Be ready! Come prepared!

If you knew someone you loved was coming, would you get ready and be prepared for the wait of their arrival? What would you do to make sure you were prepared since you aren’t sure exactly how long it is going to be before they get there, you just know they are coming and already on their way? Would you prepare any differently than if you knew the exact hour? Would you still be ready if it took a while for them to arrive? What would you do if it took longer than you prepared for? What would the consequences be?

Now what if the person you were waiting for was Jesus? And His return would be the trigger for bring people home into the kingdom of God? And what if missing out would mean being left behind? Would that change your preparation? Would that change your perspective? Would that change your readiness plan?

This morning’s reading starts with just such an example and it goes like this:

The Parable of the Ten Young Women

1“At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there were ten young women who took their oil lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and the other five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them, 4while the wise ones took containers full of oil for their lamps. 5The bridegroom was late in coming, so they began to nod and fall asleep.
6“It was already midnight when the cry rang out, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come and meet him!’ 7The ten young women woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8Then the foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Let us have some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 9‘No, indeed,’ the wise ones answered, ‘there is not enough for you and for us. Go to the store and buy some for yourselves.’ 10So the foolish ones went off to buy some oil; and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived. The five who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was closed.
11“Later the others arrived. ‘Sir, sir! Let us in!’ they cried out. 12‘Certainly not! I don’t know you,’ the bridegroom answered.”
13And Jesus concluded, “Watch out, then, because you do not know the day or the hour.
~from Matthew 25 (GNT)

The reality nobody knows the day or the time of His return, but we do have the promise that He is coming back. So where is your hope and trust being put? Is it on the temporary of today or the eternity of life with God? Your perspective, your focus, your vision will impact your direction and your preparedness. So let’s get ready and be ready!

So what can we do to be prepared? Let’s live life in the Spirit! For when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were transformed! And when you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be transformed. Today’s reading speaks to this in the following way:

Life in the Spirit

1There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3What the Law could not do, because human nature was weak, God did. He condemned sin in human nature by sending his own Son, who came with a nature like our sinful nature, to do away with sin. 4God did this so that the righteous demands of the Law might be fully satisfied in us who live according to the Spirit, and not according to human nature. 5Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. 6To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. 7And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it. 8Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.

9But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to—if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you. because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. 11(1 Co 3.16) If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you.
12So then, my friends, we have an obligation, but it is not to live as our human nature wants us to. 13For if you live according to your human nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your sinful actions, you will live. 14Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. 15For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” 16God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children. 17Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.
~from Romans 8 (GNT)

So let’s live in this new way! Let’s live without condemnation! Let’s live as the Spirit tells us to live! Let’s not be fooled or tricked by our human nature that will try to lead us off track, but rather walk in the Spirit so that God’s power will be alive in us and we can glorify Him! Let’s live the lives of children of the most high God who we became when we were saved and adopted into God’s family. As His children, we get the inheritance of His blessings for His people.

So it’s not too late to ask Jesus into your heart! It’s not too late for a transformation! Is today your day? Do you want it to be? Ask God to forgive you (for all have sinned and fallen short of the will of God). Ask Jesus to come into your heart and into your life and to help lead you and guide you, to set you from the old ways and to create a new heart in you. We see in the book of Mark 16:15 tells us that all it takes to be saved is:

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;

So Lord as I prepare for this day, as I put on the full armor of God, as I look to You for wisdom, I ask Lord for your wisdom and your protection over me and my family and friends. May Your Word stand firm as it never returns void. And so I finish my reading and posting today from the book of Psalms…

A Prayer for Safety

1Save me from my enemies, my God; protect me from those who attack me! 2Save me from those evil people; rescue me from those murderers! 3Look! They are waiting to kill me; cruel people are gathering against me. It is not because of any sin or wrong I have done, 4nor because of any fault of mine, O Lord, that they hurry to their places. 5Rise, Lord God Almighty, and come to my aid; see for yourself, God of Israel! Wake up and punish the heathen; show no mercy to evil traitors! 6They come back in the evening, snarling like dogs as they go about the city. 7Listen to their insults and threats. Their tongues are like swords in their mouths, yet they think that no one hears them. 8But you laugh at them, Lord; you mock all the heathen. 9I have confidence in your strength; you are my refuge, O God. 10My God loves me and will come to me; he will let me see my enemies defeated. 11Do not kill them, O God, or my people may forget. Scatter them by your strength and defeat them, O Lord, our protector. 12Sin is on their lips; all their words are sinful; may they be caught in their pride! Because they curse and lie, 13destroy them in your anger; destroy them completely. Then everyone will know that God rules in Israel, that his rule extends over all the earth. 14My enemies come back in the evening, snarling like dogs as they go about the city, 15like dogs roaming about for food and growling if they do not find enough. 16But I will sing about your strength; every morning I will sing aloud of your constant love. You have been a refuge for me, a shelter in my time of trouble. 17I will praise you, my defender. My refuge is God, the God who loves me.

Somethin’ comin’ somethings coming!

Do you know what? Do you know when? Do you know how? Do you know where? Do you know who? Do you know why?

