Once again, we have reached that time of year that’s supposed to be full of “cheer and goodwill toward men.” There is anticipation in the air, especially for the kids, and people will ask, “Are you ready for Christmas?” While I do enjoy the special TV programs and seeing all the beautiful decorations, my answer usually brings a surprised look. It is simply, “I’m ready for December 26.” (all emphasis mine)
Before I get the “Scrooge” award, I do enjoy the season, but for me to worship my King, it’s a 24/7 everyday event. It hasn’t always been this way, but about 35 years ago, I came to realize that if I were to take my last breath right then, I would be bound for the Lake of Fire. There were some “prayer warriors” who were steadily asking the Father to have the Holy Spirit to get that message through to me. I don’t know who all of them were, but I will always be grateful for them, and today I honor them by praying for others to come to the Lord and be saved.
The day I called out to Jesus to be my Savior, I started reading God’s Word sincerely for the first time in my life. With each passing day, I could feel the development of a relationship with the Savior and knew I would not let any day go by without thanking Him, praising His Name, and giving Him all the honor and glory for the gift that He has given to me.
It’s not as if I didn’t have a “religious” background, for in my younger days, any time the church doors were open, we were there. I knew all the “stories” like “Daniel in the lion’s den,” “David and Goliath,” and many more. I took for granted that whatever the preachers and teachers said was truth without ever getting into the Word for myself. After calling out to the Savior about 35 years ago, I went cover to cover in several different translations over time and discovered there were discrepancies between God’s Word and what I had been taught all those years in church.
There were verses in James that said I didn’t have because I didn’t ask (James 4:2-3). The first time I read those verses, I asked the Father to “open” my mind to help me understand more about His Word, more about His Son, and to “correct” me where necessary. Slowly but surely, and with the help of good study Bibles, my preconceived notions have gone away. The Bible is no longer just a big book with a lot of stories and a list of “do’s and don’ts.” It has become a Letter of Love from my Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Also, it’s for all who wish to accept it.
What’s so sad is there’s a lot of people who refuse to believe in the Savior, and they really don’t realize the consequences of this. Satan loves it. He and his followers do everything they can to pull away souls from Jesus, and they are quite successful. Matthew 7:13-14 tells us that Jesus knows more will accept the things of this world rather than accept His gift.
Some others believe, as I did, that Jesus is real, but if we’re “good” people, we’ll go to heaven someday. Some only think of Jesus two times a year, Christmas and Easter, and they believe this is all they have to do. Both attitudes are perfect for a reservation in the long line at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. That’s the one where people end up in the lake of fire with Satan and all his followers.
Our most loving and merciful Heavenly Father has not made our pathway to be with Him full of secret rituals, pomp and circumstance, and unending works. He has given us one way, as Jesus tells us in John 14:6. “Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Acts 4:12 states the same thing.
God promised in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The Father wants all to know what the simple steps are to follow that will ensure us eternal life. Many so-called man-made religions have so many steps and regulations that their members never really know if they will ever attain a spot in their paradise. This is what Jesus faced with the religious leaders of His days on this earth.
Just remember three words: Admit, Believe, Call. All of these are found in Romans 10:9-13, and there’s really nothing to add to these verses. The biggest one is “Believe”; believe and have faith that Jesus is our Lord; He died for our sins; and we have the gift of eternal life by receiving and accepting Him as our Savior. We have the faith that God’s Word is true and complete (Titus 1:2). For the gift to be ours, it must be “opened” (accepted). Otherwise, it’s as if it were rejected. Can anyone imagine getting a gift at Christmas and then just putting it on a shelf in the closet and just leaving it there unopened?
There’s a song on YouTube that I would encourage everyone to listen to. It’s Elvis Presley singing, “If every day was like Christmas.” His final line says it all. “For if every day could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”
Jesus, Paul, and others gave us a picture of what would be here at the end of this age. While each point that was given has been with us to some degree over the years, they have never been here all at once and not in the intensity as they are today. It seems that anything that has to do with our Jesus is causing a lot of people to label believers as “haters.”
This comes as no surprise to Jesus, as He told us in John 16:33 that it would be this way. He said we would have tribulations in this world, but He overcame the world. He encourages us to maintain our faith and belief in Him, and in the end, we will be with Him forever when we are taken up at the Rapture.
Only the Father knows who is saved and who is not. In our daily prayers, we need to ask Him to touch the hearts of any of our loved ones that are not true believers. God will force no one to call out to Jesus, but there’s nothing that says He will ignore our pleas to give them encouragement.
With every sign and attitude that is in this world today, it is obvious we are about one step away from entering the 7-year tribulation period. For all believers, this means we are half a step from the “cry with the voice of an archangel, and the sound of the Trumpet of God.” Then, “in the twinkling of an eye,” or less than one second, we won’t be here. We will be taken up to meet the Savior in the air to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
That’s the positive side. On the negative side, all who have not received and accepted Jesus will be left behind to face the worst period of time this earth has ever seen. There will be many people martyred, and we’re told in Zechariah 13 that 2/3 of God’s chosen people, the Jews, will perish. It won’t be much different for the rest of the world, either.
To survive this terrible time, people will take a mark of some kind, which means they will dedicate themselves to the antichrist. That will be the second unforgivable sin. The first is to die without having Jesus as their Savior. All who refuse the mark will be subject to being martyred.
We will all spend eternity in one place or another; Heaven or Hell. There are no other options, and where each person will be will have been chosen by them. God wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), but as stated earlier, He will force no one.
Today would not be too early to decide where you wish to spend your forever. No one knows the day nor the hour that Jesus will call, but He did say we would know the “season.” The time is ripe now for this age to end and the next phase to begin.
Joshua 24:15 paraphrased says to “choose whom you will serve; but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Luke 21 gives a lot of signs of the end of this age, and verse 28 states when they begin to happen, the time is very near. That beginning started a while back, and as said earlier, is increasing in intensity. We would love for you to be there when our Great Shepherd calls us Home.
What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see! Come, Lord Jesus!