We took some time this week to remember a devastating date in 2001 when terrorists sacrificed their lives to bring harm to our country and its citizens. They believed they would be rewarded eternally for their crimes. They definitely received an eternal consequence, but it wasn’t at all like they had been promised.
Christians, however, have been promised an eternal home in heaven. Do you look forward to receiving your promise?
Jim and I received a copy of Anne Graham Lotz’s new book, Preparing to Meet Jesus, which she co-wrote with her daughter Rachel-Ruth. The book is a twenty-one-day challenge to get spiritually prepared for that day when each of us will meet our Savior face-to-face. I’m working through the book right now, and I highly recommend it. Anne and her daughter remind their readers that our salvation is the promise that Jesus’ second coming is a date we can look forward to with joy.
Are you prepared?
I really can’t say when I became a Christian. I heard a revival preacher say one time that if you can’t name the date and hour of your salvation, you probably aren’t saved. His words made me nervous, but, at the same time, I knew he was wrong.
I didn’t grow up in a denomination that emphasized a certain date or moment of salvation. In many ways, I just grew up and into my faith. But, there was a time when I was in the fifth or sixth grade that I prayed a prayer of salvation.
I had been riding my bicycle through a park and rolled across a Bible tract. I stopped to see what it was but knew not to take something that didn’t belong to me. I rode around that park several times. When I was convinced that no one was going to come back for it, I took it home.
The cover of the tract had been torn off, but I read the other pages and did my best to memorize the prayer of salvation at the end. (I wanted to memorize it because I wasn’t sure prayers worked if my eyes weren’t closed!) The tract said that if I wanted to be sure I was going to heaven, I just needed to pray that prayer. So, I knelt beside my bed and prayed. In full confession, I did open one eye a time or two and peek, just to make sure I was getting that prayer right. Honestly, I don’t know if that is when Jesus became my Savior, but I think he knew I was sincere in my desire to trust him and go to heaven.
I can’t name that date or the other times when I prayed to tell Jesus I trusted in him. I have spent a lifetime learning about the Lord, and I have tried to be faithful to each new lesson I learned from God’s word. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I can remember several times I made a new commitment to him as Lord. Several times I needed to seek his forgiveness and renew my commitment to walk with him as my Lord.
I do know with the certainty of God’s word that I have asked Jesus to forgive my sins, come into my heart as my Lord and Savior, and guide me as my King. I know the Holy Spirit dwells in me; therefore I am a Christian. I can’t name the date, but I am certain I can call myself a “born-again child of God.”
If you read my blog post each week, I trust you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and that you have experienced the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. If you aren’t certain, you can be. You can visit my husband’s site for his article “Why Jesus?”
Are you prepared to meet Jesus face-to-face?
That is a different date than the date of your salvation. Jesus is going to come again. When he does, it will be to take every Christian to their eternal home. Peter reminds us that, until that date, “according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). We are waiting to go to the perfection of heaven.
Anne Graham Lotz believes that day could come at any moment. She is a Spirit-led person who knows God’s word. She has been my teacher for many years now. She is getting older and closer to that day, like the rest of us. She knows she might meet Jesus face-to-face like her parents, Billy and Ruth Graham, met Jesus. They closed their eyes on earth and opened them in the “New Jerusalem” where the streets are paved with gold. She also knows that she might still be living her earthly life when that moment comes and the skies open up to the return of Christ.
Anne recently buried her husband after his lengthy illness. Her daughter Rachel-Ruth has had cancer, and her son Jonathan battled that disease as well. Anne had cancer too. Anne believes our culture and the world continue to make choices that indicate the return of Christ could be soon. But, she also knows that God’s word makes clear that no one can claim to know the date of Christ’s second coming.
But, Anne would also remind us of God’s complete word on the subject. We will see Jesus face-to-face, but we will also stand with him before God the Father. Paul taught us, “Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
In her book, Anne spoke about meeting Jesus as his “bride.” In Scripture, the church, the body of believers, is referred to as the bride of Christ. She compared that day to the day she walked the aisle of her church to marry her husband, Danny. She wanted Danny to be pleased with his bride that day. She taught that each of us should feel that same way about the day we step into heaven to meet our Lord.
Is your heart full of love for your Lord like it was full of love the day you married? Or the day your child was placed in your arms? Or the day you saw a friend or family member after a long absence? Do you eagerly anticipate that very important date, when the skies open up and Jesus returns, or when you see Jesus coming for you at the end of your earthly life?
A date to look forward to
It’s normal to fear death because more is unknown than known. Heaven is a mystery, but it is also a promise of God. We don’t have to know about heaven to look forward to the date of our homegoing. We know and love Jesus, and that date is the moment we will be able to meet him face-to-face.
Anne’s new book, co-written with her daughter Rachel-Ruth, is titled Preparing to Meet Jesus. It is a twenty-one-day guide to help readers be well-prepared to meet Jesus when that important date arrives.
We will be meeting the One we love so that we can spend all of eternity dwelling in his house. If we will prepare our hearts and lives to meet Jesus, then his second coming into our lives will be a date to look forward to as we wait here on earth.
Paul reminds us, “As it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We are blessed with the hope of heaven.