to Archived Meditations
1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time
is at hand.
22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
year has come and gone and the Lord has not come again as He promised in
John 14:3. We were told nearly two thousand years ago that the time was
at hand and that the Lord would come quickly, so is the Lord not keeping
the Lord said that the time was at hand, He meant that the events were
in place and were always ready to happen. The thought behind “at hand”
would be similar to setting up the equipment and dynamite to demolish a
building. If everything is in place all that has to happen to demolish
the building is for an engineer to push the plunger on the detonator.
Once things are set up, the time is “at hand”. The Lord has waited
over 2000 years to “push the plunger,” but the time has been at hand
ever since John finished the book of Revelation. Once the plunger is
pushed, the events associated with the Lord’s coming will happen
quickly just as the demolition of the building takes place quickly when
the dynamite explodes. When the Lord says He is coming quickly, He did
not mean immediately. He meant that when He comes the events will happen
why has the Lord not come? Because “He is not willing that any should
perish (2 Peter 3:9).” The Lord still wants to give the unsaved a
chance to be delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). We
don’t understand the mercy of God and we don’t understand how He
keeps time, so it would be easy to assume that He has forgotten about
His promise. The world is asking “Where is the promise of His coming
(2 Peter 3:4)?” I am afraid that many of us are sleeping when we
should be awake and vigilant (Romans 13:11) and we have set the stage
for the Lord to come since it will be at an hour when we don’t expect
it (Matthew 24:44).
am sure that many thought the Lord was about to come when the temple was
destroyed in A.D. 70. Others likely thought the events of the Lord’s
coming were associated with the Crusades, and some likely with World War
1 and World War 11. I know I sure wondered if the events of the Lord’s
return had begun when the first missile was fired in the first Gulf War.
I believe that “the Lord’s coming” consists of His coming to
remove believing Saints from the wrath that is going to come on the
earth as well as His coming to reign in righteousness for one thousand
years after the tribulation period. When Iraq started the first Gulf
War, I reexamined my belief that the rapture or the catching up of
believers was to occur before the tribulation period lasting seven years
could occur. While I am more confident in that position than ever
before, I will admit that many things happening today are “like” the
things that I see prophesied for this old world when God pours out His
wrath during the literal seven years of tribulation.
am glad that I am saved and ready for the Lord to return. Many faithful
Christians are tired of this old world and are saying “even so come
Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).” Others of us are having such a good
time that we don’t think much about the fact that even today we may
meet the Lord in the air. Even today we may get dragged out of this
world that we have grown so fond of. Even today, we may leave behind
loved ones who are not ready and that we have not warned because we have
lost sight of the fact that the time is at hand and that, when the Lord
comes, He will come quickly.
Lord will keep His promise. Because His character depends on it, we can
depend on it. Maybe He will keep His promise this year. Perhaps He will
keep His promise today.
for the week of January 1, 2006
2 Timothy 4:6
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
Paul was facing
martyrdom. Apparently, he was not going to die by being thrown to the
lions, but he was going to die (verses 17 and 18). I do not know if his
actual execution date had been set or if Paul could just see what was
coming, but either way, he was ready. Most of us do not know the time of
our deaths, but some do. I have wondered what a person on death row
experiences. And yet are we not all on death row? But most of us do not
face this issue if we don’t have to face it.
I have a friend
who was told three years ago that he had a year to live. Then recently
he was told that he had a week to live. Obviously, doctors are not God
or he wouldn’t have been around for the second sentence of death.
However, I have watched this friend and his family face death and I have
observed that life for them has changed in at least three ways as a
result of this illness.
One thing that
has changed is their attitude toward “things”. “Things” no
longer satisfy. I have heard his wife say that she doesn’t like to
shop even for necessary clothes because “things” do not seem very
time with family and friends has become a priority and has sustained
them. One of his friends asked him if he wished he had spent more time
at the office now that he was facing the end. His answer was obvious. I
have observed that quality time for them has involved real love properly
communicated by actions, by words and by prayers.
cheapen love by the way we throw the word around in our Christian
culture, but true love helps ease the pain and under girds those who are
going through trial. Paul says, that of all the gifts of service for
God, the greatest is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is eternal and, of
course, experiencing the love of God is the greatest need of all in
times of trial. When we first trust in the Lord Jesus, we experience His
love doctrinally and perhaps somewhat academically by believing what God
says about the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. In times of
great trial, I believe that love is often experienced practically
through the love of friends and family. Many of us try to show our love
by “fixing” something. But when a person has the sentence of death
over their heads, there may not be anything we can “fix”. We can
bring food and clear sidewalks of snow and help with the necessary
routine of life, but I can see that a dying person just needs to know
that people really do care. Sometimes we communicate that by wisely
saying nothing and other times we communicate that by being wise about
what we say.
