By: G. J. Fortier

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-37 (NIV)

Is this the year?

I’ve heard this question, or some form of it, asked hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years. Heck, I’ve asked it too. Many a New Year’s Eve I’ve pondered whether the coming year would be better (usually hoping for financial prosperity and not the really important stuff), as good as or, Lord forbid, worse than the previous one. The sad truth of it is that the future is entirely what we make of it. There is no luck involved. No amount of kissing pretty women at midnight will harbor good tidings. The coming year will be what it will be. There will be good times and, unfortunately, there will be bad—possibly even tragic times ahead, and the only thing that we can do about them is place whatever situations we might face squarely in the lap of Jesus. Good, bad or indifferent, how we deal with our trials should always honor Him.

I know it’s hard. I’ve suffered my share of heartbreak. The death of a parent, a family member or a close friend. The loss of a job, a divorce, or a child who disappoints us with their life choices. The trials that we will face might truly be beyond count. We’ve all been through it, and if you haven’t, don’t worry, you will. None of us can avoid it, just as we can’t avoid our own eventual fate. We will all die. At least, this Earthly body will. We will all leave behind loved ones who, so long as we remain in this life, we will worry about how they will deal with the loss that they will feel at our passing. But, until then, we, as Christians, have a responsibility to those around us—especially the so-called pagans—to be an example. We are to work hard to let the light of Jesus Christ shine through us for all to see!

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I fail more than I succeed in these verses.

As I’ve mentioned many times, my favorite book of the Bible is James. It’s kind of like Cliff’s notes. It touches on almost everything without being verbose. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with prose. I just like being able to read an entire book in less than fifteen minutes (and I’m a slow reader). The book of James tells us that we should rejoice in our trials, because whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and that’s some words to live by in this day and age. But, is today really worse than times gone by?

I really don’t think so … but that’s another article.

Then there are those who believe that the “end times”—what ever that rather dramatic phrase means—are nigh. I suppose that they think that the prophecies that we’ve read are getting to the point of becoming reality. What do I think? I have no idea. In the verses above it clearly states that “no one knows” and I believe that anyone who claims to might just be a couple of—floors short of the penthouse; fries shy of a happy-meal; cans less than a six-pack; etc. But hey, I could be wrong. The rapture could happen at any time and those of us who are saved will see what glory looks like. But I have to ask the question: why should we be that privileged generation who gets to see Jesus descending from the clouds when all of the generation’s past were denied it?

Who cares?

When it happens, it will happen, just like everything else. When it does, I seriously doubt that any of us will stop and ask “why?”. We’ll be so caught up in the ecstasy that is God and His kingdom, Heaven, that all thoughts of this world will dissipate like mist after a summer rain. We’ll concern ourselves only with the tasks that He will assign us and the things in eternity that we will experience that are beyond our wildest imaginations!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to that.

Frankly, there have been many times when I’ve thought that I’m just not having that good a time in this life. Let’s face it, the prospect of eternal life with our Heavenly Father can make this life seem like … well … a waste of time. But, believe me, it really isn’t. We have a responsibility. We have a God given duty to bring the message of His love to those who are lost in this world. It’s no wonder that there are so many evil acts committed when those who are responsible for them are either misled into believing that it’s “god’s will”, or have absolutely nothing to put their hope in. For them, the end of this life is just that, the end. It’s up to us to bring the saving grace that is the sacrifice of Jesus to them. I mean, come on! It’s as easy as belief, repentance and acceptance. There isn’t even any hazing to be done!

Bottom line: If you’re here on this Earth, there’s a reason for it. That reason is the glorification of the trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.