Take note. Take courage.

Many have tried, but no one has been able to accurately predict Jesus’ return. A quick internet search will return with lists of dates that have been predicted by the insane, the well-respected, and everyone in between. They all have one thing in common though—they were all wrong.

Take note: I will come unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their robes ready so they will not need to walk naked and ashamed.

Revelation 16:15 (NLT)

No one wants to get caught with their pants down. Preparedness is key if we want to save ourselves much embarrassment and ridicule.

According to the Mishna (Jewish oral traditions), the captain of the temple in Jerusalem went his round of the precincts by night, and if a member of the temple police was caught asleep at his post, his clothes were taken off and burned, and he was sent away naked in disgrace.

International Bible Commentary

All through the Bible, believers are told to keep watch, be prepared, stay alert. Yet here, at the very end of the book, Jesus is still telling us to pay attention.

It’s difficult to wait when you don’t know how long the wait will be. Most of us have spent time in a waiting room. Whether it be at a doctor’s office, the department of motor vehicles, the lawyer, the financial advisor, or any other assortment of places where we may required to wait. Usually, we have an estimate of how long our wait will be, but as that time stretches, we become impatient and restless. Most of us have even entertained thoughts of giving up all together. But what’s the point in that? We’ve already spent all that time waiting, why not make it productive?

Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the Lord. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the Lord. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt, so do not be afraid.

Haggai 2:4b-5 (NLT)

God, through the prophet Haggai, got the remaining Israelites to rebuild the Temple. Their focus had long been on getting the things they needed to survive, but they were barely getting by. It wasn’t until that remnant began to work together with the common purpose of preparing a place for the Lord that their natural harvest suddenly increased.

What are you doing with your wait? We have no guarantee that Jesus will return in our lifetime. Are we just going to be grateful that we have our ticket to Heaven and leave it at that? Or are we going to get to work? Are we going to be content with barely getting by and risk being caught off guard? Or are we going to work together to prepare the bride, the Church that Jesus is returning for?

Daily Bible reading: Haggai 1-2, Revelation 16

We need more lerts

If you haven’t read my post from Saturday, go back and read it first or much of what is to follow won’t make any sense at all.

You need to be a lert. I need to be a lert. We all need to be lerts.

Now, you may be shaking your head thinking this is the dumbest thing you’ve read in a long time, but tell the truth—how likely are you to forget about this?

Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.

Mark 14:38 (NLT)

Jesus is nearing the end of his ministry on earth. He’s taken a select few disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane with him to pray through the night. While Jesus is in such great distress to the point of sweating blood, the buddies he’s brought with him fell asleep—three times.

They lost their focus. They lost their sense of purpose. It seems as though the disciples were always one step behind. How do we feed these people? Weren’t you with me a short while back when I fed 5000 men plus women and children? Keep these kids away! Hey! Bring them here. The kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children. She’s dead. She’s not dead, she’s just asleep.

Over and over again, even the disciples forgot who they were with. When we forget who we’re with, we forget what they can do. When we forget what they can do, we rely too much on ourselves.

Prayer is meant to be a deep, intimate communion with our Creator. Not a hardship or a task forced upon us by religious leaders. When we seek after the heart of God, we get to know Him better. The better we know Him, the better we know what He is capable of. The more we know what He is capable of the more we can rely on Him.

The more time we spend with God, the less likely we are to allow ourselves to be lead away by the things of the world. Jesus is calling us to him. He wants to speak to us. He wants to guide us. All we have to do is stay still and pay attention long enough to hear him.

Pray! Be a lert!

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 20-22, Mark 14:26-50

Be a lert

Be alert. We need more lerts.

That silly joke comes to mind almost every time I hear the word alert. It’s stupid, I know. It was funny when I was twelve. But now that I’m older, perhaps there is more to it than nonsense.

There is no such thing as a lert. There should be. We should all be lerts.

And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!

Mark 13:33 (NLT)

Jesus is speaking of the end of time. When the world (and even much of the Church) will fall away. He speaks this warning to his people. Stay alert! Jesus knows that humans are fickle creatures. We’re more apt to pick the easy way rather than the right way. Sit rather than stand. We’d rather sleep than be awake.

Jesus’ intent was never to come back for a lazy Church. He’s looking for a spotless, blameless Bride. Vibrant and full of life. His life. His Word. We need not only to keep the Word near to us and in our hearts, but we are to proclaim it to the nations.

And here’s what many find the most difficult: we are not to add to or take away from it. Once the Word has been meddled with, it is no longer the word and therefore no longer contains the power to change lives.

We need to stay alert so that we can be sure we are preaching the true, life-changing Word of God. We need to wake up the sleepers so that we can meet our Groom with wide eyes and oil in our lamps.

Be a lert!

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 14-16, Mark 13:14-37