Friday, May 31, 2013

Extending the Invitation 5/31/2013

"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)  The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)"  Jn 4:7-9 (NIV)

Beloved, the gospel is not a secret and Christianity is not some sort of exclusive club (insofar as that everyone is welcome).  In fact, it could be compared to the Ark on which Noah vigorously invited everyone to join him and his family due to the impending deluge.  Noah cared for his fellow man.  It could just as easily be compared to a hospital where the sick are invited to come for healing (which everyone could use in some form).  Doctors, nurses and hospital staff are dedicated to this pursuit.  The key to both of these analogies is the invitation.  The key to the invitation, with the understanding that love and compassion drives it, is how it is made.

Jesus, our great example and inspiration did three great things to extend the ultimate invitation.  First, he went where he would not normally go.  There was a hundreds of years old schism between Jews and their compromised relatives, the Samaritans.  Samaria was avoided by Jews and the name was often used as an insult.  Samaritans in turn felt the same way about the Jews.  So it was completely out of what would be expected for someone of Jesus' knowledge and de facto authority to even be in Samaria.

Second, Jesus did what he might not normally have done.  It was highly unusual for someone who was considered a rabbi to be in a private conversation with a woman, particularly one who was "involved."  Speaking of involved, Jesus later demonstrates knowledge that she is co-habitating with a man that is not one of the 5 husbands she has had.  Some even accuse her of harlotry.  Added to this, he asked her for a drink.  Because the passage later reveals that he had nothing with which to draw water, he could only have drunk after her or use her vessel.  There are all kinds of ceremonial purity issues here, nevertheless, Jesus, because of his great love, was some place he should not have been, doing something he should not have done.  This is said from the standpoint that once his apostles returned and came upon this scene, they had some serious unarticulated questions, but would not even acknowledge the presence of the woman.

Finally, Jesus met her in the location and the condition that she was.  It was entirely unlikely that she would ever leave her confines to seek Jesus for the truth.  She did not even know who he was and she had her own understanding of truth (vs. 20).  It was therefore necessary that if she was to ever experience the safety of the Ark or the cures associated with the hospital someone had to make the information known.  Someone had to go to where she was and minister to her even in her sinful condition in a loving way.  Jesus has done the same thing for you.  Will you do likewise for someone else?  Will you extend yourself to extend the invitation?



Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Unglamorous Work of God 5/30/2013

"Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, 'My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?'  So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean."  2 Kings 5:13-14

There was once a man named Naaman who was a great soldier that had distinguished himself in battle.  Unfortunately, he had leprosy.  Through the course of time and events he found himself being instructed by the prophet Elisha through a messenger to wash in the Jordan river 7 times in order that he might be cured of his condition.  Naaman was initially very angry.  He expected that Elisha would come out to him and do something miraculous.  Further, he thought there were much better and cleaner rivers than the Jordan in which to be cleansed.  The bible tells us he left Elisha's door in a rage.

This passage came to mind at last evening's bible study while talking to one of our faithful and hard working members.  He and his wife had just returned from leading a small group to tornado ravaged Oklahoma in order to lend a helping hand to those in need.  He related that a lot of the work they did involved clearing brush, picking up trash, dismantling and stacking wood from blown down fences and various other "unglamorous" (my word, not his) activities.  This brother has many talents and thought he might be doing more things like fixing roofs, installing windows or perhaps even doing some electrical work.

Through the course of our conversation, he came to realize that his and the other's willingness to pack up, drive hundreds of miles without so much as a plan for a place to lay their heads just to help perfect strangers in a time of need was the very definition of loving God with our whole selves and loving others as we love ourselves (Matt 22:37-39).  Further, the help that was rendered was critically needed by those who received it.  They helped older people who could not have done what they did by themselves.  They even did work on a home for a person who was not there.  He was not there because he was in another state receiving a bone marrow transplant due to his cancerous condition.  Their time, effort, energy and sacrifice was appreciated by all they assisted and, I believe, God is pleased.

Beloved, let us not diminish in our own minds the value of service and obedience to God.  Not everyone is going to be in a position to pull someone out of a burning building, lift a heavy object from off of a trapped individual, administer CPR to someone whose life is endangered or come to the aid of a car accident victim.  Doing good is not about the "wow factor."  It is about love and the vast majority of good done for others is quiet, small and ordinary.  God works this way so much in our lives, we not only take it for granted but we fail to see His actions for the everyday miracles they are.  Ask a severe asthmatic about the value of simply being able to breathe.

