Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Visit

Photo in Central Park by Steveen Manon 2012

In this dream, I am expecting a visit that evening from someone I’ve never met before, but whom I know is very important to my life. At last I will meet face to face with the formerly anonymous patron of my college education, and I want to make a good impression on him so that he’ll continue to support me in achieving my life goals.

On a gray wintry day in New York City, I’m preparing for this visit that could determine my destiny. I want my benefactor to know that I am physically fit, but then I realize that actually I’ve let myself go and I’m no longer in very good shape. So I begin jogging around Manhattan and even stop at the gym, but I’m too exhausted to complete this last-minute workout.

Knowing that my physical fitness is less than exemplary, I wonder if I can find the perfect outfit that would at least help me look my best. I spot a gorgeous, turquoise lace pageant gown in a boutique window. But it costs $460 and I haven’t saved up any money or even established any credit, so I leave the store empty-handed.

I enter another upscale store, but no one is there. I spot a package of crackers on top of a cabinet and suddenly realize I’m ravenously hungry. After toying with the idea of leaving some money to pay for my “purchase,” I just take the crackers and leave, reasoning that they won’t be missed. Filling my stomach reminds me that I should be hospitable and prepare a meal for my guest. So I decide to rush home to see if I have any provisions in my cupboard and to buy whatever else is needed.

I find myself in Central Park, where the trees are ablaze in fall colors, brightening the dreary sky and momentarily lifting my spirits. My apartment is on the East River, so it shouldn’t take me too long to get there. But then I realize too late that I’m on the wrong side of the park, and that I’m headed west instead of east.

I want to hail a taxi, but the streets are strangely deserted. In a panic, I realize that night is falling, the appointed hour for the visit has come and gone, and that I missed him because I was unprepared and preoccupied with unimportant things.

As I awoke, my thoughts turned to the Visit I am most eagerly awaiting – the Rapture when Christ shall return to meet His children in the air (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Jesus Christ alone is my Benefactor Who has not only blessed me so richly in my life to date (John 10:10; James 1:17), but Who has secured my eternal destiny in Heaven through His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Based on Bible prophecy and current events (Matthew 24), it seems like the remaining time before this meeting in the clouds is very short, although no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). How we spend this time can alter our eternal future. Those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior will be left behind to face the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). If they accept the mark of the beast, who is the Antichrist, they will be irreversibly doomed to eternal hell (Revelation 14:9-11).

Even many who are now in churches, yet not born again (John 3:5-8), will be left behind and no longer able to make the crucial transition from having an intellectual understanding of Who Jesus Christ is to having an intimate heart relationship with Him (Romans 10:9). Sadly, they will be deluded and believe the lie that the Antichrist is God, accepting his mark and then being doomed to eternal punishment in hell (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

These “Christians” in name only will be like the foolish virgins who are unprepared for the wedding feast, representing unsaved people who think they will go to Heaven because they are church members or come from a Christian home. Unlike the wise virgins, representing born-again believers, the foolish virgins lack oil in their lamps, which symbolizes the indwelling Holy Spirit. When the Bridegroom returns unannounced, the foolish virgins are locked out from the feast and from His presence because they had left to buy the oil they should have already received (Matthew 25:1-13).

For those of us who are saved, how we spend these last moments before His return could determine whether we have crowns to lay at His feet (Revelation 4 9-11) and eternal rewards to enjoy in Heaven, or whether we will suffer loss when we face Him at the judgment seat (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The fields are ready for harvest, and yet the laborers who are bringing souls to Him are few (John 4:35-36; Luke 10:2). Are we doing all we can to spread the Good News of salvation through our faith in His grace? (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Each day we face choices, and our decisions can glorify Him or be a meaningless detour set up by Satan to distract us from God’s will for our life. Physical fitness is good because it helps to preserve our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And yet if we neglect our spiritual fitness, we cannot possibly fulfill God’s perfect plan for us (1 Timothy 4:8).

In the dream, it was futile for me to engage in a last-ditch effort to get physically fit. In reality, we cannot achieve physical or spiritual development in a single, short-lived burst, as both require daily discipline over the long haul.

Many churchgoers spend excessive hours and dollars in selecting a flattering outfit and stylish accessories for church, and even having their hair and nails done. Yet I know that Christ loves and accepts me unconditionally, whether I’m dressed to the nines in a pageant gown or just wearing my old pajamas. There is nothing wrong with wearing our best to God’s house if we do so out of respect and love for Him and it does not hinder our service, make others uncomfortable, or deplete our money better spent on offerings.

I have seen young women in church wearing stiletto heels that were so high that they could not climb the few steps to the choir loft without help, often from elderly singers who could have used assistance themselves. I have heard of women who were struggling financially hesitate to come to church for fear of looking shabby next to their well-heeled sisters. Sometimes our priorities are sadly misplaced.

As we dress and get ready for church, do we spend enough time and prayer in preparing our hearts (1 Chronicles 29:18; Job 11:13) to receive God’s blessing and to bless others with His light (Matthew 5:14) and love shining through us? Our obedience can be a testimony to His mercy and grace, or we can lose the power of our testimony by sins that Satan convinces us are harmless, even something as seemingly insignificant as taking a package of crackers that belongs to someone else.

