Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Devotional Day 24

Saturday-Day 24

The birth of a newborn demands an enormous amount of preparation. Doctor appoints must be meet, blood work completed, birthing classes are a must, and the mother must finalize the moment with a tour of the hospital. At the house a crib must be purchased, a changing table organized,  and new clothing washed before putting on the little one. The mother packs her hospital bag making sure that all needed items are ready waiting near the front door. The soon to be father makes sure that each night the gas tank is full. He understands that when the moment comes not one second can be lost trying to get gas in an empty tank. Everyone and everything must be ready for the coming of the new little one.

The same theme was a happening at the birth of the Lord Jesus. The preparations were made for the Savior of the world to come. The plan demanded that people be prepared, and a place must be secured.
The first person to get ready for the birth was Mary, the mother of the Lord. God needed a young virgin to fulfill His plan. Luke gives us the record of the preparation of Mary. Let's look at Luke's  gospel to learn what she needed to have, and do.

Luke 1:26–38 (KJV 1900)

26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

In this passage we learn that she had to be:
  •  A virgin
  •   A virgin who was favored by God
  •  Important attributes  that she needed  was
    • 1.      Faith in the Word of God,
    • 2.      Submission to the Word of God and
    • 3.      Obedience to the Word of God.
The earthly father of the child also had to have certain qualities. He had to be prepared to be the father of the Lord Jesus. Let's find out what they were.

Matthew 1:18–25 (KJV 1900)

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

For Joseph to be ready for the coming of the baby,  the forming of his personal character had to have happened already.
·         He needed to be a man who was willing to take on the responsibilities of being a father for a child that he did not parent.
·         Joseph had to be a protector of Mary and place his reputation on the line to fulfill what was needed.
·         He was just.
·         He had to be in complete obedience to the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

But not only the people had to be prepared, but the arrangement of the birthing room needed to happen.

Luke 2:4–7 (KJV 1900)

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

When the moment, came Joseph was prepared with funds to pay for the accommodations. But when no room in the inn was available, Joseph did not let that hinder him. He found a place for the animals and turned that into a labor room. Mary was prepared for the moment for she had brought strips of clothing to wrap wants.

Just as preparation was needed to be ready for His First Coming we must be prepared and ready for the Rapture/Second Coming.  The questions that need to be answered are how do you make sure you ready and how do you stay prepared?

Preparation for the Rapture is extremely important just as it was important for Mary to be ready for the First Coming. The first need for some who wants to be prepared for the Rapture is the same as was needed with Mary. You need faith in the Word of God. You must believe the Word of God that gives the promise that Jesus is going to come again. A lack of belief in the Word will cause you to miss the Rapture since you do not believe it going to happen because you do not believe or trust the Word of God. Secondly, you have to submit to the Word of God. The principles of the Word of God must control your thoughts and actions! Your third need area of preparation for the Rapture is to be obedient to the Word of God. An absence of obedience to the Word of God will cause you to lack the refinement that you need for the Rapture.

Since the Word of God is the foundation for our preparation let's look there to find more direction and instruction. Let's notice the following passage:

Revelation 19:7–8 (KJV 1900)
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

We need to understand that the responsibility to be ready is the individuals. They must take the actions. It is the bride that makes herself ready! But there is also the work of the Spirit of God to arrange that fine linen, clean and white that the Bride receives. 

When must the Bride be ready? Now let's turn to Matthew 25: 1-13 to see when we must be ready.

Matthew 25:1–13 (KJV 1900)
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The ten virgins are placed into two different groups, wise and foolish. Determination of a groups label of wise or foolish happens by the groups bringing or not bringing oil. The "wise" group had enough oil and it is said and they that we ready went in with Him. The Other Virgins came afterward but could not enter in. They were not ready when the Bridegroom can and did not enter in. We can conclude that the preparation of the Bride must be done before the Rapture here on earth.

After examining Revelation 19:7-8 and Matthew 25:1-13 we can see the following how the Bride prepares herself. The first action that is needed is the Spirit of God come inside an individual. The Spirit comes when a person repents of their sins, is baptized by immersion in water in the name of Jesus. The Spirit arrives, and confirmation of the arrival is the speaking in tongues (Acts 2:38).  

The importance of receiving the Spirit is understood when we think about Paul's statement to the church at Roman in Romans 8:11.

Romans 8:11 (KJV 1900)
11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Without the Spirit of God inside of you, you will be unable to go in the Rapture!

A second step after being born again of water and Spirit (John 3:3,5) is to make sure we have on the proper garments. These should be garments that are clean, pure and spotless. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that God is wanting His church to be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:25–27 (KJV 1900)
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Peter instructs us that one of the ways we can keep ourselves holy is to understand that we cannot enter into heaven with ungodliness. Our conversation and action must be holy.

2 Peter 3:11–12 (KJV 1900)

11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

The disciple of Jesus must to his or her best to live the way God expects of His children while still in this mortal flesh. Those who do won’t be kicked out of God’s family or be left behind to suffer His wrath (for we are not appointed to the wrath of God; see 1 Thessalonians 5:9). But, those who choose to live apart from the Father’s instructions will have disappointed their Lord, and at the judgment will see their carnal works burned in the holy fire that purges unrighteousness. Sinful acts, through commission or omission, cannot enter God’s eternal kingdom

We can stay ready for the Rapture by keeping our focus on the thought that Jesus might come back today! The primitive church (33 AM -300 AD) greeted each other with the word "Maranatha." This greeting came out of the 1 Corinthians 16:22. It is two Aramaic words meaning “our Lord has come.” [1] 
This greeting was meant to be able to keep the coming of the Lord center point in your mind and life.

Bro. TR MacDonald was one of the great laymen of the Pentecostal movement. He loved listening to preaching. Prayer and bible reading were a daily event @ 6 AM! He had a very unique way of greeting you. He would say: Believe He's coming? That question would often cause me to think about the Rapture! It would help motivate me to more prayer and bible reading! It was his way of keeping the Rapture center point of his spiritual existent.

Your Response

Take time to do an inventory of you individual life. Are you preparing daily for the Rapture? Do you talk about it? Pray for it! No matter how you answered that question understand that God is going to help you develop a love for the Rapture!

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, electronic ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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