Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Bottom Line: Being In His Presence

It is easy to get caught up in the details of prophecy and the current news of the day. It is exciting to watch world events line up precisely as the prophetic scriptures would dictate - giving us daily proof of the God of the Holy Bible.

But occasionally we should take a step back and remember what this is all about - the watching, the waiting, the research, the news, the development of new insights into the scriptures, the anticipation - and the reasons we do this every day.

There are so many reasons we watch the news with an eye on prophecy - we get to see the amazing accuracy of scriptures written thousands of years ago by God's prophets, and we get tremendous comfort in the reassurance that everything in the Bible can be trusted in a very literal sense. We can read about the prophets and see their incredible bravery, courage and closeness to God, and we can also see their basic humanity, weaknesses and flaws. We realize that our time on this earth is drawing to a close and we live with great anticipation of what is to come.

And all of that is good and represents sound reasoning for following current events and news in the context of prophecy.

But all of the above still misses the point.

Soon, we will actually be in the very presence of Jesus Himself. Just think about that for a minute.

We will be face to face with Jesus - in His very presence. Jesus, who left paradise and took human form - willingly - and knowing that He would suffer immeasurable pain, humiliation, beatings, and torture, far beyond what any of us can comprehend. And He did it all because of His intense love for each of us. What kind of love is that?

While searching for something to bolster this message, I stumbled on the writing below as written by John Piper and he can make the point far more eloquently than any abilities I possess:

One of the most memorable moments of my seminary days was during the school year 1968–69 at Fuller Seminary on the third level of the classroom building just after a class on systematic theology. A group of us were huddled around James Morgan, the young theology teacher who was saying something about the engagement of Christians in social justice. I don’t remember what I said, but he looked me right in the eye and said, “John, I love Jesus Christ.”

It was like a thunderclap in my heart. A strong, intelligent, mature, socially engaged man had just said out loud in front of a half dozen men, “I love Jesus Christ.” He was not preaching. He was not pronouncing on any issue. He was not singing in church. He was not trying to get a job. He was not being recorded. He was telling me that he loved Jesus.

The echo of that thunderclap is still sounding in my heart. That was 40 years ago! There are a thousand things I don’t remember about those days in seminary. But that afternoon remains unforgettable. And all he said was, “John, I love Jesus Christ.”

And as I say it, I want to make clear what I mean:

  • I admire Jesus Christ more than any other human or angelic being.
  • I enjoy his ways and his words more than I enjoy the ways and words of anyone else.
  • I want his approval more than I want the approval of anyone else.
  • I want to be with him more than I want to be with anyone else.
  • I feel more grateful to him for what he has done for me than I do to anyone else.
  • I trust his words more fully than I trust what anyone else says.
  • I am more glad in his exaltation than in the exaltation of anyone else, including me.

And may our Lord Jesus grant that from time to time we would deliver quietly and naturally a thunderclap into the hearts of others with the simple words, “I love Jesus Christ.”

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

I try not to make the posts on this blog about me (after all, I am a very boring person and if I wrote about myself, the readership on this blog would be 1 - me :)...But here I want to take a diversion from that - and I want to express what I know so many of us are thinking as well.

I follow prophecy because I long for being in the presence of Jesus Himself. I crave it. I think about it daily. I miss being in the presence of Jesus. I miss Him. It is a deep, deep yearning to be with Him. To be able to fall at His feet and thank Him over and over and over for what He has done - for what He did on the cross for me - for being my King and Savior. For loving me - me! - a deeply flawed, sinful person who deserves nothing at all - certainly not the love of the creator of the universe. Yet He loved me enough to die for me.

I'll admit it - I'm obsessed with Jesus.

Not only the fact that He is God, not only the fact that He died for me and offered me salvation by what He did on the cross, not only because of His infinite wisdom, but everything else about Jesus - His compassion, His understanding of the human condition, the tenderness with which He treated people (even the "worst" of sinners), His cleverness, His insight, His brilliance, His patience, His healing, His sensitivity and His sheer magnitude - just to name a few.