Naaman expected something big and flashy from God, but He delivered in the smallest, most quiet way.  Having him wash in the dirty Jordan, rather than the famous clear, cold and pure rivers of Damascus, Naaman was made whole, just as the people of Oklahoma will be, one small act of love and kindness at a time.

Blessings to all who do the work of God.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When Satan is Not the Problem 5/28/2013 (rp)

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." James 1:11

As human beings, we tend to play the blame game when we find ourselves in a disadvantageous situation. Rare are the times when we take complete responsibility. Case in point, when humanity fell in the Garden, Eve blamed the serpent, then Adam blamed Eve and God. Though Satan has the power and desire to tempt, he does not have the power to decide for us nor force us to do anything.

Beloved we must always be aware of our weak areas. Each of us knows where we are vulnerable and subject to slip out of God's will. It is important to do all that can be done to overcome and remove unrighteous desires (whatever they may be) in order that they not be used against us. In an effort to make a point (rather than being literal), Jesus once said, "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." Matt 5:29.

In the end, it is we who make the decisions and commit the actions that are righteous or unrighteous. In the end, they cannot be blamed on Satan or God. We were created with free will and are responsible for the choices that we make. To be sure, Satan is a problem but he is not THE problem.



Friday, May 24, 2013

The Good Old Ways

“Thus says the Lord, 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.' But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’"  Jer 6:16

God was angry with His people, in this case, the people of Judah in particular.  Despite all of the many times that God had come to their aid after they got themselves in trouble through disobedience, they turned to idolatry time and time again.  He sent His servant Jeremiah to give them one last warning that harsh punishment for their rebellion was imminent.  It is important to know that this warning was not to the peoples of the earth at large but to the people that God called His own.

Today we are exasperated when we look at the condition of the world.  We are constantly faced with the effects of corruption, immorality, strife, hatred and godlessness.  And while this can be seen throughout the world, what can be seen among the people of God?  Unfortunately, all of the above can be found inside the church as well.  While it is important to understand the source of illness in the body; however, the priority is always to seek first the cure.

Beloved, we tend to pursue new ways, new understanding and new interpretations of what God has always told us, but not all that is new, shiny and technological is good.  The word of God and the instructions it contains for how we must live our lives is ancient.  And of His surpassing existence and nature we must understand that, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 (NIV).  When we stray from God's way, we leave the path He has lit and laid out for us from the beginning, and stumble into darkness.  This most tragically takes place among those God calls His own and we are utterly without excuse.

The cure for this malady is simple: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" Matt 7:13-14.  Let us emulate David who said, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances" Psa 119:105-106.  The word of God is the true way and the true path.  Let us be sure to follow it.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Believing In God vs. Believing God 5/23/2013

"Then Barak said to her, 'If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.'”  Judg 3:8

The context of this admittedly obscure passage of scripture is that a man by the name of Barak was told by God to take ten thousand men to a pre appointed place where He would deliver the enemy of Israel into his hand.  This information was delivered by Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel.  God was setting him up for success.

Beloved, it is easy to say that we believe in God.  In fact, if you ask most people in this country whether they believe in the one true God, the answer would be a resounding yes.  Unfortunately, that is where it usually stops.  Believing in God is easy because it is conceptual.  It requires no effort whatsoever to believe in an idea, a perceived fact or even an individual.  Believing God, however, is an entirely different matter.  Believing God means not only accepting as true His existence but conducting your life in accordance with this fact.  It means accepting that if He can create the universe then He can most certainly take on flesh, walk on water, still storms, feed five thousand with a few fish and pieces of bread, call the dead to life, forgive our sins and save our very souls.  It means having confidence that He can and will do what He says and it means conducting our lives in a manner reflective of that. 

It is recorded in scripture, "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" James 2:19.  Essentially, believing in God is something even the devil can claim but do we believe Him enough to do what he says?

It is clear that Barak believed in God.  He was of the house of Israel and he gave credence to the words of the one who God placed in a leadership position over them.  It is just as clear that Barak did not believe God would deliver the enemy into his hand, opting instead to allow Deborah to have the preeminence in the situation.  She, on the other hand, believed God would do what he said: "She said, 'I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.' Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh" Judg 3:9.  The enemy was in fact delivered into the hands of a woman.  Believe God.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Disaster Strikes 5/22/2013

"Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same."  Luke 6:31-33

Today I am mindful of the great tragedies that have befallen residents of Texas and Oklahoma last week.  Much has been reported and is still being reported about the terrible loss of life and property including those elementary school students whose lives were taken by the horrific storms that impacted the area.  I am likewise mindful of the proclivity we as human beings have to help one another in a time of need.  The news reports showed that there were so many first responders trying to get in the area that they had to hold them off until they could clear a path for them.  Organizations like the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team (!currentlocation/c10d6) reacted immediately and are already amassing volunteers, food and materials for the moment when volunteers are allowed into the area.  Even members of our own congregation are in the process of packing up tools, coolers and materials to drive to Oklahoma and lend a hand.

