“What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?“  Romans 9:22-24

Have you been watching the sky lately?

The Holy Bible tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of the Lord” (Psalm 19:1).  Read Psalm 19:1-6 and see how beautifully the Psalmist pens God’s voice to us, boldly written in both the day and night sky. It is a pure and true treasure to behold.

We are reminded repeatedly throughout Scripture to prepare, to be ready for the coming of Jesus.  The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) tells us this.  The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) reminds us of always being ready for Jesus' return, too.  So also, the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) tells us, too, to be ready—always ready—for Jesus.

And then, in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells us what the final judgment is all about and what it will be like.  But what does it really mean to be prepared?

First, I believe that it means we must examine our lives, purify ourselves from the way of the culture, and truly follow the Jesus of the Holy Bible in complete obedience.  2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"  The Christian does not have the right to conscript our own Scripture apart from that which God has given us.

Second, I believe it means we must be ready, even expect, to suffer persecution as a result of being a follower of Jesus.  In 2 Timothy 2:3, Paul tells us, "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."  Jesus told us in Matthew 24:9, "Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers."  We must encourage each other to stand firm and strong in the face of persecution.  We should talk about it and discuss how we will handle the coming treatment we will receive as Christians.  We should discuss what it might look like, remembering how Jesus was persecuted and lied about.  And, we must find comfort in God's Word, knowing that God will work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

Finally, we must be bold and courageous in proclaiming the Good News to a lost and dying world—a world that desperately needs to know the real love of Jesus.  Matthew 28:19-20 commands us, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  And, we must be bold in lifting our brothers and sisters up and encouraging each other along the journey of faith, rescuing them from the grips of a treacherous culture.  Jude 22-23 tells us, "And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.  Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives."

Are you ready to endure the hardships to come?  Are you ready if the Master were to return today?

I am praying for you to be strong in the coming days, and for God to encourage your heart as you follow Him with all of it.

Goodnight, Runners.