• Alex Rivera

This is not a Drill!

I am an avid fitness person. I love performing my workouts outdoors, but when the thermometer goes below sixty degrees, I start hibernating, waiting for the temperature to go higher. I lived in the northeast for ten years, and the winters can be brutal. A wise person suggested wildlife was the best indication to predict how harsh the weather would be. Every fall, I learned to take my cues about the upcoming winter season from the squirrels. If I witnessed high activity level from them as the weather cooled, I knew we were in for a brutal winter, and I brought my equipment indoors. Otherwise, I relaxed knowing the season would be mild or tolerable for outdoor activities.

In Mark 13, Jesus gives similar advice about activities and attitudes for believers to be aware of - clues to his return for his bride.

28Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.

32However, 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. 33And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! (Mark 13:28-29, 32-33 NLT)

Now, why would Jesus share this important piece of information with the disciples?

Jesus knew there would be cheap imitators pretending to deceive the faithful, and he encouraged them to avoid their traps and claims of being the Messiah. Jesus also knew that if humanity was not prepared for his first appearance, they could fall into the trap of discounting his second coming.

So how do we, God’s people, keep watch and prepare for the Lord’s impending return for His bride?

Know that God is God. He is the sovereign Lord of the Universe, and nothing can change this. He wants the best for us and has provided instructions to keep us safe and remain close to Him.

Know that God is faithful. God had a plan to redeem his creation since the fall of Adam and Eve through His son Jesus. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future “(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). This future has always been to live with him for all eternity.

Follow Jesus. Our transformation from death to life was instant when we first accepted Jesus, but we still have to navigate this pursuit to live a godly life. God’s will for our lives, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is to always be joyful, pray continually, and give thanks for everything.

Anticipate eternity. One day people from every nation, tribe, people and language will stand before the throne and worship God together. Jesus shares with his disciples about heaven, “You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live” (John 14:1-4 MSG).

I have never stopped watching and waiting to meet my Savior. This is not a drill we practice in hopes of getting it right. It’s a lifestyle of love and anticipation!

Lord, this Easter season, spark in your people a great anticipation for when you come back for us, and help us to live on guard and alert in light of this reality. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

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