Encouragement From The Word

Be alert

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, my phone, quietly charging on my dresser at the other end of our bedroom, started buzzing.  Funny, thought I as it awakened me, I have my phone on ‘do not disturb’.

Apparently, “amber alert” notifications trump the ‘do not disturb’ function.  I learned that at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday. Oddly, these late-night alerts have happened before, and I was not awakened; I suppose there must have been some sort of conflagration of nocturnal events that roused me from my slumber.

Amber Alerts can be broadcast at any hour of the day or night as the need arises. After all, it’s possible that an Amber Alert could contribute to saving a child’s life.  That’s why the majority of people don’t mind this intrusion into their privacy.

There is a time coming – we don’t know when, so there’s no point in predicting – when the most important “alert” you’ll ever get will happen.  Will it be broadcast to everybody’s cell phone?  I have my doubts, but when it occurs, none of us will have any difficulty knowing about it.

It’s the second coming of Jesus.

Lots of time is spent and plenty of ink is spilled over trying to deduce or discern the day and time of Jesus’ return, but that is all wasted.  Even the Lord Jesus himself said, “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24.36, NLT).

What can we do?  Be ready.  Be alert. Be prepared.  Trust Jesus as Lord and Saviour.  The rest will fall into place, irrespective of various theological constructs that may exist (and which any of us may hold dear).  He will come, and we won’t need an Amber Alert to tell us about it.

Find strength in the words of the apostle Paul:

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.  So encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18, NLT).

Don’t wait for your phone to start buzzing in the middle of the night. Trust Jesus today, and his return will be pure joy.

Advertisements
Encouragement From The Word

God’s Amber Alert for you

The Amber Alert has been around for quite a long time now, but it has become better known and more effective since social media has become so ubiquitous. Now, not only do we seek Amber Alerts scrolling across our television screens, we see them on changeable highway signs, and all over Facebook and Twitter.

An Amber Alert issued this week for a little girl from Alberta, sadly, ended tragically, with the little girl having been found dead. More often than not, though, Amber Alerts work quite effectively.

Every time I see an Amber Alert, I am reminded that God has one of these out for every human being who is not in relationship with him.

Did you ever think about it that way?

When we are far from God, God puts out an Amber Alert for us, seeking to have us returned to his care safely and quickly. Trouble is, not everyone responds to this right away. Some never respond at all.

But faithful followers of Jesus can play an important role in seeing people respond to the Amber Alert that has been set out by God for them. Our own witness, our own testimony of God’s goodness toward us, can draw people back to their Creator, back to the One who gave us all life.

How will you help a friend who is far from God respond to the Amber Alert he has put out for your friend? Every kind word, every God-given moment, can afford you the opportunity to help lead someone Safely Home.

Jesus told a story about a young man who wandered away from home. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found’” (Luke 15.17-24, NLT).

That’s the Father who puts out an Amber Alert for us all.