Today’s reading continues in Matthew and the truth about the timing! God’s timing is perfect! He is rarely early, never late, but always on time!

No One Knows the Day and Hour

(Mark 13.32-37; Luke 17.26-30, 34-36)

36“No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. 37The coming of the Son of Man will be like what happened in the time of Noah. 38In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat; 39yet they did not realize what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes. 40At that time two men will be working in a field: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 41Two women will be at a mill grinding meal: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 42Watch out, then, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. 43If the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, you can be sure that he would stay awake and not let the thief break into his house. 44So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.

~ from Matthew 24 (GNT)

Nobody knows the exact moment in time when Jesus will be coming back, however, we need to live everyday ready for His return! I thought it was interesting that the new Left Behind movie came out recently and that God’s Word today talks to this point to help me reinforce the importance of being ready! The importance that we are prepared at all times! Living like Jesus could come back at any moment rather than living like I have time before I need to be ready. Consider going on a trip, an important trip to an incredible destination…how would you prepare? What if you knew that when the time came if you weren’t ready, you couldn’t go? What if it was like a suitcase dance where your name gets pulled but you thought you could run home and get your bags, but discovered you couldn’t and lost out on a trip of a lifetime? You knew it was a suitcase dance. You knew the rules were that you would be swept from the restaurant to the airport where your private jet would take you away. What if you weren’t prepared! What would you expect? What would you feel like? What if they ended up having to give it away to someone else? Today’s reading is for bigger things! Missing out means being left behind! Being left behind means having to deal with suffering, distress, trouble, misery. Missing out means dealing with the loss of so many and so much. So will you be ready so that you won’t miss out?

How about if you knew you would get another chance if you missed it? You just have to press through the trials, the suffering, the distress, the trouble, the misery and that you would get one last chance! What would you do then? How about if it didn’t happen yet, but now you know?

Everyday we are faced with choices! So choose wisely! It has great implications on what can and will be, on what could or should be! Let’s not be surprised! Let’s no live a way that we will have regrets! Let’s grab a hold of the plans God has for us and live it out to the full!

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Servant

(Luke 12.41-48)
45“Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant? It is the one that his master has placed in charge of the other servants to give them their food at the proper time. 46How happy that servant is if his master finds him doing this when he comes home! 47Indeed, I tell you, the master will put that servant in charge of all his property. 48But if he is a bad servant, he will tell himself that his master will not come back for a long time, 49and he will begin to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50Then that servant’s master will come back one day when the servant does not expect him and at a time he does not know. 51The master will cut him in pieces and make him share the fate of the hypocrites. There he will cry and gnash his teeth.
~ from Matthew 24 (GNT)

Don’t lose hope! There is a way! this is a hope! And it is Jesus! Today’s reading continues into Romans with this wisdom:

The Conflict in Us

14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a mortal, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. 16Since what I do is what I don’t want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. 17So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. 18I know that good does not live in me—that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. 19I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. 20If I do what I don’t want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me. 21So I find that this law is at work: when I want to do what is good, what is evil is the only choice I have. 22My inner being delights in the law of God. 23But I see a different law at work in my body—a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. 24What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? 25Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!This, then, is my condition: on my own I can serve God’s law only with my mind, while my human nature serves the law of sin.

~ from Romans 7 (GNT)

We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! Not by works so that nobody can boast! For God so loved the World that He gave His one and only Son, not to condemn the world, but that through Him they might be saved!

So there still is hope! It’s a matter of choice! Whom shall you serve?

What end will you choose? What end will you see? What end will you experience?

This morning’s reading triggered many questions. Even the name of my blog site is based on the precept of the end. Back in 2005 when I started to blog, my reading was in the book of Revelation. I was wondering what to name my blog, but my first day of reading made it clear. From 2005 to Eternity! It’s all about the journey from then until the end. The Bible speaks to the end times in a few different places, be it Daniel, be it Matthew, be it Revelation, or be it in another book, it’s a topic that raises questions about the end. The battles, the struggles, the trumpet call, the people being lifted up from the earth, the left behind, and so much more. And every time this topic comes up and I consider the signs, I feel like it keeps getting closer and closer. As I think about it, additional questions come up about the people who don’t know, won’t hear, hear but choose to go their own way, who are mislead, who are being lied to, who are being cheated. I consider the Left Behind series with Kirk Cameron and the fact that a new version of the first movie just came out. The fact that the books are a twelve part series and to hear a friend speak of how the movie ends with more questions than it started with. God gives us His Word as a lamp unto our feet and alight unto our path! I remember my Pastor preaching from the book of Revelation years back to provide some insight and wisdom to it. It’s a time where things will be hard. Consider what is taking place to Christians in the middle east these days. Consider how Christians are being challenged and persecuted around the world. Consider how the Christian way is being challenged and attacked. Consider how the world seems to be embracing everything except Christianity. It’s not new! It’s been written about many times throughout history. And it won’t change the future! Having read the end of the BOOK, I know that God wins! Having read Revelation, it reveals what is going to happen and what needs to happen prior to the end. So I won’t give up! I won’t lose faith! I won’t lose hope! I will trust in God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength!

