Saturday, January 21, 2012

While We Wait...

Let's face it - waiting is hard. For this reason, being a prophecy watcher is very difficult and it is a long, long process. First, a quick look at the scriptures for some guidance.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, for which the Lord, the righteous Judge will reward to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."
(2 Timothy 4:7-8)

The scripture above tells us a lot. Think of a "good fight". This image brings to mind a boxing match, which is often more of a battle of endurance than anything else. If you watch a boxing match, by the end, the fighters are so tired that they can barely keep their hands up; they can barely swing due to fatigue, but they keep battling with whatever strength they have left.

Think about a race; particularly a distance race, which is clearly referenced here. By the end of the race it's also a battle of endurance - fighting through fatigue and pain in order to finish strong. Its really a battle of "mind over matter".

Don't forget; the apostle Paul was also watching and waiting for Christ's return. He was no different from us in that respect. He had to fight through incredible hardships during his watching and waiting for Christ's potential return - all of which must have been on his mind as he wrote these scriptures. He understood the difficulty of waiting.

Perhaps more importantly, Jesus knew the difficulties of watching for His return.

We know that we will be rewarded for our "works" which will take place during the Bema "Judgement" (2 Corinthians 2:5, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15); "A Life God Rewards" by Bruce Wilkinson does a great job of explaining this.

We won't be judged for our sins - Jesus already took that on our behalf as He suffered on the cross. We will, however, be rewarded for our works while on earth.

Although we will be rewarded for a large variety of these works, the scriptures actually describe five specific "crowns" which will be rewarded to believers. One of these crowns is the "Crown of Righteousness" for believers who have been watching for Christ's return:

"...the crown of righteousness", which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."

So we can see the importance of our "watching" for His return.

It is of tremendous importance to Jesus.

Just take a look at Luke 12: 35-40 and 54-56. Jesus describes the vital importance of watching for His coming. He also spent considerable time and effort in the Olivet discourse describing the importance of watching (see Matthew 24:42, 44 and 25:13, Mark 13:32-36, and Luke 21:28, 31 and 36). It obviously means a great deal to Jesus.


Why is it so important to Jesus that His church (aka His "Bride") is watching and longing for His return?

Doesn't it reveal our deep love for Christ? Shouldn't the Bride be anxiously awaiting the Bridegroom's coming?

How can you love someone and not have great anticipation of being with that person?

If the believer is indifferent regarding Christ's coming - how much love does that reveal?

Perhaps better stated - and directed to those Christians who have no interest in Christ's return: How can you profess to love Christ, and have an awareness that He may return soon - yet show no interest in watching for the signs of His return?

Those two ideas are completely inconsistent.

As John Hagee says "If you aren't excited about Christ's return, then you need to re-examine your faith". That seems obvious.

Additionally - let's assume that we are wrong and we are not in the season of Christ's return.

Wouldn't it be better to face Christ having been wrong, yet, wanting to be with Him so much and to be in His presence - so desperately - that we did indeed watch and hope for His return - rather than having no interest at all in His return?

Which scenario would Christ prefer?

The answers seem clear. Jesus wants to find us watching the signs and awaiting His return. It shows a deep love and an intensity that any bride should have for the bridegroom as that day approaches.

And let us not forget - Jesus called those "followers" of His "Hypocrites" for not knowing and understanding the signs of His first coming on earth (Luke 12:54-56). That's a pretty strong accusation isn't it?

But there is a caveat to all of the above. It's hard continually watching and waiting for His return.

Perhaps that explains Revelation 3:10:

"Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world..."

We do "endure patiently" don't we?

As contrasted with Christians who have no interest - we endure this world every day, with the knowledge that we will imminently be in New Jerusalem and in the very presence of Christ Jesus.

Having that knowledge makes enduring the hardships of this world even more difficult. We appreciate on a daily basis that this world is not "our world". We know that our home is in New Jerusalem; our permanent home and where we should be. We know that we are just a breath away from actually being in the very presence of Jesus Himself.

As we long for Jesus and as we long for our permanent home, we have to endure this world.

The knowledge that Jesus is coming for us makes the "enduring" aspect of life on earth even more difficult and we also become fatigued as we continually keep watch.

Jesus knows this. It has to be one of the reasons that we will be rewarded for these efforts.

But we watch for one reason: We love Jesus and we desperately want to be in His presence.

