Coming Messiah 

Psalms 24:9-10
“Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.”

It seems the Psalmist is exhorting the inhabitants of Jerusalem to open wide the gates for the coming Messiah. They should be living with an expectation of His coming. This expectation was based upon the promises of Scripture. The prophets foretold of a specific date in which the Messiah would enter the city riding upon a donkey, and be received with worship by the people. As the narrative of scripture continues to unfold, we find that the Messiah came as predicted, but very few of the people were ready for Him. Some were so deeply set in their ways, that when He arrived, they dismissed Him completely.

The Bible speaks of another coming of the Messiah. Jesus said He stands a the door of the heart of each and every man. To those who will open their hearts, He will enter their lives, forgive their sins, and begin to transform them from the inside out. It is by opening your heart to Christ that you become prepared for the day when He will come again.

Pastor Jim

Ready?

Zechariah 14:1
“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming…”

Paul Revere is famous for warning the the colonial militia of the coming of the British army, before the battles of Lexington and Concord. He actually helped establish an intelligence and alarm system designed to prepare the colonies for the movements of the British troops. A good warning system will help us prepare for what is coming. We may never know how many lives were saved by the efforts of men like Revere.

Zechariah is seeking to warn us of an event far more important than the movements of British forces. He warns us of the coming day of the Lord. This is a Biblical reference to end time events. It includes the rapture of the church and the return of Christ. Zechariah reminds us of this event, the question is, what have you done to prepare for it?

Jesus told two stories designed to help us prepare for His return. The first starred ten bridesmaids, who were awaiting the coming of the groom. Five of the women prepared by filling their lamps with oil. Five failed to prepare. The application is simple, we need to be ready for Christ to come. We prepare by being filled, not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit. We are filled with the Spirit when we believe that Christ died for our sins, and we receive the forgiveness He offers. Jesus told a second story. This one starred three men, each of whom was given a sum of money to invest, as they awaited the return of their king. One of the men failed to make investments out of fear of doing the wrong thing. When the king returned, this man was rebuked. Again, the application is not complicated. Those who have trusted Christ need to invest their time, talents, and treasures, in eternal things.

The day of the Lord is coming whether we are ready for it or not. However, we can be ready, first by receiving Christ, then by living to make investments in eternity. We spend so much time worrying about earthly treasures that wear out, but often neglect to invest in things that will last for eternity.

Pastor Jim

 

It’s Coming, Are You Ready?

Ezekiel 30:2-3
“Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God:’ “Wail, Woe to the day!” For the day is near, Even the day of the Lord is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles.”

Ezekiel paints a very dark picture of what is coming upon Egypt. He describes a day in their immediate future when the forces of Babylon, led by Nebuchadnezzar, would come against, and defeat every major city in Egypt, and of their allies. This defeat would result in almost total devastation of the land, and would bring the people into difficulty and oppression. The amazing thing is, this all could have been avoided by listening to and obeying the Word of God.

A day is coming in our future when Christ will return for His church. This will usher in the greatest, and worse time in human history, depending upon a person’s response to the message of the Gospel. For those who choose to accept the pardon made available through the cross of Christ, His return will result in being caught up into glory and forever being with the Lord. For those who choose to reject Christ, for whatever reasons they may have, this time will be one of great hardship and difficulty. The book of Revelation describes a time when the earth will receive retribution for its continual rebellion against the righteous ways of God.

Are you prepared for the coming day of the Lord? The way to prepare is to receive Christ and surrender yourself to Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Setting Things In Order

Isaiah 38:1
“In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'”

When Hezekiah heard the report that his condition was terminal, and death was knocking at his door, he immediately began to pray. His prayer recounted the way he had lived his life in commitment to the Lord. All that was left was to beseech the mercy of God, for an extension of days.

The phrase used to report the physical condition of the king has become well known. It is used commonly for those who are facing terminal illness. When medical science reaches its end, a person is encouraged to set their house in order. Often, that means little more than saying a proper goodbye, and making sure those who are left are cared for financially. Certainly, Isaiah had much more than that in mind when he approached the king with the dire news of his life coming to its end.

