"In the future there is reserved for me the victor's crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that great day - and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8
On movie marquees, it used to be common to see announcements proclaiming a certain movie as "Now Appearing." I've a friend who says that our lives should be so deeply fit into Him, and His to ours, that we should be living announcements of His appearing to the world around us, through us. James Robison said something to effect that not only do we look forward to His glorious appearing, but that He longs for His glory to appear in us. Is the longing of Christ's heart being realized in your and my life today? What's "Now showing" in and through us right now?
Much is made of the "carbon imprint" being made on the world's environment. Yet, what thought do we in the Church give to the "Kingdom Imprint" left upon this world by our lives and witness? Jesus said to those who were His that "The Kingdom of God is within you," meaning His very Life. A Life that held forth all the wonder and glory of His Kingdom. Having this Kingdom Life goes far beyond doing "Jesus things." It is infinitely more than imitating His Life. It is the very fullness of His Life. A fullness of His Life that shows up, appears, in and through us. A Life that draws people to itself. A Life that leaves an eternal imprint. A Kingdom Imprint. Are our lives, and the lives of our fellowships doing so today? It is a good thing to be known for our good works, but it is a glorious thing to be known as putting forth the manifest Presence of Christ in our midst. A Presence that is not only before us, but within us. A Presence so mighty that it seems near impossible to resist. A Presence and appearing we long for, and He longs to bring to us.
I'm not sure just how a great part of the Church views the coming of a Holy Spirit awakening today. Judging from much of what I see on a lot of social media, it does not seem to be in the forefront. It seems something relegated to another time. Yet I still vividly remember being a young believer and hearing the account of an upstate New York "revival" in the mid-19th century. Word came to a neighboring town of how it appeared that a great awakening had come to the next community. Indignant, a group of men banded together, mounted their horses, and rode out with the purpose of disrupting it all. I still remember clearly the preacher reading the account of how the closer they got to the community, the greater was the sense of His Presence. How men, so shortly before filled with anger and rage, were being overcome by His Spirit, weeping in brokenness and repentance, so that the end result was that when that group of "vigilantes" reached the town, they were all of them converted. Simply by His mighty Presence. Such is the glory and power of His appearing. Paul and the early Church longed for this. As I heard that account all those years ago, I longed for this as well. I still do. Do you?
For us, it really comes down to the matter of appearance. Who and what is appearing in our lives and fellowships today? Our flesh and life, or His Spirit and Life? One or the other will appear. By one or the other we will be known. Which will it be? The One.....or the other?