Friday, September 22, 2017

Is Jesus Really Coming Back Tomorrow?

I’m sure by now many of you have come across an article claiming that Jesus is coming back tomorrow, September 23, 2017!  There are many different articles floating around from those who believe tomorrow will be a significant day for believers.  However, for every article that I have seen proclaiming the significance of tomorrow, there are two more professing it’s all a conspiracy and nonsense.  So which is it?  Is the rapture really happening tomorrow?!

I am no expert on end times nor have I ever extensively studied the book of Revelation.  However, I have listened to preachers and teachers who have spent their lives studying end time events and Biblical prophecies.  Honestly, it fascinates me.  From what I have read in my Bible and from the limited information I have learned from respectable teachers and preachers…notice I said respectable, because there are plenty of loonies out there professing a false doctrine…here’s what I have gathered.  The Book of Revelations was written by John after Jesus ascended into heaven.  It is believed that after speaking with God the Father, Jesus revealed these things to John through the Holy Spirit, whom filled every believer at the time that Jesus departed this earth. 

 The Word of God says that no man knows the day or hour of Christ’s return but our Father in Heaven, not even the angels in heaven nor Jesus Himself.  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” Matthew 24:36.  Keep in mind, Jesus said this during His time here on earth.  I highly recommend you read the entire chapter for more information about that day.  Although it may not be possible to pinpoint the exact time Jesus will return, because of the revelations that Jesus made to John, we can very well know the season.  I don’t know of any respectable teachers of the Word that are confidently saying tomorrow is the day.  However, they are saying that tomorrow is a very significant day.  I won’t get into the details of that because honestly, much of it is way over my head.  I’ll leave that up to the experts.  All I know is as I listen to them connect the dots in scripture, it stirs an excitement inside of me as I begin to see the big picture and realize that we most certainly are living in the last days.  Instead of asking the question “IS the rapture going to be tomorrow?”, I think the better question is, “COULD the rapture be tomorrow!?”  The answer to that question is certainly YES!  Whether it’s tomorrow, next month, or years to come…the important thing is that we recognize that we are indeed seeing Biblical prophesies fulfilled and we need to be ready and watchful.  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” Matthew 25:13.  God revealed things to us in His Word to watch for and when we begin seeing those things fulfilled, that’s exciting!!! 

Because of all of the articles floating around this week, it really had me thinking.  As I began to consider all the things that God has revealed to us in His Word and making a mental checklist of all the things we have already seen fulfilled, I couldn’t help but wonder…what if the rapture really did happen tomorrow!  I don’t know if it will happen, but what I do know is that God loves each of us so much that He gave His Word and revealed to us warning signs of the times.  He didn’t have to do that, but He didn’t want any of us to be caught off guard and not be ready.  He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on his coming, so He gave us all the signs so that we would be ready and waiting for His return!  Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” Hebrew 9:28.

All of these signs that will occur leading up to the rapture of the church have been fulfilled and there are even more I haven’t listed:
·      Nations are rising up against nations (Matt. 24:7)
·      We will hear of wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24:6) …this situation with North Korea is certainly a sign of the times and then today Russia threatened to strike back.  Russia is mentioned in the Bible as an end time player so be watchful.
·      Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and unholy (2 Tim. 3:1-2)
·      False prophets will arise and mislead many (Matt. 24:11) …I can name a handful off the top of my head of those preaching a false doctrine.
·      Mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3)
·      Great earthquakes shall be in diverse places (Luke 21:11)
·      There will be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars (Luke 21:25) …the blood moons, solar eclipses, and tomorrows alignment of the stars and planets could be significant
·      The sea and the waves will roar (Luke 21:25) …It was brought to my attention today that the two hurricanes making landfall currently are named Maria and Jose…in English, these are the names of Jesus’ earthly parents, Mary and Joseph! 

