November 5- 11, 2014
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14
Justin came home from Sunday school and said to his mother: "Mom, my teacher told us that God puts people into this world so they can get ready for heaven." Almost without thinking, his mother replied, "Yes, dear, that's right." Wrinkling his forehead into a thoughtful frown, Justin hesitated a moment, then asked, "Then why don't we see anybody getting ready?"
A childlike question, yet how true! If God puts people into this world so they can get ready for heaven, why don't we see anybody getting ready? In the hurry and hubbub of our busy world, people have become so preoccupied with the affairs of the day, with the pressing problems of this world, that many have forgotten all about "getting ready" for the next world.
The psalmist tells us: "You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers." (Psalm 90: 5-6 ESV).
We have every reason to continue with the psalmist and pray: "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12 ESV). In other words, we ask God to teach us to "get ready." We ask Him to teach us to regard this life as a period of preparation for a greater and more wonderful life. This new life will be with God and all the redeemed in heaven.
We ask God to teach us to use our days and our years so they stretch toward our heavenly home. Are we really "getting ready"? Do we daily confess our sins to God and ask Him in Jesus' name to forgive us? Does our entire case, for time and for eternity, rest in the hands of Jesus, who is able to save all those who believe in Him? Then in the words of Justin, we are ready.
Through every age, eternal God, Thou art our rest, our safe abode;
High was Thy throne ere Heav'n was made, or earth Thy humble footstool laid.
Long hadst Thou reigned ere time began, or dust was fashioned to a man;
And long Thy kingdom shall endure when earth and time shall be no more.
But man, weak man, is born to die, made up of guilt and vanity;
Thy dreadful sentence, Lord, was just, return, ye sinners, to your dust.
A thousand of our years amount scarce to a day in Thine account;
Like yesterday's departed light, or the last watch of ending night.
Death, like an overflowing stream, sweeps us away; our life's a dream,
An empty tale, a morning flower, cut down and withered in an hour.
Our age to seventy years is set; how short the time! how frail the state!
And if to eighty we arrive, we rather sigh and groan than live.
But O how oft Thy wrath appears, and cuts off our expected years!
Thy wrath awakes our humble dread; we fear the power that strikes us dead.
Teach us, O Lord, how frail is man; and kindly lengthen out our span,
Till wise care of piety fit us to die, and dwell with Thee. Amen
Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719