Do you think about what that moment will be like? That moment when we come face to face with Jesus Himself?

What will you do? What will you say? How will you express your love and gratitude for Him?

Personally, I have no idea - as that moment will be so incredible - a moment I have waited for, for most of my life. I know I will fall at His feet until He says otherwise - I don't feel that I deserve to stand eye-eye. At least not initially. I'm sure there will be a cathartic lengthy period of sobbing - tears which express relief, joy, gratitude, love, thankfullness, and almost every other conceivable emotion.

I'm sure Jesus will take me through my life on earth and He will reveal that He was always with me, through the pain and joy and everything in-between during the life journey here on earth.

But that will only be the beginning. Jesus will be anxious to show me the glories of Heaven that await. Jesus will be overjoyed as He watches the reunion taking place with loved ones who have been in heaven and those who have arrived with me.

I don't think I will ever want to leave Him. Once in the presence of Jesus, how could anything else matter? How could you want to do anything other than to simply be in His presence?

Watching prophecy actually makes one feel closer to Jesus because it reminds us that we will be in His presence - soon. As we see the news unfold - it is exciting to a prophecy watcher for one primary reason:

It tells us that His coming will be soon, and when it happens, we will actually be with Him. For real. Not through prayer, not through feeling His presence, but actually in His presence!

Can you even imagine that? That very moment when we are literally with Jesus Himself?

The paradox for a prophecy watcher is the fact that knowledge of this and anticipation of this can actually make life more difficult - as we await that moment. The difference in life here on earth as contrasted with what awaits us is often unbearable. If you are like me, and typically impatient, that moment can't come soon enough. The waiting is very very difficult.

But it will happen in the twinkling of the eye. In an instant.

We will be watching TV, driving, washing dishes, working, reading the bible, praying, teaching school, at a sports event - whatever we do regularly - and suddenly, without warning we will hear the call and immediately find ourselves in the presence of Jesus.


Give that some thought. Dwell on it for a while. Fall asleep with this thought in mind - what it will really be like when we see Him. Because it will happen - without a doubt - and probably soon.

In heaven. With Jesus. With our loved ones. Seeing Him in His glory, at the right hand of God.

And with everything that awaits us in Heaven because of His gift to us - as born out of pure love for us.

I can't help but think of the following lyrics of "Came To My Rescue" by Hillsong:

Falling on my knees in worship,
Giving all I am to seek Your face,
Lord all I am is is Yours.

My whole life,
I place in Your hands,
God of mercy,
Humbled I bow down,
In your presence at Your throne.

I called You answered,
And You came to my rescue and I,
I wanna be where You are.

In my life be lifted high.
In our world be lifted high.
In our love be lifted high.

Come Quickly Lord - we desperately want to be in your presence. Forever. We love you so much. Thank you for all you have done for us.



WVBORN56 said...

Great post Scott! That was so uplifting and encouraging. It would be super cool if this was one of your last posts...due to the rapture. :) It would be a wonderful conclusion! Maranatha, we long to see you Lord!

ChristineInCleveland said...

Great post Scott- you express your joy in the Lord so beautifully! I too feel much the way you do... Especially while struggling in a very troubled marriage with a Bipolar spouse. If I didn't have Jesus to focus on for my hope, joy & purpose, I would of perished a long time ago.
As we look ahead at events unfolding so rapidly, it truly seems like we may not have much longer to wait for Christ's return. And like you, I think about this every day, always close to my heart. God bless you Scott for all your research & encouragement on your blog! :-)

Cary said...

Scott, had just finished praying when I came to your blog.

Thank you so much. Whenever my heart feels tired and worn down God sends me here ...
Cannot wait to see Him..


Dutch Treat said...

