Don’t Pull Out the Plug

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord.

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At one time or another, we have experienced a season of disappointments on God’s plans and directions in our life. There are moments when we pop the question, “where are You Lord, and why is this happening to me?” We doubt His instructions, and more so His instructions, or most of the time His silence – His seemingly lack of concern to the emotional turmoil we are dealing with.Don't Pull out the PlugThis has been the case with prophet Habakkuk. He lived during the final days before the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. He was burdened, and in his distress he called out to God in the most honest, truth-seeking prayer he can mutter.

As I read the book of Habakkuk, I was able to glean significant realizations on how do we relate to God during our times of distress and how can we be encouraged with the example set out by the prophet. But the most important thing to note is that Habakkuk is just like us, so natural on his emotions, but unlike most of us, he is exemplary on his faith.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we can honestly cry out to the Lord

The prophet was brutally honest about his frustrations on what is happening around him. Injustice was rampant and he is sick with violence and plundering he witnesses from time to time. His frustrations were vent out to God: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?”

Is this scenario familiar? Daily we hear the news and cringe on humanity’s dying morality and justice. National issues frustrate us every single day.

Let’s make it more personal. We all have our share of frustrating situations, like being backstabbed by a close friend, or failure to settle a maturing debt. Or maybe, a loved one was rushed to the hospital, leaving us in a state of panic.

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers.

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord. He doesn’t mind you asking Him questions, neither is He bothered when you blurt out your doubts. Habakkuk is a perfect example of a person who courageously uttered His frustrations to God. In the first place, He knows our hearts and all out thoughts, so why shy away in your prayers?

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers. The good thing about Habakkuk’s prayer is not just his honesty, but to whom He expresses it. He knows that when it comes to the matters of the heart such as his frustrations, only the Lord has the answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we must wait upon the Lord

Habakkuk received an answer from the Lord, but the answer is not what he has expected to hear from the God of justice. It was like he is expecting that good will triumph against evil, but what he received as a response was “something more evil will wipe out the evil” – a stark contrast from what he desires to happen, or at least expects to happen.  He obviously cannot fathom God’s train of thought on that matter.

Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

Just like us. We pray for certain things to happen but God gives us a different response. Indeed, His ways are higher than ours. His timetable is different, His logic incomparable to us human beings. Hence, some ends up being bitter, forsaking their relationship with the Lord.

Yet when it comes to Habakkuk, the Lord’s incomprehensible response served not as a reason for him to desert God, but as a reason to cling to God more. In fact, his name Habakkuk came from the Hebrew verb “habaq” meaning embrace. Thus his name probably means “someone who embraces or clings”. Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we ought to put our joy in the Lord

Disappointment in life is often a ticket to sudden halt in our spiritual journey. When things don’t go well, when we can’t find any reason to rejoice because of what we see around us, it is easy to lose focus and energy, even lose joy in our Christian walk.

During the time of Habakkuk, it is hard to find encouragement when you know that imminent danger is coming your way. Yet Habakkuk chose to put his hope and joy in the Lord. Towards the end of his book, he has written an encouraging psalm that is for us to take hold of:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Habakkuk is saying, in our language, that “even when all things went wrong – even when the economy falls, when the prices of commodities soar high, when the elections turn out differently from what I am expecting, even when my health fails and people desert me – still I will trust in You Lord. You are the source of my Joy and my strength, and in You alone I place my trust”.

This doesn’t mean we will dismiss our questions. This doesn’t mean we will stop seeking answers. This only means that even when we don’t understand his plans, we will not pull out the plug of our relationship with Him.

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Habakkuk is encouraging us, don’t pull the plug.

When Good God Gets Angry

When the good God gets angry, will you repent and take His offer?

When Good God Gets AngryWe are familiar with Paul’s words to the Romans “If God is for us, who can be against us?” This is a comforting message to claim when the world turns its back on us. When we feel persecuted and we face people’s angst on us, we know that we got God on our side. If He is on our side, does it matter who is against us?

But what if God has this to say: “I am against you”? Does it matter who is on our side? We can have all the superpowers and the most influential in this world but if God is against us, we know we are in deep trouble.

