In recent months, there is a phrase that has been haunting me:
“Time is running out.”
I don’t fully understand to what this repeating theme is referring.
But there it is…everywhere I turn…another reminder that time is drawing short.
I don’t know if it’s personal, national, or global.
With that in mind, I am motivated to reach out as far as I can
to share what hit me yesterday.
I was working on my homework for Bible Study Fellowship.
One of the questions had us compare three sections of
scripture that describe Christ.
The verses are John 1:1-5, Revelation 3:14, and Revelation 19:11-16
I’ve read these verses before…more than once…but never had I read them together.
In a flash it was seared on my heart and mind that it is ALL about Jesus.
Not just my life, not just Christianity, not just Salvation,
not just reaching some far off land of Heaven “someday.”
Our very breath…our life…our existence…
No. It’s even bigger than that.
The very existence of EVERYTHING.
It ALL exists because of Christ!
He was there in the beginning when our world was first created.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing made had being.
In him was life,
and the life was the light of mankind.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not suppressed it.
He was there when God breathed life into the first man who ever lived.
He came to us in flesh form so there could be greater
understanding between God and man.
He came to us in flesh form for the purpose of
paying the price that justice demands of our sin.
He endured greater humiliation and suffering than
any one of us could have possibly handled.
He endured intense punishment meted out by cruel men for a purpose.
He endured this punishment with full knowledge of what His rights were.
He endured this punishment with full knowledge of what power He held back.
He endured this punishment knowing that the choice that was His to make.
He could have chosen to walk away.
He could have used His power to destroy all who opposed Him.
He did not choose His own way.
He made a conscious decision to obey His Father, our Creator.
Going on a little farther, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet — not what I want, but what you want!”
Justice demands payment of debt. This debt is one we could never repay.
He knew that the chasm between God and man that sin caused
could only be bridged by a blameless sacrifice.
He was the ONLY ONE who could meet that requirement.
He was/is, indeed, our only hope of rescue.
In the greatest act of mercy that this world has ever known,
God stepped into our place to pay our debt.
“This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life — in order to take it up again! No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”
I love the written word.
I have always loved words and would read
anything and everything I could get my hands on.
I did not love force-fed words at school, but I understand now
that sometimes we must be pushed to expand our horizons.
Oh my goodness…my horizons exploded yesterday
when the Truth hit me between the eyes!
I was eight years old when I decided to invite Christ into my life.
I had seen the love that some of his followers had for others,
even for strangers, and I wanted to know more about this Jesus.
My walk since then has been marked with faltering steps.
I have fallen more than once, but He always provided a way for me to stand again.
I found myself in deep pits that I could not see my way out of,
yet His arms stretched long and He rescued me repeatedly.
I have experienced sweet comfort and victory when walking closely beside Him.
I have experienced intense despair when I strayed from His side.
He always brought me back.
We humans are complicated creatures.
He knows this about us, and loves us still.
My human side wants my own way more often than not.
The side of me that has tasted God longs for Him
when I get distracted with other things.
God knows us better than we could ever possibly understand.
He knew we needed “someone with skin on” in order to relate personally.
He knew we needed Jesus.
We needed His words…His teachings.
We needed His loving embrace.
We needed His holy example.
He knew we needed to know He understands our struggles.
He knew how important words are to me.
He knew how my heart longs for accuracy in words.
I LOVE to sing. I love to sing along to any song that I hear.
This is why there was an increasing clash in the music I was listening to regularly.
As my knowledge of the Holy One grew,
I recognized that the words I was singing were wrong.
They no longer reflected my heart.
I was in a conundrum.
I didn’t know about Christian music other than hymns.
Hymns have their place in worship and sometimes
in my everyday life…but I needed more.
I wanted fun songs that were clean and safe to sing around anyone.
I wanted songs that reflected my moods, even when I was struggling.
When I found Contemporary Christian music,
it was like finding an incredible treasure trove!
So many different styles to match so many different moods!
All with lyrics that are safe and clean, yet real and honest.
He is Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides.
This could have been enough for me…but
there was more He knew I needed.
He provided struggles that were indescribably painful,
not to punish me but to grow me.
He provided friends who walked alongside and
helped steady me when I was falling apart.
He provided an education through multiple avenues to bring me closer to Him.
I longed for Him and He has shown Himself faithful and true at every turn.
He has always known exactly what I needed.
When I discovered in one of my studies using the Interlinear Bible (literal translation from the Hebrew to English and Greek to English for the Old and New testaments respectively) that the common translations of scripture altered a significant event in the life of Christ, I was deeply troubled. I searched and searched to find a translation that actually conveyed the words of my Lord in the way He said and meant them. A worthy investment, The Interlinear Bible is MASSIVE and too heavy to carry on a regular basis.
I needed something more portable.
I was always a bit baffled at the scene in the book of John, chapter 18 (verses 3-8) that describes when the guards came to arrest Jesus.
I never understood the guards’ reaction to his answer:
So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers
and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.
They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,
went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.
If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
Almost every single translation I could get my hands on phrased Christ’s
answer to the men looking for Jesus of Nazareth as “I am he.”
In my studies of the Old Testament, I learned that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob referred to Himself as the “I AM”. The capital letters are significant.
Now…read it again in the Complete Jewish Bible translation
(I added the red letters to highlight Jesus’ words):
So Y’hudah went there, taking with him a detachment of Roman soldiers and some Temple guards provided by the head cohanim and the P’rushim; they carried weapons, lanterns and torches. Yeshua, who knew everything that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Whom do you want?” “Yeshua from Natzeret,” they answered. He said to them, “I AM.” Also standing with them was Y’hudah, the one who was betraying him. When he said, “I AM,” they went backward from him and fell to the ground. So he inquired of them once more, “Whom do you want?” and they said, “Yeshua from Natzeret.” “I told you, ‘I AM,’” answered Yeshua, “so if I’m the one you want, let these others go.”
He was not just answering that he was the man they were looking for…
He was identifying Himself as God Almighty!
He was identifying Himself as the God of their forefathers!
This was an intense moment of power and clarity that was supremely significant.
THAT is why the guards reacted as they did.
Words matter. Words have power. We must get them right.
In Revelation 3:14, these words are used to describe Christ:
‘Here is the message from the Amen,
the faithful and true witness, the Ruler of God’s creation:
And these in Revelation 19:11-16 describe Him yet again, as He battles against evil.
Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, “THE WORD OF GOD.” The armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — “He will rule them with a staff of iron.” It is he who treads the winepress from which flows
the wine of the furious rage of ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies.
And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written:
KING OF KINGS
LORD OF LORDS.
Evil has been allowed to roam freely on this earth but its power and time is limited.
There comes a day when all the wrongs will be made right.
He is the Victorious One.
Jesus was there in the beginning…and there in the significant events of the middle…and will be there at the triumphant end. He is faithful and true.
He is the beginning and the end.
“Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
God does not simply offer an escape from eternal punishment through the blood sacrifice of Christ. He offers a life on earth that is more abundant than we can measure out on our own. By delaying your decision of what to do with Christ, whether to accept Him or reject Him,
you are missing out on all the good that He holds and wants to
provide for you while you walk this planet.
The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy;
I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.
Do you have empty places inside? He can and will fill them.
Do you have wounds that need to be healed? He can and will heal them.
He will provide everything and everyone you need.
What can possibly compare to the gift your Creator offers?
What will be your final answer?
How long will you wait before deciding?
I beg of you…choose wisely and choose soon!
Time is running out.