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Prepared to Wait

As we continue our study of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is closing His End-Times teaching with His disciples.  These are His concluding statements.  They’re important for us to hear and understand.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”
Mark 13:32-34

He starts by saying that the exact day and hour will be a mystery.  Even Christ, when He took on our humanity, did not retain that knowledge of when that day would be.  Of course, now in His glorified state, Jesus knows when He will return.

His first command to the disciples and us is to watch.  The word literally means to be sleepless.  I don’t believe that the Lord means physical sleep in this verse.  It’s our spiritual eyes that we must keep open.

Too many of God’s people seem to be blind to what’s happening in the spirit.  They go to church for an hour or two a week and expect that this will provide them with everything they need to know.  I wish that were true.

We need intimacy with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.  That’s the only way to remain spiritually alert and vigilant in these Last Days.

 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Mark 13:35-37

Jesus is explaining to us a little bit of His time frame here.  Even though He never tells us exactly when He’ll return, He gives us some hints to help us be ready.  He doesn’t want us to be taken by surprise.

Jesus tells us the most important hint as we wait for His return.  He says that He will come when you don’t expect it.  Please be careful when reading the words of Jesus here.  Many miss the whole point of what He says.

Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him.  What’s going to throw people off is that He’ll arrive later than they thought it would be.  That’s what He’s emphasizing in this verse.  The Lord said that it could be as late as midnight, the early hours of the morning, or even dawn.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over to your house tonight?”?

“Sure,” you reply and you wait for me to show up.  7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by.  At that point, you’ll probably shut the porch light off.  At 10 o’clock you might be in bed.  At 11 o’clock you’ll definitely be in bed.  If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying.  He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think.  There will be a time when people think that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not.  We could call that “prophetic midnight”.

If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed.  We’ve got to be careful.  Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come before certain prophetic events occur.  Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.”

As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He’ll come later than we’re expecting.  Jesus said that if the servant knew when the owner was coming he’d be ready.  We need to be spiritually awake and alert no matter what the future holds.

Question: What do you do to remain spiritually alert?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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You’re in the Battle Zone – Stay Alert

mhXQFuIWhether you know it or not, the world is a spiritual battle zone right now. Unless you have the right mentality, you could become a casualty of this war. That’s why it’s so important to know how the Bible says for us to live.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:17-18

As I’ve posted in the past, this verse is talking about the authority and power of God. The Lord wants to work this through us. To read the series where I talked about this – click here.

In this new series of posts my question is; if we know we’re in the battle zone, then how should we live? The last sentence of this passage literally reads attend to this with all persistency and petition. The fact of the matter is that there’s a battle zone mentality.

The first thing we’re told is that it requires us to be alert. The Greek word there means to be sleepless. We must be awake and alert in the battle zone.

We’re told in this same chapter of Ephesians that our enemy isn’t flesh and blood. They don’t take a day off. Does that mean we don’t need rest or take a vacation? No, but we have to stay spiritually vigilant no matter what’s happening in our lives.

“There’s not much going on in my life right now. I don’t need to pray today.”

That kind of thinking can destroy you in this battle. Look at how Jesus put it to His disciples.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

Watching – staying spiritually alert – and prayer go together. According to Jesus, it’s so that you will not enter into a test, a proving.

In the battle zone there are traps and ambushes. You must be alert. Like someone who’s walking in the middle of minefield. At that point you’re in the test.

Did you know that many of the tests and temptations of life can be avoided? I wonder sometimes how many of these battles are of our own making. Or maybe we’ve just walked blindly into them.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

This is how the enemy works. In the natural, it’s the oldest, weakest lion that does the roaring. The strong, young lions wait on the other side of the prey. When the prey hears the roar and runs away from it, they run right to the lions waiting for their dinner to arrive.

It’s the same with our spiritual enemy. He’s trying to get you to head into a trap. We have to keep spiritually alert at all times. That only happens as we watch and pray. It will help us to avoid many of the problems that are before us.

Stay alert!

Question: Can you think of a time that you were tested or tempted because you weren’t spiritually alert?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Last-Days Mentality

ChristDo you believe that we’re living in the Last Days before the coming of the Lord?  Do you think that His return is close?  If so, then what should our mindset be like?

At one point in His ministry the Lord talked about the importance of being ready.  We’re not to be distracted by all the things the world has to offer.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36

In this verse Jesus shows us how to live in the last days.  He tells us to be dressed.  For us it means to have our spiritual armor on.  Don’t go around without your protection from the snares of the enemy.

Too many Christians are walking around spiritually naked.  Then they wonder why the enemy has such an easy time messing with them.  The time is now to prepare for the conflict ahead.

The Lord also said to keep your lamps burning.  We must be awake and alert.  The world is in the dark and we’re supposed to be in the light.  That’s the kind of constant preparedness our lives should be equipped with.

We are to be in an attitude of waiting and watching.  The meaning of the word that He uses for waiting is to give access to.

In other words, I’m not living for myself.  I’m at someone else’s disposal.  I’m supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice to do something for somebody else.

The Lord must have 24 hour a day access to our lives.  As soon as the Master knocks we should be at the door, opening it.  Our schedule should not even factor into it.  We live to please the Master.

Sometimes our attitude with the Lord sounds like this; “Oh, I’m sorry.  I was reading a book, and I wanted to finish the paragraph.”  Servants don’t have that luxury.  We live to please Christ.  We must be prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

In order to fulfill this calling we must have the attitude of a waiting servant.  Christ is coming, and we want to be ready when He appears.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or what I’m eating – when He arrives on the scene, I’m there to meet Him.  “Lord, I’m ready for you.”  That’s the ready attitude to have.

It’s time for the church to stop living like our wants and desires are the most important thing.  Christ must be given the highest priority of our service.

Question: Does the church appear ready for the return of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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