TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I met a friend/client for coffee yesterday and as we spent an hour together, our conversation was so hard. We even acknowledged how hard it is to have a conversation right now because it all comes back to COVID-19, unemployment, the economy, protesting, government, and the generally bad news that is so pervasive these days. Even when we deliberately tried to shift gears, we ended up back where we started. I loved spending time with her, and it was great to see her for the first time in months! But I was so sad too. This was my first “official” coffee time back in the world, and all the oppression around us was just hard to navigate. Even the atmosphere. I’ve never been to Panera when it was so quiet. There were a few people sitting outside when we arrived, but I think we were the only non-employees in the building.
As I pondered this, I remembered I recently wrote about the importance of thinking about the positives. Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I absolutely believe this and yesterday was a huge reminder to ponder this important Scripture.
However, I’ve also been reading a lot about End Times. I’ve been listening to a lot of End Times sermons. And as important as it is to focus on the positive, it’s just as important (maybe even more so) to be aware that these troubles will eventually look like a cakewalk. The clock is ticking. Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13). And based on prophetic Scripture, there is a Great Tribulation that is coming. Lest you think I’m being overly dramatic, this isn’t my opinion. Jesus said it one chapter earlier, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21).
I’m not going to get into that because I am not prepared to write about it. I strongly recommend listening to Greg Laurie who has several sermon series on End Times… I always recommend Francis Chan sermons and he addresses the end times too… and Tim LaHaye is an author I trust who has several books on End Times prophecy.
But I don’t expect to be here for the Great Tribulation because I believe that Jesus will rapture the church first. Nonetheless, the End Times topic is important because understanding it gives us a sense of urgency. It inspires us to tell the unbelievers of the world that they need to get right with God. And lest anyone think I’m reaching, so much of what I’ve read in my Bible recently feels like a current news headline! Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:6-7; 1 Timothy 4:1; Luke 21:11; 2 Peter 3:3-4 (to name a few), and see if any of this sounds familiar.
But all that said, I want to share about a book I’m reading. It’s called “Rapture: The Blessed Hope of the Church” and it’s by Don Stewart. This is the first (and only) book I’ve ever reviewed on my website that I haven’t actually finished yet. But I feel such an an urgency to share it, I went ahead and posted it… this is from my review:
This is the book I’ve been looking for… for months and months, I’ve been on a search for someone to explain to me the various views of the Rapture. Having grown up as a Southern Baptist, I always felt that the pre-tribulation Rapture was a given. It never occurred to me that Christians would see things differently, and I’ve earnestly searched for something to explain these various positions. While the book does ultimately take the stance in favor of the pre-tribulation Rapture, I now understand the different points of view. The author has done an incredible job of outlining the various beliefs. Each point of view includes the belief and the basis of the beliefs… then, it outlines the Biblical problems and objections with said belief. While my mind has not changed, and like the author, I believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture, and the book has helped tremendously as I work to understand other points of view.
Now, why am I jumping from think positively, to prepare for the end times, to the rapture? Because they are intertwined. Our hope is in Jesus and He has promised to return for His church (John 14:3). And we have to know and be aware of what to expect. While the Bible is clear that we don’t know the day or the hour, understanding what is coming enables us to live as if every day is our last. And if people think things are bad now, they don’t want to be unprepared and have to face the wrath of the Great Tribulation! I don’t envy anyone who will experience that and I’m frightened for some of my loved ones who are running the risk because they haven’t humbled themselves before God.
I can’t imagine anyone longing for the times we’re living in. This stinks. Everything is so negative. Can you wrap your brain around the idea that someday, people will wish for the world we live in right now?!?
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for His promise to return for His church. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be ever-mindful and live each moment in the hopeful expectation of Jesus. Ask Him to encourage you to study what’s coming so that you will feel the urgency to share the Gospel with others.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.