I enjoy reading. Have you ever read a book where the more you read the more you want to read? The Bible can be like that, but many don’t even begin it because they think it’s too hard to start; but for those who do it never fails to reveal exciting truth about themselves, about God and about what happens when we get to know Him.
One of the exciting things about the Bible are the prophecies held within it. One trusted academic source estimates some 1,239 prophecies exist in the Old Testament and over 578 in the New. The precise number may vary because some scholars subdivide a prophecy into different sections, but the one thing agreed upon is that the only prophecies that remain to be fulfilled (speculated to be between 7 and 14) relate to those surrounding the return of Jesus Christ. Now I’m not a statistician, but I would say that there’s a pattern emerging!
St Paul in his letters repeats the call to the early church to be ready. It’s a call which still resounds strongly today. Get ready because history is going somewhere. Jesus will return; we don’t know when, but we are told it will be sudden and take many by surprise but for those in relationship with Jesus there is nothing to be afraid of because they are children of the ‘light’ and of the ‘day’ with a future that is safe and secured. But knowing Jesus is so much more than an eternal life insurance policy. It’s about living and knowing life in all its fullness now.
Every person I have ever met who has given their life to Jesus says they just don’t know how they ever lived before their heart was opened to the reality of God in their lives; but a decision needs to be made and God honours the trust placed in that decision.
Even when that decision has been made, Paul warns against us sleeping and encourages us to remain alert and in control. How might we help one another in this? The answer is in the last verse with the call to action to constantly encourage one another and to build one another up in the faith and in our relationship with Jesus. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to one another to ensure that we discover all that Jesus has for us that we might live our lives in the freedom and fullness that Jesus promises for us. There are so many different ways we can do that these days with recordings of the Bible for our smart phones, podcasts, video teaching on You-Tube, study guides etc etc.
Let’s encourage one another in the faith, but remember to do that effectively we need to stay alert ourselves and to grow daily in our knowledge and understanding of all that God has planned for us.
With the Lord’s Blessing
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale