Be Ready

Be Ready

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” Matthew 25:1-13 NLT

For a moment imagine that you are one of those foolish bridesmaids. Imagine begging the master to get in but Jesus says to you, “I don’t know you.” Horrifying isn’t it? This will be the fate of many. Jesus warns us to be ready so it won’t be you and me.

How often do we see the attitude of the foolish bridesmaids? Ten of them were going to meet the bridegroom to be in his wedding. Five were foolish not to bring enough oil for their lamps. They didn’t prepare. And their lack of preparation cost them dearly. It showed the way they really felt about this grand occasion. Being bestowed with the honor of being in the bridegroom’s wedding wasn’t important to them. If it was they would have prepared themselves and planned ahead like the five wise bridesmaids. These were determined not to miss this occasion for nothing in the world. So they made sure they were ready. But the foolish ones were not and found themselves on the outside.

THE WEDDING FEAST OF THE LAMB

“And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:9 NLT

Do we recognize the importance of what we have been invited to; the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven? Do we know how blessed we are because of this? Or are we like the five foolish bridesmaids? They wanted to be a part of the wedding (who wouldn’t want to live in heaven forever) but they did not care to make the proper preparations. They were nonchalant. Imagine you have a wedding, and on your wedding day your best man or bridesmaid arrives in filthy clothe. On top of that they are drunk, loud and boisterous. What would you think of that person? Do you know that we can look the same way to God? We have been invited to the greatest ceremony ever; the wedding feast or marriage of the Lamb. And the bridegroom is Jesus Christ Himself. We the church (every believer) are His bride. We’ve been individually and collectively invited to live with Him and rule with Jesus forever! Is not that the ultimate experience for us? Shouldn’t we want to be ready?

“Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:6-9 NLT

Though we know we can never earn salvation because it is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9), there are still things God wants us to do:

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” Philippians 2:12-16 NIV

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Luke 12:35-40 NLT

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Tricky Questions

Tricky Questions

“Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.” Matthew 22:15 NLT

Jesus was often asked tricky questions by His adversaries. They didn’t care to hear the truth about God. They were only trying to entice Him to say something that could get Him arrested, and killed. People treat us the same way today; on our jobs, at our schools, etcetera. Some of these even claim that God is their Father just as they did to Jesus:

“Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!” John 8:37‭-‬45 NLT

There is so much to learn in the passage above. One thing we see is that the children of the Devil cannot understand the truth. It is impossible for them:

“But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT

When people ask you tricky questions to find fault with what you’re saying it’s only natural for them to embellish what you’ve just said as well. Expect it. But once you know that this is going on how should you and I respond?

“Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” Proverbs 26:4 NLT

We are not obliged to answer every question asked of us. Jesus didn’t. We are obligated to help those who are seeking the truth. In so doing when we learn that certain individuals have no interest at all in God’s word except to debate it, or to slyly get us to question our own beliefs, all we have to do is obey God who says:

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6 NLT

“But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, contentions, and arguments about the law, for they are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9 MEV

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 2 Timothy 2:23 NLT

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Are You Being Tempted By Anger?

Are You Being Tempted By Anger?

“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” James 1:20 NLT

Ever wondered why so many things keep happening that can cause you to lose it? Human anger takes us out of God’s will. We can’t live in anger and live for God too. Someone is intentionally trying to make us mad. And I’m not talking about the humans who bring drama your way. Many of them are not even aware of what they are doing or that they’re being used. A ridicule here, a problem over there, unfair treatment over here, etcetera, all are designed to get you to snap. Satan and his angels are responsible for this. (Revelation 12:9) They are the orchestrators of chaos and use people like puppets to attack us. They desire to control you and me too. One of the ways they strive to do this is by getting us angry.