This is the overwhelming message of God to Nineveh through the Prophet Nahum. Nahum, whose name means “comforted”, or “consolation”, brings a message of destruction for the ruthless city of Nineveh, who was once offered mercy when they repented through Jonah’s reluctant warning a century ago. It is as if they “repented of their repentance”. They turned their backs to the Lord who offered them mercy.

Now they are back from their old, evil ways. Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, brings terror to their neighboring countries, overpowering their enemies. They were so cruel that they would leave cities utterly destroyed. And now that this ruthless nation turns its attention to God’s own people, He finally intervened.

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.
But with an overflowing flood
He will make an utter end of its place,
And darkness will pursue His enemies.

What do you conspire against the Lord?
He will make an utter end of it.
Affliction will not rise up a second time.

Nahum 1:7-9 (NKJV)

How do we reconcile God’s wrath with God’s love? Is one primary and the other one secondary? Are they flip sides of the same coin? Or is there no way to bring consistency out of these two natures of God?.

Yet while He is committed to bring about justice, He is a good God – a God full of patience.

When the Bible speaks of vengeance, it is not because about Him getting even because He’s into retaliation. It is not because He wants to get even with all the offenses we have done against Him. What He’s after is for justice to be served. He is a just God in the first place, and should He opt to not to bring justice, He is not worthy to be revered. Being just is one of His unchanging nature. His righteousness and commitment to what is good and just is evidenced by His anger against evil.

Yet while He is committed to bring about justice, He is a good God – a God full of patience.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.

The Lord has His way
In the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of His feet.

Nahum 1:3 (NKJV)

God isn’t delighted when the people He created will also be the subject of His wrath. He doesn’t delight in the suffering of the wicked so He gives His people an opportunity to repent. He gives His people an opportunity to see how wrong we have gone, how unruly we have become. He is totally committed to bringing about justice because of His holy anger, yet He is also totally committed to His people. That is why He is slow to anger. He can both be good and angry.

In His total commitment to execute justice, there should be a recipient of such judgment. Someone has to pay the price. And unfortunately, we are all worthy candidates. But again in His total commitment to His people, He is the One who provided an offering to receive judgment. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, justice is served. Through Jesus Christ, we can be set free from God’s wrath, only if we believe and take for ourselves what He did on the cross for us.

When the good God gets angry, will you repent and take His offer? Or will be like Nineveh and ignore the warning?

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

God is indeed a compassionate God.

hammer-802298_1920Our social media newsfeed is now being populated with promising politicians whose primary concern, according to their TV ads, is to bring an end to our poverty. These promising politicians claim to be interested in helping the masses in their dire time of need and are making assurance of their willingness to stoop low, be one of us, make us feel like we are indeed their ‘boss’.

Welcome to the comedy of our democracy.

And when I say promising, what I am referring to are their many promises, and not their leadership potential.

We have become a breeding ground for politicians who have been professing much and performing little. But is the conduct-creed disparity applicable only for politicians? Or has it already been ingrained in our system?

Corruption
The prophet Micah, in his ministerial time, has seen all the illnesses of his generation. He was sent to declare God’s message to a generation where there is rampant corruption. Obviously, his message of rebuke to the people is never welcome. In fact, a person who tells people what is really happening in the world is not welcome. Yet the Lord’s message has to accomplish its purpose in the lives of the people.

Through Micah, the Lord has declared judgment against Israel and Judah for their oppressive deeds to the poor. The wealthy keeps on amassing wealth for themselves, leaving the poor helpless. Land grabbers deceive those who are unfortunate to defend themselves. There was manipulation on the economy to favor the greedy. As a result, those who have very little end up with even less.

Worse, their leaders aren’t even concerned with the welfare of the people.

Her heads judge for bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord, and say,
”Is not the Lord among us?
No harm can come upon us.”
– Micah 3:11

So the Lord, in His righteousness, has to pound the gavel.

“Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple
Like the bare hills of the forest”
– Micah 3:11-12

Is this scenario familiar?

Condition
The Lord isn’t pleased with the corruptible lifestyle of the people in Micah’s time. And He holds no different standard when it comes to us. He gives a warning not to condemn us nor annihilate us, but for us to come to repentance. When God gives judgment, often He delays the execution, not because he is indecisive but because He is merciful.

The problem with the people in Micah’s time is that they claim to be the Lord’s but their actions prove them otherwise. They brag about being God’s chosen nation yet they are not even living up to God’s instructions.