Beloved, it is at times like these when it is most critical that we exemplify the love of Christ by being a part of the effort to provide relief to those who are suffering.  Imagine what it would be like to have your whole world blown apart.  Your first response would likely be to cry out to God for mercy and help.  Should we not then be the presence of God when others are suffering?  We truly have the ability to be the answer to someone's prayers.

While we may not all be able to travel to Oklahoma or Texas to hammer nails, serve food or lend a shoulder to cry on, we can help others who can by donating materials, the use of vehicles or tools, food and funds.  And never let us forget the awesome power of prayer.  I encourage us all to put ourselves in the position of those impacted and do what we would have them do if it were us.  It may be that through the power of God and through our efforts, not only can a home be restored and a heart soothed, but it may be that souls can be saved.  Through our love, some will see God.



Monday, May 20, 2013

Trusting God 5/20/2013 (rp)

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Job 13:15

Most of us are no strangers to the trials and tribulations of Job. We know that he lost his family and everything he owned. On top of that his closest friends first came along to comfort him but then began to pile on to his woes by adding their criticisms and questioning his character. Many of us know what it is to suffer loss. Whether it is a dear loved one, a job, a blow to our reputation, a friend, or any other thing we hold close, loss can be a gut wrenching experience. Some of us even get angry with God... It is natural to have these feelings. He is the highest power to whom we can look for help in our time of need. He is also the highest One to whom we assign blame when things do not go as we would choose.

Beloved the exhortation today is to do as Job did, trust Him come what may. He is the Creator of the universe and the creator of each and every one of us. By definition, His ways are farther above ours than the heavens are above earth. He is without constriction regarding time, place and knowledge. In short, He knows more than we do and has a plan that we do not understand. In the short run, we many experience negative impacts associated with living life, but if we would maintain trust in Him, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us" Rom 8:18. Just ask Lazarus (Luke 16:20-25).



Thursday, May 16, 2013

When God Says "No" 5/16/2013 (rp)

"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." 2 Cor 12:7-9

There is quite a bit of speculation regarding the particular ailment suffered by the apostle Paul. Many feel that it was an affliction of his eyes. Nevertheless, Paul asked God to relieve him of his discomfort. Unfortunately for Paul, the answer was no.

Hearing "no" from God can be an awfully disconcerting thing. Over time, we have come to a belief that if we were to pray earnestly enough, God will grant us our every desire. After all, why wouldn't He? We put all of our hopes into the fact that He will cure the illness of a loved one, grant us the employment position we desire, repair the relationships in which we participate or simply fix whatever our problem might be at the moment.

Where did we get the idea that the Creator of the universe exists to simply take and fill our orders? That having been said, there is certainly no intent to trivialize our darkest times. Our needs are real. Our pains are real. But so must our faith be real. We must trust our Father to know and do what is best. His ways are higher above our ways than the heavens are above the earth. Though it sometimes seems that we have been abandoned by Him, perish that thought.

Beloved, if God's eye is on the sparrow, it most certainly is on us. We must ask ourselves how many times have we felt disappointed only to look back and realize that things went the way that benefited us most in the long run. Maintaining our faith can certainly be challenging, particularly when it seems that God is saying "no" or "not yet." Just know that He is in control and that He has never failed.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It Starts With Doubt 5/15/2013

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”  Gen 3:1

Both Adam and Eve had it clearly stated from God himself what they could do and what they could not do.  It was the serpent who engaged Eve in a conversation that made her first experience doubt.  She then begin to rationalize her own desires about the look, taste and effect of the forbidden fruit and ultimately fell into sin.  How could such a thing have happened?

