Are you prepared to stand firm in the last days? I believe those last days are nearer than ever.
Today, I’m happy to bring you a post by Dr. Tim Riordan, who has a new book out called Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days.
Tim is a pastor, Bible teacher, and a student of scripture. He currently serves as the senior pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia. He and his wife, Sandra, have six children and live in Newnan.
What is going on in the world? This question seems to be on the minds of many people today as we consider world events. For those of us who are Christians, there is another question on our minds: “Do world events have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus?”
While God is clear in His Word that no one knows when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36), He also tells us in the same passage to “keep watch.” He gave us specific prophecies in the Bible related to world events telling us these would be indicators that His return was near, and He stated that these anticipated happenings would grow in increasing intensity: “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8).
There is no doubt that we are seeing a growth in intensity of world turmoil, and some of these specific prophecies are becoming more pronounced with every passing day.
If we are living in the last days, what does this mean for the Church? What does it mean for you and your family?
It is because of my burden for the Church and my belief that we could be facing very challenging days in the near future, I wrote my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. I believe that God has given Christians equipment, or armor, to help us endure the evil days leading up to Christ’s return and to bear fruit during a time of unparalleled opportunity.
Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” With this passage going through my mind, I began studying Bible prophecy about the last days comparing it to the teaching of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6.
The connection was significant, and I believe there are important implications connecting the spiritual armor to the last generation of believers. If Christ doesn’t return in our lifetime, then He certainly could in the lifetime of our children or grandchildren, so this teaching is critical for the Church today.
I encourage you to consider our times and the teaching of Scripture. Study Bible prophecy with an eye on the evening news and consider how the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 will help you prepare for what is to come.
What do you need to do to put on the spiritual armor of God so you will stand firm in the last days? Being immovable is really not an option for the Church.
The world is desperate to see strong, healthy believers standing firm in the last days. When the winds of heresy and deception blow, will you be immovable, holding firmly to the truth of God?
The only way you or I will stand firm is if we put on the armor of God and allow the immovable Lord Jesus Christ to live victoriously through us.
Tim is also the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms.
You may click on both titles to purchase at Amazon. For more information on his books or ministry, visit his website at timriordan.me.
Charles Spurgeon once told a wonderful and thought-provoking story that went something like this:
A small, lovely plant, but with inadequate development, grew beneath the shelter of a sprawling, old oak tree. Though dwarfed in the giant’s shadow, the little plant didn’t realize it, because he loved his position under the spreading limbs of his towering friend and cherished resting in his shadows. He appreciated the covering his noble friend cast and revered his peaceful place under the tree’s foliage.
One day, a woodsman came and, with his finely-honed ax, cut down the oak tree. The little plant bewailed the loss of his friend. But cried more for himself.
“Oh, my friend is gone. All my shelter from the storms and shade from the heat of the sun have departed. Now, the rain will beat down miserably upon me and the furious winds will snatch me up by the roots!”
An angel came and said, “No, precious one, God has a blessing for you. Now, the sun will give you the necessary nutrients you need and the rains will be more abundant than before, allowing all the growth you need. Now, your stunted appearance will burst forth and laugh in the sunshine. Soon, you will display a greater loveliness with heavenly flowers, which could never have blossomed while you were in the shade. Passersby will take notice and say, ‘My, how the little plant has grown! Look how glorious it has become with all the blossoms! It is no longer hidden in the shade; it leans into the sun.’”
God lovingly removes our comforts, advantages, opportunities, and, sometimes, our resources to make us better Christians. To remove what seems good and replace it with what is better. To prove our faith and trust in Him. And puts us to a test, to try our mettle.
Spurgeon said, “The Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service.”
The Lord’s commands test His soldiers with hard service just as nature’s elements test the mighty trees with severe storms. Because of the adverse trials, both become stronger.
The rough stones in our daily paths, the mighty waves of circumstances crashing against us, the lack of necessities, the steep climbs of the mountain heights of obedience, all these train us to grow by the conditions that come our way. These things fit us to be well-trained soldiers, strengthening us into prepared sentinels.
Only God knows the elements that make us grow strong, that fit us for battle.
God is fitting you to be one of His foot soldiers.
Do you bewail the removal of things in your life, or do you praise the Lord for a new outcome? Do you know He wants to bless you?
(Recently, Stephanie Shott asked me to be a guest poster on her blog. This is the post that I share with you today. I hope you will hop over and visit her wonderful blog.)
From the opening pages of the Bible, God relates to His people in a closeness of companionship so intimate that He compares it to a marriage relationship, as He said to Israel, “For your Maker is your Husband.” (Isa. 54:5a Amp)
In the closing pages, this relationship remains paramount, for the Father sent His Son as the heavenly Bridegroom to woo the heart of the perfect Bride into holy oneness with Him. The chosen companion suited for the heavenly Bridegroom as Peter says, “for you have been chosen by God Himself…you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own.” (1 Peter 2:9 TLB)
The Bride’s Preparation
In the ancient, Hebrew betrothal tradition, the groom departed from his bride-to-be to build the couple’s new home, which took approximately one year. During this time, the bride prepared her bridal necessities and equipped herself for her new life. All her wedding finery had to be ready at a moment’s notice, for she never knew when her bridegroom would come to snatch her away.
When the time came, the bride wanted not only to look her very best for the one she loved but also to be the very best for him, to be a good reflection on his name and his character. You see, the betrothed couple was considered married, yet they were not allowed to live together. Therefore, her behavior reflected on him.