Scott, what a fabulous post. Like you, I've often wondered what it would be like in his presence; but for this finite mind, that's called Mission: Impossible (my favorite all time TV show). My favorite musical group is Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; and I have a song by them called The Vision where this person dreams of being transported to Heaven. I'm not an emotional person per se; but that song almost moves me to tears every time I hear it; and just to think that the real deal will be even more spectacular than that. As for you being a boing person, I beg to differ. I enjoy reading your posts very much, and also hearing from all of you. Not only will we get to be with the one who died for our sins; but we'll finally get to see each other which is not a bad consolation prize.

Dylan said...

Scott, great post. No doubt I'll fall asleep with that thought in my mind. Not only can I not wait to be in His presence, but I can't wait to see his creativity and our creativity working together in a new earth. My youth leader a while ago described it as being earth but 1000x better. And my pastor a few weeks ago said that work isn't a result of sin, but a God-given desire to use our creativity on this canvas that God gave us. Imagine that. This canvas we have now, but infinitely better. Not only that, but we'll have the Lord in our presence using His creativity.

I'm not sure if any of you read JRR Tolkien's books (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, etc.) but I think he got it right when he said that the Children of Eru (Eru being the "supreme being" in his legendarium) would play an important role in the second creation of the earth.

Thanks again Scott for the post. I sure hope your blog isn't taken down after we're gone so that you can reach people after we're gone too. It's just so amazing to think of what's waiting for us. May he come soon.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I could not agree with you more deeply. Every word you wrote resonated in perfect identification in my spirit. I LONG to see Him. I sometimes just drop tears longing, aching to go and be with Him forever! This very second to go to be with Him is not soon enough!
Israeli believer in Yeshua

Anonymous said...

And yet, rapture timing can be quite
elusive. Why ?? Remember what Paul
said about "peace and safety" ??

Are we there yet ??

I don't think so. ONLY when this is
a serious topic in the media will
it mean something. and i would think
that 17 Isaiah and 19 Isaiah need
fufillment to SET THE STAGE for the
media BROADCASTING peace and safety
in this world.

I could be wrong.

But WHY DOES PAUL TALK about this ?? I came across a good article
that addresses this, please go here.

I would need to see SOME EVIDENCE
of this being discussed by the media.....and we do not have that

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Caver said...

That has got to be one of the most humbling....and yet uplifting...pieces I have ever read.

Thank you for a wonderful way to start the day and week....just focusing on this mindset and His gift of Himself to us.

Anonymous said...

UNCERTAINTY still exists in the
near term wave structure. EWI is
working on 2 different counts short
term....meaning....that stocks could
very WELL BE ready for a 2 WEEK PLUS rally back up.

If so, the "end" will be delayed yet again. I will know more on MON.,
TUES of this week. Frankly, it does not matter to me very much about the
peace and safety jazz in 1 THESS 5.
I am MORE concerned with wave counts.

and those counts are STARTING to
look bullish tonite, with stocks UP yet again.

stay tuned.

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Anonymous said...

Amen Scott..Amen.

BWest said...

Thank you Scott. That was a wonderful post and couldn't be more true.

God bless you all.

Alice said...

Simply beautiful. Thank you, Scott.

I'm with the Anon poster who said he/she longs so for Jesus that they drop tears due to that longing, that aching...

Waterer said...

Thank you dear Brother Scott!

Helen said...

Thank you Scott. That was so inspiring.


Scott said...

Thanks for the kind comments. I just tried to capture what most of us are feeling. As I talk with people about prophecy in various places, I get the same feelings - its pretty much a common denominator with prophecy watchers. Its one thing I love about prophecy watchers - is the keen sense of how close we are and the magnitude of that revelation Its one thing that propells me to try and get this message out - to believers and non-believers. Its a "game-changer" for sure :)

foretastes said...

Nothing to add but a huge AMEN!

Min said...

What a great post that I can share with my family to help them prepare their hearts while we are waiting. Thanks, Scott!