Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pray, Watch, Give Thanks, The Test of Time

Here we have instruction from the Lord on things we should be doing:

Col 4:2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Same theme as we've been on here for months: pray, watch, give thanks....

These are not hard things we have been given to do. These are the things we must do daily. It's important to remember how important "daily" is in our walk with the Lord. We have no idea when our Lord will come back for us, so we must always be ready to meet him. We do not know the "day or hour" he will come to meet us in the air, nor do we know if we will live long enough on this earth to experience the escape from all.

What we do know is that if you are reading this, you have today. What can we do right now to please the Lord? Pray, watch, give thanks.

The Long Run

We are in this walk with Jesus until the Lord comes back for us (rapture), or we go back to him in heaven (death). We could be at this for years. What is going to happen when 2012 rolls around and there still has been no rapture, no time of Jacob's trouble, just our troubled life on earth year in and year out? Will people become discouraged and fall away from the faith because they have been made to wait? We must guard ourselves against such things.

I am convinced that the change of heart the Lord has brought about within me has been to set a pace that is sustainable for a lifetime. We eagerly await our adoption as sons yet the Lord has a day and hour in mind that may not be for years in the future. I have no doubt that there is an escape from all coming for those who are "in Christ" but we have no idea when that will be. I now believe that it is unwise to keep a constant drumbeat of "rapture rapture rapture" because when "rapture" does not show up year after year, people become discouraged and some may fall away.

Don't get me wrong, the rapture/harpazo/escape from all IS coming, however I believe the Lord has impressed me with a different idea of how we approach this event. We maintain a daily readiness for the escape from all by walking daily in a way that pleases our master. If we are ready for the Lord every day then that particular "day and hour" the Lord has in mind for this world will not catch us off guard. If we are living a daily life of prayer, watchfulness and giving thanks we can live in victory for a lifetime and be ready all the time to meet the Lord.

As I have aged, I have seen more clearly what our Lord has done. He tests everything with TIME. The test of time is what proves we are "in Christ" (saved), not one decision on one day of someones life. Anyone can make a 10 second decision, that's easy. What's not so easy is living out our decisions day in and day out for a lifetime. Time is the simple and effective test of things. It is not those who start the race who get the rewards, its those who finish the race.

1 Cor 9:24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Phil 3:12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

We must settle this in our minds that we are in this to the very end. We must take the attitude that Paul did so that after preaching to others, we ourselves are not disqualified for the prize. We must press on toward the goal to win the prize.....This thinking is foreign to today's "christian" teachers and preachers. Today it is widely accepted that a 5-10 second "decision for Jesus" is all that is necessary to take hold of the prize. <---and that is why we are told to pray and watch.......what does "watch" mean?

1 archaic a : not able or accustomed to sleep or rest : wakeful b : causing sleeplessness c : spent in wakefulness : sleepless 2 : carefully observant or attentive

Notice that "carefully observant" part of watchful. We are to carefully observe what is in the bible then carefully observe what is taught in this world. When the world is teaching one thing and the bible teaches us something else, what should we do? We reject the world and press forward in the truth. Those who love the world find it hard to reject the world which is why they do not leave their social circles masquerading as "churches."

How many people today are willing to shed worldly friendship, their beloved social circles in order to be found spotless and in the truth? How many are willing to stand (seemingly) alone with the Lord for the truth? Time tests these things. The Lord himself teaches us so that none of us will have an excuse on the day of judgement. When the Holy Spirit knocks on our heart and tells us to do something, but we refuse because we love this world more than we love the truth, what is the price for that?

Let's pray that we may be counted worthy of the prize. Paul was concerned about being disqualified for the prize after preaching to others, are we better than Paul? This world is full of deception, so lets be watchful. Lets especially be thankful for all that our Lord has done for us. Lets spend time every day remembering the good things our God has done for us, the brothers and the world. In a world that sings "what have you done for me lately" let us sing a song of eternal remembrance. We must praise our God for everything he has done, from the very beginning up through right now. We do not have enough time in the day to praise him for everything so lets pick something and start praising him for it now. He is worthy to receive all the praise and the glory and the honor.

done for today, grace and peace