Sunday, February 13, 2011

Early Distant Warnings

Every so often I toy with the idea that soon Jesus will return. When I do, I get kind of jittery on the inside, almost nervous, you know what I mean? Not because I’m fearful of being left behind when the Rapture occurs, I’m certain I’m going, but I think I get nervous about the run up to that moment.

Over and over in the scripture we see prophecy being fulfilled. Time and time again from the Old Testament even into the New, God warns people of things to come. Sometimes they are prophetic announcements that bring joy, hope and encouragement and other times they are warnings of pending judgment. In my spirit, my gut, I believe the days of joy, hope and encouragement this side of heaven are rapidly coming to an end.

I’m sure if you studied Christian history, you would find generation after generation, believing that they were the ones to see and live the Eschaton, but one thing is for certain, some generation will.

I’m no prophet, but the closer I draw to the Lord, and the more I put my ear to the rail, I’m telling you I can hear something coming. When I was a kid, I used to ride my mini bike down at the slough just North of Lower Beaver Road on the North West side of Des Moines. There was a set of railroad tracks that ran alongside the road and then swung into the trees and around the slough, then over a small trestle over the Beaver Creek and off into Johnston.

To get from the slough, where I would ride, to my friend’s house, where I would also ride, I would have to ride the railroad tracks West and North and over the trestle. I found the faster I would ride the smoother the ride. Anyway, many times before I would get inside the rails, I would turn off my bike and listen. Then I would put my ear to the metal rail and see if I could hear anything.

Now you might say that’s not possible, but let me tell you, there were times I heard nothing, felt safe and raced my way out into Johnston over the trestle and then down into Chris’ bean field. And there were other times, I heard something resonating from the rail, and voila a freight train would soon come lumbering down the tracks and around the bend through the woods and over the trestle, while I stood and watch from under the Interstate 80 bridge. Once the train passed I was clear to go.

Here’s my point: I’ve been putting my ear to the rail these days and I’m getting an Early Distant Warning. That’s right, something’s coming and it’s coming faster than any of us anticipate.

But here’s the problem, after 120 years of preaching and building an ark; Noah, his family and the selected animals boarded the ark. For 120 years an Early Distant Warning had been sounding. Rumblings in the earth, bigger clouds than ever before, animals acting skittish, an overarching sense of foreboding rested upon the people, plus Noah’s gospel preaching, but no one heeded the signs; no one.

That is profound to me. Because how long have we had the Message of the Eschaton? You check it out; it’s been a long time; much longer than 120 years and people are still ignoring the Early Distant Warnings.

This morning in church, I was prepared to deliver part two of my series “The Secret Things”; when God interrupted the flow. As I was singing and leading worship, Matthew 25:1-13 came to my mind. Out of the blue the Ten Virgins parable dropped into my heart. By now, after 20 plus years of preaching, I know to go with God, so I bailed on my sermon and PowerPoint slides and we turned to Matthew.

Read it for yourself, but let me tell you this, the Early Distant Warnings that the Holy Spirit led Christ to speak of in the latter parts of Matthew, and elsewhere are coming to pass. Be very aware, that God never blindsides anyone with judgment or blessing. His Word always declares His pending promises, be they judgment or blessing.

So I say to you this hour, put your ear to the rail. Set your heart and mind on things above. Now is NOT the time to slack or sleep, because be rest assured. All ten virgins were part of the party, all ten fell asleep as they awaited the Groom’s coming, but only half were prepared when he came.

Only half had extra and enough oil. The other half, much to their chagrin, had no extra or enough oil to keep their lamps lit. And panic set in, because they had been warned, they were part of the “church” party, but they were not ready. They did not heed the Early Distant Warnings.

Now Matthew 25 is speaking of the Eschaton, but one can extract another truth from this section of text. And that truth is this: God will show up from time to time in our lives, and we need to be ready. We need to be ready when He shows up at church Sunday mornings. We need to be ready when He shows up at work for that outreach of love opportunity. We need to be ready when He shows up and a missions offering is needed. We need to be ready when He shows up through the life of a broken and needy soul.

So the question is: Are you ready for God to show up, not only when the End comes, but tomorrow morning at work or school? Because let me tell you my friend, He’s sending an Early Distant Warning, and we’d better be ready.

Are you ready? You’ve been warned.

No comments:

Post a Comment