Watching and Waiting

By Vernon Gray 


When this writer was at boarding school we would play a certain trick on an unsuspecting student. The victim would be placed on a sturdy board and blindfolded. Four of us would then bend down and “lift” him a few inches from the floor. In “lifting” him we would make a show of the effort involved with appropriate grunts and groans. This was to convince the victim that he was being hoisted high up towards the ceiling. The subsequent chatter assured the unsuspecting student that we had him standing on our shoulders when in fact he was mere inches from the ground.

Then, by bumping a piece of ceiling board on his head he was convinced that he was as high as the ceiling, and in a precarious place. Then at the right moment, one of us would pretend to buckle from the weight causing a collapse. The effect of the resulting “fall” on the student was, to say the least, entertaining. The deception convinced him that he was falling from ceiling height, when in reality he was only inches from the floor. The panic and sheer terror experienced by the student was a result of his belief. He believed himself to be where he was not. He did not reckon himself to be so close to safety. His piercing scream and unbridled terror were all unnecessary.

He suffered massive stress simply because he was deceived and lied to about his true position.

Are you too deceived as to who you are in Christ, and what your position in the family of God is?

Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

But not all Scripture is written TO you directly; it is there for you to learn from and not apply to yourself as though it were written directly TO you.

Many of us have erroneous knowledge that does not work positively in our lives. For example, if you ask most people what is the one thing they know about the Ostrich, they will tell you that it sticks it head into the sand to avoid adversity. This is a falsehood; the ostrich does not stick its head into the sand. The reason for this myth is probably because “credible” people repeated the story with conviction. Even Africans, who live on the same continent as the Ostrich, use this false analogy. We all have a reservoir of untrue pre-programmed beliefs and assumptions that strongly influence our choices and decisions.

The question is this: Can we unlearn all the error we have accumulated over time?

I recall as a very young man going to Sunday school at the local Anglican Church. In time I was old enough to be “c” as a member of the Anglican Church. It was not something I wanted to do so I resisted the entire idea. My mother, in an effort to “encourage” me to comply told me that when I got older and wanted to get a job I would need to be confirmed before anyone would consider hiring me.

I complied reluctantly and got to kiss the Bishop’s ring. The point of this story is that for many years afterward I really believed that I would get work when I grew up because I was confirmed in the Anglican Church.

Defibrillation

Most people have probably all seen a scene in a movie where the paramedic or doctor bares the chest of a patient, and rubs together the two ends of disc-like “paddles,” and shouts, “Clear!”

He then administers the “paddles” to the bare chest of the patient who convulses violently, bouncing up and falling back in an undignified and somewhat comical manner. If the patient does not respond, the intensity of the machine is cranked up, and re-applied, resulting in even greater convulsions. This machine is called a “Defibrillator.”

Do you need a spiritual defibrillation in order for you to get back on track?

Have you become so remote from your first love that it would take something drastic to shock you back to reality?

How many of us need some drastic outer influence to bring our hearts back to life especially in this day and at this hour.

Are you excited for the soon return of Jesus?

Are you enthusiastic about the Word of God?

To digress slightly, it is interesting and worth mentioning here, that the English word “enthusiasm” is translated from two Greek words, “En” and “Theos.”

“En” means “to be in.” “Theos” means “God.”   Enthusiasm then really means, To have God inside; the result of this state of being, is the production of an ardent and lively interest or eagerness.

FOLKS IT REALLY IS LATER THAN YOU THINK! GET ENTHUSIASTIC.

This is a call to you, whom the Holy Spirit is speaking to. Is it going to take a dramatic shock, or a gentle massaging to bring your heart back from this world’s charms and its entanglements?

If the Divine Physician looks at you, will He find a pulse beating inside? 

Are you expressing your true Life from within? Is there a humble heart beating with excitement and anticipation for the things of God?

I would implore you to petition God to do a work in your life that will cause your heart to respond to the Christ within. Let His Life be your Life; living through you as you. This does not make you Christ, but it makes you Christ-like. It will not make you sinless, but you will sin, less.

You will be fulfilled, by living exactly as God intended you to, by Christ living through you as you are. Don’t wait for some dramatic shocking experience to jolt you to your senses. Respond to the Holy Spirit today, and become what you already are in Christ; a child of God, and one who lives and moves and has his being in Christ. The Lord is near.