friend has always been concerned about the spiritual well-being of
others, but now that concern seems more natural and more urgent. He
seems to be living with his mind on eternity. I feel that I have been
privileged to be in the presence of God as my wife and I have visited
our friend and his family during this trial. Many things that some
people find important now seem rather trivial. When I turned on the TV
recently and heard people agonizing over the officiating in a football
game, I wanted to yell, “get a life!” Somehow that just didn’t
seem important any more. My friend is not talking about who won which
bowl game. He is talking to any who will listen and to some who won’t
about His confidence in the Lord and how he is prepared to meet God
I believe our
relationships with God and with one another would be sweeter if we lived
each day as though “the time of our departure was near.”
meditation was published with the permission of those involved).
for the week of January 8, 2006
28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is
in this place; and I knew it not.
16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke
out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and
shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
wonder how many times I have assumed that the Lord is present when in
fact He was not. I know that there is a sense in which He never leaves
or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). As Christians we have a link to the Lord
which cannot be broken. But we can still assume that He is blessing our
service and efforts when that is simply not true. Samson went too far
one day and told his secrets to his girlfriend who was not a friend at
all. When he did, he lost the distinctive locks of his hair that had
marked him out as a special servant of the Lord; and He lost the
presence and power of the Lord. The sad thing is that He didn’t
realize it until it was too late and, as a result, he lost his strength,
his freedom and his sight.
tend to assume that when two or three Christians come together to
worship or break bread that the Lord always honors that gathering with
His presence. We base that on Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three
are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
However, read carefully, the verse is dealing with a problem that the
two or three have taken to the church as a whole. The Lord assures them
that when they carry out His will, He will lend His authority to what
they have done. This verse could really be paraphrased, “When you do
what I ask you to do, the way I ask you to do it, you have My authority
for what you do.” Sometimes, however, we quote this verse to assure
ourselves of the Lord’s presence when we haven’t even consulted His
Word or prayed earnestly to know His will before making the decisions
that we expect Him to honor.
is some encouraging news, however. Sometimes when we feel abandoned and
we think the Lord is not present, He is. When Jacob was running from his
brother Esau after deceiving him and stealing his blessing from their
father, I am sure that He thought he was on his own as he traveled. But
the Lord met him at night in a dream at a place Jacob named the House of
God (Bethel). That night Jacob was given this promise, “behold, I am
with thee (Genesis 28:15).” Those had to be sweet words of
encouragement even though it is not completely clear to me that Jacob
really believed the promise until he wrestled with God in Genesis 32:24.
Jacob was a deceiver. He certainly didn’t deserve this blessing
because of his character. Jacob was not the first born so He certainly
didn’t deserve this blessing because of the way he was born. Jacob is
like us. There is no reason why we who are “sinners of the Gentiles”
should be blessed with the presence of God; and yet, when we trust
Christ as our Savior, we do have that blessing. There may be times when
it seems that all is dark and that the storm is raging. We may not
recognize the presence of the Lord when He comes. When we get that
sinking feeling and say, “Lord save me,” I believe that He is always
there (Matthew 14:22-32) to lift us up. Sometimes we may go off and
leave Him, but He does not go off and leave us.
we may be presuming that we have the Lord’s presence when we don’t.
We might not be aware that we have left God somewhere behind us and have
gone on in our own strength. But if we really love the Lord and have
faith in Him, we can be confident that He has His eye on us whether we
can see Him clearly or not.
for the week of January 15, 2006
45:21 And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons,
according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the
lives are a journey. When we are young, the journey seems long. We are
like children on a road trip who ask, “Are we there, yet?” after
being on the road for about ten minutes. As we get older, the journey
seems a lot shorter but sometimes it seems a lot harder.
of us look at Joseph as an old testament picture of Christ. He was a
prepared deliverer for His family. His journey required Him to suffer
and to be rejected. But his journey had meaning because He was a chosen
vessel that God used to preserve the nation of Israel from starving so
that they could produce the promised Messiah. When he sent his brothers
on their journey to move to Egypt, he provided for their “moving”
Lord gives us wagons and provisions as well, that is, He makes sure that
we have what we need to complete the journey from the new birth to the
promised land. Sometimes I forget that. I tend to think that the Lord
meets my needs only when I can’t meet them myself. Oh, I know we are
to serve the Lord on this journey and that we are to “occupy” until
He comes (Luke 19:13). But I forget that the One who has saved us is the
One who keeps us. I suspect that most of us have trouble “trusting”
the Lord for this journey through time even though we say we have “trusted”
Him with our souls for eternity.
