When was the last time you listened to a bowl of Rice Krispies® make their distinctive Snap-Crackle-Pop? For me, it’s every morning when I rise from bed. And every time I lift myself from my office chair or tractor seat. Perhaps I’m the only one who must rollover onto my belly, maneuver myself onto all fours, and hope there’s something nearby to grab onto to get up off the floor. Yes, I’ve gotten old.
Following my “Good morning God” and prayers of thanks and request, my morning consists of many items that remind me I’m getting older. These days, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, knee braces, grab bars, shoulder stretches, compression socks, and orthotic shoes depict my life. Because God apparently has a sense of humor, I’ve recently added yet another assistive device to my arsenal. How many of you know what I’m showing in the photo above? I’ll give you a hint, they’re not hay hooks; although I’m pretty sure I could’ve made them work too, if I could remember where I put them.
Instead, they’re boot hooks, designed to help a person more easily pull their boots on. There’s something sad about this admission. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would need these, but that reality is here. Without them, I lose my balance and topple forward, trying to pull on my boots. How sad is that? Even with them, I find myself pressing my back against something for stability.
I sometimes look in the mirror and ask, where did this old man come from? Other times, I remember that strong, young soldier who ran or marched for miles, parachuted onto a postage stamp, ran across a 2×4 edge-wise, and could bench press a truck. What happened, Lord? I remind myself that I did do all those things in my youth, which explains why I now need all those things listed above.
The reality of life is that the lucky ones will live to see their bodies wear out. Like the current world we live in, since the fall of man, all have an expiration date. Learning to accept that requires a sense of humor and gratefulness. I often tell folks, “It’s better to be over the hill than under it.”All things, and people, in this world will eventually wear out. Have you upgraded to eternal life yet? #Aging #ExpirationDates #EternalLife Click To Tweet
Leaning against the wife’s SUV in the garage to get my boots on the other morning, I thought the time has come. I pondered that for a second, asking myself if it was time to sell the Cross-Dubya ranch and all the work that comes with it and return to retirement living. I recalled the 1/10th acre lot with ten feet of space between homes in the Del Webb community we moved from. Walking outside, I gazed across a thirty-acre expanse between our home and our nearest neighbor’s. I shuddered at the idea of city living again. Nope, not yet, Lord.
As I went about the morning chores, those eerie words haunted me. The time has come. Knowing that God has not yet released me from His calling to be a rancher and Christian writer in retirement, I considered other meanings. Could it mean that Christ’s return is imminent? It certainly could, I thought.
Far from being an eschatologist, I’ve learned enough of God’s word to know there is nothing more on the prophetic timeline that must happen before the rapture of His church. I don’t wish to debate pre-, mid-, or post-tribulation rapture theories with anyone. If you possess a true saving knowledge of Christ Jesus as your personal Savior, we can hold different manmade doctrinal beliefs and still love one another with His love. If the Holy Spirit sealed you (Ephesians 1:13), then I’ll see you there in the clouds, whenever that Day is.Today could be the day. Are you ready? #Rapture #GoingHome #SecureSalvation Click To Tweet
As I thought about those four words, they forced me to ask myself the same question that I’ll ask you to consider here.
Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?
This question is one that we must each answer honestly to ourselves. For only you and God know the condition of your salvation. In my simple, non-theologian mind, I fit most folks into one of four categories. Thinking about these foreboding words, I sought God’s guidance for a Scripture that I believe applies for each. I humbly offer the following observations for your consideration.
For the non-Christian, the unsaved man, woman, or child (who has reached the age of reason), the words of Mark 1:15 rang out.
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come
near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
Friends, if you have placed yourself in this category, know there is no judgment here. Only a sincere, heartfelt desire to help you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Oh, how my heart breaks for friends and family who have not yet made their salvation secure. Please, I beg you, to find a Bible-believing church, friends, or anyone who can help you understand and heed the Holy Spirit’s conviction upon your life. None of us can save you, but we’ll be happy to make the introduction.
For the deceived Christian, the person who only has head-knowledge of salvation, God’s Word says this.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either one or the other! So, because
you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you
out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NIV)
If you’re not sure that’s you, allow me to generalize using these characteristics. You attend church when it’s convenient. You hope you can find that dusty Bible as you rush out the door on Sunday morning. The only time you bow your head to pray is when someone else might see you. Someone has convinced you that because God loves everyone, the religion you practice doesn’t matter, because being a good person who does good things is all you need. Often, deceived Christians busy themselves with doing Christian works, but for their own glory and not God’s. I pray that if you see yourself in any of these ways, that you seek counsel and help to nail your salvation to the cross of Christ today.
For the Christian who claims true salvation, who is indwelled with the Holy Spirit, but ignores His convictions and urgings, I urge you to heed these words.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour
has already come for you to wake up from your slumber,
because our salvation is nearer now than when we
first believed. (Romans 13:11 NIV)
I call these Christians “pew dwellers” or “two-timers.” They’re the ones who have convinced themselves of their own righteousness but pompously sit in their pew every Sunday morning and that’s all they do. “Two-timers” are those “pew dwellers” who believe in their own spirituality and have no desire or need for fellowship. They’re the ones whose name appears in a church role, but only make it to church two times per year, Easter and Christmas. If you can honestly admit to yourself that you are a lukewarm, perhaps self-deceived Christian, then I exhort you in the same way as my previous characterization.
A true Believer, one whose salvation is secure and ensured, is one who is actively participating with God in His divine work of sanctification. We all have different levels of spiritual maturity, but growth is clear. In what I refer to as an “On Fire” Christian, you are not afraid to proclaim God’s lordship over your life. You are excited to take part in kingdom work, both in your church and your community. And last, you have a burning desire to help others find their way to true salvation and grow a stronger faith. To you, I offer these words.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20 NIV)
(emphasis on Christ’s words, mine)
As my friend, brother-in-Christ, and Pastor (Wilton McMorris of New Beginnings Fellowship Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs, TX) is fond of saying …
“We can’t know when Christ is returning, but this I know.
We are closer today than we were yesterday.”
I pray you are ready because I believe The Time Has Come friends. If you’re not, or you’re not sure, please reach out privately and allow me to help you know for sure and for certain today. I love you that much. God loves you that much.
P.S. A friendly reminder that October is Pastor Appreciation Month here in America. Besides cards, notes, and gifts, might I suggest that the best gift you can give to your pastor is your presence, prayer, and participation. Oh, and bring a friend.