To properly set our house in order we must prepare for eternity, and prepare those we leave behind for life. We do this by receiving Christ, committing ourselves to Him, living to store up treasures in heaven, and setting a pattern for future generations to follow. The best way to set our house in order, is to consider our spiritual condition before  death looms at our door. Begin today to examine your life. Are you prepared to face the judge of your soul? Have you set a godly example for your children, and their children after them, to mimic? If not, why not start today? Take the appropriate time to confess your sins, and commit your ways to Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

Get Ready

1 Thessalonians 5:2
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Years ago, when our twin sons were infants, my wife woke me in the middle of the night. Having been up with the babies, she saw someone in our yard. Concerned that we might be dealing with a home invasion, my instinct was to grab something to protect myself and head into the yard. As I peered through the front window, I realized that it was actually a group of teenagers who were toilet-papering our house. I immediately thought of grabbing the garden hose, getting on the roof and spaying them down. The problem was, the garden hose was in the front yard where I had left it after its last use. Frustrated that I was unprepared for the surprise visit, all I could do was run outside, make myself known, and watch them run off. Thinking they might return to finish the job, I laid on the roof with the hose in hand for the next few hours, only to be disappointed by the fact that I had missed my opportunity. Paul reminds us that the return of Christ will be like an intruder in the night. The time to prepare for His return is not after His arrival, but in anticipation to His coming.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

One of the most interesting signs the Bible warns us to be looking for, is the fact that people will be suggesting He is not coming. Peter wrote, in the last days people would mock the very idea of Jesus’ return. They would be saying things like “you Christians have been talking about that forever.” Paul also reminds us, while many of the signs of Christ’s return are things that have been happening throughout history, they are things that will increase in severity and frequency. Like a woman having contractions, the pain increases the closer she gets to her delivery, so will the signs of Christ’s return increase as the day approaches.

1 Thessalonians 5:4  “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”

While we cannot know the day or hour of the return of Christ, we can be living in expectancy, so we are not caught unaware. The way to be prepared for His return, is not by twisting every current event into a fulfilled prophecy. Instead, we must be sure, that first, we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, and second, we have surrendered to Him as Lord. You might be able to rattle off all of the signs that point to His coming, yet you are not living for Him. If that is your story, you will be overtaken as by a thief in the night.

There is little doubt, we are living in the last days. The State of Israel, the climate in the Middle East, the rise of immorality being accepted as good, all point to the imminent return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The one question that remains is, are you ready should He come back today?

Pastor Jim

 

Be Prepared 

2 Samuel 17:23
“Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father’s tomb.”

It is remarkable how many Biblical phrases have become part of our everyday lives. When a person is diagnosed with a disease that advanced medicine has no hope of curing, it is common for this passage to be quoted. They are told to “put their house in order.” Sadly, Ahithophel made preparations to die, without giving the proper consideration to what he would face after death. Too many still approach life that way. It might be, you have purchased life insurance, set aside a nice little nest egg for your family, and even reconciled with all who were at odds with you; while neglecting to give the proper consideration to what is ahead. We cannot wait until death to prepare for eternal life.

Take a few minutes to consider the following:

Have you recognized, you are a sinner and Christ is the Savior?

Have you confessed Christ as your Savior?

Have you surrendered to Christ as Lord, and begun to live life seeking to please Him?

Are you making investments in eternity, by investing the Gospel in others, and serving the Lord with your time, talents and treasures?

Or are you living life like Ahithophel, without giving the proper regard to the things of eternity?

This life is like a puff of smoke. It will soon be over and we will be face to face with eternity. If you are not living for Christ, it is time to make the decision to put Him first in your life, and begin to prepare for eternity.

Pastor Jim

 

Here Comes The King

Luke 19:11 
He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.”

Jesus rebuked the leaders of His day for being able to discern weather patterns, yet failing to recognize the signs of the times. He also exhorted His followers to carefully observe the condition of the world, and to live in anticipation of His soon return.

Today, it is not difficult to ignore the similarities between our world and Jesus’ description of the world when He returns. Things like a one world currency, government, and religion, which seemed impossible to past generations, are unfolding before our very eyes. All of this, makes this parable even more applicable to His church.

Notice the parable was given because they were expecting His kingdom to be established at any moment. Their problem was not failing to LOOK for the kingdom, but failing to LIVE for the kingdom. In the story, Jesus exhorts His followers to serve Him.

Like the characters in the story, we have all been given different gifts, talents, abilities and resources. They are given that we might use them for the furtherance of His kingdom. Too often, we look around at what others have been given, and think, if we had their gifts we would serve the Lord. If I had their wealth, I would give. If I had their voice, I would sing, if I had their time, I would serve… Notice, Jesus only expected the servants to use what they had been given. They were rewarded or rebuked depending upon how they used the gift they had received.

Jesus is coming back! He will set up His kingdom. He will reward those who have surrendered, submitted, and served Him. The question remaining for us is, how are we waiting? Live today in light of the fact that there is a day coming when we will be face to face with the King of kings. He will look at us with His eyes like flames of fire and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Pastor Jim