Friday, May 24, 2013

Seeing the Signs

Anyone who has ever prayed to God for wisdom in an important matter has more than likely looked for, "signs," in what to do.  I was thinking about "signs" the other day.  Signs are interesting.  I believe they are subtle little reminders or "helps," if you will, in our life's journey that guide and aid us in awareness of truth or reality (sorry for that wordy definition--would you expect anything less from me?)!  But I happen to believe God uses signs regularly when we are seeking Him for a solution to a problem.  At times, they present themselves when we are just seeking HIM--when we are in tune to Him and having a quiet moment with Him.  More times than not, I think He uses them to show us truths that He is trying to drive home to us.  

There are good signs and bad ones.  Sadly, I see signs each year that I am aging.  Being a 43-year old, outdoor-girl who loves to run, golf, swim, bike, and pretty much anything else that gets me outside, I have some wrinkles.  Each year, I notice a little more grey hair on my head (thank the Lord, I'm a quarter Mexican and an eighth Cherokee Indian--so I don't have to spend too much money on covering it with color very often yet)!  I see signs of change in my grandparents and parents which make me more painfully aware that my time with them is lessening.  On a much more positive note, we can currently see signs of spring. Trees have been blooming in grand color and leaves are bursting forth with shiny-green, new life and growth.  The school year is ending and the store shelves are packed with summertime goods--picnic-ware, beach towels, sunscreen, and lawn-care items.  I love this time of year!

We can also see signs that the time of Christ is approaching.  In Luke 21, Jesus tells his disciples of the end times and the signs that will present themselves upon its nearing.  As you read down through the chapter, many of the "signs" of which He speaks are happening right now.  Therefore, many great theologians today argue and warn that the day of Jesus' return is quite near.  Christ tells us not to listen to anyone who tries to put an actual date on His return, because NO ONE on earth knows.  Christ also gives us these "signs" for which to watch so that we aren't fooled or deceived by anyone professing to be Him.  We can watch for these signs, but we also know from Revelation that upon His re-entrance to earth there won't be ANY doubt--EVERYONE will know it is Him, and EVERYONE will worship Him (even those who don't know Him and who refused to accept Him).  

If you aren't a Christian, you may have just read that last paragraph and thought, "What in the world is she talking about?" or, "Does she seriously think Jesus Christ is going to return to earth?  She must be mad!"  Well, yes--I am.  I am madly in love with Jesus Christ.  He saved me, He changed my life, He has never failed me, and He has proven Himself true too many times for me to count.  I have tested His Word, read it cover to cover, and investigated my faith on levels there isn't time to discuss in one blog.  Shamefully, I've had my doubts about the truth of God, as well.  But I sought Him and I found Him.  Signs played a big role in that.  Look around you...at the vastness and detail of nature, at humans, at history, at fulfilled prophecy, at DNA and genetics, at our calendar system, at life in general.  If there is no God what is the meaning of all this?  Why is it that even when I feel lonely, I never really feel, "alone?"  There are more signs pointing to the existence of God than not.  Humbly and honestly ask God to show up in your life, and He will show up--with a vengeance.

Even the last prayer in the Bible has to do with the return of Christ.  In Revelation 22:20, it states, "He Who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.'  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus."   I love that this is the last prayer in God's Word.  To me, it is yet another sign from God that our hearts and minds need to be focused first and foremost on the return of our Savior.  We are to think of Him as a beloved One for whom we are, "leaving a light on," so to speak.  For years now, I have made it a morning mindset as I awake and slowly (perhaps begrudgingly) get out of bed, to say as my feet are hitting the floor, "Good morning, Lord.  Am I gonna see You today?"  I have personally made this my heart's anthem for a couple of reasons:  one, it helps me to place my thoughts and focus on the Lord and let Him know that I WANT His return and am ready for it should He choose for today to be the day; and two, I am so NOT a morning person, that I seriously HAVE to pray to begin the day with a remotely decent attitude!  (Plus, I'd much rather for Christ to return than to have to do the mundane--clean toilets, restock groceries, do laundry, etc.)!  The main things the Bible says we're going to do in heaven is praise, worship, sing, and EAT!  Since those are literally my favorite things to do, I'm more than ready to go!

Maybe you're someone who believes in coincidence. I do not.  I think God places people and things in our lives for a reason.  I think His timing is perfect.  I do not believe He would place us in the solar system spinning on a little blue ball in perfectly synchronized time and space, and then allow everything else to be chaotic and pointless.  There are signs everywhere pointing to the creative genius, wisdom, sovereignty, and order of God.  The fact that you're living and breathing today is a sign that He isn't finished with you yet.  I thank God for signs--even the hard ones.  They are actually only signs that our time to be with Him in eternity is coming closer--and for that I am grateful.  

Scriptures:

Genesis 1:14, "And God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,"...

Genesis 9:12-17, "And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.'  So God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.'"

Mark 16:15-18, "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.'”

Mark 8:11-12, "The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, demanding of Him a sign from heaven to test Him. But sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, 'Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you: No sign will be given to this generation!'"

John 6:2, "And a great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the signs He had performed by healing the sick."

John 4:48, "'Unless you people see signs and wonders,' Jesus told him, 'you will never believe.'" 

John 20:29, "Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Romans 1:18-25, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."

Luke 21:7-11, "'Teacher,' they asked, 'when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?He replied: 'Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My Name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.' Then He said to them: 'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.'"

Romans 14:11, "It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'"