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The Imminent Return of Christ

October 17th, 2017

Jesus’ promise to return should shape the life you live.

 “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.”  Titus 2:13 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “The Imminent Return of Christ.”

I have noticed and become concerned about how seldom the imminent return of Christ is taught from the pulpit or is a matter of joyful conversation among Believers. Much else is taught and talked about from the pulpit it seems, but little is said about eternity and the urgency of our preparedness for that. As a boy, I remember that a congregation singing even a verse and chorus of the hymn, “He’s Coming Soon,” and the altars would be filled.

Jesus’ promise to return should greatly shape the life you live. Jesus chided the religious leaders of His day for their ability to forecast the weather but their inability to, “discern the signs of the times.” Matthew 16:3 NIV. Too many contemporary pulpits are awash with sermons about useful topics but seem silent concerning such a significant Scriptural doctrine as the return of Jesus for His Church and the final judgement of one and all.

Jesus had much to say about the rapture of the Church and the righteous judgement that would follow. Jesus warned, “[At] the coming of the Son of Man . . don’t let Him find you sleeping when He arrives without warning. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch for His return.” Read Mark 13:32-37 NLT. For many, the literal return of Jesus for believers and the resulting judgement of the righteous and the unrighteous will be a shocking surprise for which they have not prepared. “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced Him.” Revelation 1:7 NIV. When the Father chooses, Jesus will return irregardless of your preparedness or lack thereof.

Jesus warned that at His coming, “People [will be] eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building . . It will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns . . one sleeping . . one working. .  will be left . .  therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.Luke 17:28, 34-35, 44. Sadly, you may not go up then, if you do not wake up now. Writing to the young Timothy, Paul was certain of this for him, and for us, “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV.

The issue is not the differences of theological opinions about how and when Jesus will come for Christians. The eternally momentous issue is whether you are prepared for that fateful day. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come . . So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Read Matthew 24:42-44 NIV. There is so much at risk that is more consequential and irreplaceable than your plans and possessions.

Whatever your belief and understanding of the timing of His return in the calendar of Biblical events, this is certain. Jesus will come as He promised and as the Bible clearly testifies. The real issue is: will you and I be ready? The correct answer to that question is whether at that moment you are trusting Christ alone for your salvation, and anticipating His return. “Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Hebrews 9:26-28 NKJV.

Because Jesus has not yet come does not mean that He will not come – at any day or at any time – for those who are ready and watch for His appearing. In fact, Jesus warned, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Mark 13:32-33 NKJV.

How then should we live? “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us . .” Read Titus 2:11-14 NKJV. Our hearts should longingly reply, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to not value the temporal above that which is eternal.

A personal note: Ministry responsibilities away from my home and office last week did not allow time or opportunity to write EDL. I am grateful to be writing again today. Blessings! 

Christian Communications 2017

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Tears and Hope

November 2nd, 2016

Tears and hope are complementary, not contradictory.

Through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures we have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Tears and Hope.”

Have you ever had nothing to hold onto except hope in a distressing situation? For too many that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. When hope rests solidly on the Word of God and your faith in that, hope is sure and steadfast.

Last week was challenging. I last wrote to you about a steadfast hope that we have in Christ. Little did I know that the same morning I would receive a call that our grandson Parker, just twenty-one years old, had died in an automobile accident. The news was devastating. Yet the words about “Steadfast Hope” were tried and proven true. God has been faithful and His Word is ever sure. The Blessed Hope of which Paul wrote is nearer and dearer than ever before. Our family is grateful for the loving words of encouragement and faithful prayers of so many friends, the ministry of our church, our faith in Christ and His Word, and the grace and faithfulness of God has sustained us these past days. Rather than writing last week, I set aside time to be with our family as we grieved together and began the healing process.

Our family has grieved individually and collectively because of this tragedy. Pain has been our companion and part of our conversations these recent days. And I believe that God has grieved with us over the death of Parker – our grandson, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend. We are a family of faith. We do not grieve apart from hope; we do not hope apart from Christ. As Paul wrote confidently, “I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT. We sorrow, but with the sure hope of the believers’ resurrection. Read Titus 2:12-13 KJV.

Having said that, I cannot imagine the inconsolable grief of those Paul describes as, “at that time you were without Christ . . having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12 NKJV. Without Christ. Without hope. Without God. In the world. The world is a tragic place without God in it. By the grace of, God we enjoy a Godly heritage of five generations with expectation of that extending until Jesus’ return. In this recent ordeal, our faith has been tested, but has proven steadfast. As our son said, “Our trust has been tested but our trust in God remains sure.”

As we stood beside our grandson’s body in the ER and trauma center, weeping and trying not to do so, the grief and sorrow felt unbearable, the tears uncontrollable. Saying a final good bye to a grandson is something I never expected to do, yet my pain does not compare with the pain of my son and his wife saying a tearful farewell to their young son. In those moments, I believe the Holy Spirit comforted my heart with this thought, “Tears are often the voice of prayers spoken from the heart.” I certainly have discovered that tears are the language of the heart. Tears communicate a depth of emotions that words often do not. Tears release pain in ways language cannot. Tears and hope are complementary, not contradictory. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to experience “the peace of God that passes understanding.”

A personal note: I would appreciate your prayers as we minister in four services this Saturday evening and Sunday morning at Cathedral of Faith, 2315 Canoas Garden Ave, San Jose, California, with Pastor Ken Foreman. The teaching will also be Live Streaming on their Online Campus, Sunday, 10 AM, West Coast time. Go to: http://cathedraloffaith.org/live?parentnavigationid=25879, Online Campus. Due to travel and ministry responsibilities, I may not be publishing EDL until my return home . . Blessings!

Christian Communications 2016

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