Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week Six - Come

“…and this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”  Zechariah 6:15  

God has a plan for the ages and it will all come to pass, meaning it will happen.  Inside the sovereignty of God everything is set, yet when we look at this verse, we see that our obedience plays a role in how things work out.  The balance between God’s absolute management and our free will has produced many a discussion, but two things remain certain, time will move forward according to God’s plan and my obedience is His will for me inside that plan.
When I come to conundrums like this in God’s Word I go back to God’s explanation in Deuteronomy 29:29.  The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
God has revealed enough of His Word to keep me occupied. He has everything else under control.  I need to concern myself, then, with obeying what I do understand.
Another approach to take is that of acceptance.  Whatever I am facing today will pass.  It will not be forever.  Poor finances come and go.  Hurts and disappointments come and go.  Life has ebb and tide.  I can rest when I understand that I am not stuck, but going with God’s flow.
However, even in those times, I have a responsibility to diligently obey.  It isn’t a time to let go of all I have learned, but rather, a time to hone my skills – to ride the waves.  They will eventually take me to shore.
Are you wondering where life is taking you?  Do you trust the sovereignty of God?  Can you rest in knowing, as much as in not knowing?  Whatever you are facing today, realize that it is just for a portion of time…it has come and it will go.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden….”  Matthew 11:28
Oh, how we all enjoy a holiday, a time to sit on the beach, or drop in that fishing line, or go camping. Whatever is your favorite form of relaxation, you take it expecting to be revived.  The thoughts and plans of a holiday can carry you through the heavy times at work as you daydream about the happy time ahead.
And then the holiday arrives!  You frantically make sure everything at home is sorted, all the bills are paid, the pets are cared for, the bags are packed, the plane tickets, passports, hotels, etc. are all in the right places, then you rush out the door heading toward this awesome place.
Once you arrive you fill the time with as much fun as you can pack in.  After all, you only get one holiday a year and you want to make the most of it.  At the end of the week you throw all the dirty laundry back into the bag, scour the room to make sure you don’t leave anything behind, collect back up the passports and tickets and make a mad dash to travel back home.  You arrive exhausted and with a mountain of laundry and post waiting for you.  “What a great holiday,” you exclaim, and then you begin thinking about holiday for next year.
However, there is another alternative.  You can be on perpetual holiday.  Jesus’ offer of refreshment is readily available at every moment.  His, “come unto me” is not limited to one week per year.  Literally, when you feel the weight of work and life weighing you down, you can turn to him for rest and strength.  All it requires is for you to recognize He is there and to bring those burdens and heavy situations to Him in prayer.  Ten minutes alone with the Lord can do for you more than a week on the beach could ever accomplish, and cost you must less in funds and effort!
Do you know the secret of coming to the Lord in times of heaviness and weariness?  His strength can carry you through and give you the rest you need.  There is no limit to the times you can come.  Come hourly.  Come daily.  Just come!

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  Revelation 22:17  
The book of Revelation uses variations of the word “come” sixty one times.  In Rev 1:1 it is used as “come to pass”. In several other verses it is used as “overcometh”. In this last chapter of the Bible it is used three times as a warning that Christ will be coming quickly (vs. 7,, 12, 20).  But here in 22:17, along with 6:3,5,7 and 21:9, it is used as an invitation.  Come – come and see, come and join in.
Just like the invitation from Matthew 11:28, the Lord Himself is inviting all to come.  Here in Revelation 22:17 the invitation is to partake of the water of life and it comes from the Spirit, the bride, and those that hear the Word. 
Wiersbe says, “While we wait for the soon return of the Lord, “the Spirit of God, through the church (the bride), calls for Jesus to come; for the bride wants to meet her Bridegroom and enter into her home.  But believers ought also to invite lost sinners to trust Christ and drink the water of life.  Indeed, when the church lives in expectancy of Christ’s return, such an attitude provokes ministry and evangelism as well as purity of heart.”
It is interesting to note that from Genesis, where he came looking for Adam and Eve, all the way to this final few verses of God’s Word God is calling out to man – “come”.
It tells me that we need to be always issuing this invitation to the lost around us.  We know the end of the story, but we also know the heart of the story – God is not willing that any should perish.
Are you offering the invitation?  Have you received the invitation?

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:  though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”  Isaiah 1:18  
Come.  NOW.  Don’t wait.  This is an urgent invitation.  Israel’s sin was full.  Judgment was coming.  Yet, the Lord graciously offered another opportunity to sort things out.  He was still willing to grant forgiveness if they would repent.
Repentance was the key, but I love the way the Lord opens the way with a place of welcome.  “Come now, and let us reason together”, he says.  He isn’t standing over them with a big stick, but standing before them with open arms.  He is inviting them to the table for discussion.  They will not be able to reason away their sin, but God isn’t afraid to give them ground upon which they can enter into dialogue with him.
This is a good example for us in witnessing.  Approaching the lost man with a big stick does not make the gospel inviting.  His doom is sure, but we must give him ground to enter the dialogue.  He must have a place where he can hear and see the gracious willingness of God for his salvation.  To reason together is to use the Scripture to bring light.  It is to make space for the Holy Spirit to penetrate the soul and bring the knowledge of sin and usher in conviction.
Romans 2:4 says the “goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”.  Man’s sin is a fact; no amount of reasoning can take that away. But sin is not a drawing card; sin separates.  Goodness, reasoning, kindness, welcoming; these are drawing cards.  The Lord says to the sinner, “Come.”
Is that the voice your lost family and friends hear coming from you?  Do you seek to show them the love of God or the judgment of God? Are you offering them space for dialogue or shutting them down?

“…thy kingdom come…”  Matthew 6:10
It is a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, but one reiterated throughout the generations.  “Thy kingdom come” is truly a prayer with the future in mind.  We know from Scripture that the kingdom of God is not on this earth right now. That blessed hope, that soul’s desire for the His kingdom, has been the prayer of the saints.  In the book of Revelation we see the prayers of the saints used as incense and finally answered as the deceiver of this world is cast down and judged.  Then, the kingdom of our God is totally established.
But, what about today?  As we pray, “thy kingdom come”, can it only be used as a prayer toward the future?  While this is the real intent of the phrase, I think we can use it also as a personal challenge.  As we dwell upon His kingdom and what it will be like, we can evaluate our own hearts. 
Tiegreen sees it this way, “What is Jesus like?....He prefers forgiveness over condemnation; He is merciful to those in all sorts of pain; He hates hypocrisy and loves humility; He welcomes those who are honest about who they are and honest about who He is; He does amazing works and encourages His followers to do the same; and He loves the Word of God.”
God’s kingdom is about all of these things and more.  As you meditate on what His kingdom will contain and then look to measure your life by Christ’s example it challenges your motivations, your reactions, and your service.

Ask yourself. Does my Christian life exemplify God’s Kingdom?  What do I need to alter in order to better conform to His kingdom and the example of Jesus?  Am I truly ready for His kingdom to come?

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