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Archive for January, 2015

Soon

Sometimes when a believer tries to share with others about the imminent return of Christ and how that everything going on in the world is pointing to the nearness of the Day; we are often met with criticism, mockery, and scorn.  When you mention the signs of the season of His return given by Jesus Himself and the Apostle Paul, the response from others can range from doubt to outright vitriol.

People will say that we have always had these things going on in our world.  They will say that we have always had wars and rumors of war, disease, natural disasters, and wickedness in the hearts of men.  Yes, we have, but Jesus taught that the closer we get to His return these things will be happening simultaneously and with increasing intensity and frequency, like labor pains.  As we look around the world today, are we seeing the beginning of the birth pains?

Others will say that we Christians have been talking about the return of Jesus for two thousand years, so where is He?  Where is the fulfillment of the promise of His return?  Even in the first century A.D. the doubters were already asking these questions.  Peter reminds us in his second epistle that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise.  He reminds us that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.  So when you think about it, on God’s calendar, Jesus has only been away for two days.  Hopefully that gives the doubters a new perspective!

God keeps all of His promises.  The God who kept all of His promises concerning the first coming of Jesus to this earth is the same God who will keep all of His promises related to the second coming of Jesus.  So we can, with full assurance, sing along with the late Andrae’ Crouch, “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  We are going to see the King!”

Soon, when the King returns, there will be no more war or terrorism.  Soon and very soon, when the King returns, there will be no more famine or disease or suffering or death.  Soon, when Jesus reigns, children will no longer be abused and sold into slavery.  We will see our loved ones who have died in Christ and we will see our King and Lord and Savior face to face.  What a day that will be!

But while we wait, in this age between the crosses and the crowns, we are not called to sit back, wait on Jesus, and let the world go to hell.  He has called us to love Him and to serve Him faithfully with our all.  He has called us to be salt and light in this world that desperately needs Him.

Soon could be today.  Soon could be ten years from now or one hundred years from now.  But when Jesus comes back to this earth, and He will, will He find you faithful?

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One of my wife’s favorite movies is, “The Shop Around the Corner” starring Jimmy Stewart.  If you have never seen this great old film, a more modern adaptation is the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

One of the reasons we like the Jimmy Stewart version is because it is set in Budapest in the 1930’s.  Every time we take a mission team to Romania, we fly in and out of Budapest, Hungary.  The day before we head home, we take each group to Budapest for a time of sight-seeing and it is always a good time of fellowship.  Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and everyone enjoys our time there.

Several years ago, while walking around the Castle Hill district of Budapest, Lisa and I discovered a unique little shop around the corner from Saint Matthias Church.  To reach this particular shop, you have to walk through an archway that leads to a large courtyard that is lined with shops and cafes.  After you walk through the archway, you almost immediately turn to the left and walk through an ancient looking door that leads to a downward winding stairway.  At the bottom of the stairway you find yourself in a tiny shop that is filled with antiques of all kinds.  There is hardly enough room to walk around.  Shelves and display cases are filled with antique jewelry, coins, military medals, books, and hundreds of other items.  Some of the items may be a few decades old, while others may have been made several hundred years ago.

The shop is managed by a young man who oversees the business for his father.  One of the things that has always amazed me is that no matter what item you pick up and ask about, the son knows the story behind every single piece.  I have always enjoyed it when he tells me the stories behind the treasures.  He knows the story behind each item because his father sends him all over the country to redeem them.  Some of the things are in a rough condition when he purchases them.  However, once in his shop, they are cleaned and put on display so that others might enjoy their beauty and worth.

In some ways, this is our story.  The Father sent His Son to redeem us.  Jesus, however, did not redeem us with gold or silver or with the corruptible things of this world, but with His own precious blood. ( 1 Peter 1:18-19)  We are His trophies of grace.  You and I are, in a sense, on display before a lost and dying world.  The world needs to see what the Lord can do in a life that has been transformed by the Master’s hands.

You and I are not hidden away in a little shop, but as Paul wrote, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor; sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

Jesus knows our story and He loves us anyway.  He purchased us anyway.  He placed us in His great house when He cleansed us from our sins.  He has made us His treasure and His trophies of grace, not to remain on a shelf, but to be a vessels of honor, sanctified, useful for His purposes and glory, and prepared for every good work that He chooses for us.  By His grace, may we be vessels of honor that are a blessing to others and that bring honor and glory to the One who redeemed us.

In Christ’s service,

Allen

 

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