So the church I went to on Sunday had a special guest, Ted Shuttlesworth, come and speak and they had campmeetings all week. This man is a speaker of the signs of the times and I suppose you could call him a prophet and healer. He gave a good message on Sunday that was refreshingly not doom and gloom as many signs of the times messages tend to be...although to be honest I just remember liking the message, I didn't take notes so I don't remember what he actually said. But he got me thinking, which sometimes is not good, but this time it is...and not confrontational as my thinking usually is. I've been surrounded by the Christian world my whole life and an active part of it for about 2 years. And so many people that I've spoken to (outside of Gateway) seem to take on this 'doom and gloom' kind of approach to the rapture, and the 'signs of the times.' I often hear things like, "ohhh, Obama being president is a sign of the end times, now what will we do?" and "oh there's war in the middle east, the end is near!" (although, really, when HASN'T there been war in the middle east?), "earthquakes and hurricanes are overtaking the world, Jesus is coming soon." Now, emphasis tends to get lost in writing--those statements don't seem bad, right? Jesus coming back isn't a bad thing. The problem is that the way many people say these kinds of statements, it's in fear and sadness and an overall, "oh no!" kind of way. If you believe in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, and have a personal relationship, then you should be rejoicing! I personally don't believe the whole 2012 thing and am certainly not convinced that the end is near, but if it is, I am glad. Why would one rather live on this earth than in the heavenly earth that will be? I don't know about you, but I want to walk on a gold street. So what if the end is near?? Great! If you are a Christian--a follower of Christ if you rather--than you have nothing to fear. Here's a thought (oh hey it's kind of controversial), and it's just a thought--not necessarily something I actually believe--but I've heard and some of my family have said this: "You know the US isn't a country mentioned in Revelation..." and it pretty much ends there. Think about this for a second: Christians are raptured before all the horrors begin (this is what I believe), America was built as a Christian nation and let's say that the highest percentage of the rapture is American (stay with me lol) and America's population is signficantly lowered as a result. Theoretically, after the rapture, America would most definitely cease to be a great power, if a power at all, in the world. It wouldn't be necessary for America to be mentioned in Revelation. JUST A THEORY--REMEMBER I DIDN'T SAY I ACTUALLY BELIEVED THAT. It's just a thought that popped into my head as I was thinking. Anyway, I say, "bring on the end times!" If it happens in my lifetime then great, if not, I'm still ending up in the same place, I just may have to wait a little longer. No earthly being can say when Christ is coming back...hence the whole "thief in the night" thing. Yes we are to be ready. So be ready, be JOYFUL people! Not 'oh it's Y2K' get ready, but get your hearts, your souls ready!
I like what CS Lewis says, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." And we are, we are made for the new heaven, not this worldly earth.
It is hard for me to understand how a believer could not rejoice in this:
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
That was heavy, but it was weighing on my heart since Sunday and had to share it.