Beloved, as Christians, it is absolutely critical that we be firmly convinced of who God is, who we are in Him and what He has commanded.  To be anything less makes us vulnerable to both the surreptitious attacks of the Enemy as well as our own internal weaknesses.  The Hebrew writer has espoused that, "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him," Heb 11:6.  God has given us His word and His commands are crystal clear.  No one should be able to introduce doubt into our minds about His essentials.  We must be steadfast, unmovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord.  To allow doubt about what He has told us is to introduce tragedy.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We Need Each Other 5/14/2013

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." Eccl 4:9-12

Today it seems that all of life is about the individual.  It is all about what "I" think and how "I" express myself.  People are going to greater and greater lengths to distinguish themselves from others.  This neo-individualism manifests itself most tragically as selfishness.  We can become so consumed with satisfying ourselves that we begin to do so at the expense of others.  Adultery is an act of selfishness.  Murder is an act of selfishness.  Theft is an act of selfishness.  And getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an act of selfishness.  The opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness.

Beloved, God's design for humanity is togetherness and selflessness.  It was God who looked down on Adam and decided that he should not be alone.  It was God who told Adam and Eve to populate the earth.  It was God who gathered to himself a people who would carry forth his message of reconciliation to himself and to one another to all peoples.  It was the Lord who said that we should love God with all of ourselves and similarly, love others as we love ourselves.  We have been taught that it is better to give to others than to receive from others and to prefer others over ourselves.

The fact is we need each other.  None of us were designed or destined to be alone.  We heard the good news of the Lord's love from someone who cared and as a result are called to share that same good news with someone else.  The benefit is that we all benefit.  If we would all strive to take care of others, we ourselves would be taken care of by others and we would cease to know need.  More so than ever we must bind ourselves together in the love of the Lord that we might live out his will for our lives and accomplish his good.



Monday, May 13, 2013

Evangelism 5/13/2013

"But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.  This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come."  Matt 24:13-14

I do not know about you but I long for the coming of the Lord.  As we look around us, it seems that there are so many things that are wrong in this world.  Natural disasters are rampant, there are wars and rumors of wars, new things are having a negative impact on our health every day and it seems as though the world has lost all sense of morality.  It reminds me of the last verse of the book of Judges which says, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."  This stands in stark opposition to that which is right according to the Lord.

Beloved, only God knows when he will move us into a different age but in his word he has said that the time will come when the gospel is shared in all the world.  We might think that with the advent of television, radio, books and the Internet, the world has been covered many times over with the gospel, but do you know if the family across the street has heard it?  Have you ever sat down with anyone and shared it?  Sometimes "all nations" begins not in some far away country but right in your own neighborhood.

As those with whom the gospel has been shared, we have a responsibility to share it with others.  Jesus gave us all the "great commission" in Matt 28:19-20.  He shared the good news with 12 who shared it with many from all over the known world at the time.  This sharing has come down to you and me who must now take up the charge and carry it forward to the next generation until everyone has heard it.  It is when this is finally accomplished that the Lord has said he will come.



Friday, May 10, 2013

Contending For the Faith 5/10/2013

"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."  Jude 3-4

What is it in life that is worth fighting for to you?  Though physical fighting may immediately come to mind, think more along the line of struggling, defending or taking a stand.  Nearly all of us would come to the aid of a family member, an innocent or a victim.  Some will do so for a principle or a way of life.  Others still would do so for their rights under the law or for what they consider to be "right."  In fact, passions can run so highly about these and other subjects that physical fighting and even killing can result.

Beloved, as Christians, our highest priority is the conviction we have for the truth of the gospel and the salvation to which it connects us.  It literally is what distinguishes us as Christians.  There are many things about which we are told to "turn the other cheek" or to "why not suffer wrong" (to be done to us); however, we are never told to let our faith slip.  On the contrary we are repeatedly warned against it.  Our faith is to be established, grown, matured and defended at all cost.  Though the context of Jude's writing is to defend against false teachers in particular, we must be willing to fight hard against anything that would threaten our individual faith and the faith.  Our salvation depends on it.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What About Me? 5/8/2013

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matt 7:12

When most people think about the "Golden Rule," they think more about how they want to be treated than how they treat others. In fact, treating others well can be a means to an end rather than a pursuit of virtue. The reason for pursuing this thought is that there are those who become disenfranchised with their local congregations, particularly around the time that they stop attending for one reason or the other. Members get upset if no one comes to check on them and see how they are doing.

Let it first be said that they have a point. Who among us does not want to feel cared for by our brothers and sisters in Christ? It is a fact that the congregation has a responsibility to its members. If we do not care for one another who will? We must love others as we love ourselves and as Christ loves us.