I write all this to say…be ready friends.  I’m not saying He’s coming back tomorrow, but if so all the warnings were there.  If not, we still have all the warnings that it will be soon.  As I started my day today, I couldn’t help but think what it would be like tomorrow if Jesus does come again.  We know from the Bible that at least half of us will remain.  “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together.  One will be taken and the other left” Luke 17:34-35.  I would imagine there will be many people who are fearful when that day does come and they realize they have been left behind.  Where will they turn for answers?  Would they run to the nearest church and begin reading whatever they could get their hands on until they found the answer?  Would they run to their neighbor’s house whom they knew was a believer?  Maybe they would run to the nearest book store and buy a Bible hoping to find an answer.  I found myself wanting to prepare my home today just in case.  What if someone comes to my home looking for answers.  Should I leave my Bible out on the table and have it opened to key verses?  Should I write a letter and leave it tucked inside my Bible?

Someday I will make my departure from this earth…whether it’s through death or the rapture.  Even though death is still far from now, I have already begun to make preparations to help those I leave behind.  I want to be prepared and have everything in order when that time comes.  As I began to think about the rapture of the church, it really had me thinking…shouldn’t we do the same for those we leave behind then?  My prayer is that all of us would be taken in the rapture, but unfortunately that just isn’t so.  The thought of any of my friends, family, strangers, or acquaintances being left behind, just grieves my heart.  I began imagining the panic that everyone must feel.  And then, I began to think of the hard times they would all endure during the tribulation.  I began to think of the questions they may have and as I started to think of all of this, it stirred me to sit down and write this post.  What would I want those left behind to know when I’m gone, should the church be raptured in my lifetime?

First of all, there is still hope.  You still have one more chance.  Don’t wait, make things right with the Lord right away…right now.  The next 7 years will be very hard times and this time is referred to as the tribulation.  You can read all about the tribulation in the Bible, in the book of Revelations.  During this time, the antichrist will appear and a great world war will begin.  There will be famine and inflation due to the war.  One fourth of all the people and living creatures will die as a result of the war.  There will be a mighty earthquake like never before.  All of this will occur in the first quarter of the tribulation.  People will be required to display the mark of the beast in order to hold a job and buy things…DO NOT TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST!  To take the mark is to reject Christ.  There will be even more death and destruction in the later years of the tribulation because of God’s judgement on the earth.  If you couldn’t follow Christ in these days leading to the rapture, it will be even harder to follow him now because there will be great persecution.  Many of those who choose to follow Him will be killed.  Will you deny Him once again?  Please don’t!  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord when you are a believer.  Christians don’t have to fear death because we know where our future will be.  Stand strong and pray the sinner’s prayer.  He has given you one more chance.  After the 7-year tribulation, all those who don’t believe in Jesus will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity.  No more chances.  God loves each of you so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to save the world.  As much as He wants you there, it would pollute the very goodness of Heaven and go against God’s nature to allow any sin, wickedness, corruption, or anything bad into heaven.  That’s why at His final judgement He will throw all those who refused to believe in Him into the lake of fire because their sins were never washed clean.  He loves us too much to pollute the goodness of heaven!  It’s going to be an amazing place.  Our minds can’t even fathom the beauty or goodness that awaits us there. 

My prayer is that all would come to know Jesus before the rapture because life during the tribulation is not going to be pleasant.  It’s never a bad idea to take time to reflect and ask yourself the question: If Jesus returned tomorrow, would I be ready?  If you can’t answer that question with confidence, do me a favor and pray this prayer.  It’s that simple.  You just have to confess and believe. 

"Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen."

