four of the sixteen main teachings held by the Assemblies of God are about end times. Number 13 is “The Blessed Hope”.

The Blessed Hope of all Christians is that Jesus will be returning soon, maybe in the next minute, hour, day, week, etc. Jesus promised that He would return and take us to be with Him; if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:3). He didn’t tell us exactly when it would happen but that we should always be ready because it could happen at any time; of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels…but My Father only… watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:36, 42).

The certainty of His return gives us hope and motivates us to reach as many people with the gospel as possible. Paul writes about that moment in I Thessalonians 4:16-17, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. In an instant in time every believer who has died will be raised again and every believer who is alive will be caught up into the clouds with them to be with the Lord. For the living we call this event the rapture.

This motivates us to live a holy life. Jesus cautioned His followers to be careful that the day of His return would find them living in faith and following Him rather than backsliding. It also motivates us to reach out since that day will be anything but a blessing to those who are apart from Christ. The rapture signals the beginning of the end for the world. After the Lord takes His people out of the earth a period of hardship and suffering like the world has never seen begins. Those left behind will face indescribable distress as God judges a rebellious and disobedient world. Some will be saved during this time but only through incredible persecution, suffering, and even death.

The coming of Christ will bring an end to death, suffering, hardship, and difficulty for all those who trust in Him. He says we will be with Him forever and Paul concludes chapter 4 in I Thessalonians, comfort one another with these words. What a comfort they are. Knowing that all the uncertainty, stress, pain, suffering, and trouble we see in the world will be swallowed up in the joyous meeting with Jesus in the air! Whether we die in Christ or get to be alive when He comes, the meeting will be the same.

Note: the souls of those who die before His coming will be alive in the presence of the Lord between the time of their deaths and the resurrection of their bodies; We are confident…to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8).

So the question we all need to answer is: are we ready for Jesus to return NOW? Most Bible scholars believe that all of the signs Jesus said would tell us it was close, are taking place today. Is it possible He could return while you are reading this thought? What do you want Him to find you doing when He returns? Good questions to think about, huh?

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