As the closing moments of the year 2013 tick away and a brand new year waits just around the corner, someone who has become like an old friend to me (his name is The Apostle Paul) has a good word to share with all of us: “All I can say is this: Forgetting what is behind me, and reaching out for that which lies ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize which is God’s call to the life above in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14,neb)
Is 2014 the year that Christ will return for His Church? We don’t know. We can’t know for certain, as Jesus Himself told us ‘…no man knows the day or the hour’ (Matt. 24:36). Indeed, we can’t know for certain, but we can hope & pray, and we can continue to “occupy” until He comes – living as Salt and Light in a dark and rotting world. Nevertheless, in light of what Jesus told us to look for as the “signs” that would precede His return, we can determine that His return is imminent – for these are the days we are living in: “WARS AND RUMORS OF WAR, with NATION RISING AGAINST NATION (Ethnos: Ethnic Cleansing; Civil War, Civil Strife & Civil Unrest) and KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM (Power Struggles; A Struggle for Dominance); FAMINES… and PESTILENCES… and GREAT EARTHQUAKES in various places; SIGNS IN THE SUN, and IN THE MOON, and IN THE STARS… (Atmospheric Conditions; Climate Changes effecting Weather Patterns: Drought on the one hand; Torrential Rains, Flooding and the devastation they cause on the other) And UPON THE EARTH, DISTRESS OF NATIONS with perplexity; THE SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING… (Tsunami’s, Typhoons, Hurricanes, etc.) And MEN’S HEARTS FAILING THEM FOR FEAR, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (cf. Matt. 24:6-7, Mark 13:7-8, Luke 21:9-11, 25-26)
Getting back to the original question, is 2014 the year the Jesus will return for his Bride, the Church? Again, we can’t know. Be that as it may, the Apostle Peter has a timely word and a strong exhortation for us: “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” (1Peter 4:7-10 NLT)
Let me leave you with a short poem from my archives ~
As the year is closing, have I been found dozing? Have I labored to be more like Jesus? Have I present in me more of Jesus to see; Or has His light shone less and less?
Have I labored through the Spirit, at rest in His peace? Have my own might and power come to decrease? Have I grown in love… or in ‘push & shove’? What kind of year has it been?
As the New Year arrives, these questions I ask; My heart bare before Him, my all to the task. In the New Year which will it be: Will I look more like Jesus… or will I look more like me? (unknown)