In Advance

Opposite outcomes

Some troubles are avoidable, some are not. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells of two builders (Matt. 7:24-27). Both build a house. A violent storm slams both houses. One house stands firm. The other falls. The difference? One had been founded on the rock, the other on sand.

Jesus’ point is that those who hear His words and do what He says are like the wise builder. Those who hear His words and don’t obey can expect disaster.

The wise builder had one problem to face: the storm. The foolish builder had two problems: 1) the storm, and 2) the collapse of his house. The storm was unavoidable, but the collapse of his house could have been prevented. Had he done what the wise builder did, there would have been two houses standing instead of one.

Which will we choose?

In this powerful parable Jesus issues both a warning and a promise. The warning is that if you don’t obey Him, you will lose everything. The promise is that if you obey Him, you will be safe and sound when the storm comes.

Preparation. What we do today or fail to do today can greatly affect our tomorrows. Each day we live we are building on the rock, or we are building on the sand. Time will test our efforts.

Those who have not become Christians need to take a hard look at this passage. Those who have fallen away from Christ need to do the same. Faithful Christians would do well to re-read this parable every once in a while to be reminded that it’s definitely worth the effort.

We can’t say we haven’t been warned.

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What Do We Know?

Here’s a multiple-choice question:

What do we know about the future?

A) Everything

B) Nothing

C) Something

D) None of the above

If you picked C, you’re right! If it weren’t for the Bible, we would know nothing about the future. While much of what lies ahead is known only to God, He has drawn back the veil just enough for us to know all we need to know about the end of the age.

Christ will suddenly return (we don’t know when). The dead will be raised. The earth will be destroyed. Judgment will take place. Eternity begins.

Unlike stock market projections and weather forecasts, what the Bible says about the Day of the Lord is not mere guesswork, a possibility, or even a probability. The End is certain─just as certain as the integrity of God’s promises. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:17-19).

What we do with what we know

And why does God reveal these things to us regarding the future? Certainly not to satisfy our curiosity, but rather to help us know with certainty what to expect so we can be well prepared for it. The New Testament equips us be ready for these eventualities.

We must keep in a state of readiness, always active in His service (Matthew 24:42-51). We must be prepared to give an account (Romans 14:10-12). In view of the destruction of the material order, we must live holy, godly lives (2 Peter 3:10-14). And then help others get ready for that Great Day (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

Living in a state of readiness, we can look forward to that Day. We’re going home! No more death or pain! We will be with Christ! Reunion with our loved ones! (2 Corinthians 5:6-9; Revelation 21:4; Philippians 1:23; 1 John 3:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Yes, we do know something!

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Last Sunrise Over Sodom

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Sunrises come so routinely, so . . . daily.

Would we take a sunrise lightly if we knew it was our last?

The sun had risen over the earth . . . . Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven . . .” (Genesis 19:23-24, emphasis added).

Did they suspect it was their last sunrise?

“. . . they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling . . . it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

Some sunrise will be our last—either the day Jesus comes or the day we die.

So shouldn’t we live this day as if it were our last?

It could well be.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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That’s a Promise!

What He promises

Since the Bible is replete with God’s promises, Herbert Lockyer had no problem finding material for his book, All the Promises of the Bible.

God’s promises fall into three categories: 1) those already fulfilled (e. g., Joshua 23:14), 2) those now being fulfilled (e.g., Matthew 6:33), and 3) those yet to be fulfilled (e.g., Acts 1:11).

God’s promises are guaranteed for three reasons: 1) God never lies, 2) He has the power to fulfill His promises, and 3) He is faithful to do what He says He will do.

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No wonder Peter can speak of “His precious and magnificent promises” (1 Peter 1:4).

Have you found that to be true in your own life?

How we respond

God’s promises are for those who respond to His grace with obedient faith.

Do we qualify?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Prepared?

Preparing today . . .

In Aesop’s fable the ant diligently stored up during warm weather, but when winter hit, the grasshopper had nothing.

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A college student parties all semester, then panics before finals. Another aces the finals. While one partied, the other prepared.

As we mature we learn the value of preparation. Some, however, never learn. They live as thought there’s no tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes, and trouble with it, listen to them howl!

. . . in view of tomorrow

In Jesus’ parable on preparedness (Matthew 7:24-27), the wise builder’s house was firmly secured to a solid foundation before the storm hit. But the foolish builder’s short-cut had long-term consequences.

Both builders represent those who hear Jesus’ words. One applied what Jesus taught while the other did not.

And there’s where the difference lies for each of us.

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It was time

Perfect timing

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law . . .” (Galatians 4:4).

It was time. For centuries God had been laying the groundwork for His own Son to enter our world in human flesh.

God had worked through Abraham and Israel, as well as the prophets who predicted His coming.

Finally, after all preparations were in place, it was time.

Nothing quite like it

“. . . born of a woman . . . .” Although Jesus’ conception was miraculous (no human father), his nine-month gestation and his delivery were as normal as any other.

He emerged from the womb, took His first breath, and opened His eyes.

Son of God. Son of Man.

It was time.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Hourglass

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This life

Although we no longer use the hourglass to measure time, it illustrates our brief life on this earth.

The lower chamber represents the days we’ve lived, the top chamber our future, and the narrow neck the present.

To make the analogy true to life, the upper chamber remains covered—we cannot tell how much time we have left.

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Eternal life

If we are wise, we prepare for that eventuality by regulating our lives by Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 7:24-27).

We can then “depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better . . .” (Philippians 1:23).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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