Are You Ready to Meet Jesus? A Message for the Christian
Bride and Groom, Licensed with Shutterstock
"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming...For this reason, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will." Matthew 24:42, 44
Are you ready to meet Jesus either when He comes to take you from this earth or at His Second Coming? What must we do to be ready? How do we need to prepare in order to be received into Heaven and not sent to Hell? In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable referring to a wedding feast that sheds light on this important topic. The wedding feast represents Heaven and the father who gives the wedding feast for his son represents God the Father and Jesus. "But when the king (the father) came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes... Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot and throw him into outer darkness (Hell) where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:11, 13). The man was not ready for the wedding feast. Not having the right attire is referring to not having the right heart condition. God looks at the condition of our hearts. It is comparable to a man being present in a church building every Sunday, but his heart is not present. He shows up late and leaves early. While there, he texts his friends or daydreams about the week to come. A woman is not ready just because she has said 10 words of a salvation prayer. If she does not choose to follow Jesus daily and to live like Him, then she is not ready. Nor is she ready because she can quote hundreds of scripture word for word. Our thoughts, words and actions need to reflect the condition of our hearts. We need to be "married" to Jesus in our hearts! Jesus gives us another parable which refers to 10 virgin brides (you and me) waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). Out of the 10 brides, 5 were foolish because they were not ready for the bridegroom. "The bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding (Heaven)... Later, the other virgins also came saying, 'Lord, Lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you'" (Matthew 25:10-12). The foolish brides were not ready when the bridegroom arrived. They were present at the door with oil for their lamps, but they ran out. Their love ran out. They were no longer in love with the bridegroom. They no longer put him first. He didn't know the brides because they didn't talk with him or walk with him or listen to him. This can be compared to the Christian who quotes the Bible, but does not live it by obeying the Word of God. If we love God with our whole hearts, then we would obey Him because we desire to please Him. It's all about the heart. In the Bible Jesus said, "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Mark 7:6b). To the leaders in the Temple who quoted scripture with ease, Jesus said, "So you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:28). He also said, "There is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him, but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile a man...For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts...deeds of wickedness...all these evil things proceed from within and defile the man" (Mark 7:21-23). When we meet Jesus face to face, whether at the moment when we die, or at the Lord's Second Coming, we will be judged based on the condition of our hearts, and not solely on our outer appearance. Are you ready to enter the wedding feast? Is your wedding gown without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27)? Is your lamp filled with oil? Do you love Jesus with your whole heart, and mind and strength? I pray it is so, for you and for me.
Prayer Dear Lord, give me to a deeper revelation of Your love so that I can love you the way that You deserve. Give me grace to obey the First Commandment, which is to love You with all of my heart, with all my mind and with all of my strength. Give me the desire to meet with You daily, to talk with You and listen to You. Give me a hunger for Your Word, so that I will read it and apply it to my daily life. Make me into Your bride, ready for the wedding feast in Heaven, which You are preparing for me even now. Amen.
This photo sums it up! Claire made me laugh! She brought me joy! She accepted me and loved me unconditionally. Claire and I met 10 years ago at a Christian women's group. As the group was being discontinued, Claire began to weep. When I asked her why she was weeping, she replied, "Because I won't get to see you anymore." Right then, I knew that I needed to get her phone number and make it a point to visit her. And this I did, happily. Once Claire went to live at Riverview Healthcare, we would take Claire to visit for the day in our home, and so it happened, that she won a place in the heart of my family. It was like we adopted Claire, which was wonderful, because my husband and I do not have family members who live locally. My husband Steve, two of our sons and our daughter came to enjoy Claire's company just the way I did. And there was a bonus for Claire, because she loved to be around our 4 cats. Several times we brought Claire to our home for summer cookouts and on those days she loved spending time with the little ones. Claire loved to go out for lunch and Newport Creamery was a favorite. That was because she loved to order their Awful Awfuls. For the last few years we took Claire out to eat for Chinese food on Christmas Eve. This was following a Christmas Eve service at her church, Faith Fellowship. On all of these occasions, Claire filled our hearts with love and so we weren't so lonely in the absence of our relatives. I'm going to miss Claire's jokes, in which she never was at a loss. No matter how badly she felt or how dismal things looked, she always found some humor in life's circumstances. She was a vessel of God's joy and His love. I want to thank God for the gift of Claire in my life and in my family. I would like to ask Him to give her the biggest bear hug He can muster. And also, to tell her that I love her.
It's Christmas eve morning and I am supposed to be joyful. Tis the season. But my heart is sorrowful. My heart is breaking.
When Jesus was a baby and his parents took him to be consecrated to the Lord, it should've been a joyful occasion for his mother Mary. But she heard Simeon's words to her, "and a sword will pierce your own soul." My heart has been pierced with the thought that Mom's life on earth is about to end. I keep breaking down crying ever since I heard this news on December 15th.
It is hard to sleep at night and then hard to get out of bed in the morning. I've suffered heartbreak from the loss of loved ones in the past, but it has never been this hard. I feel numb; like I'm on another planet, far removed from reality. My brain fails to work when it ordinarily functions with ease.
Mary was again filled with sorrow as she stood at the foot of the cross and watched her grown baby's life pour out of his body. I am watching Mom's life pour out of her body. In my recent visit, I noticed she lost at least 100 pounds since my last visit 18 months ago.
Jesus knew what what it felt like to be sorrowful. In the garden of Gethsemane, he told his friends, "My soul is sorrowful even unto death." His heart was breaking because he knew he'd have to suffer a harrowing death at the hands of wicked men. Mom is having to suffer a harrowing death at the hands of wicked cancer. Cancer cells are riddled throughout her whole body causing her much pain. I wish she didn't have to suffer like this. Dear God, take all pain from Mom's body.
I do not wish for Satan to steal my joy, not in this Christmas season, nor any other time of year. Joy is from heaven, given to Christ-followers as their inheritance. It is a substance or virtue in which no person or thing on earth can offer, only God. So I profess God's words over myself from Isaiah 16:1-3...
Jesus, you died a cruel death so that the wounds of my broken heart would be healed. Heal my heart now Jesus. Make it whole. You died to comfort all who are in sorrow and to strengthen those crushed by despair. Jesus, comfort me and strengthen me. Jesus, you died to give away the oil of joy, instead of tears, and a mantle of praise instead of heaviness. Jesus, take my heavy heart and give me a spirit of joyous praise. Thank you Jesus. I need you. I love you.
Take care of Mom for me and be sure to take her straight to heaven where I will one day accompany her when it's my time.
*Annette Hahner is a writer, poet and blog contributor.
*Kathy Colasante is a native Rhode Islander, nurse, wife of Michael and mother of six. She loves to write when the Spirit of God prompts her.
*Kathleen Bailey is better known as Mama K in New England. She is a pastor and founder of Kingdom of Dominion Teaching and Training Center. Kathleen is grateful for her husband John, 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.