When Departure Time is at Hand

Friends, grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity (Eph. 6:24). Our Beloved Redeemer has brought us to this place on our learning journey where we see multiple signs, warnings, and reminders of what He and His apostles told us to look for. We have arrived at 'summer' - the very picture Christ used as a parallel picture of a destination, in like manner as to the closeness of His appearing. We are now at a unique time where we see contrasting perspectives of a world in moral rebellion vs. those who are looking for the One Who is Holy and True. We have been told to look for Him, live in light of His appearing, purify ourselves, and to be holy as He is holy.

I Peter 1:16-19 -
"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot..."

As adopted children into God's family, we are called to follow, reverence, and model our Father - and it is to shine in all aspects of our life: our heart, soul, strength, and mind. The more that we foster and desire the fruits of the Spirit in our life, the more they will grow - and the world will see that we are children of our Father, bringing Him glory. This is what we are to pass this sojourning time with: living a life that glorifies our Redeemer and Father.

This weekend, we have a very personal 4-yr anniversary reminder for many: when the first 'star of Bethlehem' celestial reminder events occurred, drawing the world's - and ours - attention to how the celestial signs signaled The King's first arrival. We are looking for Him to appear a second time (Hebrews 9:28). The Wise Men were looking - and they were acting - on what they saw and knew about prophecy, and Who was coming.

Friend, this weekend marks 4 full years since those incredible celestial events caught our attention. Has it caused us to rise up - like the Wise Men - and make deliberate choices and actions to draw close to Him? To go forward? To expect His appearing? The Wise Men went forward with great expectation, great cost - great faith, great admiration, great reverence, great love. They knew the time had come for God's Anointed: The Messiah. The Lamb of God. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Not only did their actions and travels demonstrate their sincerity and devotion, but they prepared gifts appropriate and valuable to lay before the feet of the King; costly gifts that demonstrated a token of their value and service to their Lord. You see, the wise men did not go through all of that trouble just to visit with the King - they came for one reason: to worship Him.

"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." - Matthew 2:2

Friend, why are you seeking the King's arrival? Why were you following the celestial signs, the prophecies, the geopolitical events, the watchmen, the warnings... ? Why?

Was it to have a selfie moment with the King? Start an eternal retirement? Meet up with old friends and family? Start another chapter? What is our motive?

I hope and pray that it is to kneel at the feet of our Saviour, and worship Him in love for His immeasurable grace and gift of love. Oh, to wash His feet with my tears... Infinite volumes more will be expressed - by our heart-felt actions and tears - than all the words we could ever convey.

Friends, the same is true of our life, now, today. How we live for Him - now - shows how much we truly love Him, and longingly look forward to seeing HIM. I am afraid that far too many people are more interested in the Rapture, than they are of Christ. He is The Prize. If you are not running for HIM, then you are already losing.

Someone pointed out to me, that this weekend is also the traditional day (June 29th) that was chosen to observe the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul (since at least AD 336). The actual date of his death is unknown, but June 29th was when the perceived bones of the Apostle Paul and Peter were moved to the catacombs for safer keeping, in the third century. (For those who follow the traditional Julian calendar, June 29 falls on the Gregorian calendar date of July 12.) While different sects and religious orders observe this day on their liturgical calendars, for us it is enough to observe the historicity and general church tradition that their bone's internment remind us all of: Paul's death.

This has caught my attention, to see how this time and significance is widely recognized - right at a time that the Lord has been drawing our attention to running our race, pressing forward, striving for The Prize, and to finish strong. Lately, we've been strongly emphasizing to review the PDF Bible study, Running for the Prize. This same sentiment is what the Apostle Paul wrote about, especially when he was reflecting on his upcoming execution: his departure. It does us extremely well, to likewise follow his example, thoughts, and emphasis - when we are likewise expecting our departure. II Timothy 4:6-8:

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

The Apostle Paul had previously written about how he was in a race - a race for The Prize (Philippians 3:7-14). But now, he knew that he had but a short time, and his race would be called. He used the time to exhort Timothy to press for the same marks that he had pressed for. It does us well to observe them in our own race, too - especially when we suspect our race is about to be called...

When we look back at the past four years, have we been putting up a fight against our flesh and the devil? Have we been striving to overcome? Are we exercising ourselves unto godliness? Are we standing up, and striving to uphold what is godly in our life? Now is when we should reflect - and make sure we are daily putting up a fight!

He could not finish anybody else's course; nor could anyone else do it for him. We all must give account unto God for ourselves. He has given each of us abilities, talents, resources, time, and opportunities that collectively become our sole responsibility and stewardship. What we do, in service to Him, is our course. We are running against ourselves. Are we striving to finish strong? We certainly make many mistakes, and cannot change the past - but we all can change the ending. Let us strive to finish strong!

Paul guarded sound doctrine, and always emphasized to others that it was also entrusted to them to keep (guard), as well. The only way that you know if you are keeping the faith, is to search Scripture, and make absolutely sure that you are following WHAT IT SAYS. Sound doctrine will always be able to be backed up with God's Word. If you cannot back up what you believe with Scripture, then you do not have sound doctrine - and nor are you guarding it. This is why it is imperative to search Scripture, prove all things, and hold fast (secure) to what is good. Especially now, at this late hour, is when we should search the matters that pertain to His appearing, His instructions for His servants, and what He will be holding us accountable to when He returns. Only if we are actively following HIS instructions - in Scripture - will it truly demonstrate if we are keeping (guarding) - treasuring - the faith that He delivered to us.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." - Matt 28:20

Friend, the Apostle Paul immediately followed that 3-point, departure-time review checklist with one very important word: HENCEFORTH. It was because of those three marks and areas, that he was very careful to press forward toward, that he could say he would receive a crown of righteousness. And note that he said it is also going to be given to others who "ALSO" can say "Henceforth": those that love His appearing. Loving His appearing is not an emotion; it is a life and heart of service that says, "I love you, Lord."

Friend, the hour is late, and our journey long. Let us finish our race strong, fighting a good fight, keeping the faith, and living a life that loves our Redeemer with all of our heart, that loves with all of our soul, that loves with all of our strength, and that loves with all of our mind. Let our heart, hands, and life say: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." - Rev. 4:11.

I John 3:1-3
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

Let us rise up, trim and purify our lamps and vessels, shining brightly: LOVING Him, HEARING Him, and SERVING Him - FIRST - and HIGHEST ABOVE ALL ELSE!!

Brother Daniel



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