Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting Ready for the "Midnight Cry"

I sang my way home last Saturday night. I love singing my former church’s version of “Midnight Cry.” Just as I was singing about Jesus stepping onto a cloud to call God’s children home, I looked to my left and saw the setting sun blazing between two mountainous clouds. The scene matched the song as perfectly as anything on earth could, and I just had to thank God.  

Imagine what it will look like when Jesus comes back to call us home. We’ll hear the trumpet, and see Him in His glory. We will “meet the Lord in the air,” and always be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV). We’ll be home. I can’t wait. But then again, maybe I can.
While we are still here on earth, living and breathing, we have the chance to tell people about the Savior, to tell them about the God who loves them so much and gave His Son for them. We don’t know when Jesus will come back, but with the time we have left, let’s tell as many people as we can about our Lord. We are His ambassadors of light and love on the earth. Let’s share His truth and heart of love with others, so they have the chance to know Him, too. Let’s take with us as many people to heaven as we can, so that the skies are filled when it’s time to go home!

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:16-17 NKJV).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Independence Day-In Christ

“We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our independence day!”

The crowd roared at the president’s declaration. This was not the time for fear. Not the time to give up. Every July 4th, my family watches Independence Day starring Will Smith who plays a fighter pilot and Bill Pullman who plays the American president. In one of the most climatic scenes of the movie, the president rallies the troops—civilian pilots who must attack an alien ship over fifteen miles in diameter. They survived the first worldwide alien attack, but if they fail this mission, everyone will die. So Pullman calls them not to let humanity die without a fight. They are joining other survivors across the globe to fight for what’s left of their cities and countries. July 4th becomes more than just an American holiday. It becomes a day for the world to declare its independence from the threat of extinction and to defeat a formidable enemy.
As Christians, we deal with formidable enemies every day. Fear plagues our peace, anger steals our joy, and selfishness distorts our focus. The world opposes God’s ways, Satan seeks to hinder God’s work in our lives, and sin tempts us to leave God’s path for something easier or faster. We can feel oppression from within or without, and fall back into spiritual bondage even though we have true freedom in Christ. But God calls us not to give up the fight, not to vanish quietly into the night.

Some things are worth fighting for—our own spiritual well-being and relationship with God, the influence we can have on those around us, other people’s well-being, and the spread of God’s love and the gospel. Sin and Satan may try to trap us in bondage and choke our freedom in Christ, but God calls us to liberty. He has freed us from sin’s controlling influence (Romans 6:5-7) and from Satan’s dominion (Colossians 1:13). He no longer wants us to be burdened by sin (Hebrews 12:1) or hindered by guilt (Romans 8:1). Since Jesus has set us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36).
In Christ we can declare our independence from sin and guilt, from fear and anger, from selfishness and worldly influences. In Christ, we don’t have to just survive; we can excel. God has great things in store for us, and other souls need to be rescued. Other hearts need to experience the freedom found in Christ. Don’t “vanish without a fight.” Stand your ground. Stand in the freedom you possess in Christ.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 NKJV).