If you prayed that prayer and truly meant it, you are ready for that day when Jesus returns.  There is no need to be fearful about it.  It’s exciting times for a believer friends!  We are seeing scripture being fulfilled and whether it’s today, tomorrow, or years from now, we are nearing that day when we will be standing in the presence of our Savior!  Now that’s something to look forward to!  The older I get, the more I long for that day!  There will come a day when there will be no more sadness, no more death, no more evil, and no more pain.  Oh, what a day that will be!  Come, Jesus, come!  I’m ready!  Are you?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Juggling it All...When the Demands of Life Leave You Feeling Less Than & Inadequate

Today’s post is for all of the tired mommas out there!  If that’s you, lean in today!  Listen, parenting is amazing!  Whether you birth your children from your body or from your heart, there’s just absolutely nothing that compares to the miracle of birth!  Nothing!  When I look at my children, I see God’s amazing handprints all over them!  I get overwhelmed with emotion when I stop to consider that my children are not an accident.  God has a plan for each one of them…a beautiful and perfect plan…and when He created my children, I was part of His perfect plan!  Yes, me!  You…You were part of God’s perfect plan for your children! 

For as long as I remember, I have always wanted to be a mom.  I wanted the big family and used to dream about being a wife and mother.  I had this perfect picture painted in my mind of what it would be like!  The nice house…with a well-manicured lawn, organized and clutter-free within, the fresh scent of a candle filled the air, and everything beautifully decorated and in its proper place, yet it was comfortable, cozy and lived in.  It was a home filled with lots of love and laughter…a peaceful place…somewhere you would want to be.  God's presence dwelled there.  The children...they were all close in age…stair steps of each other.  They were respectful, kind, obedient, well-mannered, and they loved Jesus and each other well.  I imagined them playing joyfully with one another as laughter filled our home.  It was a beautiful picture of what a family should look like…wouldn’t you agree?  Then, there’s the picture I painted of what marriage looks like.  Oh, I couldn’t wait to get married and be a wife!  I was a daydreamer and oh, how I used to plan out my future!  Living my life with my husband, my best friend…madly in love…holding hands, snuggling on the couch, lots of hugs, kisses, and caressing…that’s what good marriages looked like, right?  Long walks, deep conversations, daily devotions and growing in the Word together, kind words, and lots of affection.  It was any girls dream!  I imagined all the family dinners, the holiday traditions, the birthdays, and celebrations…always joyous occasions.  I imagined us on the sidelines cheering our children on as they played sports.  Of course all the kids took an active interest in watching their siblings play and they cheered them on, offering one another only words of encouragement.  Life would be blissful…so I dreamed…I waited…oh, how the time couldn’t come soon enough!  Then…click here for sound effect.

Who was I kidding!?  Either my parents made parenting look way too easy or those Little House on the Prairie episodes skewed my reality.  Fast forward twenty-five years and now we have social media and Pinterest to further warp our sense of reality!  It’s ridiculous friends!  We have created such unrealistic expectations of what a good mom and wife should look like that it’s no surprise that 1 in every 4 women are on medication to treat depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders.  Ladies, we are literally driving ourselves crazy trying to achieve an unrealistic dream!

It’s healthy to have goals and dreams, but ladies, you are one person with only 24 hours in a day.  You can’t do it all and that’s okay.  Did you hear me clearly…IT’S OKAY!!!  You are not a bad mom if you don’t cut your child’s sandwiches into cute shapes and pack it in a cute container with the correct serving size of fruits and veggies!  You are not a bad wife if you don’t have dinner ready when your husband gets in the door every single day nor does it make you a mess of a woman if you wear yoga pants all day or go a couple of days without shaving your legs!  We were never created to be perfect friends…just willing and obedient.  Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land.” 

