"Ready or Not"
July 6, 2014
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
The minister was preaching about "too-late day," in a style I would call enthusiastic, but which people in the pews might call, "very loud." Things got real, real quiet when he roared, "On that day there will be wars and famines and earthquakes! The sun shall be darkened, and the stars will fall from the sky!"
Listening to every word, one young, wide-eyed, second-grader leaned over to his mother and whispered, "Mama, do you think when that Judgment Day comes, I'll get outta school?"
To his practical question, I can offer this assurance: Yes, son, on Judgment Day, you can be sure your school is getting out early.
People have all kinds of responses to the approach of Judgment Day.
One reaction to the idea of the Savior's return comes to us from the year 1789. The place was Hartford, Connecticut, and the legislature of that fine state was in session. The sky darkened, and then it took on a most ominous color. Glancing out the windows, some members of the House of Representatives expressed their concern their judgment was going to take place in the next few minutes. A motion was made for immediate adjournment. That's when a colonel, a representative by the name of Davenport, rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to have the Lord find me doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought." His very practical advice seemed sensible, and they continued.
So let me ask, how do you feel about the approach of Judgment Day?
If you are like most people, you probably aren't that concerned. Although you may not be a gambler, you're ready to put your money on the fact that Jesus isn't going to return real soon. "After all," you reason, "if Jesus hasn't come back for close to 2,000 years, there's a pretty good chance He's not coming back while I'm alive."
As Hamlet would say, "Aye, there's the rub."
The truth is Judgment Day is happening all the time. No, it may not be the world's Judgment Day, but today is going to be Judgment Day for somebody. Should I bring it closer to home? How about this: with the tens of thousands of people reading the Daily Devotions, it is not unlikely this devotion may be the last devotion someone will ever see.
This leads me to ask, are you ready? If you don't have a certain answer to that question, let me help.
That assistance begins with this question: is Jesus your Lord and Savior from sin? By that I mean do you believe the Heavenly Father sent His Son to take your place under the Law? Do you have Holy Spirit-given faith that Jesus kept the commandments for you, resisted temptation for you and, through His death and resurrection, has forgiven and defeated death for you?
If the answer is, "Yes!" then, great!
Your ongoing life of repentance, which is being offered as thanks to the Savior, is a blessed thing. In your faithful worship attendance and Bible study may you be brought always closer to the Lord who has turned the fear of Judgment Day into a "Welcome Home!" celebration.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I give thanks that, through Jesus' sacrifice and substitution I have been cleansed of my sins and have had the fear of Judgment Day removed. May I show my gratitude in all I say, think and do. In His Name. Amen.
All too often the job of reaching others is left to others. That can be unfortunate. After all, there are times when YOU may be the best person to reach someone who is lost or wandering. If you have always wanted to know how to do such a sharing of the Savior, you may want to attend Lutheran Hour Ministries' SENT Outreach Conference, which is July 24-27 in Detroit. For more information, visit www.lhm.org/conference.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries