a gradual increase; the highest or loudest point of something that increases gradually; the peak of a gradual increase; climax (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
This isn’t a word that I regularly utilize in my vocabulary, so I paid special attention when it appeared in my thoughts one morning. LORD, what are You sharing with me? Eleven days later, there it was again, even louder! So, I reviewed what He has been sharing with me over the past few months:
These are the DAYS of ELIJAH
A Day of Judgment—A Season of MERCY
REPENTANCE—turn back to Me
Get excited about JUBILEE—A Year of RESTORATION!
Focus on JESUS!
Stay Watchful—BE READY!
The CLIMAX is coming!
A TSUNAMI of God’s Presence—His Spirit—will cover the entire earth!
As I’ve said many times, these are “interesting times.” For those of us who believe in Jesus, the Son of the living God, this is a time to rejoice! Time is drawing nigh—prepare for the glory of the Lord to break forth…suddenly!
Henceforth there is laid up for me 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 loved His appearing.(II Timothy 4:8 ESV)
A question popped into my head the other day, “If I knew that Jesus was going to return in my lifetime, would I be living my life any differently?” I forced myself not to answer too quickly without giving the question some real attention, because the temptation was too great to give a presumed answer that wouldn’t necessarily be grounded in truth. As my husband and I ventured through our day together, every now and again I would allow myself to ponder the question and began to form a thought-out response. My answer was a slow, yet honest, “Yes.” Then, the follow-up question came, “What would be different?” Without much difficulty, these are the responses that popped into my internal dialogue:
Automatically approach & respond to God with “child-like faith”
Consistently love others “well”
Discontinue my intimate relationship with DOUBT & FEAR (They are related!)
Believe God the first time He tells me something…not always asking for proof
Stop majoring in minors…focus on things that really matter; possess an eternal perspective
More readily act on the “urgency” in my spirit to share the gospel with people I meet & know
Daily, plead with God to send more laborers to help bring in the harvest of lost souls
These challenging responses brought a song to my heart, If We Are the Body, sung by Casting Crowns. Here’s the chorus:
But if we
are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
~ written by Mark Hall (Casting Crowns)
I want my answer to the question to be different. “No”, would mean that I’m being intentional to live in such a way that my life and deepest longing screams, “Come, Lord Jesus!” While I wait, I want my arms to be His arms that reach into difficult spaces and places, His hands that touch broken lives, and to speak His words of truth and restoration.
Hopefully, all of us know that no one knows when Jesus is scheduled to return to come get His Bride (His Church), including Jesus Christ Himself. Is it in my lifetime? Will He make an entrance in the lifetimes of our nieces and nephews? Your children &/or grandchildren? Only God, the Father, knows. What we do know, is that He is coming back in someone’s lifetime. Just as Jesus’ first appearance came unexpectedly, His second & final appearing will be the same, but a little more noisy and dramatic than His birth announcement! Are we waiting with great expectation, or with huge dread? What needs to be different as we wait? Our answers to this question will vary, just as our Christian walk has been an experience all our very own.
May we each be moved to a place in our experience with Him to confidently say with all our hearts, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Envision with me, all of us are seated in an elementary school classroom and Jesus is standing at the front of our class as our Teacher. In our minds eye, we are the age we are right now, but in this vision we are a child version of ourselves. Jesus asks the class, “Who is willing to take God, my Father, seriously?” All of a sudden, several of us allow our hands to shoot up, and begin saying, “Me, Me, I will!” Our hands are waving in the air totally convinced that we have the right answer to the question and we can hardly wait for our Teacher to choose us to reveal the answer.
Smiling at all of us with great pleasure on His face, Jesus motions for those of us with elevated hands to come to Him. Each of us eagerly jump up out of our seats and go directly to Him eagerly waiting for further instruction. Personally, as I stand there waiting in His presence, tears begin to pour out of my eyes and stream down my face. It feels like I can hardly handle what is going on in my heart—it is a feeling of being totally bankrupt. In that moment, I can’t realize how I can possibly fulfill the request to begin taking God seriously without a touch from this Teacher.
Apparently, you must be sensing the same sensation that I am, because each of us begins to cry out, “Touch me, anoint me, empower me to be able to take God seriously.” Without hesitation, Jesus places His hand on our heads and blesses us and gives us His authority and power to accomplish this call. Without taking my eyes off of Jesus, I’m convinced that you are weeping along with me and surrendering personal dreams, plans, and agendas for the sheer anticipated pleasure of taking God seriously.
Jesus looks at each of us and tells us that He is sending each of us out into our sphere of influence and beyond to proclaim that His Father’s kingdom is at hand—very near. With convincing certainty, He promises each of us that He will be with us, filling us up with Himself, no matter where we are. As declared in Matthew 10, through His power and presence we will be able to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers (every disease & every affliction), and cast out demons and unclean spirits, so that God’s people will experience life as He intended. This is the epitome of taking the sovereign God seriously!
Jesus is sending us out to a thirsty and desperate world that needs what only God can satisfy. As we have been filled for this exact purpose and time in history, may we empty our lives for the sake of God’s kingdom agenda to be realized. Are you ready? I am ready.
It is not too late for those who remain in their seats to run to the front of the classroom where Jesus is still standing, waiting, and hoping that many more will answer the question with an astounding, “Yes, I will take God seriously!”