We are acutely aware of the fact that we are only here, on this earth, temporarily - and that a far far better place awaits. We know that we are in this world (for now) but we are not of this world.

We just have to be patient as we watch the signs and that is a long, hard process.

But we cannot forget - Jesus knows who is watching and longing for His return.

It pleases Him that we do so. It reveals our deep love, and after all, isn't that what our faith is all about?

He will be coming soon and He will find us watching and waiting with great anticipation.

What a great way to begin our life with Jesus in New Jerusalem - so take heart - our watching and waiting, despite the hardships we face will be richly rewarded.

As we watch the world beginning to crumble around us - as we watch the world approaching the Tribulation, with all of the necessary evil, corruption, violence, sin, draconian government, oppression, persecution, hardships, etc., we see these instructions from the apostle Paul:

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."
(2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Amen and Maranatha.

We will all be in New Jerusalem soon - and experiencing the most epic celebration ever seen.

Each of us will participate:

"After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God...'

'Amen, Hallelujah!'

'For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and the bride has made herself ready.'"
(Revelation 19)

It will happen, and it will happen soon.

Jesus is putting the final touches on His Bride's new home and soon He will come.

And when He does, it will please Him greatly to find us watching and waiting.

Keep looking up. Jesus will fulfill His promises - that is an iron-clad guarantee.



WVBORN56 said...

Beautifully written Scott! That was a wonderful encouragement and brought excitement to my soul. I can't wait. God is good!

Come Lord Jesus!

hartdawg said...

Don't you pity the post-trib people who have no hope (that they believe) of being with christ for at least seven yrs? at least the a-mils believe Jesus can come anytime. but the posties...

Elizabeth said...

What an amazing privilege is ours to have such a wonderful hope!
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus

Caver said...

Wow! Let me ditto all the above. What a wonder, what a privilege...and to think...He has trusted us to be here during this time in history.

Scott, such messages of hope and praise are, unfortunately, so rarely expressed these days.

Thank you!

GG said...

Thank you for the beautiful reflection. "Just a breath away..". Now that is an exciting thought :)

Thank you for reminding us about this time we are living in.

God Bless!!


Scott said...

Thats such an important aspect (and I forgot to include that) - how massively fortunate we are to be actually living in a true "biblical age". Thats amazing and I truly believe there is a specific reason(s) that each of us are here at this time in prophetic history.

Gary said...

It's funny that you wrote about this Scott. Lately, I've been really frustrated with God. Sometimes I feel like He has abanded us. Sometimes His coming seems near, and then so far away. Now He feels so far away. I really try to be patient, but sometimes it is really difficult because I (we) want Him to come so badly.

Caver said...

Well, don't think there are any accidents in His plan. If so, that means He has a purpose for each of us and trust us to do our part in His plan. That's pretty sobering when you really think about it.

Cary said...

Came home after a very long day and read this. Before I had finished the first couple of paragraphs I called my sister and starting reading it to her.


The feeling of RELENTLESS fatigue and feeling out of place has been overwhelming for us.

Scott, thank you. I read your blog twice a day but you just gave us what we needed for the last mile.

Can't wait to meet you one day soon.

Your sister In Christ,

Scott said...

Thanks Cary
Sometimes this happens - I woke up that morning with an overwhelming desire to write that - its clearly a Holy Spirit thing. I had to go back and read what I had written because I literally sat down and it just "came out" without a lot of thought.

And you are right - we are absolutely on the 'last mile' - Stop by at the Wedding Supper and say hello :)

God Bless

Helen said...

Scott....thank you for the reminder that we will have a crown for "looking for His coming".
That is so good to recall whenever some are making fun of us for longing for Jesus to come and take us home.

We are very much a minority, even in the church. I might add...especially in the church.


mary said...

Once again Scott, beautifully written and so encouraging.All of you who have responded took the words right out of my mouth. I am feeling the same way.We are living in "such a time as this"and I have to remind myself when I get fatigued
that we know that Jesus is coming soon.This world and all it's STUFF means nothing to me, I just crave and long for Jesus.I get so frustrated when my fellow Christian co-workers just don't seem to get it and don't even want to talk about it. Are you kidding me?? Do people really believe things are going to turn around ?
Scott, you hit the nail on the head when you said "how can you love someone and not have great anticipation of being with that person" This brings up a question, do you all think that maybe these people have "Intellectual faith" and not a personal relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ?
just wondering, keep your eyes on Jesus everyone, He promises that it will be worth it all.
Maranatha, mary

BWest said...