we are like the children of Israel. After traveling nearly forty years
in the wilderness, they were complaining because they were discouraged
(Numbers 21). The Lord’s miraculous daily provision of manna no longer
satisfied. The solution of course was to look to a brazen serpent lifted
up on a pole. The Lord tells us that this is like getting a look at the
cross (John 3:14-15). If our journey seems long or boring or unfair, a
fresh view of the cross will put everything back into perspective.
the Good Samaritan found the man who had fallen among thieves, he fixed
him up and picked him up and then took him to a motel and put him up. He
gave the motel owner a down payment and then asked him to run a tab on
the man’s expenses that he would pay when he returned (Luke 10:34-35).
That was pretty good care from a man who normally would be shunned by
the victim. If the Good Samaritan symbolizes the Lord, surely provision
has been made for us whether we believe it or not.
Lord has said that we are of more value than the birds for whom He
provides and the lilies of the field that He clothes. He says that if we
trust Him enough to put Him and his interests first, He will take care
of us (Matthew 6:33). I suppose that last promise is conditional, but I
can personally testify to the fact that the Lord takes care of His own
even when we don’t trust Him like we should. I suppose that could be
because our God is a God of love. Love is not only what He does (John
3:16, Romans 5:8), but love is what He is (1 John 4:8).
am so glad that I am not journeying alone. I have seen the Lord provide
his carts and provisions through friends. I have seen Him be faithful
when I was unbelieving. I have a Lord that can be trusted and I hope
that you have personally experienced the sweetness of finding out that
the Lord, who is worthy of our trust, has a personal interest in you.
for the week of January 22, 2006
5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to
let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
Psalms could be translated in one of four ways. Some say, the KJV above
is the best translation. Others say that this could be translated, “The
fool hath said in his heart no to God.” Others say that the best
translation is, “The fool hath said in his heart no God for me.” And
I have seen a translation that says, The fool hath said in his heart God
will not do anything. All of these translations can be boiled down into
the fact that the fool does not want to accept accountability to God.
Bible also says that fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
(Proverbs 9:10). So in the Bible a wise person seeks the Lord and
worships Him. The fool turns his back on Him. The fool makes up his own
mind about what is right. The wise person lets God tell Him what is
right. I am convinced that those people who believe the Bible and trust
in the Lord increase their IQ’s simply because they are in tune with
the mind of God while those who rebel against the Lord are swimming
upstream in their thinking.
would people be so foolish as to turn their back on the God who has
proven His existence through creation (Psalm 19:1-6), through the way He
has dealt with the children of Israel; through the way He has fulfilled
the prophecies of Scripture concerning the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ; and through the way He describes our hearts and
tells us that He knows things about us that we would likely not share
with anyone (Jeremiah 17:9)? Some people turn to god’s that require
great sacrifices from them so that they can hope to be saved while my
God has provided a great sacrifice for us so that we can know that we
are saved. Instead of asking us to die for Him, He sent His son to die
for us. Many have died for Him, not to be saved, but because they are
saved and want to tell others that there is a God in heaven that loves
them. Satan, who is a liar and murderer (John 8:44), resists the truth
of the Gospel. And for some reason the foolish tend to believe Satan
instead of God. Pharaoh was given every reason by God to trust in the
Lord, but instead he defied him and said, “I know not the Lord.” His
foolishness destroyed Egypt and cost him and those in his kingdom their
am reminded of the story a man who wore a sandwich board in the business
section of his city. Of course, people thought he was foolish. On the
front of the sandwich board he had the words, “I am a fool for Christ.”
As he passed people and they looked at the sign on his back it said, “Whose
fool are you?”
often wonder what it must be like for people who have rebelled against
God to cross over to eternity and have to meet the God they have
rejected. What must it be like to remember John 3:16 and not be able any
longer to trust in the Savior that is offered there? I can imagine that
the words of many who thought they were wise in this life but who find
out that they sold their soul because of their pride in their own
intellect and reasonings will be, “What a fool I was!” Me, I am glad
for the peace that comes with believing and for the confidence that I
have that I am prepared for that day when I step from time into
eternity. We are not ready to live until we are ready to die. We are not
ready to die until we have been wise enough to trust what God says. We
need to realize that rejecting the Lord Jesus is foolish since there is
really nothing to gain and everything to lose.
for the week of January 29, 2006