“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26‭-‬27 NLT

Yes, human anger opens the door for Satan to come in and control us. Would you invite the Devil into your house? Of course not. But when we decide to live in anger we are inviting him and his demons into our homes, our lives, and our bodies too. Yes, a person can become possessed by a demonic spirit of anger. Ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what happened, I just snapped,” after committing a horrible act? They were taken over by anger. God says whatever we are angry about is not that important. He encourages us to get over it the same day. In fact God says not to let the sun go down while you are still angry. Hence we won’t be giving the Devil an opportunity to go to work in our lives.

Imagine you’re playing a video game. The object of the game is to win, right? But when you let anger control your heart you are losing in life. There will be serious consequences to face. You can’t just press a button like in a video game and start all over again once the damage is done. Like two men who were arguing at a street intersection when one of them got out of his car threatening the other man who then grabbed his gun and shot the fella, killing him. There’s no way to rewind or take it back. There’s only terrible consequences you must face because of a lack of self-control. The person who does not learn how to control his/her temper will become their own worse enemy. Conflicts and bad things happen to all of us. But the person who knows how to respond correctly always has the upper hand:

“A gentle answer turns away rage, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 GW

OVERCOMING ANGER

If you have a hard time keeping your temper confess this to God. That is the first step to overcoming anger or any sin.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NLT

Don’t act like the problem doesn’t exist. Come clean with God in prayer and He will show you mercy. He will forgive you. He will also give you strength to overcome anger. Ask for His help constantly. He will answer your prayers. Change is a process. So don’t give up. Keep seeking the Lord’s help to avoid anger no matter how many times you mess up. God will forgive you and help you overcome it if you do not give up.

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Do Not Trust Them

Do Not Trust Them

“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.” Psalms 146:3 NLT

“Do not trust in princes, or in human beings, who cannot deliver!” Psalms 146:3 NET

“Do not trust influential people, mortals who cannot help you.” Psalms 146:3 GW

Boy, how God’s thinking is so opposite of of this world’s. The world believes you should befriend as many influential people as possible. The more powerful friends you have the more they can do for you. So basically you’re just using people to get them to do what you want. But many ignore the fact that the powerful and influential of this world are even more greedy and ruthless than they are. If they help you it will always be to their advantage, not yours. So are they really helping you? No. They are using you just like you’re trying to use them. Of course there are very few exceptions to the rule; people of influence who care, and truly have your interest at heart. But they are so few. Generally, the rich only look out for themselves. Just like the wonna bees who are trying to leech off of them to get ahead. Even if they do give you a break, you will suffer in the end. Sometimes greatly.

TRUSTING PRINCES

Let me tell you the story of Those Who Trusted In The Great Prince. Once upon a time there was a great prince. There was no prince like him. He spoke charismatically. He walked with charisma. He was tall dark and handsome. No one was as smooth as this prince. The prince knew how to excite the crowds with great speeches; promising them change, and better things to come. The crowds were won over by the prince and spread his message of a bright new future to the masses. They were all sold. Then one day the prince made laws that went against his own people. He also broke many of his key promises. The people became sad, miserable, and depressed. Anger, fear, uncertainty, and discontent spread throughout the kingdom. Crime, poverty, and wars soared sky high. But the prince and his influential friends were living large. They amassed great wealth on the backs of their poor subjects. Sounds familiar? That’s because this same story keeps playing out around the world again and again? Then why do people keep putting their trust in princes and nobles?

WHOM TO TRUST

No matter how disappointed, swindled, or bamboozled people become, they keep putting their trust in man. It’s like a child trying to stick a square peg through a round hole until it fits. But it never does. Trusting in man is the only alternative people have to trusting in God. People either trust God, or they trust themselves.

“This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5 NLT

Most people don’t trust God. Even many who claim to believe in Him. Hence, as God says, they’re under a curse. How sad, since He is the only one we can truly put our trust in. Those who take the time to get to know Him come to see just how real He is. There is nothing and no one else more real. Learn what it means to trust in God. He will never disappoint, swindle, or bamboozle us.

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