Scott, thank you so much for this post. It truly is a gift for each of us to be here to witness His greatness in these days first hand.

God bless and keep looking up.

Scott said...

Those are some good and valid points.

For the life of me, I simply cannot understand someone who calls themself a Christian - yet has no interest in Jesus' return. I just don't get it.

Mrs.C said...

Sister Mary...Brother Scott :)
We all know how blinded many "Christians" appear to be in these days as to the very soon return of our Beloved Bride Groom for us. It is JUST as Jesus said it would be regarding these days!
We can see His Prophetic Word coming to fulfillment before us, and its almost like a double "clip" to us! In one direction we focus on the absolutely incredible events occurring, and the other direction we see fellow "Christians" whom appear to be intentionally avoiding the Truth of the Days we are in, or blissfully ignoring what is happening. :( Some many Truly be Saved, and some may not. It is not for us to Judge, but take full comfort in the Knowledge that the Lord knows, and that’s all that matters. We can Trust His Guidance, His Holy Spirit for guidance in these days. I in recent years was sharing with a Sister,(and I mean fully Born Again Sister), the Prophecy of what we are Witnessing and whats soon to come. Her response was concern that the Rapture would happen before her wonderful vacation trip...what?!
Should the Lord tarry, and we go through the Isaiah 17 war, which I humbly believe we will),we know what an huge Witness that event will be for us to present to the lost. We could expect persecution for that Witness for sure. But also, we have to realize, that as the Lord would have it, this Witness would not be just for the Lost. This will be a huge sifting event for “Christians”. Some will continue to ignore the Prophetic events unfolding, and some will listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and be seeking answers! In other words, they will WAKE UP!  So not only will the lost need Witnessing to, but also many “Christians” as well. What an absolute privilege! WOW!
With so much danger on the very close horizon, we, all of us, have no idea what will happen here in this nation for example when it all begins to fall in the ME. We may have Internet, we may not. We may have communications, we may not. If not, one thing is for sure, the reliance on referring others to articles, videos, websites, the latest and greatest book etc. for learning, those days may indeed be gone. For when the dominos fall, the Witnessing to come to the lost and yes, even other “Christians”, we had all better know His Word well, know His Promises to all of us! Again, should the Lord tarry, this will be the greatest of privileges! At the edge, the turning point of all time, to Witness for Him, for His Son! WOW!
Before the foundations of the Earth, before all time, He knew each and every one of us by NAME! He knew us while we were in our Mothers wombs! As our Loving Father, He has the greatest of confidence in each of us, to allow us to be born into this time, in ALL of time…Thank You Father! All Praise and Glory be to You Forever!

1 Corinthians 15:52
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

It only takes a fraction of milliseconds for a human blink!Wow!

Jec said...

Mrs. C, I so agree with what you have said. There will be so many questions and one of those questions will be WHY, .........THIS is not supposed to happen? Why did Iran do that! Why did Irael do that? LOOK what happened to Damascus, this was not supposed to happen. LOOK how gas prices are climbing, and how the economy is tanking. I am so glad I got that article out about the up coming wars to friends and family. I did not expect a reply, but one of the first ones I got a response was "take me off your list." Another from a Christian friend, said this: Oh, we have at least 20 years! And she also said "I will live out all of my years" before anything happens! Wow, I am amaze! Yes, we here most likely will be answering a lot more questions in the very near future.

Mrs.C said...

Yes indeed Brother Jec, :)
Your letters are a testament to your friends and family, especially dated documents. Documentation is good, very good, as who knows what kind of communications we will have. To those who wont listen, out of fear or whatever the reason, all we can do is plant seeds! The Lord will water them with His Holy Spirit and they will either flourish and bring forth fruit...or fall on stony places, be choked out by the thorns of the world as Jesus said...

God Bless You Brother!

R.G. said...

Just one of your many readers who don't comment much saying thanks for this post and for the time and effort that you put into this blog. My wife (bandungborn) and I make it a daily read.

Scott said...

Thanks so much - it really means a lot to hear and I greatly appreciate it. As said, its a labor of love and I'm so honored to be able to serve God in whatever small way. I also cannot wait to meet everyone (here) in New Jerusalem!
God Bless