Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living Life between the Cross and the Coming

Passover and Easter are over. What’s next?

My focus this Passover / Easter season has been Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy through His death and resurrection. I shared many of those thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

But now Passover and Easter are over. Jesus fulfilled those prophecies; the resurrection has happened. What’s next?

Here’s what – more prophecy fulfillment. Jesus still has a few more things to do.

He has to retrieve His bride, the church.

“Go, my people, enter your rooms and close your doors behind you. Hide for a little while until the wrath has passed” (Isaiah 26:20).

He has to return to earth; He has to come a second time. 

“On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge valley, so that half the mountain will move to the north and half to the south” (Zechariah 14:4).

He has to judge the nations and establish His kingdom on Earth. 

“He will strike the land with discipline from His mouth, and He will kill the wicked with a command from His lips. … On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:4, 10).

He has to defeat Satan once and for all. 

“I will put hostility between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

He has to judge those who never chose to follow Him. 

“As they leave, they will see the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against Me; for their worm will never die, their fire will never go out, and they will be a horror to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:24).

He has to reward those who did choose to follow Him. 

“Look, the LORD has proclaimed to the ends of the earth, ‘Say to Daughter Zion: Look, your salvation is coming, His reward is with Him, and His gifts accompany Him.’ And they will be called the Holy People, the LORD’s Redeemed; and you will be called Cared For, A City Not Deserted” (Isaiah 62:11-12).

As you can see, Jesus has more to do – the fulfillment of prophecy isn’t over.

But what about now?

We’re living in the time period between the first and second coming. And in all honesty, we’re closer to that second coming than we are to the first. But how should we live during this time?

Awake & Serious

“For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6).

I don’t have room to get into all of the day/night and wake/sleep imagery used here but let me boil it down… Live like the life Christ died to give you means something to you. Don’t spend your time and resources on your own satisfaction. God gave His life for you – spend your time and resources living your life for Him. Again I repeat, live like the life Christ died to give you means something to you.

Ready for action, Serious, & Hopeful

“Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Get ready! Ready to fight, ready to serve, ready to love, ready to obey, ready to do whatever God calls you to do. You won’t ever be ready if you aren’t spending time now getting to know Him and know His Word.

Be Hopeful! This world is not the end game. We have more to come after this life – more than we can ever imagine. That’s the end game. That’s the goal. That’s the purpose. Yes, life here is hard but hold fast to the hope of what’s to come.

Be Serious, Pray, Love, & Play Nice

“Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (1 Peter 4:7-9).

This is a different Greek word for serious than in the previous passages. This one means to stay in your right mind, exercise a little self control, and curb your passions. Life’s not all about making yourself feel good.

Pray through the hard stuff…and through the easy stuff. Pray through all of it. Do you really have a relationship with someone if you aren’t talking to them regularly? Go to God just like you would a friend – when someone makes you mad, when something great happens, when you don’t know what to do, when you need someone to listen.

Love each other even as we remember that biblical love is all about sacrifice. Biblical love doesn’t focus on how good the loved one makes us feel; biblical love focuses on how we can give ourselves to help them feel good. Kind of like Jesus did in the ultimate expression of love – His death on the cross.

Help others out whenever you can – with a kind word, a meal, a listening ear, a little extra cash. Don’t complain or pat yourself on the back later.

So there you have it – some good ideas for how to live in this time after the resurrection of Jesus as we wait for His second coming. I’m sure there’s more but this is a good amount to get us started.

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