Listen, parenting is hard.  It’s a lot of work.  Marriage is a lot of work!  But let me tell you something…if God calls you to it, He will equip you to do it!  You are equipped ladies!  Your life was ordained for this moment, for this season.  God had your days written before you were even formed!  He knew how many children you would have, He knew who you’d be married to, He knew what your career would be…He knew it all!  And because He knew before He ever formed you, He so intricately placed within you every strength, talent, characteristic, personality, and detail so that you could fulfill the plans He had for you!!!  Notice, I said for YOU!!!  Stop trying to do and be everything that the mom next door is for her kids.  You have no idea what her story is and what God has called and equipped her to do.  Stay in your lane and be willing and obedient to do what God has called you to do because when you do that, God promises us in His Word that we will eat the good of the land.  That means we will live a good life, be happy and blessed when we are willing and obedient to do what God has called us to do!  When we get our eyes off of what God’s calling us to do and we get it onto others, we put ourselves into a comparison trap and no longer see the good that God has blessed us with.  Instead, our perception gets skewed and we start to see all that we lack!  Look where that got Adam and Eve!  Eve had a beautiful and perfect life…she had everything she ever wanted or needed.  But she listened to the enemy’s lies long enough to change her perception of God.  Instead of being grateful for ALL of the good God had blessed her with, she allowed her thoughts to focus in on the ONE thing that God kept from her.  When her focus changed, it caused her to fall into sin.  I see how easily that can happen to women today as well!  Listen, I don’t know why God hasn’t given us all the hour glass figures, the bubbly personality, and the love for early mornings!  However, I have a choice.  I can focus on what God has given me and use that to be willing and obedient to do His will OR I can focus on what I don’t have and allow myself to chase after something that was never intended to be mine in the first place which results in us disobeying God…and that only leads to sin, temporary satisfaction, and an unfulfilled life!  So just stop it already! 

Recently, I found myself feeling pulled, stretched, overwhelmed, stressed, burdened, and really feeling less than.  It’s easy to get to that place when you are responsible for so many little humans.  However, I got to a point of where I had exhausted all of my own strength and mental energy when I stopped and asked myself, “Is this really what God desires for me?”  I knew it wasn’t!  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  God’s plans for us are GOOD!  Now, we aren’t promised a life free of trials, but His plans are good plans!  When I began to feel the stresses of life overwhelm me, I began to pray and ask for God’s help.  Almost immediately I felt Him speak to me that I was simply trying to do too much.  I asked Him for wisdom and direction.  I prayed that God would guide my footsteps and that He would help show me the areas that I needed to lay down.  My hearts greatest desire is to always be willing and obedient to do what God desires for me.  I want to live my days in the center of His will...not mine.  “Not my will, but Yours be done.” – Luke 22:42.

I spent the next few days praying and just reflecting on what was it that was contributing to my feelings of stress, doubt, and insecurities.  It was such a sweet time with The Lord.  Ladies, talk to God.  Tell Him your fears, your failures, and how you feel.  He already knows, but ask Him for His help.  James 4:2 says, “You have not, because you ask not.”  If you aren’t happy, feeling fulfilled, and living in the good of the land, ask God to change your circumstances!  He will when you ask, but you have to be willing and obedient to do what He leads you to do.  During those days in prayer, I felt the Lord speak so clearly to me.  He gave me such clear direction on some things that I needed to lay aside for this season in my life and it has made all the difference in just a few short weeks.  All the difference.  The peace is there.  I have joy in the journey and the insecurities have all faded away.  All because of obedience.  When we keep our eyes on God and stay focused on fulfilling His will for our lives, that’s when life is best friends.  We feel fulfilled.  We are happy.  We are content.  And we are confident! 

I am in my happy place…doing what God’s called me to do.  I wanted to share with you what the Lord lead me to do during those days of prayer because I really think it may help many of you too.  As I was praying one day, I felt the Lord lead me to write down the three things that were causing the most stress in my life.  I felt lead to ask my husband to do the same.  We made our lists and for both of us, the top three things were easy to pinpoint.  We took time to talk about our lists and together, we came up with a plan of what we could do to eliminate these stresses from our lives.  And the ones that we couldn’t eliminate (um, one or more of my children may have made my list), we took those burdens to the Lord and began to pray about them.  We began to believe God to turn those burdens into blessings and give us a plan of action on how to help bring peace to what was currently a stressful season or situation. 

