Here Comes the Groom!

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. – Revelation 19:7-8

jasper-boer-1fUu0dratoM-unsplash

As a pastor, one of my greatest joys was seeing a young couple successfully complete three months of premarital counseling with the knowledge that God was in their union. Almost equal to this was the understanding that a young bride, standing and facing me at the end of a long aisle, had preserved her purity for her likewise pure groom. Though unfortunately rare these days, it is still possible, and many have wisely (and blessedly) chosen this path.

The church is the Bride of Christ. In the same way, we should also do our best to keep ourselves pure and unstained for our coming Messiah. While we will all certainly be sanctified and justified by His grace, we must be steadfast to pursue individual holiness in both attitude and action. Think how blessed the Lamb of God will be when He sees His Bride, purified by His own blood, robed in Her righteous expressions of faith, united with Himself for all eternity!

Get ready! Here comes the Groom!

A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. – Duncan Campbell

Blessedly Not Consumed

For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. – Malachi 3:6

ingo-stiller-3tkxfe2GocY-unsplash

Through Malachi, his prophet, God spoke one last time before entering a period of silence that lasted 400 years. His recorded words to the nation of Israel are some of the most pointed and convicting in all of Scripture. Punishment comes to the disobedient, yet mercy follows those who belong to the Lord. Clearly, the only reason the people of Israel exist today is God’s immutable promise. It certainly has had nothing to do with their faithfulness.

In the same way, as Christ-followers, our own personal assurance of heaven rests not in our ability to hang on to the Savior, but rather in His promise to never let go of us! God’s Word is good because He has never changed, and He has never changed because He is altogether perfect and holy.

For this truth, we (and all Israel) are blessedly not consumed. Perhaps, we (of all people) should begin to act like it.

For Christians, the one still point in a turning world, the one absolute of which there is no shadow of turning, is Jesus Christ. – Unknown

Play Your Part

Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. – Matthew 1:5

erik-mclean-PFfA3xlHFbQ-unsplash

“Sight and Sound” Theater, well known around the U. S., is located only a few miles from where I live in central Pennsylvania (as well as Branson, Missouri). The company is famous for their elaborate productions and “wrap-around” staging. What they are not known for is their stage stars or famous personalities. You see, nowhere in any of their printed material will you find profiles of the actors as you do in other theatrical productions. Each actor appears anonymously it seems, in order that God might be the true star of the show.

A few years ago, after the viewing the performance of “Ruth,” I was reminded that in God’s eternal plan there are many anonymous actors whose lives are nonetheless vital to the telling and accomplishment of “His-story.” Each person’s contribution makes a difference, often an eternal difference.

May each of us play our part well.

God’s providence is not blind, but full of eyes. – John Whittier Greenleaf

Time to Shine

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

dino-reichmuth-d6yDSisNi4w-unsplash

Light shines the brightest in the darkest room or storm and it is in such places and times that God has called each of us to individually be on mission, to shine His light, for Him. As a unique part of His Body, we do not have a choice. We must each find our place in the array of lights illuminating a path for the world to follow to Christ.

For our personal expression of Christ’s presence to be the most visible, it must of course be on display for the world to see. As light contrasts and dispels darkness, the life of Christ is most obvious when it is firmly placed amidst trial, difficulty, lost culture, or even a global crisis. We may all desire to be someplace else or to be experiencing a different set of circumstances, but we are not. We are “here,” in this moment of time and history. As a person places a lamp or candle in a darkened room, God has placed each of us in this present darkness to reveal His glory.

Time to shine.

Preach abroad, it is the cooping of yourselves up in rooms that has dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and hedges and compelling men and women to come in. – Jonathan Edwards

Let Him Lead

When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.” But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die; now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.” – Genesis 19:17-20

jehyun-sung-6U5AEmQIajg-unsplash

When the two angels dragged Lot, his wife, and their two daughters out of Sodom they also told them to run to the mountains for safety. Lot, however, debated with the angels, begging them to allow his family to remain in the small, insignificant village of Zoar. He reasoned that they would not be able to survive in the mountains. Lot was a righteous man, but he lacked wisdom and struggled to trust what God was clearly communicating through those who were trying to preserve his life.

Outside of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, a person cannot be redeemed or escape a fiery judgment. Like Lot, it shows a tremendous lack of wisdom for us to “go our own way” when Jesus (who is The Way) has brought us into the light of His truth. Wherever God leads us is best, no matter what our not-so-common sense may tell us. He knows the dangers. He knows our needs. He knows what is coming.

We must trust Him and let Him lead.

There is no more terrible sight than ignorance in action. – Johann Wolfgang Goethe