In the clouds. James #19
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One of the best things about living near the ocean is looking at it - in all of its beauty and grandeur. Sometimes when I am driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, looking out at the shades of
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San Clemente pier
blues and greens in the water, I take in
the majesty of the cloud formations
above and think. . . 'today, Lord?
Is this the day you will return?'
What do you think the clouds will look like on that day Jesus comes again? My request is in for those well-formed grayish clouds, outlined on the top with what looks like liquid silver, set against an amber glow, the sun's rays shooting out from behind. How magnificent! Do you think we'll be able to see the trumpet or just hear it? Jesus' coming will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.1 Go ahead. . . daydream a little. . . imagine that day.
As I write, I am aware of how difficult, how tragic life can be. We got a phone call night before last from New Jersey: our young cousin, Brianna-28, had a stroke while at the gym working out. Wait, what?! She is paralyzed on one side, can barely utter a scant couple words and does not seem to be improving. Instead of being on an airplane to Italy as planned, she is in the intensive care unit. Just like that - life has taken a very tragic turn. What is ahead, we do not know . . . but God knows and is there. [Pray for her, won't you?]
In the last part of his little letter, James reminds those - especially those who are suffering - that Jesus is coming back again. Friend, though the way grows rough, never lose sight of that fact, or that we are just passing through. James writes, 'Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.'2
Jesus told his beloved twelve, ~>I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.3 ~>For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.4 ~>They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.5 ~>And Paul wrote, 'For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. . . and we'll be caught up together with them in the clouds. . ."6 Ah, the blessed hope and the promise.
One of the things I love about standing on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is thinking about the fact that it was the last place on earth Jesus stood ~ bearing in mind, too, that everything Jesus said he was going to do, he did. So, is Jesus coming back again? Of course, he's coming back!
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From Mt of Olives, looking at the Old City
Let's fix our gaze on the return of Jesus in the skies,
and with feet slightly spread, and muscles flexed in strength, STAND FIRMin our faith. . . Jesus is coming back!
1 - 1 Corinthians 15.52
2 - James 5.7-9
3 - John 14.8
4 - Matthew 16.27
5 - Matthew 24.30
6 - 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17