The Focus of Our Attention

Read most Evangelical posts and you are told that we need to keep our eyes open and be aware of the “signs of the time.” Around the world, believers are witnessing firsthand, what it means to follow Yeshua the Christ. Indeed, perilous times are close at hand. In the early days of the church, they were also facing difficult times. They asked Paul to tell them more about what was about to happen. “Paul, how do we ‘read the times?’

So, Paul gave them confidence by saying: “I don’t think I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody is walking around complacently, congratulating each other — ‘We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!’ — suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.” (I Thessalonians 5:1-3).

Well, that is pretty sound, pastoral counsel. but did Paul actually describe what would take place when Christ returned? Yep. Take a look:

“With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever. Encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Now remember, this was supposed to be encouraging. In essence, he was saying, “You don’t have to worry about those things happening on the earth. You don’t have to be overwhelmed with all the terrible signs and problems. There shouldn’t be any doubt what this is about. It’s all signaling the coming of the Lord Jesus, to take away his people.” As Paul said in another letter, “All of creation is standing on tip-toes, awaiting His arrival.” Well, I know that I am!

The truth is that history is going somewhere. There is no doubt that the swift current of events unfolding around us is indeed carrying us toward God’s eternal plans. I can confidently assure you that the world isn’t adrift, wandering in the cosmos like unattended; the Lord hasn’t abandoned the earth, no matter how wicked and faithless humanity has become. He has simply picked up the pace. What we are seeing now is a swift movement of events toward the “one divine event” ahead: the re-creation of a new heaven and earth, where Christ will reign supreme for all eternity. Hallelujah!

What I am saying is that as disciples of Jesus, our focus should never be on the daily news reports. We should never be dwelling on wars and rumors of war, or on the possibility of a nuclear war, or on all the horrendous catastrophes we hear on the news or all the other things that are happening on the earth. We should never wring our hands and worry about any of our natural needs.

Oh, I’m not perfect in all this, myself. I have confessed before that I am a “talk radio” junkie. It is real easy to focus on everything that is happening around the world, or in our own country — or even the circumstances of my own life. But when Jesus said, “In that day, look up” (see Luke 21:28), he was telling us where our focus should be.

He is our Deliverer. He is our “Ark” to run to for safety. We need to “fix our eyes” on Him. Let your prayer be “there is no one I have or nothing I desire besides thee, O God, though my heart and my flesh fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!”(Psalm 73:25-26). “As for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do” (Psalm 73:28).

So this morning, begin doing that. Gaze up and peacefully tell the Lord,

Father, I will come worship and bow down to you.
    I will kneel in front of You, our maker,
         because You are our Elohim
            and we are the people in your care,
                the flock that you lead”

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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