Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we donâ€™t really need to write you. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lordâ€™s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, â€œEverything is peaceful and secure,â€ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant womanâ€™s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
4 But you arenâ€™t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you wonâ€™t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we donâ€™t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.7 Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence [hope] of our salvation.
9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Â Â Â 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NLT, my emphasis)
Do I remember that moment when I knew I was dying? Oh, I don’t mean physically. I mean when I was bone-scared that hell was real and I just might end up there! For the sake of others who are dying or are uncertain about what will happen when they die, that may be as an important a memory as the moment I accepted and committed myself to Jesus. It is why I am here.
Jesus said that as disciples that we are to go and teach and make disciples and baptize (Matthew 28). I am to teach all that Jesus has taught me. Some people have a spark in their hearts to share with those who don’t know Jesus as Savior. Some people, like my husband, share with those who reject God’s existence. My passion is that people would know the assurance of how much God loves them and when they acknowledge Him; He promises they will live forever with Him in Paradise. Remember the thief on the cross? (Luke 23:39-43) It’s just that simple and just that for sure.
Paul speaks truly to the church at Thessalonica and to me when he says that in darkness we sleep and do things we would not do in the light of day. Our world is often described as dark. If I spend any time at all reading or listening to the news, I will feel the darkness attempting to block out the light. Wars and rumors of wars, starvation, disease and despair push people into grabbing the momentary relief that their money might buy. But it is faith and hope and love given to me freely and in abundance by Jesus that will strengthen and sustain when all else has been washed away. It is the armor of God (Ephesians 6), put on like any soldier headed into battle, that protects my mind as I remember to Whom I belong. I stand, not in my own merit, but under the righteous breastplate of Jesus. I walk in peace because I walk in His Good News. I look at the world with the belt of His truth grounding me. I am protected from the arrows of deceit because of faith and wield a sword that is the Word of God. I do not have silver or gold to give anyone but I give what I know to be true and that is Jesus Christ.
Life lived with the assurance of Jesus and His promises is simple but it isn’t easy. I share almost daily with people that living in assurance means letting go of doubts and misconceptions so that you are able to grab hold with nothing more than a miniscule seed of faith that God will grow into a strong refuge where you can always find shelter when the storms come. It is the faith of a child, God’s child.
Come to Jesus written and sung by Chris Rice