He doesn’t want His beloved people to perish in the first place. So He has given us our hope, Jesus.

The problem with the people in Micah’s time is that they claim to be the Lord’s but their actions prove them otherwise. They brag about being God’s chosen nation yet they are not even living up to God’s instructions. What really, does the Lord require of them? Likewise what does the Lord requires of us?

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly
To love mercy
And to walk humbly before your God”
– Micah 6:6-8

Do justly – The people of Micah’s time have been earning money through unjust practices, thus jeopardizing their integrity and testimony. This is a direct affront to the righteousness of God. Remember that the Lord upholds justice and He doesn’t want people to take advantage of others.

Love mercy – God is close to the brokenhearted and he cares for the poor so much that’s why he wants His people to be His eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet that will take care of these unfortunate people. However, this is not the case with them. Rather than getting help, they were beaten, harassed and worse, robbed by their own people.

Walk humbly – When humility is absent, the people elevate themselves to a point that they think they no longer need God. Micah’s contemporaries think to themselves that the Lord doesn’t care so they will just take matters into their own hands. They became proud of themselves and insulted God in the process.

In these three areas, the Lord wants us to represent Him in a world where there is too much corruption and materialism. Our religion is not a title that we brag before about people to show our spiritual status. There must be no disparity between our creed and our conduct.

Compassion
Again, God is not a God who delights when people gets punished because of their sins. He is a compassionate God, One who desires the best things for His children. That is why He warns people of the impending judgment should they continue sinning. His mercy and compassion doesn’t contradict His just nature. He cannot say He loves us and allow us to continue living our sinful lifestyle.

The good thing about Micah’s ministry is that the people who were lending him a deaf ear at first eventually did listen to him. Even King Hezekiah, the king of Judah that time, was deeply impressed with his message. He led the people in repentance and a measure of blessing soon followed.

He doesn’t leave us without hope. We may be drenched in the mire of moral corruption or materialism, but there is no depth of sin the forgiveness of the Lord cannot reach us.

Likewise, in our own sins and failures, God offers us his forgiveness. He doesn’t leave us without hope. We may be drenched in the mire of moral corruption or materialism, but there is no depth of sin the forgiveness of the Lord cannot reach us.

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
– Micah 7:18

God is indeed a compassionate God.

Great Kindness

It is not our duty to choose who God wants to bless and bring to His kingdom. Our duty is to bring the message.

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The book of Jonah is perhaps one of the most interesting books in the Bible. Compared to the other Minor Prophets, his book is more like storytelling than usual prophecy and oracles. Para kang nagbabasa ng children’s story, with special participation of the wind, the waves, the worm, the withered plant at syempre yung great fish. Gusto ko man sabihing whale to be consistent with the W’s but to set the fact straight, it was a great fish, not a whale, as the Bible says. This makes the story more captivating!

Okay, back to the background of the story. Jonah is a kind of character many of us can relate to. Unlike the prophet Amos who was called into the ministry from being a farmer and vinedresser, sabihin na nating Jonah is a prophet by profession. If there are people who consider themselves to know the will and messages of God more than the others, Jonah can enlist himself. He knows the Lord intimately. He has a personal relationship with the One who made the heavens and the earth. He is on a very privileged position.

He goes to church, has a ministry, attends to his personal devotions – he got all things working out well under his Christian sleeves. Until the Lord called him to do something that is quite uncomfortable to him.

Kung ilalapat natin sa context natin, Jonah is a devoted Christian. He goes to church, has a ministry, attends to his personal devotions – he got all things working out well under his Christian sleeves. Until the Lord called him to do something that is quite uncomfortable to him. He was called to go out of his comfort zone and bring the Christian message he enjoys to people who are so wayward and unpleasant in their ways. Ipinapadala siya sa isang mission trip.

