Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Times and Dates

1 Thessalonians 5:1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

If you read through the scripture above you can see clearly its talking about the "day of the Lord." Notice it says they shall not escape and the day shall come upon them suddenly but when talking about us we are told what? God did not appoint us to suffer wrath.....what else are we told relating to this idea of us not being appointed to suffer wrath? "Therefore encourage one another..." Don't you find it interesting that in all these places we see the wrath of the Lord, the day of the Lord, the escape, the rapture we are told to "encourage one another" with the words written there? That's kind of a big clue don't you think since reading about what's going to happen could be downright depressing for the people who are going to be living through it. Do you think the Lord would tell us "hey listen guys, I'm going to feed you into a meat grinder that's going to have people gnashing their teeth and wailing in pain and agony so be encouraged that you get to go through it too? If we were going through it, why did the Spirit say "they?"

Here it is again clearly referencing the escape one chapter earlier:

1 Thessalonians 4
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

In 1 Thes 4 and 5 we are told to encourage one another with the words written there. What's so encouraging about the words written there if the moral of the story is you are going to be fed into the worst meat grinder ever seen in human history? Is that encouraging to you? I can tell you its very encouraging to me to think that I will NOT be fed into the wrath that is coming starting in Rev 6:1. It is very encouraging to know that there is an escape from ALL coming (luke 21:36). As we see the tribulation/time of JACOB'S trouble coming it encourages me to know that I have not be appointed to it and there is an escape from it. It encourages me to live right today since I know that not everybody will be counted worthy of the escape. It encourages me to watch through prayer today since I have no idea when this "sudden" event will take place. I am encouraged to watch and pray today since I see the days of Noah and Lot around me just as they are described in the bible. During days like today when people are still buying and selling, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, the Lord will come to receive us to where he is now.

Paul tells us there is no need to write us about dates and times, the Lord has spoken this same thing to me over the past months. We are told that the day that is coming will not take us by surprise. How will that day not take us by surprise? Well, "how" is the Lord's department, not mine but I believe in conjunction with what the Lord has been doing in my life it has to do with being rooted and built up in him, focused on him, living for him. HE is the focus, not this world, not current events, not what the devil is doing, what JESUS is doing.

The Lord has put me on a news and blog diet, he wants the attention I used to give to those things. The devil has NO IDEA when the day is that the hammer falls so why watch what he is doing in this world? Isn't that the blind leading the blind? If we keep our eyes on Jesus in faithful prayer and devotion to his word, we will not be caught unaware when the time comes for the escape and the time of Jacob's trouble. We DO NOT "watch" with our eyes. If you call yourself a "watchmen" and all your watching is done with your eyes, aren't you misled/in error?

2 Corinthians 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.

Did you get that? FAITH..not sight. This world says "seeing is believing" but our Lord says "believing is seeing." Those are two diametrically opposite approaches and which one are you using? The bottom line here, what the Lord has been saying to me for months now is you...we...I need to be focused on HIM. His word, his face, his Spirit, not this world. In the brief peeks I have snuck in while on this diet the Lord has me on, I have seen how right he is. The people in this world who think they are pulling the strings as "puppetmasters" appear to be losing control. Things are spinning out of their control now and they never saw it coming. Who did see it coming? Jesus did, the Spirit did, the Father did. So...again, where should our attention be?

The days and months ahead will likely be more and more negative in every way. We are told to encourage one another and that can be done in a number of ways. Reminding each other of what men are doing or what Satan is doing in this world is not a way to encourage one another. We can encourage each other through our constant focus on Christ. Sometimes current events can be usefully referenced but only in the greater context of how our God's promises are more real and carry more power than what's going on in the world. This world is going to hell in a hand basket, even the blind can see that now, do we need anyone to remind us of that again when everything around us shouts that 24/7, 365 days a year? Keep your eyes on the prize, on the promises, on the solution, on the encouragement of escape and the promises of shelter and refuge here on earth "in Christ" while we go through the "tribulations" of life that all of our fathers went through. Keep your eyes on Jesus and everything else will take care of itself.

grace and peace