That said, it must also be considered why members forsake the fellowship. To be sure there are a variety of reasons and it exceeds the purpose of this writing to consider them per se. Instead, the question must be asked to some of those who feel wronged, "Do you visit the absent?"

Beloved it is easy to ask oneself, "What about me?" but not as easy to make the sacrifice and show the love for others by visiting them in their need, particularly when they may have, for one reason or the other, lost their way. Much is said about cliques in the church and how only certain people get the attention of the masses. While this can be seen in any organization (let us not forget that we are still humans and still short of perfection despite our calling) this can be defeated by being the friend we wish to have. If everyone focused on building relationships and reaching out to the person normally on the nearby pew that you have not seen in a while, the problem could be virtually eliminated. In so doing, we will likely find ourselves being treated the way we have treated others. Let us think on these things.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Trust Him 5/6/2013

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:6-7

There is a young man with whom I am acquainted that happens to be going through some very challenging times.  The pain in his life has caused him to question God.  It is not that he questions the existence of God but the presence of God.

Beloved, there are times in each of our lives when, for one cause or another, that we become very uncomfortable.  Whether it is physical pain, emotional turmoil or mental exasperation, we who find it quite natural to want to avoid discomfort find ourselves appealing to God to make it all go away. We must not think of God as some magical creature who, like a genie in a bottle, pops out and grants our wishes whenever we call him.  If that were the case, the Almighty Creator of the universe would be little more than the kid at the fast food restaurant that puts burgers and fries in the bag for us and we would be gods.

God is most certainly present throughout our daily lives even when we may feel that he is missing, especially during our troubled times.  Our faith must give us the assurance that he is ever with us and is working things out for our good.  Throughout Joseph's troubled life of hatred by his brothers, being kidnapped at their hands, being placed in servitude, accused of immorality and even imprisoned, God was not only with him the whole time, but was preparing him to save not one, but two nations.  Without his troubles and God's presence, it would not have been possible.  It was the difficult and painful times that gave him the knowledge and the experience to succeed.

So to all who may be in a tough spot right now, trust him.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Can You Hear Him Now? 5/3/2013 (rp)

"So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, for you called me.' Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel,"'Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, 'Speak, for Your servant is listening.'" 1 Sam 3:8-10

God in His divine wisdom saw fit to call a young boy into his service. Samuel was a product of a devout father and a mother who struggled to bear children. For years she cried and prayed that God would bless her and that if He did, she would give the child to Him. God answered her prayer and she kept her promise. She left the boy with God's man Eli at a tender age and he began to be instructed in the way of the Lord. Then at a God determined point in his life, he was called into service by the very voice of the Almighty.

Beloved, there are many things that call to us today. We are inundated with messages from a variety of media that contend for our attention. Some of these messages are positive, some neutral and some negative. We must ask ourselves, however, if we are tuned in to God. It is His call that is quiet but firm, powerful and consistent. He placed within each of us to recognize His voice. Paul writes, "...that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" Rom 1:19-20. Contextually, this is a chastisement for those who have ignored the call of God and have acted unrighteously. But it clearly reveals that He has placed within us the ability to know and Him.

Further, His voice can be heard in our morality; our sense of right and wrong. Whether one is a believer or not, we all have a sense of what would we should do over against what we should not. This is then the God channel. It is not here stated that we hear God's audible call today. In fact Heb 1:1-2 tells us a bit of the history of His communication with us. The point is He still speaks. Be it through observed nature that make His existence evident or the conscience He has placed within us to respond to Him, He still speaks. When He calls, we need to turn everything else off and respond, "Speak, for your servant is listening."



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Are You Ready? 5/1/2013

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief..." 2 Pet 3:9-10a

Even during the first century there were scoffers about the Lord who asked, Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation,” 2 Pet 3:4.  The bible refers to these people who evidently take into no account the power of the God of all creation as "willingly ignorant."  We are reminded that to the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.  The real question that should be asked is "Am I ready?".

Beloved, let us not take on the mentality of the "microwave generation" who wants immediate answers and gratification for all things.   When the Lord, in his infinite wisdom and his own timing does come, it will be too soon for many.  Jesus advised, "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be," Matt 24:38-39.  Let us instead focus on being ready for his return.  Let us focus on being found doing those things he commands.  We can certainly learn from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins that when the time comes, there will be no opportunity to begin preparing the things that should already have been prepared.  As it was with the foolish virgins, that will be an excellent way to be left out.

The Lord has been clear about the fact that he will return.  He has also been clear that only God knows the timing.  The best way to be ready is to get ready and stay ready.