Going on a mission trip is an exciting experience. Lalo na kung ang pupuntahan mo ay isang napakagandang lugar, away from home and your usual environment. A few years back, I was involved to go on a mission trip which lasted for more than a month. It also happened that the place we will be staying is on a seaside. Imagine, araw araw mong makikita yung dagat! I really enjoyed those moments – nagtuturo ng mga bata sa tabing dagat, nagbabasa ng Bible o ng kahit anong libro sa dalampasigan, sinasalubong ang high tide at low tide, namumulot ng starfish, naghihintay ng sunset at kumakain ng sariwang mga seafood, straight from the saltwater. It was more like a vacation than a mission, I confess. One more thing, the people are so receptive to the message, or at least they want us to feel that way. We’ve opened Bible studies and has successfully led a number of people to accept Jesus. If all people will just be as receptive as them when it comes to the gospel, there will be wonderful results to world evangelism. Yet, this is not always the case.

Jonah was sent to a place called Nineveh, where people are known for violence and all the rude descriptions you can think of. It was even described that their wickedness has reached God himself. God sent Jonah to warn them that they will receive God’s judgment should they not repent from evil and change their ways.

But Jonah, instead of going to Nineveh, went instead the other way – to Tarshish. He clearly disobeyed God. Kagaya natin. God asks us of one thing but we choose to do the exact opposite. Yet God’s plan can never be thwarted by man’s disobedience. So while Jonah was on his way to Tarshish on a boat, God used the waves and the wind to knock Jonah to his senses. Dahil sa kanya mapapahamak pa ang kapwa niya mga pasahero! Soon enough, Jonah realized his mistake and allowed himself to be thrown into the sea. Then and there, the waves and the winds calmed, and his co-passengers worshipped the Lord.

God is still for the salvation of Nineveh, but he is also concerned with the safety of His messenger Jonah, so He sent a great fish that swallowed Jonah. For three days and three nights, Jonah was inside the belly of the fish, and there he realized the extent of his disobedience and the greatness of God’s grace to him. The book, after all is not about the great fish but about the great God.

The fish brought Jonah to Nineveh. Hindi talaga magpapapigil si Lord. Once again God instructed Jonah to warn the people that if they do not turn away from their wickedness, they will soon perish. This time, Jonah obeyed. He preached in the middle of the busy streets of the city and the people responded to his message positively! The king issued a decree that all of the people and all their livestock are to repent from their sins and end any form of violence!

It was a compelling reason for Jonah to be thankful and to celebrate because the Ninevites has come to their senses, yet Jonah was far from being happy. After his task was done, he stationed himself at a distance, waiting for what will happen. And there, the kindness of God has confronted Jonah to his face.

This is Jonah. Minsan, ganito rin tayo. We often think that we are exclusively entitled to the blessings of God because we are the ones who “takes him seriously” in our speech, schedule and style. But God’s grace extends even to people we like the least. It extends to people who doesn’t have the same faith and culture as ours.

Jonah knew God to be merciful and forgiving. And He doesn’t want the Ninevites to receive the privileged position he enjoys with the Lord. He wants exclusivity. To Jonah, the people of Nineveh doesn’t deserve the kindness of God, much more His blessings. Little did He know that God’s mercy and forgiveness isn’t exclusive. It is free for all who sincerely seeks for Him.

This is Jonah. Minsan, ganito rin tayo. We often think that we are exclusively entitled to the blessings of God because we are the ones who “takes him seriously” in our speech, schedule and style. But God’s grace extends even to people we like the least. It extends to people who doesn’t have the same faith and culture as ours. It extends to the rich and to the poor. It is not our duty to choose who God wants to bless and bring to His kingdom. Our duty is to bring the message.

Jonah sulked because God has shown mercy to “undeserving” people”. However, who is deserving by the way? That is why I am forever grateful for God’s grace. Are you?

Arrogance and Downfall

Have you ever wondered why there are people who are so arrogant and self-righteous yet the Lord seems not to care?

The book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, yet being the shortest doesn’t mean that he has the least message to say. This book assures us, as children of God, that He got us covered, and those who are arrogant has a special place in His judgment.

Have you ever wondered why there are people who are so arrogant and self-righteous yet the Lord seems not to care? Given, there are people who are rude and lawless in their acts, but I am referring to those who think so highly of themselves that they have reached the level of ‘beyond annoying’. Umamin ka na, even once in your life may nakilala kang ganito ang ugali.

