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Day 9 - Dancing in the Fire: Be Prepared

“’I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished.’” Luke 12:49-50 NASB

Personally, I do not care to teach, preach, or write about judgment. Who does, or who should? However, if the cross of Christ and the following days of Pentecost teach us anything, it is that life must lived for Someone other than ourselves, and that if we are not prepared for the final days, we will come to a sudden, terrifying end (which, by the way, never actually ends). I, for one, do not desire to catch even a glimpse of what that evil “end” is like. The Scriptures tell me enough to know that I much prefer being saved in the security of Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Messiah-King, and above all, the Lord of my life. Just as the jailer in Philippi asked Paul, 49 years ago I cried out, “’What must I do to be saved?’” (see Acts 16:30).

Certainly Jesus, as the Son of God, did not need to repent of anything, but as the Son of Man He did need to show us the way to repentance and baptism, a cleansing act symbolic of His death and ultimate resurrection. He then walked into the wilderness to begin His own trial by fire, testing and temptation, a 40-day sojourn that symbolized the same fiery ordeal we must face on a daily basis and “the evil that so easily entangles us” (see Hebrews 12:1).

The one certain thing we must learn from world events, however, whether they be about the weather or war, sudden death caused by automobile accidents, home invasions, or long illnesses, is that we all need to be prepared for the end. Just as John the Baptist came preaching and teaching about the necessity to repent of our sins and turn our hearts toward the Messiah, so, too, did Jesus reiterate the need to make the ultimate decision:

“’I tell you…unless you repent, you will all…perish.’” (Luke 13:3 NASB)

On the other side of that repentance is the rejoicing of angels, and salvation through Christ:

“’In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents…The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.’” (Luke 15:10; 19:10 NASB)

As we face the agony of the cross and kneel before the altar of life and death, we must lay our lives down before Him, open to His own open, beckoning arms. Then, as we gaze at the gaping hole in the totally empty tomb of Christ’s resurrection, we can lift our hands in glorious praise, accepting His love, His majesty, and His enduring act of sacrifice to proclaim

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB )

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