“For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven, in the commandment, and in the voice of an archangel [in the commanding, and in the voice of the archangel], and in the trump of God; and the dead men that be in Christ, shall rise again first. Afterward we that live, that be left, shall be snatched (up) together with them in clouds, meeting Christ in the air; and so evermore we shall be with the Lord.”
Maybe Paul started the ‘zombie’ – the walking dead – craze. I don’t like writing about ‘end times’ because the Word clearly teaches no one knows the day, the hour except the Father. Why some insist on predicting the end of the world is beyond me! Why anyone argues over the details is also bizarre to me.
That “evermore we shall be with the Lord” is what attracts my attention! The rest is fluff, so to speak. The rapture? The Holy Spirit says ‘be prepared,” “keep watch” because we know not when He “shall come down from Heaven.”
On the cross, Jesus tells the repentant thief, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Jesus’ promise is not for some far off day, but for today!
‘What people do to me, I shall not dread or fear for I hope and trust in God,’ sings the psalmist.
“In God I shall praise my words; I hoped in God, I shall not dread what thing flesh, or man, shall do to me. (Yea, I shall praise God with my words; for I trust in God, and I shall not fear what any person shall do to me.)”
With complete trust in God, it makes sense that I would not fear anything someone might decide to do to me. Fear and dread and worry indicate a lack of trust in God, especially a diminishing of belief in His perfect will. Jesus, for a moment, asks God the Father if perhaps His perfect will might be fulfilled in some other perfect way than through crucifixion and death. But, within the same breath, Jesus says: ‘But not My will Lord, but Yours.’
Since Jesus is without sin, it follows His dread of the cross is part of His sacrifice for us. His fear relieves our fear just as His punishment deflects the punishment meant for us.
So, day in and day out, our worries and fears and dreads — though natural reactions to the stresses of living — should never define us. What should define you and me is our trust and hope in God, who is perfect and “who works all things together for good to those who are call according to His purposes.”
What makes an “urgent request” powerful? James says that righteousness makes our prayers effective, i.e. “very powerful.” And what does James define as “righteousness?” He says that righteousness is the direct result of healing. How does James say we are healed? He says that healing comes from confession of sins.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”
Simply put, don’t go before God the Father in prayer without first confessing your sins. With confession comes His healing, and with His healing comes righteousness, and with righteousness comes power.
Recently I’ve been convicted that prayers need not be long; they only need to be immediate. When a prayer request comes my way, such as: “My child broke his leg; please pray that he won’t be frightened by the doctors when they set it;” my conviction is to pray immediately and quite directly. I pray, “Father God, please help this child. Heal his leg; calm his fear. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
Or, when I am aware of a need, I find that the time to pray is right then — not later. Sometimes this is hard, taking discernment as some people do not want you to pray for them. A simple, “May I pray for you?” should be sufficient. But, the key is not to go on and on. A straightforward request to God is enough. After all, He already knows the problem, the need, the solution. Jesus says, “When you pray, don’t babble like idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.”
Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to say, “I’m praying for you.” Or, “I’ll keep you in my prayers.” I do think, however, encouragement is given to the one in need if you advance the simple prayer then and there.
And, God gets all the glory as the answer becomes clear to the one for whom you’ve prayed.
Jesus says, “If anyone loves Me, he keeps My Word. My Father loves him, and We come to Him and make Our home with him.”
“As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor I give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3: 19 – 21)
Belief, commitment, endurance, repentance under discipline, listening, opening, communing — these are the keeping of God’s Word of which Jesus speaks.
Jesus commands us to listen. We are reminded to be still and know God. His Word speaks to us in stillness and silence. “If anyone hears My voice,” says Jesus. Without hearing, how can we believe? Open the door when He knocks; let Him come in. Sit at His feet, and listen.