Then I felt the Lord instruct me to write down my number one goal as a mother, a wife, and as a woman.  Once again, all three goals were easy.  For me, as a mother, my ultimate goal is to raise children who fear the Lord, live holy and pleasing lives, are filled with the fruits of the Spirit, and live to be happy, independent and productive citizens.  As a wife, my ultimate goal is to be a helpmate to my husband, loving him and serving him well.  As a woman of God, my ultimate goal is to live a life that pleases the Lord and make a difference in the Kingdom of God!  After I wrote my goals down, I once again asked my husband to do the same.  Then, the final step the Lord impressed me to take was to prayerfully consider what in my life have I committed time to that doesn’t lead to any of those goals.  He was asking me to simplify my life and stay focused on the ultimate goal.  Too many times we just try to do it all.  We think filling up our schedule with fun and good things will bring joy and fulfillment, but more than not, it just eats up our time and has us spinning our wheels.  The busy life that results from chasing such unrealistic expectations that we place upon ourselves leaves us feeling rushed, flustered, stressed, tired, and robs us of so much joy in the journey! 

The Lord began to expose those areas that I had busied my time with that didn’t serve a purpose in His plans.  Instead of being a blessing, these areas were burdensome.  He was asking me to lay them down.  I knew of a few things that our family could give up that would immediately alleviate some stress in our lives.  It would allow us more time at home in the evenings together which was one of the things my husband said he needed in this season.  There were other areas the Lord revealed that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with our top three stresses in life.  However, after taking time specifically praying for wisdom and asking for God’s help and guidance to make our lives as stress-free as possible, we felt lead to lay it aside for a season.   To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1. God calls us to do some things for a season and we need to be obedient to release those things when God says it’s time.  We may not understand the reason, but God’s ways are higher than our ways and He knows best. 

As my husband and I began to make some decisions and act in obedience and began doing what we felt The Lord was leading us to do, everything began to fall into place beautifully. We saw God’s handprints all over.  The Lord began to give us wisdom and clear direction on what we needed do to eliminate the stresses in our lives.  He gave us a clear plan and path and that alone was all we needed.  I was no longer overwhelmed, burdened, and feeling inadequate.  Instead, there was a peace, thrill, and confidence within.  That’s what happens when we chase after the things of God instead of chase what others have.

If you find yourself feeling tired, overwhelmed, stressed, unhappy, and feeling less than, I encourage you to stop right now and ask for God’s help.  Ask Him to give you the mind of Christ and change your perspective.  His plans are good plans and He desires to see you living the good life, the fulfilled life, and the blessed life that He has for you.  It may not look like the life you have pictured in your mind nor will it look like the life of the mom you admire on Facebook or down the street, but trust me…His plans are far greater than yours!  Learn to be content in what God has for you and be obedient to do what He called you to do and I promise, it is there that you’ll be most confident and you will be able to see all the good that you are doing!  Stay in your lane girls and do what God has called you to do!  It’s okay to seek advice from other moms and improve where you can, but stop trying to do it all and be it all.  Instead, just do what you are equipped to do and then do it well.  God has placed that within you for a purpose, so do it well.  Silence the lies of the enemy when he tries to tell you that you aren’t a good mom.  Silence the lie when he tells you your children would be better and happier if only they had a different mom.  Silence the lie that you are less than and not good enough!  It’s a lie!  Take those thoughts captive!  Begin confessing daily over yourself what God’s Word says and what God thinks about you!  You have been chosen.  God ordained you to be a mother, wife, and woman of God for this time, this season, and this life.  You are an important part of His plan so He needs you to be all in and in your lane, running YOUR race.  I’ll leave you with this.  I first heard this at a women’s conference several years ago at my church.  Let it encourage you and let it replace all the doubt that fills your mind today.  Moms, you are doing a good job!  You’ve got this.  You will not fail!

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