The Christian race set before us (Hebrews 12:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24) is a marathon, not a sprint, and last-minute efforts are likely to be too little and too late to be of lasting value. Yet if we have gone off course (Hosea 11:7; Jeremiah 3:14), as I did in my dream, neglected the daily discipline needed for a meaningful walk with Christ (1 Corinthians 9:27), or never entered the arena, now is the appointed time (2 Corinthians 6:2) to get on track!

We don’t know when Jesus will come again (Matthew 24:42-44), so may we be ready for His all-important Visit! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

© 2014 Laurie Collett
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LivingforGod said...

Wonderful post! By God's grace, may we live our lives in the light of eternity for God's glory and kingdom doing His will & fulfilling His purposes! May we faithfully live the Gospel out in love, faith, obedience, and perseverance and hear our Savior say, "Well done, good and faithful servants!" when we see Him face to face! Maranatha!

Denise said...

Great post.

Brenda said...

So true Laurie,
we must persevere and run the race, allowing our minds to be renewed in Christ through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. It is not what we portray to others that is important, it is what we portray to the Lord. It is not what we are on the outside, but what we are on the inside that will reveal whether we are sheep or goats when the Lord returns. Lovely revealing dream and interpretation of it.
God bless Laurie.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, LivingforGod! What better way to live than by keeping our eyes fixed on Him and doing all for His glory! What a day that will be when we see Him face to face -- may we live each moment in joyous anticipation!
Blessings to you and your ministry,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Denise! God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! Only He knows the hearts, and while man looks at the outside, He looks at our heart. May His Spirit lead and guide us, empowering us to run this race! Thanks as always for your encouraging comment, and ,ay you have a blessed week in Him!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I recall getting lost at Central Park for real in 1998, unable to orient myself without a compass. I was meant to walk the length of the whole strip from north to south, and I ended up at 8th Avenue, I think it was, on the west side of the park.
But getting lost at Central Park is one thing, remaining lost and missing out on the Rapture is something very different.
Fortunately, for those who passes into the Tribulation period without ever hearing the Gospel might still have a chance for salvation, as 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, will be released with God's power into the world, along with the two witnesses.
But those who had deliberately rejected the Gospel before the Rapture will, as you say, be sent a strong delusion by God in believing that the Antichrist to be the long awaited Messiah.
I fully agree with you that the oil lamps the five wise virgins had symbolised the Holy Spirit. To me, he is the greatest gift I could possibly receive, surpassing any worldly wealth, which is subject to rust, moth, and theft!
By the way, it's good to see you back. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I lived in Manhattan, in an apartment on the East River, for my medical school and internship training and used to enjoy walking along the east side of Central Park. But I seldom ventured through the park to the west side, as getting home from there was indeed tricky, at least for one with my very limited sense of direction. But you're so right, being lost when the Rapture occurs is a tragedy that none would choose if they understood the consequences. As you said, the 144,000 will witness to those who never heard the Gospel, but for those who trampled it underfoot, it will be too late.

Thanks for welcoming me back, but I'm not sure what you mean -- I was indeed out of town last weekend, but I had scheduled a blog post to appear on Saturday as usual, and it did. However, it received no comments until just recently, so I'm wondering if Google's usual notification system about new blog posts didn't work on that post (Oct. 18).
Praise God for the indwelling Holy Spirit to comfort, lead and guide us!
God bless,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Your blog post for the 18th October did not appear on my dashboard last week, and remained absent all week. That was why I assumed you have missed a week, probably on a vacation.
All the best.

Mary Dolan Flaherty said...

I love to hear about peoples' dreams, especially when the Holy Spirit reveals what it means. Great interpretation and words for us to ponder.

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post.

Unfortunately, in our "Christian" society, far too often the focus is on the wrong things. We focus on the appearance rather than the power of god in our lives with the result that the unsaved see us as being only a little different from the rest of the world. Many make a profession in hopes of avoiding the tribulation, but having no desire to actually be like the Christians they know.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Frank,
Thanks for confirming what I suspected to be true -- that for some reason, the post that I scheduled appeared as it should have, but was not picked up by Google. Makes me wonder about scheduling in advance in the future.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Mary -- I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Many blessings to you and your ministry.
Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! It is so true, that many say the sinner's prayer in hopes of getting a "get out of hell free" pass, but lack true repentance or genuine conversion. May we be Christians in love and in deed as well as in name.
God bless,

a joyful noise said...

Your God given dreams amaze me and encourage me too. May we be ready when our Lord returns. Thank you for sharing your interesting post with us here at “Tell Me a Story."

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Hazel, for your lovely comment & for hosting! Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and may we be ready for that meeting in gthe air!
Blessings to you and Robert,

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Thank you so much for your ministry and for sharing it on the Thursday Blog hop! Blessings!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Pam, for hosting & for your lovely comment!
God bless,

BARBIE said...

I eagerly wait that day, and pray I have the perseverance to keep running this race with eyes fixed on Jesus and heart filled with joy.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Barbie! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! My prayer is that He will be able to say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a marathon instead of a sprint for our life. Preparing our lives instead of walking through without what we need will get us nowhere. Blessed to get to know you through The Weekend Brew.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much for your visit and comment! May we be faithful and diligent on the course He has set for us. Blessed to get to know you also!