OCCUPY TILL HE RETURNS
Are the current world events unsettling to you? Do you have questions or concerns about what will happen next? I’ve been asked about the most recent situation in Israel and whether I thought these events were pointing to the end times. All I can say is, they certainly are unsettling and cause for concern. I mean from the moral decay of our nation, to Hamas attacking Israel and everything else between. Do I think these things point to the end? Of course, because as I always say, the one thing we DO know is that we are one day closer to the end today than we were yesterday. I don’t know exact times and dates–no one does, so I don’t know if it may be this year or next year, 10 years or 100 years or even sometime tonight. I do know what Christ said in Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” When we think about end times, it’s not just about waiting for Christ to “come get us,” but rather it is like looking at two sides of the coin. One side is that we need to be ready/watching/prepared and the other side of the coin is what Christ told us to do in Luke 19:13, “…occupy till He returns.”
The word occupy doesn’t mean to take up space but to be busy. Knowing that time “could be” shorter than we realize, we should be about our Father’s business, just as Christ was, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ however He has given us a ministry to do that. Perhaps for you that’s at work, perhaps your witness is your lifestyle, for some, your witness is more overt. We may be witnessing to our families, or neighbors. For some, it might mean vocational ministry or overseas ministry. We have been preaching through the “Experiencing God” study by Henry Blackaby on Sunday mornings. I believe it is a pertinent study for the day in which we live. God is at work all around us. God is not a slacker knowing that time may be short, but He desires for His salvation message to be more on our minds now than ever. People do need the Lord. We need to understand that people all around us, our neighbors, family and friends, are walking and living life unaware of their lost condition and do not really know the Lord or understand their need for Him. They may have heard of Jesus but do they really know Jesus or have they experienced a changed life because of knowing Him in a personal way? Have they chosen to remain separated from God because their view of the Church or even Christians around them is negative and unattractive to them? Or are they simply depending on their own goodness to matter on some scale of “good things I’ve done versus bad things I’ve done?” Whatever the reason for their stubbornness, we can make a difference by showing them what being a Christ follower should really look like. With the Holy Spirit working in and through us, we can love them the way He wants to love them. We can be His hands and feet to meet needs, to show compassion, to bridge gaps, to live life the best possible way a human being can live–but only by being attached to Him. Remember, Jesus told us that apart from Him, we can do NOTHING. At least nothing of value to Him that will have eternal weight.
As we look around at our troubled world, I am reminded of a saying: a Christian would do well to have a newspaper (or smart phone) in one hand, but always a Bible in the other so that we can discern the times according to the Word of God and His prophecies and promises to us. So, with that in mind, let us not simply read, watch, and wait, but let us occupy. Let’s get busy joining God where He is already at work, with what God is doing, jumping on board, getting involved and invested, all for His glory. There is nothing in this world today that will make it into the eternal work of God except for souls. To God, the most precious commodity on earth is the souls of men, women, boys and girls. His heart’s desire is to see souls saved and that none should perish.
Lastly, I want you to pray with me about a couple of matters:
#1. Pray for the nation of Israel. Israel is God’s chosen people with whom He made a covenant. His covenants are lasting and He does not go back on His promises. He is still working in the Jewish world today. Yes they must come to know Jesus to make it to heaven, but pray for them to look up and see the Hope that came 2000 years ago. The Person of Christ, Who walked, taught, healed, and died in their land for the souls of mankind. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as commanded in scripture (Psalm 122:6) and accented with a special blessing for those who do. Pray for the United States and the nations of the world to stand by Israel.
#2. Pray for the moral climate of our own nation. I believe many of us do more griping and complaining about it than really praying that the strongholds of Satan will be broken, especially in the young people of our nation. So many of our younger generation are confused with little guidance toward the truth, so they follow lies, unable to discern what is real truth and what is relative truth, which is not truth at all. Truth does not change, but they are being taught that it is malleable and customizable. Let’s earnestly pray for them and step in when we can to show them what TRUE love is really all about, and His name is Jesus!
Blessings on you!