Category Archives: Second Coming

The Day Will Come

My brother and I would blast out the bedroom door, take a quick left and a right, and then tumble down the stairs, barely touching them.  The long wait was over; Christmas morning had finally come!  How well I can remember the excruciating wait for Christmas.  The days dragged by.  It seemed Christmas would never arrive. And when it did, we couldn’t get out of bed and downstairs fast enough. 

These days I feel a similar sense of anticipation, not for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, but to get the party started celebrating His second coming. 
There were 400 years of darkness and confusion for God’s people, leading up to the birth of our Savior.  How they yearned for God to fulfill His promise. 
True, when He came, not everyone could see Jesus for Who He was.  But when they did (and when they still do!) their darkness was overcome by His great light, their despair was swallowed up by deep joy.

As we wait for Jesus’ return, once again there is darkness and confusion running loose on the planet.  I don’t need to list the examples; you watch the news, too.  Once again, we yearn for Christ to come.  It seems as though the day will never arrive.  But God is faithful and that day will surely come. 

For some, His coming will bring complete destruction as He sweeps away the wickedness and darkness. 

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”  (Malachi 4:1-2)

Just like my brother and me on Christmas morning…

Running the Rapids with Jesus

Before you even get in the raft, the white water guide begins to establish his or her authority and control.  In the early stages of the float trip they work hard to make sure everyone knows what to do, practicing the commands over and over.  “Back-paddle!”  “Right turn!”  “Let’s do it again!”  Why?  White water!  There’s rapids downstream and, when they get to them, it’s too late to begin figuring out what to do.  The idea is for everyone to be alert, trained and ready to respond quickly, without panic.  Even if the raft seems about to flip.

Jesus told the folks in His raft they would eventually confront dangerous rapids.  When they asked how they could know the end of the age was approaching, He didn’t mince words.  Instead, He prepared them (and us).   You can read what He told them in the 24th Chapter of Matthew, but here are some excepts of what He said:

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

In other words, “When things get dicey, make sure you listen to my commands and not anyone else.”

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 

In other words, “When you hear the roar of the rapids, don’t freak out;  I have told you this trip winds up in white water so keep your heads.”

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.   –  (Matthew 24:4–13 Excerpts – NIV84)

In other words, “Don’t be surprised at how violent the rapids will seem.  You may even get tossed out of the raft.  But remember to trust me.  Do what I say and you will come through just fine.”

Human history is filled with failed attempts to make our world better as we strive for utopia.  People even held the hope that World War I would serve to end all future wars.  No matter how or what we try, we have not succeeded in eradicating evil.  As we see the rise of ISIS, Russia’s alliances with wicked dictators and nations who pledge the destruction of Israel, it might seem discouraging and frightening.

But these kinds of events have been foretold in Scripture.  Jesus never whitewashed the truth: wickedness will increase as the age continues toward the end.  But He also said,  “see to it you are not alarmed.”  And, “don’t listen to others who will lead you astray.”  And, “stand firm in your faith and you will be saved.”

Are You Ready? – Part 3

When punters are called into a game, it is usually an emergency.  The outcome of the game will likely be determined by how well the punter does what he is meant to do.  Therefore, the stakes are high for punters: those who consistently do well will celebrate with the rest of the team; those who do not will lose their place on the team.  The same is true for those who follow Jesus, who are meant to serve as His witnesses in an attitude of readiness for His return.

This is the concluding section of a message on being ready for Jesus’ return.  In Jesus’ parable about being ready (Luke 12:36 – 48), He said, those whose actions demonstrated their readiness, who were doing what He assigned us to do would be really glad.  He concluded His parable by talking about how devastating it would be for those who were not ready:

 

If  you haven’t already listened to the first two parts, you can hear them here: )   

Are You Ready? – Part 2

At my grandson’s T-ball game, some little kid smacked a long hit, way out into the outfield.  Everybody went chasing after the ball, everybody on both teams, – even the base runners and several of those waiting to bat!  T-ball is a riot.  Another time, one of the youngsters was so intent on being in the “ready position” – knees slightly bent, hands forward, eyes fixed on the batter – that when the ball came his way it sailed right past him.  Readiness doesn’t amount to much unless you can translate an attitude or mindset of readiness into actions of readiness.  When we are truly ready, we do what we are meant to do.

As we continue a study of Jesus’ parable about being ready for His return (Luke 12:36 – 48), how we can maintain an attitude of readiness and translate that readiness into action – the right kind of action?  What is the right kind of action?

If  you haven’t already listened to the first part, you can hear it here: )

The conclusion of this message will be posted on Friday.

Are You Ready? Part 1

One of the hassles of selling your home is that you have to keep that place ready for folks to come to see it, for them to come at any time of day without much notice.  It’s stressful to stay ready for an inspection at all times.  But Jesus tells His followers to be ready for His return, which will come when we least expect it.  You have probably spotted a crucial distinction: the difference between getting ready to look perfect in an artificial way and being ready because that is how you naturally live.  The first kind of readiness is stressful; the second is not.

But what does it mean to be ready?  Jesus told a parable about what it means, recorded in the 12th chapter of Luke, starting at verse 35.  Let’s take a close look at what that parable means and consider how it applies to our lives today, once again by means of a recorded message.  If you have been following these blog posts you know I’m experimenting with this format.  I really appreciate your feedback on what works and what does not.  This week, I’m going to break the message up into three sections but post them separately, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  (That is, if Jesus hasn’t come back before Friday!)

What does it mean to be ready?  Let’s begin with a mindset of readiness, something NFL punters know a lot about:

Next time we’ll talk about turning the mindset of readiness into action.