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Are you ready?
September 26, 2011
by Pastor Dan Swanson, First Baptist Church, Cokato

In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, there are reminders of some of the great people long dead who believed in God and lived according to His plans. There is little perfection in their lives, but a strong trust in a God who is pleased with those who see God in the difficult moments that life brings, and somehow trust in His goodness.

So, the Hebrews chapter begins with this challenging declaration, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by faith the people of old gained approval (with God).” (Heb. 11:1, 2)

We all seem to desire approval, don’t we? We want everyone to like us, and for them to think we have really arrived. But so many times, I recognize the difference between the approval of people around me and the approval of my heavenly Father.

Which is most important?

Even before all is said and done, I want God’s approval on my life and actions. I want Him to be pleased with my life and deeds. What matters most in this life is to please Him. What really does it matter if everybody thinks I have arrived at success, if God doesn’t?

There is a man in the Bible, Enoch (Heb.11:5), that has always intrigued me. Here is what the writer of Hebrews says about him: “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found (they looked for him obviously) because God took him up; for Enoch obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” (Heb.11:5)

Wow! Here is a guy who is a picture of what the Lord wants from us – to walk with God by faith, trust our lives into His care and keeping, and to leave the number of our days in His hands. Enoch is a picture of a faith-full follower of the Lord who one day changed his residency from earth to heaven.

Faithful men and women who walk daily with the Lord will share in Enoch’s experience, either when their body dies or when the Lord comes to take them up (rapture) to heaven. As the signs of His coming continue to multiply, I pray that you will be walking with Him.

Enoch had no indication He wouldn’t be home that day; but I don’t think he is disappointed.

The same thing happened to Elijah, the great Old Testament prophet (2 Kings 2). And as the apostle Paul writes about Jesus’ return, he gives us very similar pictures in his writings (1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).

I remember hearing the Christian preacher and author Chuck Swindoll talk about a man who worked in his church as a custodian, with whom Chuck was talking one day about being ready for the Lord’s second coming. The man said, “I don’t have to get ready, I stay ready.”

Now, that’s what faith in God is all about – to trust Him by faith each day. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he/she who comes to God must believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek him. ( from Heb.11:6)

It is a great challenge for each of us, to get and stay ready – a great daily challenge.