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Are you Rapture Ready?

Are you Rapture Ready?

As people living in these troubled times consider the mounting problems facing civilization and the growing fear they will encounter a major disaster at some point in their lives, a whole new culture has emerged among them.

They are known by many different titles—survivalists, preppers, retreaters. Concerned about natural disasters, social mayhem, terrorist attacks, or even nuclear war, they are going the second mile in preparing to survive. Survivalists come in varying degrees of preparation. Many simply set aside flashlight batteries and water to prepare for common situations such as floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes. However, others have built underground bunkers capable of sustaining life for several years. Some emphasize self-defense in case of social collapse and food riots, while others are getting ready for nuclear disasters and worldwide pandemics.

The culture even has its own lingo. BOB stands for “bug-out bag,” which contains articles you take with you should you need to flee quickly. EDC means “everyday carry,” which are things you carry with you at all times in case a disaster strikes suddenly. And you might even be labeled by them as a “Pollyanna”—someone in denial about the possibility of a large-scale disaster.

But do you really need to keep up with programs like Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel to be ready for the end of the world as we know it?

As we’ve seen, the Bible teaches that someday soon Christ will return and everything will drastically change. How can we be ready for it when that happens?

Should we start by storing a few months' worth of provisions and head for the hills? There are certainly wise preparations you can make in case of a disaster, but what does God tell us is the most important preparation for the second coming of Jesus?

For one thing, ongoing communication with God is crucial in surviving coming end-time events. When speaking of how to survive the calamities immediately prior to His return, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36, emphasis added).

Wilderness lookouts spend their summers living in a tower surrounded by forest. During the fire season, their job is to
continually watch for fires caused by careless campers or a lightning strike. They stay in constant radio communication with forestry stations. Likewise, we should “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2) and, because “the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).

Having a vibrant prayer life and an ongoing relationship with the Lord are the most important components in surviving the last-day deceptions and in being joyfully reunited with Jesus at the second coming.

PROVISIONS FOR THE END TIME
One of the fundamentals in preparing to survive a calamity is to make sure you have the basic elements of food and water. But Jesus also said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The book of Job, a historical story about a man who lived through calamity after calamity, affirms, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12, emphasis added).

Being rooted in the Word of God will help you avoid being deceived in the last days and to live a life that honors the Lord. Remember, Christ warned that the final deception will be so persuasive that if it were possible, even the saved would be tricked by it! (Matthew 24:24). Jesus also said that the wise and the foolish will experience a tremendous storm, but that only those who hear and do His words will survive until the end (Matthew 7:24–27).

In John 7:37, 38, Jesus proclaimed, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” To have the Living Water of Christ means to allow Him to come into your heart so that you can be like Him. “Most assuredly ... unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

As we wait for Jesus, He wants us to prepare our characters for living in the eternity to come: “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5–7). To help us do this, He has promised to “put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10).

One way to keep Jesus at the forefront of your life is to share Him with others. First Timothy 4:16 says, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” This is the time to boldly set our lamp on a hill and keep the gospel light blazing bright! (See Matthew 5:14–16.) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods" (Matthew 24:45–47).

HAVE ENOUGH OIL
Finally, the Bible warns, “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’ ” (2 Peter 3:3, 4).

One way to be unprepared for Christ’s return is to underestimate the enemy and lose a sense of vigilance. True, there are extremists who are like Chicken Little, constantly telling us the sky is falling. It’s easy to brush off fanatics and become lethargic about the times in which we live.

Before the invasion of Pearl Harbor, noted journalist Clarke Beach wrote on September 6, 1941, “A Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world, with one chance in a million of being successful. Besides boasting more powerful defenses than any other post under the American flag, it is protected by distance.” Beach misjudged the power of the adversary!

In the parable of the ten virgins, Christ taught that in the last days some Christians would fall asleep while waiting for the Bridegroom to return. They would lose faith and patience. They would end up running out of oil—that is, the light of the Holy Spirit. That’s why when speaking of His return, Jesus said we must always …
 

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33–37).


Preparation for Christ’s coming is more than advertising that we are a member of the right church or carrying around a baptismal certificate. Being ready for Jesus isn’t just about having a religious pin stuck on your lapel. It means to have the power of Christ living in your heart, praying daily for the vital oil of the Spirit to help you be ready.

Like the five foolish virgins who tried to get oil for their lamps from their friends, you can’t borrow a relationship with Jesus. It must be personal. Do you have a genuine friendship with the Bridegroom?

You can be ready for the soon return of Jesus by taking time each day to come to the cross of Christ. Ask Him into your heart and to wash away all of your sins. Invite the Spirit to empower you to be prepared for that great day when our heavenly Bridegroom will come to receive those who are truly ready for His coming. And when the shout goes out, “Look, the bridegroom is coming!” you can lift up your torch with great joy and reply, “This is our great and loving God, let’s go out to meet Him!”

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