Tuesday, April 30, 2013

READY?

Watch, Pray, Listen, Act

These were concepts summarized by the Holy Spirit to me recently. They were the words, verbs (action words), which the Holy Spirit gave me to communicate the need to fill the Christian's life in these days.

It is the heart of God that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  It is the Great Commission on our lives as Christians to go tell the world or just our local community - The Good News of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19).  It is our responsibility to get one-on-one with God and find out our calling or specific mission for Him while on this earth, during this time in history and do it.  So, salvation is NOT ENOUGH.  Oh, it is enough to get you in "The Door".  However, here is what The Lord says about this - 
  • "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
There is going to come a time when our deeds/works for Jesus will be judged.  If what we did for Him did not amount to much (because God knows all factors) or if we did NOTHING for God but just accepted His salvation plan for our lives, then "he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."  Don't you want to have something to show for your faith in God?  Do not live non-active.  I hear an awesome ring to the next verse IF you and I do live an ACTIVE lifestyle for the Lord.
  • "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night." - Luke 12:38
I wanted to strongly emphasize the importance of how good of a thing it will be for those who live their Christian life in active preparation for the next chapter of existence.   

Watch
The Lord promised He would return.  Many Christians believe in two parts to Christ's return - The Rapture and The Glorious Appearing/Second Coming.  It is believed by many eschatological Christian scholars that Christians may know the season of The Rapture, but not the day or hour.  Therefore, Christians have been told to watch
  • "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn." - Mark 13:35
  • "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." - Luke 21:36
Pray
I have got some answers to some questions about prayer.
  1. Who do we pray for?  "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Matthew 5:44)  "...keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
  2. What do we pray for/about? "with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18)
  3. When do we pray?  "...on all occasions (Ephesians 6:18) pray continually; (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him" (James 5:13-14)
  4. Where do we pray?  "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
  5. How do we pray?  [Model] "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,.....(Matthew 6:9)  [Example of persistence] "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." (Luke 18:1)
***  When we do not know how to pray for something, trust the Holy Spirit and pray in the Spirit.
  • "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)
Listen
Now here is a great saying to live by - "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,"  (James 1:19).  The best one to listen to, of course, is God.  You can hear Him speaking by the power of His Spirit especially when reading the written Word of God.
  • "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'"  (Matthew 17:5)
However, even James himself encourages all believers to be doers of the Word they read and not merely hearers or readers.

  • Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
Act
Finally, as you watch, pray, and listen - be ready to act OR even better be already in action.  Remember - "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready".  However, here are a few Scriptural pointers on how to act.
  • "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."  (Colossians 4:5)
  • "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling,and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith."  (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
  • "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)
Physically, should you be caught in a fire, there is a process of ridding yourself of the flames - (1) Stop, (2) Drop, and (3) Roll.  Spiritually, there is a process to AVOID the flames of loss that are assured concerning our works for The Kingdom in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (especially verse 15) - If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."  So, #1 - make sure you know Christ as your personal Savior (for this writing, that was a given).  #2 - Follow the steps provided, unless you don't want to find out what Jesus meant when He used the future tense "will be" in the phrase "It will be good".  I know I want to find out what good the Lord has in store for me.  I'm watching, praying, listening and active.  I am also eager for Christ's Rapture of His church!  But I hear Him say.....

Not Yet

So, be prepared because Ready or Not Christ Is Coming!