This is how my morning reading begins…

The Awful Horror

(Mark 13.14-23; Luke 21.20-24)
15 (Dn 9.27Dn 11.31Dn 12.11 1 Macc 1.54 1 Macc 6.7)  “You will see ‘The Awful Horror’ of which the prophet Daniel spoke. It will be standing in the holy place.” (Note to the reader: understand what this means!) 16“Then those who are in Judea must run away to the hills. 17(Lk 17.31) Someone who is on the roof of a house must not take the time to go down and get any belongings from the house. 18Someone who is in the field must not go back to get a cloak. 19How terrible it will be in those days for women who are pregnant and for mothers with little babies! 20Pray to God that you will not have to run away during the winter or on a Sabbath! 21(Dn 12.1Rev 7.14) For the trouble at that time will be far more terrible than any there has ever been, from the beginning of the world to this very day. Nor will there ever be anything like it again. 22But God has already reduced the number of days; had he not done so, nobody would survive. For the sake of his chosen people, however, God will reduce the days.
23“Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’—do not believe it. 24For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear; they will perform great miracles and wonders in order to deceive even God’s chosen people, if possible. 25Listen! I have told you this ahead of time.
26 (Lk 17.23-24)  “Or, if people should tell you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’—don’t go there; or if they say, ‘Look, he is hiding here!’—don’t believe it. 27For the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west.
28 (Lk 17.37)  “Wherever there is a dead body, the vultures will gather.

The Coming of the Son of Man

(Mark 13.24-27; Luke 21.25-28)

29 (Is 13.10Jl 2.1031Jl 3.15Rev 6.12 Is 13.10Ez 32.7Jl 2.10Jl 3.15 Is 34.4Rev 6.13) “Soon after the trouble of those days, the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. 30 (Dn 7.13Zec 12.10-14Rev 1.7) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky; and all the peoples of earth will weep as they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31The great trumpet will sound, and he will send out his angels to the four corners of the earth, and they will gather his chosen people from one end of the world to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

(Mark 13.28-31; Luke 21.29-33)

32“Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin. (24.33: the time is near, ready to begin; or he is near, ready to come.) 34Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

~ from Matthew 24 (GNT)

And reading ahead, tomorrow’s reading will continue and speak even more to those left behind. The hidden references from the webpage when I copy/paste I included today for those who would like to do more research.

Today is a new day, with new mercies. His grace is enough for me! He’s not done with me yet as I am still here to serve Him and to glorify Him. And if you are reading this, He’s not finished with you yet either! Greater things are yet to come!

So with this day we have, we need to grab onto the truth and press forward for the glory of God! We need to hold onto the truth and shine. Today’s reading continues in the book of Romans showing how the law reveals sin and how Jesus came that we can be forgiven. How our lives are transformed by the grace of God !

An Illustration from Marriage

1Certainly you will understand what I am about to say, my friends, because all of you know about law. The law rules over people only as long as they live. 2A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him. 3So then, if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is legally a free woman and does not commit adultery if she marries another man. 4That is how it is with you, my friends. As far as the Law is concerned, you also have died because you are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to him who was raised from death in order that we might be useful in the service of God. 5For when we lived according to our human nature, the sinful desires stirred up by the Law were at work in our bodies, and all we did ended in death. 6Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.

Law and Sin

7 Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would not have known such a desire. 8But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from law, sin is a dead thing. 9I myself was once alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, 10and I died. And the commandment which was meant to bring life, in my case brought death. 11Sin found its chance, and by means of the commandment it deceived me and killed me. 12So then, the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13But does this mean that what is good caused my death? By no means! It was sin that did it; by using what is good, sin brought death to me, in order that its true nature as sin might be revealed. And so, by means of the commandment sin is shown to be even more terribly sinful.

~ from Roman 7 (GNT)

So let’s live in the new life today! Let’s walk by faith and not by sight! Let’s walk by faith, the antidote to fear! Trusting in God rather than what we see or hear, because we know we need God to step up, step out, and accomplish God’s perfect plan. We don’t have to do it alone! He will never leave us nor abandon us! Lot’s turn to Him today!

A Prayer for Help

1Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, because I come to you for safety. In the shadow of your wings I find protection until the raging storms are over. 2I call to God, the Most High, to God, who supplies my every need. 3He will answer from heaven and save me; he will defeat my oppressors. God will show me his constant love and faithfulness. 4I am surrounded by enemies, who are like lions hungry for human flesh. Their teeth are like spears and arrows; their tongues are like sharp swords. 5Show your greatness in the sky, O God, and your glory over all the earth. 6My enemies have spread a net to catch me; I am overcome with distress. They dug a pit in my path, but fell into it themselves. 7I have complete confidence, O God; I will sing and praise you! 8Wake up, my soul! Wake up, my harp and lyre! I will wake up the sun. 9I will thank you, O Lord, among the nations. I will praise you among the peoples. 10Your constant love reaches the heavens; your faithfulness touches the skies. 11Show your greatness in the sky, O God, and your glory over all the earth.