Memory Stick Religion

If you’ll allow me, I would like to make an analogy involving the computer. It is as if Jesus is installed in the hard drive of your being. Jesus is not on an external Storage Devise like a USB Flash Drive, Memory Stick, SD Card, or Disc to be stored in a drawer somewhere and hauled out only when necessary.

Too many Christians think that they can keep Christ on an external drive somehow and when things go wrong they then load Him up and interact with Him. They seem ignorant of the fact that He is there with them in Person, wherever they are.  Their union with Christ is their spirit and His Spirit joining together becoming a “new creation.”

When you became born-again Jesus Christ was uploaded as part of your “software.”

Your “hardware” (the flesh) does not respond well to the new programming within you.

It either rebels or it gets “religious.” The flesh can be religious in the sense that it fakes piety and goodness in order not to be exposed as a fraud by the truth. You do not have another life aside from the Life that is in you, and that is Christ.

 “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

We need to bolt this truth permanently into our thinking process.

YOU HAVE NO LIFE ASIDE FROM CHRIST IN YOU.

What about the sins we commit on a daily basis? The real you is not the hard drive, it is the software. But because we live in the lousy “here and now,” God in His great mercy and love for us has given us the Christian “bar of soap.” That bar of soap is 1 John 1: 9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We Are to Watch and Wait

Philippians 3:20, 21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

1 Corinthians 1:7: “…so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

1 Thessalonians 1:10: “…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Titus 2:13: “…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

Hebrews 9:28: “…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

James 5:7: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”

Mark 13:36, 37 “…lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch”

There is something else to consider in our “occupying” till the Lord comes. Noah knew 7 days before that the flood was going to happen. Lot knew that Sodom and Gomorrah was about to be destroyed. Elijah knew that he was about to be taken up to God. God does things in patterns, and it is not inconceivable that we too might “know” when the Rapture is about to happen. Seven days before seems like a good guess.

In Luke’s gospel Jesus wept over the coming destruction of Jerusalem, because they did not see Him as their Messiah. The coming of Messiah was accurately predicted by the prophet Daniel; to the degree that he even predicted the very day of His arrival. On the day prophesied by Daniel they spread their clothes in His path and waved palm branches as He went by. Rejoicing and celebration was the order of the day; but they missed the point of it all.

They missed their Christ, the long awaited Messiah. Deeply distressed by their ignorance, Jesus said, “…you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19: 41-44). The Lord held Israel accountable for unbelief. Will we too be held accountable for unbelief about the Lords return?

Could it be that the Lord is visiting your heart right now? Could it be that this is the time of your visitation from God? God expected the Jews to know that their Messiah was coming; He expects us to know the season of His return too, because He said that we would not be ignorant regarding the Rapture.

The Berean vs. Feather Theology

Much of the church today is not Berean. They have a taste for “Feather Theology” which tickles the ears. They are not too concerned about what the Scriptures say, but rather how it makes them feel. If one does not read and study the Bible, you open yourself up to error and heresy because you cannot discern what truth is and what fantasy is. Many there are that are on the broad road that leads to destruction thinking that all is well because the pastor said so. 

I am not saying that you need some special education to understand the Bible; quite the contrary.

Everyone capable of reading can read for themselves what the Word of God says. The Holy Spirit will reveal God’s Word to you about Jesus Christ if you are simply willing to spend time and effort reading His Word. If you are with a group where you need someone to interpret the Scriptures for you, you are in a cult.

The Bible is shallow enough for the most immature Christian to get the milk he or she needs to be fed; but the Bible is deep enough to dive into depths that will bless us and sustain us for eternity. Sure there are “difficulties” from time to time in the Bible, but they are there by design in order for you to seek out the answers by being a “Berean.”

It is always difficult when trying to encourage brothers and sisters to read the Bible for themselves and not to rely on TV evangelists or dubious books, of which there are many.

Recently someone gave me this advice…It is better to be known for what you are FOR than what you are AGAINST.

Having pondered on this matter I think that as Christians we are all FOR certain things.

Things like the Bible; righteousness; purity; goodness; holiness etc. BUT being for these things automatically puts you at variance with those who do not hold the same values as you. If you are for the Truth of the Word of God, you are by definition against those who teach error. There is no getting away from the fact that if you make a stand for the Truth, there will be enmity with error no matter the source of that error. There is no sitting on the fence or compromise when it comes to the Truth.

