Be Ready

Be Ready

In heaven we, Christians, are described as having “made ourselves ready.”

The marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7–8)

Now is the time to get ready.

Get ready:

For Judgment

You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. (Matthew 24:44

Prepare to meet your God. (Amos 4:12

Judgment is coming. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? (See Becoming a Child of God.) 

For Trouble

In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1

Expect trouble. (1 Peter 4:12

Prepare! See When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?

As a Witness

If you are a Christian, you are a witness to Christ with your life and with your words.

You shall be My witnesses. (Acts 1:8

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15

Are you walking in a manner worthy of your calling? (Ephesians 4:1)

Think through, in advance, what you will say about Christ when you have the opportunity. You might prepare a short and longer versions. And think how you might address common objections. 

For action

We are created for good works. We are given opportunities.

Be ready for every good deed. (Titus 3:1)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13

Expect opportunities. Watch for open doors. 

In General

Know the word of God.

Be alert to opportunities to speak and act.

Be “prayed up.”

Don’t be surprised at trouble. You are being sanctified, and this may be a powerful moment to witness to Christ with your actions and attitude.

Prepare! Make yourself ready!

The Ugliness of Sin

The Ugliness of Sin

I’m in agony about current events, and realized it—ALL of it—is rooted in sin. 

Slavery is a bad evil. Sin at every step. Sin by those who captured and sold humans, sin by those who traded, transported, and bought humans, sin by societies/nations that made slavery legal, sin by those who mistreated humans. (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7

Racial, ethnic, economic (etc.) prejudice is sin. (James 2:4)

Looting (stealing), destroying, violence, assaults, murder are sins. (Exodus 20:1-20)

Injustice is sin. (Leviticus 19:15)

Vengeance is sin. (Romans 12:19)

And the list goes on.

Even Covid19 stems from sin. (Romans 5:12)

God judges individuals

Individually we have responsibility for our personal sins. God holds us accountable and told us that the wages of sin is death. The great good news is that if we repent, believe in Jesus Christ, and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are saved from our sins. (See Becoming a Child of God.)

But if individuals do not repent and believe, they die in their sins. (John 8:24)

As Christians, we must continually live in a way that honors God, confess our sins, and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. 

We must also continually pray for others to recognize God’s holiness, their sin, and turn to Him in repentance and belief.

National and societal sin

Sins also corrupts organizations, societies, and nations leading to bad habits, customs, laws, regulations, policies, etc. 

As Christians, we have a responsibility to work towards societies that support godly behavior and condemn sin. Not all of us are called to making that our focused mission, but we cannot ignore the problem, and we must pray and act as God leads us.

What to do. What to do…

PRAY!

Salvation of the Wicked

If we watch any news, we can’t avoid seeing violence, arson, destruction, looting, “random” attacks, unjust killing.

It is easy, at least for me, to want immediate and harsh consequences. Instant judgment.

And, certainly, the US needs a legal system that is timely and just.

But, do I pray for the perpetrators? Or just condemn?

God wants the wicked to return to Him so He can have compassion and pardon. (Isaiah 55:6–7

God is patient, wanting all to come to repentance, not wishing any to perish.  (2 Peter 3:9

I am determined to remember that I, too, was once the enemy of God. (Romans 5:10)

I am determined to pray for individuals and groups to see God’s truth and holiness, to see their own sin, to repent and turn to God for salvation.

And I am determined to pray for those individually affected by the violence. Some are not (yet) saved and I need for pray for that. Some are Christians and I will pray that they turn to God, their loving sovereign, for healing and growth. 

And I am determined to praise holy God who is working everything after the counsel of His will.

Yes, He will judge. Yes, not all will be saved.

But our glorious, incomprehensible God is calling all to return to Him so He can have compassion and save them.

Let’s pray!

Pray!

I am overwhelmed.

A killer virus. An unjust death. Protests. Riots. Violence. Murders. Part of a major US city taken over. 

I believe Almighty God is sovereign. I believe that for His children, this will make us more like Christ and bring Him glory. I believe He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think. I believe that nothing is impossible for Him.

I believe we, God’s people, have the responsibility to pray. I believe His ears will be attentive, if

My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:15)

Let’s pray!

See also Pray for Your Country

Opening Up

Opening Up

The US is opening up after more than two months of various restrictions due to the new virus. Our individual experiences were and are very different. In my own family some continued to work, some began home schooling their children, some had their businesses closed, one lost his job permanently. Each of us had and have challenges.

During both strict and relaxed restrictions, we had and have opportunities. Our routines were affected, even if we continued to work. For most of us, we had more time at home. Shopping for essentials changed. Shopping for anything changed.

These changes generated new opportunities. How did we use the additional time at home? Did we respond with grace to shortages of items we needed? 

There are new opportunities now that restrictions are being eased. We may be out of the house more, or back to work, or in summer routine rather than homeschooling. There are new conflicts between those who wear masks and those who don’t. There is disagreement, sometimes heated, about how fast to reopen. There are long standing political conflicts. 

