Monday, December 17, 2007

Off the Back Burner

I've been hearing about "End Times" since I became a Christian about 25 years ago. There was a time when I was very much caught up in the idea that Jesus was coming back any day. Then it sort of got put on a back burner. I still believed it was true, but I wasn't so concerned about watching for all the signs.

Then last year my husband and I went to Israel. I stood on the Golan Heights, stared down at the Valley of Tears and thought, "This place is the pivot of history - past, present and most certainly too come."

Since then some things have happened that have rekindled my interest in those age old prophesies. The one that talks about miraculous things happening, for instance. I've been seeing a few miracles lately. These aren't the kind that come from a friend of a friend of a friend who knows someone who... these are healings that have happened to friends of mine - some of them almost family. These are people I know - people I trust. And they are miracles. Brain tumours don't just disappear on their own. People on their death bead don't usually suddenly get up and go home.

And then there's that news broadcast that talked about the "breakthrough peace agreement" in the Middle East. Well, we'll see.

Yes, we will see all of what the book of Revelation depicts. I suspect it may be quite different from what we think it will be like, but there is one certainty - you won't want to be a stranger to Christ when that day arrives.

It makes me think of those I love who don't know Him yet. And that makes me shiver. I want to shout, Come Lord Jesus, but I also want to shout, Not yet, not yet!

It could be any day. It really could.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Window Shopping

The street twinkled with Christmas lights. Our boots crunched on a skiff of snow that had fallen the night before and my daughters and I smiled and laughed as we window shopped, chatting about possible gifts for members of our family. It was fun window shopping – oohing and ahhing over the bright Christmas displays and pointing out things we liked. Now and then we’d see something we all thought was particularly ugly and we’d all groan at the same time. Now and then the display in the window was enough to draw us into the store.

Window shopping is fun, but it can’t beat being able to walk into the store and buy the perfect gift. It can’t beat taking it home and wrapping it in bright paper, knowing it will soon make your loved one’s eyes light up when they open it. It can’t beat the feeling of anticipation as you put it under the tree.

As we turn to spiritual things during the Christmas season, too often many of us just window shop. On the internet it’s called lurking. We look but don’t buy, we listen but don’t participate. Standing on the outside looking in has its advantages. We believe it’s a safe place – God can’t ask anything of us if we don’t make a commitment. We won’t have to change if we stay on the edge and stay quiet.

But window shoppers never get to feel the excitement of finding the perfect gift. Lurkers never get to express their feelings and thoughts – no relationship develops with other people of like mind. Similarly, those who do not make a commitment to Christ never know the joy of the gift of salvation. They are never able to dialogue with Jesus as a friend, a brother, a saviour. Too many are missing the perfect gift – the gift of Jesus himself.

Are you window shopping but never buying? Are you lurking but never participating?
Find the true joy of Christmas this year. Step inside where it’s warm. Find that perfect gift and take it home. The perfect gift is Jesus Christ and He’s waiting for you.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).