This is the case of the Edomites, Israel’s neighbor to the south. The Edomites trace their roots from Esau, Jacob’s older brother. If you are still familiar with your Sunday school story, Esau and Jacob have this sibling rivalry even while they were still in their mother’s womb. They grew up fighting over the attention of their parents, and eventually parted ways when Jacob pretended to be Esau with a stew and goat’s hair and deceived their father. In fact, their family is an excellent source of lessons for parenting and sibling relationships. Good thing, after a very dramatic episode on the latter part of their life, the brothers agreed to embrace peace and forget their rivalry.

However, generations later, their descendants are still in conflict with each other. The Edomites are still hostile with their Israelite cousins. Their hostility led them to think that they are far above and greater than their neighbors. Because they lived in seemingly impregnable cities that were cut out of rock cliffs, they arrogantly felt as if nothing could touch them. Lalo na nang ang kanilang kaaway ay inatake ng ibang bayan, sila ay nagdiwang at nagtawa pa sa sinapit ng iba! O di ba, parang kontrabida lang sa telenovela!

God hates pride so much because it is an overemphasis on self. It is as if saying that we can go along well even without God.

If there is one message that the book of Obadiah wants to tell us, it is that those who are proud will be humbled, those who think so high of themselves will be brought to low, and those who rely too much on their own will soon find their efforts crashing down.

God hates pride so much because it is an overemphasis on self. It is as if saying that we can go along well even without God. The Edomites has adopted this kind of arrogance. They thought they don’t need anyone else, not even God. The Bible says, “pride goes before destruction” – and God issued His verdict through Obadiah that soon enough, the Edomites will receive what their deeds deserve. The pride in their hearts has deceived them and it caused them their downfall.

Now, if you know someone who has the kind of arrogance like the Edomites (o baka naman tayo rin pala ang ganun), remember that God’s primary concern is not to bring them to their destruction; neither are we entitled to condemn. We are to love and pray for them, thinking more of their salvation than their judgment. Keep in mind that God’s judgment is reserved only to those who refuse to acknowledge Him until the end.

petra-782955_1280
The ancient city of Petra, now in ruins.

The history books tell us that Edom did OK for perhaps a hundred years after their final warning from God’s prophets. Then, during the fifth century (400-499) B.C. the “Edomites” were overwhelmed by other Arab groups. In turn, these groups were taken over by the Nabataeans, who started living in the area sometime around 312 B.C. By the way, the Nabataeans, not the Edomites, are the people who cut the temples in the sandstone walls of Petra. Under the Nabataeans, the city of Petra flourished until 106 A.D., when the Romans conquered Petra. From that time it slid into disuse, to the point that Edom was almost uninhabited from the 7th to the 12th century A.D. It revived slightly in the 12th century when the crusaders built a castle there called Sel. Afterward, it remained so forgotten that it had to be rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss traveler Johann. L. Burckhardt. (Source: http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/fulfill.shtml)

The Lord is Speaking, Are You Listening?

Amos has heard of the Word of the Lord and he took it seriously. How serious are you with the Lord?

We all have different calling in life. Some are called to serve as public servants, others as entrepreneurs. Others still, choose to devote themselves to ministry and making a difference in the lives of others. Iba iba man ang ating pinagkakaabalahan, dumadating tayo sa punto na kuntento na tayo, kahit pa routine na lang ang lahat. Ok na, we can go along. When we get exposed to something at nakasanayan na natin masyado, it eventually becomes our comfort zone. Ayaw na nating umalis, kuntento na.

Not so with Amos. He is a farmer, specifically a dresser of sycamore trees, and a shepherd. All his life he is devoted to tend the animals and the sycamore trees under his care. Probably he is content with his lot. But when he heard God calling Him to be a messenger to the Israel, he willingly obliged.

Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, we are always left with two options: either to take the Word seriously and obey, or to ignore the Word and delay. In the case of Amos, he chose to obey.

Having heard from the Lord made Amos obey without any compromise because he is convinced and he trusts the One who is calling him for a career move. Take note that he is no professional prophet, but he took the challenge seriously because he who called him needs to be taken seriously. Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, we are always left with two options: either to take the Word seriously and obey, or to ignore the Word and delay. In the case of Amos, he chose to obey.

