Today we are celebrating many things:
–37 years since my husband and I became parents for the first time. Happy Birthday, Nathan! You fill us with love and pride.
–Two years since I started this blog. I pray it is a blessing to others; it has been so to me.
–And our five-day committee work session on Old Testament key biblical terms is finished—though that work has barely begun.
And now I celebrate the beginning of a weekend and this evening at home. Thank you, God, for times to work and times to rest. Thank you for your presence and the hope of seeing you one day—perhaps soon. Now, that will be the ultimate celebration!
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Jesus’ disciples were bewildered and confused. After all that their Messiah had gone through (including suffering and death which they certainly hadn’t expected), surely there need be no more delay for the long-awaited Kingdom that Jesus had been talking so much about–right? (See Acts 1:3 & following.)
Finally they just had to ask outright: “Are you going to set up the Kingdom now and be our King?”
Jesus: You’re not being copied on the details, but I have an assignment for you: You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Then He takes off!
Still bewildered, they gaze into the sky until He disappears from their sight and an angel assures them that Jesus will be back. Still, though, they weren’t told when!
Why the delay? As the disciples obeyed orders, God’s wonderful plan unfolded in a way they had never really understood before. It was time for the world to hear and be included in God’s kingdom—including Gentiles like me! (By the way, Judas couldn’t wait, accept, and obey. When the Kingdom didn’t materialize on his schedule, he became disillusioned and—well, we know that story….)
Living with ambiguity isn’t easy for me. I want to know what’s going to happen and when, and what my part is in it. I have much to learn from these first believers: waiting, trusting, obeying one step at a time. Still, as I watch and wait and work on my “assignments,” my heart cry is… “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
“It’s a sad day for all of us!”—a famous quote in our family (from my niece), describes our feeling upon taking down the Christmas decorations. Do all the joy, peace, and hope go with us into the new year? If God is with us (Immanuel), surely they will.
What does this new year hold? I don’t make New Year’s resolutions—they’re too quickly broken. But these are among the things I pray will happen:
–The salvation of a friend.
–Worldwide turning to the Lord.
–Revival among God’s people.
–More Christ-likeness in myself.
–Courage and joy to face whatever lies ahead in this uncertain world, knowing Who holds my hand.
–Christ’s return! Maranatha! (Aramaic for ‘Our Lord, come!’ in 1 Corinthians 16:22) I plan to end my posts this year with this word as a reminder to all of us—to keep looking up and be ready whenever He comes.
I keep puzzling over how God’s people should live in this world that’s falling apart at the seams as we wait for His kingdom to arrive in all its power and put it all right. This morning I read Matthew 24-25 which answers this very question. Here is what Jesus says:
Don’t be alarmed when terrible things begin to happen. 24:6
Don’t be deceived by false messiahs (or teachings, etc.) 24:5-26
Hang in there, enduring faithfully to the end even when persecutions come. 24:9-13
Keep alert and be ready to meet him whenever He shows up (like a householder on the guard for burglars). 24:42-44
Keep working faithfully, not getting careless about sin (like an abusive manager). 24:45-50
Be wise; don’t slide into apathy or laziness (like the 5 foolish virgins). 25:1-13
Wisely use the resources God has entrusted to us during His absence. 25:14-29
Care, share, & serve others in need, as if they were Christ Himself! 25:31-45
With these assignments, there won’t be time for fussing, fretting, or fear!