Preparing Our Families For Christ’s Return
  By Kim Butts

    In these days preceding the return of Christ, the Lord’s church, His precious bride, must earnestly prepare herself. God desires to see all of us, from the youngest to the oldest, actively preparing for and eagerly awaiting His return. Following are some specific ways that families can prepare for the return of Jesus:

Keep Watch!

    "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Matt. 24:42). How can we encourage one another to be watchful? Continually talk about the things going on around you. Discern the times in which you live. Right now, much is happening in the way of natural disasters, war, persecution, etc. Keep your children informed about what is happening in the world and practice "informed" intercession. Be prepared at all times to minister to those around you and across the world who have been impacted by famine, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. As Christians, it is our mandate to respond by pouring light into darkness. Discuss as a family how you can help those who are in need – physically, emotionally and spiritually!

Guard Against the World

    There are very real threats against the lives of our children today. Satan wants them hindered, distracted, and disabled. He throws against them everything he can use for his evil purposes. To thwart the plans of the devil, teach your children to participate in activities that have the potential to be eternally significant. If they spend too much time playing video games, watching TV, or idly talking on the phone, etc., it is time to talk about what pleases God, and help them to see that some of their activities may be displeasing to the Lord. Sometimes the friendships our children develop can be damaging and the enemy can utilize them to lead kids into unhealthy situations or tempt them to live in ways that are not God-honoring. Help them to see the difference and offer them choices that will keep them attached to the Vine – Jesus. Give them strategies to say "No" to what is ungodly (Titus 2:12-14). Teach them that they should always seek the Lord’s face before doing anything that is questionable. Remind them that His words are trustworthy (2 Sam. 7:28) and that He is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made (Psa. 145:13)!

    Probably the best way to keep children and youth attached to the Vine is to actively engage them in ministry. Help them to reach out beyond themselves and find a way to show the love of Christ to others. Perhaps it will be volunteering at a nursing home, or shelter. Maybe it will be to take food to homeless people, or to pray for missionaries and lost people!

Repent of Sin

    As a family, you should continually be talking about the need to know Jesus, no matter what age your children and/or grandchildren may be. You should freely confess your sins to one another and pray for one another (Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:9). When we are cleansed of our sins, we can experience times of refreshing…those precious moments when His wonderful love can wash over us and make us whole, new, and clean (Acts 3:19-21). Teach your children what it means to have a repentant heart before God.

    Please do not hesitate or wait until you feel your children are old enough to understand the salvation message. It needs to be part of the continuous culture of your family that Jesus is Savior and Lord of your lives and home! Do not be complacent and think you have a lot of time for your children to make a decision of the heart. Remember, you do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return. Prepare your children to be more excited about their heavenly home than they are about their earthly one (Phil. 3:20).

Make Yourselves Ready

    As we talk about the return of Jesus in our homes, it is very important to discuss how we should live. As we study Scripture, we will become more and more aware of the way God wants us to act before that day arrives. "Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7). Notice that this passage does not say that God will make us ready. It states clearly that we, the bride of Christ, have made ourselves ready. It is important to realize that this will not happen in our own strength and that much prayer must go into such preparation. Here are some specific prayers for your family:

    1. Pray that He will make you and your family pure as He is pure (1 John 3:2-3).

    2. Pray that He will strengthen the hearts of your family so that you will be blameless and holy in God’s presence (1 Thes. 3:13)..

    3. Pray that God will sanctify (consecrate, set apart) your family for His purposes (1 Thes. 5:23).

    4. Pray for love, knowledge, discernment and righteousness to abound in your family (Phil. 1:9-10).

    5. Pray that your family will live good lives to the glory of God (1 Pet. 2:12).

    Adapted from the December 2005 issue of Herald of His Coming.