What time is it?

What time is it?

What does it mean to be “ready?”

“{42} Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. {43} But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. {44} Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” {Matthew 24:42-44 KJV} (blueletterbible.org)

“We must always have our hearts and minds in a righteous place. We know what is expected of us… so we must simply do what we know to do. Then we are ready when the Lord‘s time table says it is time.” (ff)

Jesus tells me to WATCH, but watch for what? He said:

“{4} …Take heed that no man deceive you. {5} For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. {6} And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. {7} For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. {8} All these are the beginning of sorrows. {9} Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. {10} And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. {11} And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. {12} And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” {Matthew 24:4-12 KJV} (blueletterbible.org emphasis added)

AND…

“{25} And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; {26} Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. {27} And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. {28} And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” {Luke 21:25-28 KJV} (blueletterbible.org emphasis added)

Misty Tree-Channen2
 

(Photo by Channen M. Sallee)

 

Have you seen any of these things happening? In the past? In your lifetime? I see them all the time. Christians being killed. False prophets (Jim Jones comes to mind). All the things that Jesus spoke of have happened or are happening now. Do you see them happening more often…more widely spread? (ff)

I do! It fills me with excitement, because I am anxious to be with Jesus. But, it also fills me with a bit a sorrow. There is still much work to be done. Am I doing my part? Have I done enough?

Nearly all the things that Jesus told us to watch for have happened, all except for Luke 21:20. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

Jerusalem has been involved in wars before, but I think that this scripture is speaking about a global assault against this Holy City. Do you see that becoming a reality any time soon?

Do you keep up with the news? What do you think? Is the end very near?

My fellowship friend said, “I think most things will occur slow. Satan knows to work slow so humans can be lulled away. But I think we are in the latter stages.”

If Jesus’ return is coming soon, then I have to be sure that I am ready. How do I do that?

“We must be ready every day. We do not know and do not need to know the Lord‘s timing. It is His timing. We should always be ready for judgement, not only on the deathbed.” (ff)

John tells me, in 1 John 5:13, how I can know I’m ready.

“{13} These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (Read the whole story)

The book of Ephesians is a good book to read to know what God expects of those who want eternal life with Him.

I must study to know. “Always look up and be guided by the Spirit, but do not fear the second coming or judgement. Live a life to be proud of,” (ff) a life that God can look upon.

What I know, I must do. I must be watching and be ready…is it time to start looking up?

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” {1 John 1:3 KJV}

Featured Image by Hattie Ann Street Tobin

 

Humility versus Recognition (part 2)

Humility versus Recognition (part 2)

The mighty hand of God!

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

1 Peter 5:6

In part one, we talked about being humble. I think my fellowship friend said it best:

“OBSERVERS WILL SEE IT SO NO NEED TO SAY IT” 

Self-examination, in regards to my humility, must be made. And, am I really being humble, if I say I’m being humble? Enough about humility…we’ve already covered that.

We have seen that this verse tells us to be humble, but it also gives a specific position in which we are to be humble. “UNDER” It’s not enough for me to simply be humble. I have to be in a humble position under God in order to receive His reward.

There are a lot of humble people, but what is the reason for their humility?

So how does humility lead to being exalted? As a Christian, I shouldn’t seek after the praise of man, but rather the approval of God. Paul told the Colossians…

“{23} And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; {24} Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” {Colossians 3:23-24 KJV emphasis added} (blueletterbible.org)

God will reward me when I do things with the right attitude. He will exalt me “in due time” when I am obedient to His Word, to His calling. That exaltation or reward may never be here on earth or even in my lifetime. But why would I care about that? Jesus said:

“{19} Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” {Matthew 6:19-20 KJV} (blueletterbible.org)

When I die, I can’t take it with me! My goal is to be with God for eternity. I don’t even think I’m concerned with what rewards He has waiting for me in heaven. Isn’t being with Him reward enough?

Did He have to tell humans that there would be rewards in Heaven so that they would desire to go there? Do I need to be enticed by mansions and streets of gold? I have always said that I’d rather have a little house on a grassy hill than a mansion, when I get to heaven. I’m getting off track!!!

To be exalted by God could mean many different things. King David was exalted because God said he was “a man after [His] own heart” (Acts 13:22). It was a looooong time after David was dead that his ultimate exaltation was realized…”Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:” (Acts 12:23) WOW! Almost 1,000 years between David and the birth of our Savior! How can I possibly justify any impatience for exaltation for the minuscule things I do???

David’s reward was great, but does being exalted have to be so magnificent? How has He already exalted me in small ways? How has He exalted you? Did He give me recognition that I never even knew about? Maybe!

Do you know who Zacchaeus was?

He was a small man, of low reputation…and he humbled himself before Jesus. How was he exalted? He got a song written about him! Thousands of Sunday School children have learned it and his name is sung out all over the world! All because he didn’t care about what people thought about him. He cared about what Jesus thought! (Luke 19:2-9)

My daily prayer is that God be exalted, not me. I want to be brought closer to God, to know what He wants me to do, how to live. Today, I have to be humble so that He can be exalted, and “in due time” HE will exalt me. It may be 1,000 years from now, but I’m okay with that.

God is the same today as He was thousands of years ago. He never changes and His promises are just as true today as they were when Peter wrote this passage. I only need to do my part: Humble myself under God’s hand. The rest will be taken care of by God.