If you sit on the fence, you are a prime target from both sides.

The enemies you make by taking a decided stand for Truth generally have more respect for you than the friends you make by sitting on the fence.

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side for God is always right.” —Abraham Lincoln.

Agree to disagree without being disagreeable. There are those who disagree with the Doctrine of the Rapture. The doctrine of the Rapture does not save you from your sin, so in some ways it is a peripheral matter. But dear brother or sister, do not take offence because someone else does believe the Doctrine of the Rapture. I personally disagree with many respectable scholars; but I have never had a rabid urge to make contact with them in order to insult them and make a judgment upon their lives that is not mine to make.

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:1-4). 

As a Christian I personally have way too much to be thankful for because I am a forgiven sinner.

I am not sinless, but as I express Christ in me I sin less. The Scripture says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Disagreeing on peripheral issues is not all bad because it prompts us to study and check out things for ourselves.

The Bushman the Baboon and the Bush

Here in Africa, the Bushmen have a clever method for catching baboons in a trap. They take a pumpkin or melon and cut into it a small hole, (just enough for a baboons hand to fit in tightly.) From this hole they scoop out some of the contents, and replace it with the baboon’s favorite food. Then they hide nearby and simply wait. If you have ever observed baboons, you cannot help but come to the conclusion that God certainly has a sense of humour. They are truly comical creatures because they portray so many funny human-like qualities.

The baboon approaches the juicy pumpkin, and inspects it cautiously. It sees the contents inside, and reaches in to take hold of the food. Here is where things go wrong for the baboon. Once the baboon has clenched a fist on the bait, he will not open his hand to let go; the result is that he now has a heavy pumpkin attached to the end of his arm; still he will not let go. Under different conditions, and given some time and thought, the baboon will figure out that he must open his fist in order to get free of the pumpkin.

It is precisely at this moment that the concealed Bushman appears making much noise and spreading pandemonium. The baboon’s mind is flooded with panic, and he simply cannot think logically, which keeps him clutching onto the bait that now ensnares him. Without too much trouble, the Bushman rushes up to the hapless baboon, and clubs it to death. Barbequed baboon is on the menu tonight in the bushman camp.

And so it is with us if we take offence. If you are easily offended, you run the risk of being beaten up by the enemy.

Finally

In order to be prepared for that great event called the Rapture, we all need to look at our lives.

If there is any sin that holds us back we must reject it and repent of it TODAY. Not next week, but today. Make the decision that you will prepare yourself as a bride for her bridegroom.

There are two components to our relationship with the Lord. The first is called union.

Union is that unbreakable bond that was created when you first believed and the Holy Spirit came to dwell within you (Ephesians 1:13-14). Nothing you do can reverse that; you cannot become unborn. Union is the basis of our relationship with the Father.

The second component is fellowship. It’s the status of our relationship at any point in time, characterized by two-way communication between ourselves and God through the Holy Spirit. 

True, all our sins were taken away at the cross (Colossians 2:13-14), however we have not yet been cured of our sin nature. That will come after the Rapture when we are glorified. If it were not so John wouldn’t have counseled us to keep on praying for forgiveness when we do stumble and miss the mark set by God.

God fixed it so that our ongoing tendency to sin wouldn’t disqualify us for salvation. We’re being made holy, because unholy beings cannot dwell in the presence of a holy God. We will one day soon be changed and made fit to dwell with Him in His Kingdom forever. But that hasn’t happened yet, so to remain in fellowship now we have to “clean up” on a daily basis by seeking forgiveness for the sins we continue to commit. The benefit of staying in fellowship with Him is the incredible blessing and favour we receive from His Hand as He fulfills the role of Good Shepherd described in Psalm 23.

To be out of fellowship with the Lord because of sin, means losing out on day-to-day intimacy with Him. Sin in this instance is the sin you indulge in as a lifestyle. Get clean today.

So, “union” describes our eternal state, while “fellowship” refers to our relationship in the here and now. The reason so many Christians, live defeated lives is due to their failure to understand this difference. They come forward to receive the Lord and solve their eternal problem (union), but miss out on the tremendous blessing that  He can provide in the here and now (fellowship) by failing to confess and repent when they continue to sin.

God Bless,

Vernon