Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preparations

   This week I've been preparing for guests.  I've been motivated to do things I have put off, like filling picture frames and displaying more wedding gifts.  There is an anticipation that comes with getting ready.  I want our apartment to look not only clean, but inviting as well.  I'm excited and looking forward to when our guests arrive.  It is wonderful to have this time of preparation.  I can make my apartment smell good, look good, and offer plenty to eat.  There are visits from friends that I look forward to, that I plan for, but then there are the unexpected knocks at the door.  Sometimes it's fine; everything is already in order.  However, for me this usually happens when I have temporarily let myself and everything else go.  I hold my breath as I open the door, because I almost feel I've been caught.  Caught in a mess I don't have time to clean up, because the doorbell rang without me having time to do anything.  The house is a mess, I'm a mess, and I'm uncertain if my visitor even wants to step in.  It's nice to have a warning isn't it? 
   Well the scriptures give us a warning, and tell us to prepare our hearts.  When the trumpet sounds, we won't have time to clean up.  "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only...Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:36&42).  The word your is significant in this passage, because Christ is your Lord.  Whether or not you proclaim as your Lord, he IS lord over you.  We are not just preparing for a friend, but the King of Kings and the Creator of the universe. 
    Think of how you feel when that doorbell rings and you aren't expecting guests, now just imagine the trumpet sounding.  How will you feel?  Will you be excited because you were ready, or terrified because you aren't?  The amazing thing about Christ is that HE prepares us for his coming.
   We don't have to clean ourselves up for Christ, because he does.  You see, we can't make ourselves good enough.  Remember how in the book of Esther, she went through months of preparation before she was presented to the king? (If you haven't read Esther, I encourage you to.  It is a beautiful love story.)  This is what Christ wants for you.  He wants to prepare you for your presentation to the King, he wants to prepare you for himself.  The amazing thing about this preparation, is that he doesn't just make you better.  No, he clothes you in HIS righteousness.  He's already dealt with your sin on the cross.  Your stains are washed with his holy blood.  His spirit fills you, and seals you for the day when you will see him.  "And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
   Now, I am a child of God.  The Lord Jesus Christ, took my sin upon himself and dealt with it once and for all on the cross.  He rose again on the third day, claiming victory over death and the sin he bore for me.  The Holy Spirit lives inside of me, sanctifying me and preparing me for the day I leave this earth or the Lord returns to it.  I take comfort in knowing this, but I also want to be obediant.  I want to answer the Lord's calling on my life, walk according to his will, and love others with the love he has given me. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says, "I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3). 
    Quickly think of someone you know with little ones, or maybe think of your own family.  It's fun to look at children and see the resemblance of their parents in them.  I have people tell me all the time how much I look like my mother.  Children not only look like their parents, but they take on many of their characteristics as well.  I can attribute most of my personality to my fun and spirited mother.  You see, if you are truly a child of God, you will exhibit his characteristics.  "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, that those who might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Corinthians 5:14).  Look in that verse at the word, control.  As his child, you act like him, because his love controls you!  Doing good things or "works," do not save you, but they bear as resemblances of your father.  "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead" (James 2:26).  Please know that I am not saying you should be perfect if you are truly saved.  Until we are with Christ we will struggle with our flesh; however, others should see the family resemblance!
    "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:16-17a).  See the amazing thing, is that in being his child, I obtain his inheritance.  If Christ returns while I'm still on this earth, he will literally sweep me off my feet and take me to his kingdom that HE has prepared for me!
  "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks" (Luke 12:35-36).
   We don't know when the Lord will return, but we have been given time to prepare our hearts.  My prayer is that if you are not already his, that you will become his child and follow him.  "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
   I love having people over, and it's always exciting when that doorbell rings.  I also think of when I haven't been home in a while, and my heart longs for my family.  There is nothing like the feeling when I first walk in the door and see their faces.  If you're still living when the trumpet sounds, will it be what you have longed for? Will it be your great homecoming? May you receive the Savior into your heart, so he will receive you into his kingdom.

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