9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. — 2 Peter 3:9
God spoke everything into existence. Everything is held in place by the power of His word. Because everyone was “doing what was right in their own minds”, God destroyed the earth with the same water that had once covered the earth. Then He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign to us that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Instead, the day is coming when He will destroy the present heavens and the earth with fire. We have once again arrived at that point where “everyone is doing what is right in their own mind” and not obeying the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man and the time will come when God’s promise of destruction by fire will come. When? No one but the Father knows, but He is not bound by time, as we understand it. Our finite minds need eternity broken into small pieces so we can grasp it. That is not necessary for God. The One who is coming will come. While He is being patient with us, we need to be laboring in the fields that are white with harvest. It is not His will that any should perish and everyone will have more than ample opportunity to accept Him as Savior and Lord. But, we know that no matter how long He waits, there will be those who choose to go to hell rather than accept His free gift of salvation. Fill your lamps with oil, trim them to keep them burning and buy extra oil. Be alert! Be ready! The bridegroom is coming soon!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul warns us to “be angry and sin not”. God is big enough to handle all of our anger. But when we become angry with God, we need to be careful how we present that feeling to Him. We are not to be defiant or boastful of our own power. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by the anger rather than us controlling the anger then we get into the area of sin. When we have thoughts about not liking what God is allowing to go on in our lives, we need to present those thoughts to Him. We can’t hide them from Him since He knows our every thought before we do. We have to be honest with ourselves and with God while at the same time showing Him respect for who He is. Instead of shaking our fist at God, we need to fall on our faces before Him and ask Him to give us wisdom to understand why He is allowing us to go through each particular situation. God is not a God of chaos, He has a plan and a reason for allowing things to happen in our lives. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us capture all of our rebellious thoughts and bring them under obedience to Christ Jesus. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 NCV When we have done this and repented of our anger, God is always faithful to forgive us, pick us up, wrap His big arms around us and restore us to the family. We must be careful to never, never let satan use quilt to defeat us after God has forgiven us. We must agree with God and forgive ourselves. He still has work for us to do in His Kingdom.
7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. — 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 NIV
What words of encouragement Paul gives to the Thessalonians! They have become models for believers everywhere. They are known throughout all of Greece for their faith in God! So, when Paul and his companions arrive at a new place, the people there are already aware of who they are because of the good things they are hearing about the church in Thessalonica. They already know the story of how the people in Thessalonica have turned from serving idols to serving the true and living God. Because of Paul’s message which is being delivered with the power of the Holy Spirit, they now wait for the return of Jesus, the One God has raised from the dead, the One who would come and rescue them from the coming wrath! Do the churches that we attend have that kind of reputation in the world today? Is our local church seen as a place of safety and comfort? Or would people find more fellowship and feel more welcome in a secular setting? Do we do a good job of greeting newcomers and make them fell comfortable in our pews? Are we more like a wide-open hospital tent in a war zone or an emergency room only for believers? Pick a number, any number. If that many newcomers came to our church today, would we have enough members willing to pray with each one individually and explain the message of salvation to them? Or would we need a triage to assign the degree of urgency to each case so the staff could handle it? No, we couldn’t do that since we all have the same disease and we are all affected to the same degree and in the same way. So, would any of them have to leave without having an opportunity to talk to the Doctor? Am I personally able and willing to introduce them to the great Physician? My prayer for each of us is that we are not only able but that we are willing to do that. The fields are white with harvest.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” — John 9:4, 5