I greet you as the year 2018 comes to a close and encourage you to reflect on how God has been good to you as you were spared another year. Many opportunities were given to you. Did you make a wise use of them, for yourself, your family, or your church? Have you overcome your pride? Have you walked in integrity and fear (Job 1:1)?
I was very much touched by the following questions quoted from the Spirit of Prophecy, and I wish to share them with you. Read them carefully, consider them, and answer them conscientiously from your heart. After answering them, share them with others:
“Suppose that today Christ should appear in the clouds of heaven, who . . . would be ready to meet Him? Suppose we should be translated into the kingdom of heaven just as we are. Would we be prepared to unite with the saints of God, to live in harmony with the royal family, the children of the heavenly King? What preparation have you made for the judgment? Have you made your peace with God? Are you laboring together with God? Are you seeking to help those around you, those in your home, those in your neighborhood, those with whom you come in contact that are not keeping the commandments of God? . . . Are we getting ready to meet the King? . . .
“If it were possible for us to be admitted into heaven as we are, how many of us would be able to look upon God? How many of us have on the wedding-garment? How many of us are without spot or wrinkle or any such thing? How many of us are worthy to receive the crown of life? . . . Position does not make the man. It is Christ formed within that makes a man worthy of receiving the crown of life, that fadeth not away.
“Will ye shun the seven last plagues? . . . If so, ye must die that ye may live. Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have. . . . Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar—self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory.
“Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. . . . While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice. . . . To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. . . . Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts. If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today.” –Maranatha, p.98
How many questions in total did you find? How are your answers to each one? May you meditate again on this sentence: “If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today!”
The needful preparation
“Many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.
“Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.
“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God.
“Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. . . .
“I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” – Maranatha, p. 254
“As you enter upon a new year, let it be with an earnest resolve to have your course onward and upward. Let your life be more elevated and exalted than it has hitherto been. Make it your aim not to seek your own interest and pleasure, but to advance the cause of your Redeemer. Remain not in a position where you ever need help yourself, and where others have to guard you to keep you in the narrow way. You may be strong to exert a sanctifying influence upon others. You may be where your soul’s interest will be awakened to do good to others, to comfort the sorrowful, strengthen the weak, and to bear your testimony for Christ whenever opportunity offers. Aim to honor God in everything, always and everywhere. Carry your religion into everything.
“Prepare for eternity with such a zeal as you have not yet manifested. Educate your mind to love the Bible, to love the prayer meeting, to love the hour of meditation, and, above all, the hour when the soul communes with God. Become heavenly-minded if you would unite with the heavenly choir in the mansions above. . . .
“A new page is turned in the book of the recording angel. . . . Let a record be stamped there which you will not be ashamed to have revealed to the gaze of men and angels.” –My Life Today, p. 369
When death comes, nothing can be done to set right the errors of the past. Not a line of our record can be blotted out, not a sentence corrected. What is written, is written. If the one probation has been misused, if Jesus has been neglected, if darkness has been preferred to light, there stands the record: needful preparation of eternity is today, now. Amen.
Victor Shumbusho, DR Congo