How is Christ’s Bride living?
How is the Bride of Christ spending Her time while waiting for Her Beloved Bridegroom to snatch Her away? Is She preparing those things necessary for Her nuptials?
Does She love Him with all Her heart and soul, or does She entertain other loves? Is She doing the things the Holy Spirit leads Her to do? Is She studying the Word? Does She rearrange Her schedule to make prayer time a priority? Is She a good reflection on Her Beloved’s Name and character? Just what exactly is She doing to make Herself ready?
How does She look? How is She dressed?
Would a bride go to her wedding naked? Would you consider her appropriately dressed for her grand day of aisle-walking if her beautiful, bridal gown was covered in mud or big blotches of stains? Would she want to greet her beloved in that condition? No, of course not! A bride is immaculately dressed in her pristine, wedding attire, looking her absolute best for her bridegroom on their wedding day.
Likewise, is the Bride of Christ dressed in her pristine, bridal finery and ready for Her day of divine marriage? Or is Her garment dirtied with the stains of the world? Things like doubt, worry, unforgiveness, complaining, judging, gossip, lying, adultery, pride, impure thoughts, busyness, internet porn, other addictions, or anything else that grieves the Holy Spirit?
Have these mud-slings diverted Her focus from Her Bridegroom? Has She forgotten that Her behavior reflects on His Name and character?
Jesus asks His Bride, “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15 NKJV)
James tells us of the one who remains true to Her Beloved, “The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who…remains true to the Lord-not soiled and dirtied by his contacts with the world.” (James 1:27 TLB)
Is the Bride ready?
Is Christ’s Bride ready for Her day of snatching away? When the heavenly Bridegroom arrives, will He find us with a mopey face, hair covered in the ashes of doubt and worry, breath smelling of negative words, and dressed in a ratty, old rag of self-pity, ripped and spotted with worldly residue?
Or will He find us as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2 NIV), adorned with a smile on Her face, joy in Her heart, songs of praise on Her lips, and be dressed in a pure, spotless gown of holiness?
Oh, sweet believers, may our lives be so holy and our readiness so complete that we shall have no sorrow when the Bridegroom comes calling for us, His beloved Bride.
“Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” (Matt. 25:6b KJV)
Are you ready?
…shorts in the heat of summer
…sweater or jacket in the cool fall
…boots and heavy coat in the cold and snow of winter
…umbrella in the spring rain
You wouldn’t think of going out naked, well, I hope you wouldn’t anyway. You need appropriate covering.
And when you dress, especially for church, a party, or a wedding, you put on the appropriate garments, the best, clean clothes you have, right?
What about a bride? Would you consider her appropriately dressed for her grand day of aisle-walking if she were dressed as a frog, or Ronald McDonald, or perhaps in a nun’s habit? Silly, huh?
How about if her beautiful, pristine bridal gown were covered in mud or big blotches of stains? Would she be appropriately dressed? Would she want to greet her beloved in that condition? Heavens, no! A bride is immaculately dressed in the proper wedding attire, looking her absolute best for her bridegroom on their wedding day.
The Bible says, “Be prepared – all dressed and ready.” (Luke 12:35 TLB) While this is great advice for the flesh, it is even more appropriate and of utmost importance for the spirit.
Is the Bride of Christ dressed in her bridal finery and ready for Her day of divine marriage?
That’s you! If you are a Christian, you are part of the Bride of Christ. So, how will you be dressed? How will you appear to your Beloved when He comes for you? Will you have a mopey face, hair covered in the ashes of doubt and worry, breath smelling of negative words, and be wearing a ratty, old wedding gown of self-pity, ripped and full of the stains and dirt of the world?
What muddies or stains the Bride’s pristine garment? Doubt, worry, unbelief, strife, unforgiveness, murmuring, complaining, hypocrisy, bitterness, judging, gossip, speaking against others, lying, adultery, fornication, idolatry, hatred, selfish ambitions, envy, stealing, cheating, filthy language, covetousness, pride, impure thoughts and lust, internet porn, other addictions, or anything else that grieves the Holy Spirit?
Have these things diverted Her focus from Her Bridegroom? Has She forgotten to think about Her behavior and how it reflects on His Name and on His Home? Has She forgotten that the One Who created Her is joined to Her in the holy oneness of the covenant of divine marriage? God said, “Who are you…that you should forget the Lord your Maker? …For your Maker is your Husband.” (Is. 51:12,13, 54:5 Amp)
When the Father gives the Bridegroom the go-ahead to snatch away His Bride, you will not be afforded the luxury of having time to take a shower, change your clothes, or even look back and say goodbye. This will be an instant come-as-you-are party. Will your robe of betrothal be unspotted and ready for you to meet your Bridegroom?
So, if you knew tomorrow was your last day on earth, how would it affect your behavior today? Are you, as they say, good to go? Are you “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband,” (Rev. 21:2 NIV) adorned with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, songs of worship and praise on your lips, and dressed in a pure, white garment of holy betrothal?
I want to be good to go. I want to keep my divine wedding gown cleansed and ready, because I anxiously await my Bridegroom’s appearance, to see Him for myself, to see the One John the Revelator saw, the One “dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance…When I saw Him, I fell down at His feet like a dead man.” (Rev. 1: 13-16 NIV, 1:17 GNB)
In that day, I shall look upon Him, and my “eyes will see the King in His beauty,” (Is. 33:17a NKJV) and I shall fall down at His feet and worship Him.
“Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” (Matt. 25:6b KJV)
How will you be dressed?