 

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” {1 John 1:3 KJV}

 

Photo by ff

From Sticky to Spectacular!

From Sticky to Spectacular!

Look at the picture. To most it just looks like a sticky mess that has to be cleaned off a fence post. But do you know what this sticky protrusion could turn into?

“Amber is an organic gemstone, forming from the hardened resin of ancient pine trees…which fossilizes…over many centuries and makes it hard and sturdy.”

– See more at: http://www.minerals.net/gemstone/amber_gemstone.aspx#sthash.vhrxXucM.dpuf

This unsightly wart of a substance could one day be worn in the tiara of a princess…or hang around the neck of your Great (x10) Granddaughter.

This humble little oozing of resin could one day be a most prized possession. It’s not doing anything to be noticed. It’s just doing what it’s supposed to be doing…what God created it to do. And it will patiently wait for its recognition…its exaltation…its reward.

See today’s post for more…

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

Photo by ff

 

Humility vs. Recognition

Humility vs. Recognition

This is going to be a two part discussion on 1 Peter 5:6

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”

Part One:

I think we first need to see what that word “humble” means. And yes…I am a ruminator of words.  I practically live on dictionary.com.

Strong’s Concordance gives a lot of definitions for this word, but I think the best one that applies here is:

“devoid of all haughtiness”

This definition is kind of a blanket definition for all the other definitions (that was a lot of times using that word!!)

In today’s world of “look at me and what I did,” how is it possible to be humble? If you look at Youtube for 30 seconds, you will see the extreme measures people will go to, to be noticed. And Reality shows??? Don’t even get me started!!!

My question is…how is it NOT possible to desire to be humble??? If I’m going to call myself a Christian, then I’d better be prepared to live a life “devoid of all haughtiness” or be willing to lose the blessing!!!

Matthew has  some very interesting things to say about people who do things just to be noticed.  In Matthew, chapter 6, he writes:

“{2} Therefore when thou doest thine alms (charitable deeds), do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. … {5} And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. … {16} Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” {Matthew 6:2, 5, 16 KJV, emphasis and comment added} (blueletterbible.org)

If all I want is the recognition of this world, then I will make a noise about the things that I do. Make sure the press is there when I give my $1,000,000 check to save the whales! Ask everyone in the restaurant to be quiet while I bless my food, in perfect King James English! Be sure to loudly proclaim that I CAN’T have a doughnut this morning because I’m fasting! Huh…?

So, now everyone knows all these “religious” things I’m doing. They may pat me on the back, or give me a plaque with my name engraved on it, or they may just give me a funny look. But…all those accolades are temporal. Proclaiming my own greatness denies God the opportunity to give His reward. Nope…I want something eternal. (Just keep saying that to myself…all for God’s glory not my own recognition)

My “fellowship friend” shared these thoughts with me:

OBSERVERS WILL SEE IT SO NO NEED TO SAY IT” (ff)

“The largest room in the world is the ‘room for improvement’” (Anonymous)

We should just do what we are supposed to do and not be concerned with what it might bring. That might be why some are so concerned with the outcome, they do what they want not what they should. Then there is cause for concern. (ff)

Jesus said it like this: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” {Matthew 6:6 KJV} (blueletterbible.org)

I’m going to stop here…who knew such a short verse could stir up so many thoughts???

Look for the second half of the verse in tomorrow’s post!

 

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” {1 John 1:3 KJV}

 

Photo by ff

And To Sum It Up…

And To Sum It Up…

The last chapter of Ruth can be seen as a summary of the way she lived her life in very few words.

Boaz wasted no time in settling the matter of being Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer. I see that he did this not only because it was part of his character, but also because he saw who she was (that’s not very good phrasing, so I hope you understand what I’m trying to say in just a few words).

He did not have to take her as his wife. He could have passed on the responsibility to the next closest relative after him, just as the one before him did (4:6-8). But he proclaimed, at the public gate, that he would take her as his wife. The elders of the city gave their blessing (because they knew her character and reputation also?) and said that they hoped his house would be as prosperous as that of Jacob (although they referred to Rachel and Leah presumably because they were the ones who bore him his sons).

After Ruth bore him his first son, the women of the city made a very bold proclamation concerning her. First they acknowledged what it seemed everyone knew…that Ruth loved Naomi. But then they said something that was very uncommon in that culture/time. Ruth was better than seven sons! Wow! That statement sums up the entire character of Ruth:

Respectful, hardworking, caring, unselfish, thoughtful, faithful, loyal, obedient, steadfast, conscientious, loving

 

I think her greatest characteristic was that she was submissive. She was submissive to Naomi and to Boaz, but her ultimate submission was to a God she was just getting to know. When she said, in chapter 1, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God,” she really meant it. She lived those words, and her life led to the birth of the Savior. (See the lineage in Matthew, chapter 1)

So why do I think that “submission” was Ruth’s greatest characteristic? Without doing a whole study on submission, my point of view on submission is really very simple. There is freedom in being submissive. (Please read Romans 6:15-23. I read it in the English Standard Version to get a better understanding of what it said.)

I want to always be aware of the people and things God brings into my life, and remember that every event will lead to THE end. I am responsible for making the choice of whether I want that end to glorify my Savior or myself.

 

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” {1 John 1:3 KJV}

Photo by Channen M. Sallee