What he did is no simple task. Hindi kagaya ng pagpapalit lang ng company o ng lugar na titirhan. Originally from the land of Judah, he was tasked to preach in the land of Israel, a land enjoying a time of prosperity yet the people engaged in corruption and moral degradation. In fact the time he set foot on Israel, he was confronted by a priest named Amazaiah and told him to just go back to the sheep and the sycamore trees. “Di ka rito nababagay. Di ka naming kailangan. Bumalik ka na lang sa inyo. If you want to preach, preach there. Don’t earn your living here.” Napagbintangan pang pinagkakaperahan ang ministry! Good thing, Amos didn’t back off.

Their outward religious rites don’t necessarily reveal what’s going on in the inside. And to make things worse, they are so impressed with themselves and their religion, looking forward for God’s blessing to shower upon them as if they have done nothing wrong.

He has a message of warning to the people of Israel – na sa kanilang karangyaan, sa kabila ng katiwasayan ng kanilang buhay, nakakalimutan na nilang makinig sa Diyos. The Israelites has been living a life of compromise and hypocrisy. They have forgotten the fact that they are a people of God and that they should be a living testimony to their neighbors of God’s faithfulness. They have been living a prosperous life, full of magnificence, but their hearts are far from the Lord. Their outward religious rites don’t necessarily reveal what’s going on in the inside. And to make things worse, they are so impressed with themselves and their religion, looking forward for God’s blessing to shower upon them as if they have done nothing wrong. And God wants to rebuke them through Amos.

Amos has heard of the Word of the Lord and he took it seriously. So serious that he went the distance and faced persecution because he knows how serious the Lord is as well. He was able to stand for what is right and resist going through the motions. It became possible because he heard the Word of the Lord, and he took it seriously.

The Lord is speaking, are you listening? Will you take Him seriously?

If Jesus Comes Back Today

Jesus is coming back. Rend your heart, not just your garments.

If Jesus chooses to come back today, I wonder how the world will react. I bet netizens will be so active in flooding their social media feeds. I’m thinking of hashtags like #TouchdownJesus or #WelcomeBackJC will trend with number of posts and tweets unimaginable. Acts of compassion and kindness will be most evident during these times. But these events are just pigments of my imagination. In no way these are biblical, purely speculative.

If Jesus comes back today, what would really happen? We have accounts on the Bible that says His coming will be like a thief in the night – no one knows when. Yet with certainty He will soon come and take with Him all those who are His.

But more than the manner and the specifics of His return, have you ever thought about how you will choose to welcome Him?

We are living on the last days where all major signs of His return happens right before our very eyes – wars and rumors of war, pestilences, drought, unexplainable weather disturbances, uncanny sightings of celestial bodies and rampant evil. If Jesus will ask us for reasons why He ought to return now in our generation, I believe we can raise enough justifications. But the prerogative is not in our hands. Only the Father knows when.

But more than the manner and the specifics of His return, have you ever thought about how you will choose to welcome Him? I have heard of a story of a good lady who patiently waits for Jesus’ return that she refuses to go on a bath thinking she might get caught naked and unprepared. I just don’t know if she’s still holding on to this resolve.

Yet the lady is preparing herself. No matter how silly it may sound to us, no matter how extreme her view is, the bottom line is she wants to be prepared. Because who knows, the Big Day might come tonight or tomorrow?

The prophet Joel has this to say: “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.”
Joel 2:12-13 NASB.

Preparation for the Lord’s coming is not about keeping your hairs and your nails trimmed, nor making yourself presentable. Our earthly appointments calls for that kind of preparation, but our preparation for His coming needs the rending of the heart.

Preparation for the Lord’s coming is not about keeping your hairs and your nails trimmed, nor making yourself presentable. Our earthly appointments calls for that kind of preparation, but our preparation for His coming needs the rending of the heart. To rend ones heart is to make it open, available for the mighty works of God.

Are we prepared for His return? Have we forgiven those who trespassed against us? How about leaving our sinful lifestyle behind and clothe ourselves instead with humility, kindness and love? Have we opened our hearts to the Lord? And most importantly, have we accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation and full life?

The day of the Lord is not just another day in the calendar or a significant news-worthy, trend-worthy event. It is a dreadful day to reckon with, knowing that He will come both in judgment and in love. In judgment for those who rejected Him, refusing to apportion His grace for the wages of sin; in love for those who long for His return, patiently waiting in faith for the consummation of His promised redemption.

Jesus is coming back. Rend your heart, not just your garments.