Thursday, April 2, 2009

Living in Light of Christ's Return

The blessed hope for every believer is the Lord’s Return. This is called the Rapture, where we are taken to heaven prior to the Tribulation period. My health issues with a disease called sarcoidosis, have impacted me in many ways. Biblical truth has come alive, and means so much more to me because I have a new understanding of the urgency of my time and fragileness of life.

The book of I Thessalonians was one of the first letters that Paul wrote to the church. He probably wrote it from Corinth around 51 AD. Paul started this church on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9), but He only spent a few weeks in Thessalonica due to persecution. This church seemed to do well, now Paul is writing to encourage them in their doctrinal understanding. Apparently, they had a misunderstanding about the doctrinal truth regarding life after death and the nature of Christ’s Return. Every chapter ends with an emphasis on Christ’s Return and how that should impact the way we live.

One of the great truths of Scripture is the Second Coming of Christ. The Bible is filled with prophecy about the Second Coming and that we need to be ready and prepared. I believe our view of the future affects how we live in the present. Knowing that Jesus’ return is imminent, that He could return at any time, is a great incentive for godly living. Paul states that we are “to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (1:9).

In light of this truth, we need to be serving while we are waiting. This is the balance, as we live our lives in this world, yet with the expectancy of Jesus’ near return. We do not know the time or hour when the rapture may take place but we should be prepared and waiting with anticipation for His Return. This should give us a great desire to serve Christ while we are alive and to realize there is a limited amount of time left in the world.

Many people are interested in prophecy and how current events may fit into God’s future plan. We should be careful not to try to force Scripture into current events by trying to figure out the time of Christ’s Return. Prophecy can be a healthy springboard to share spiritual truth with believers and to share the gospel with unbelievers. Many people have an interest in how the world’s situation is preparing the way for the Second Coming. When we come down to what really counts in life, it is the people who we influence for Christ.

Paul reminds the believers in Thessalonica, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy” (I Thess. 1:19-20). What a great truth, that we can impact people’s lives for eternity, which gives us real joy and satisfaction in our lives. When Jesus comes to return, it will not matter the amount of assets that we have accumulated or our status on this earth. We will look at what our life has accomplished for the kingdom, and how many lives we have influenced. There will be crowns given at the “bema seat” for our faithfulness and service in this life. What a great motivation to live for God and for eternity. We will lay these crowns at the feet of Jesus showing our love and appreciation for all that He has done for us.

People are worth it all, I need to invest my life and effort in the lives of people. The Word of God and souls are the only things that are eternal. God has used this illness in my life to remind me again of the value of people. I need to make sure that I invest in their lives by serving and ministering to their spiritual needs. I am thankful for the opportunities that God is opening for me to minister to people through my illness.

I pray that my devotionals will be used to encourage and challenge people with God’s truth, as I look at life from my vantage point and my life experiences. Living in light of Christ’s Return will change the way you live!

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