As Christians, we have opportunities to use hardship, disappointments, and conflicts to honor God and demonstrate to others His love and power. We have new chances to testify about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I am praying to recognize these opportunities and to speak up in love and gentleness. 

I think God gave the whole world a reminder that we are not in charge, He is. Let’s witness to Him while we can.

The US is opening up. Let us open up also.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) 

God Does Details!

I decided to clean out a long-neglected closet, and in the far back corner were two register-type space heaters. We hadn’t used the heaters in eons, so I planned to take them out to the barn, but instead my husband put them in a more accessible place. 

Three days later (3 days!), our furnace died, had to be replaced, and it was snowing! The space heaters were put to immediate use.

Through big events and little details, God demonstrates His love. 

I don’t think I would have remembered where those heaters were, and I found them because I cleaned out that closet. 

My plan to put them in the barn would have made it more difficult to get them where we needed them, especially in the snow. 

Why should I be surprised?

God numbers every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30), He clothes the lilies, He feeds the birds. (Matthew 6:26-30)

I feel loved.

Thank You, Lord!

(See also The Case of the Back Lit Radio)

Hope Keeps Us Going

Hope Keeps Us Going

Actions often are based on expectations about the future. We do something expecting some result. (We also often act as a result of habit or settled routine. This post is not about that.)

The stronger the expectation, the more likely we will keep going through hard times. I’m sure you can think of examples in your own life: finishing a project, graduating, running that last mile, loving a prodigal child.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

In that quip, the coming dawn is the hope that keeps us going.

For Christians, our dawn is the hope laid up for us in heaven. (Colossians 1:5)

We have God-given promises about the future and the present. These promises are guaranteed, not uncertain. (See Our Hope)

Scripture often links behavior to hope 

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.  (Matthew 5:12

Exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2

We labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God.  (1 Timothy 4:10

Hebrews 11

Hebrew 11 is referred to as the faith chapter, detailing heroes of the faith. It is also the chapter of hope because these men and women were assured their hope was true. 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1

Act in light of God-given hope

To act consistently with our God-given hope, we should:

Review the hope God has given us, not only in eternity, but in this world as well.

Believe Him!

Fix your hope completely on God. 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 1:13

Pray! 

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)   

Sinking Spells

Sinking Spells

John the Baptist was the first to recognize Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17), identified Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and declared that Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit and is the Son of God (John 1:33-34).

But he had a sinking spell.

After Herod put John the Baptist in prison, he started wondering (worrying?).

Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?”  (Luke 7:19

John’s disciples arrived while Jesus was healing.

 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.  (Luke 7:21

Jesus answered John’s disciples with scripture (Luke 7: 22), demonstrating Jesus is the Anointed One, fulfilling prophesy.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.  (Isaiah 61:1

Jesus sent word to John about what was actually happening (reality), reminded him of scripture, showed the fulfillment of prophesy, and reoriented John to the certainty of God’s promises.  

When we (believers) have sinking spells

Remember who God is

God is our loving sovereign (See When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?)

 God doesn’t lie (Hebrews 6:18)

God fulfills all His promises (Numbers 23:19)

Check to make sure you are putting your hope in God, and God alone

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5–6

Remember His promises

His promises are sure things. We “hope” for them, but it’s really waiting in anticipation of certain fulfillment.  (See Our Hope)

Remember His enormous blessings to you

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:21–25

Study scripture, memorize, meditate

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  (Romans 15:4

In His word do I hope. (Psalm 130:5)

In everything give thanks

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18

Stand firm and press on

PRAY!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13

False Hope

What gives you hope?

Do you depend on the sea wall to protect you from the storm?

Do you look to your marriage to fulfill your needs?

Do you expect your income to bring you joy?

Do you believe your good health habits guarantee you a long, healthy life?

Do you rely on your retirement funds for a pleasant and secure old age?

Do you ….. ?

Any hope without God is no hope

Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ … having no hope and without God in the world.  (Ephesians 2:12

Any hope outside of God is a false hope

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!  (Isaiah 31:1

The righteous will see and fear, and will laugh at him, saying, “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and was strong in his evil desire.”  (Psalm 52:6–7

A horse is a false hope for victory;Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. (Psalm 33:17)

If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.  (Psalm 62:10

… the deceitfulness of riches …  (Mark 4:19

Our hope is only in and from God

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:5–8

Be responsible and trust God

We are expected to be responsible in this world and follow God’s commands. 

If we marry, we are to marry in the Lord.

We are to take care of our bodies and minds.

We are to work and use our income wisely.

We are to be good stewards.

But we are to trust in God and not ourselves. 

Monitor yourself

Watch yourself for where you place your hope. If you find yourself hoping in someone or something other than God, confess! Ask the Lord to cleanse you from false hope and strengthen your trust in God, and God alone.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.  (Proverbs 18:10

See also Our Hope and Easter Hope