Tag Archives: preparedness

Micah 5-7; Matthew 25

Listen to what the Lord is saying … my daughter wanted a book on how to read people, and in my search, I came across a book called Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras. I started to read it, and this word repeats often: listen.

Micah 6 opens with these lines, “Listen to what the Lord is saying …”

“O my people, what have I done to you?
    What have I done to make you tired of me?
    Answer me!” Micah 6:3, NLT, emphasis added

Tired of the Lord?

“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. (Matthew 25:1-4, NLT, emphasis mine)

This parable of the bridesmaids has been on my mind the past year, and now entering hurricane season, I think about being prepared–how do you prepare for a literal destructive storm? Toilet paper? Non-perishables? Batteries? How do you prepare spiritually?

This oil, fuel for light, and the bridesmaids–all of them were bridesmaids–I search online: what does the oil represent? Biblestudy.org suggests that the oil represents the Holy Spirit and the bridesmaids are believers. I read on in the explanation: “The meaning of the parable of the ten virgins teaches us that, shortly before Christ’s return, there will be Christians who are so slack in their spiritual duties that they will not have enough of God’s Spirit (character) in order to endure to the end (Matthew 24:13). All true Christians should make sure they have the faith and are diligent enough in their spiritual lives not to be caught unprepared (Matthew 24:45 – 51). We must all strive to be wise, and not foolish, virgins.”

The next parable in Matthew 25 is the Parable of the Three Servants.

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.” Matthew 25:14-15, NLT, emphasis mine.

Upon the man’s return, each servant shows how he used the money entrusted to him, and of the three, all but one doubles the investment. Each one was left a portion according to his ability, so the playing field is fair. The last man has nothing to show but the original investment, which he thinks is good enough. The master calls this servant wicked and lazy, and banishes him.

In the first parable, the bridesmaids caught unprepared were locked out from the feast. This is what Jesus says,

11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return. (Matthew 25:11-13, NLT)

The wicked and lazy servant who does nothing with his allotment receives a crushing fate:

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:28-30, NLT)

And at the end of the chapter, Jesus talks about the final judgment. The nations are gathered in his presence. And there is judgment based on action.

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ (Matthew 25:45, NLT, emphasis added)

Impressions on this reading speak of preparation, prudence, purpose–but really all of it is action. An alert faith. A Kingdom focus. I think long about my walk–am I walking with the Lord? Or am I walking apart from him?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NLT)

Lord, in these parables, the bridesmaids, the servants, those gathered in your presence, all know who you are. And each responds in his own way. These stories were spoken and recorded for the benefit of your followers. You spoke this because you want us to know. You have told us. You have given to us according to ability. May we live without excuse.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 4-6; Luke 12:35-59

I had gotten a text and several calls from a neighbor very early the other morning. Someone had tried to break into her house before dawn. Her husband was awake and alerted of the trouble, called out for his son, and the intruders fled before entering. My cell phone wasn’t near me when she called, so I didn’t get the scoop until a little later. She was calling to warn me, because the men were making a run for my house.

The news troubled me all day and into that night and following day. My senses were on guard. What was familiar suddenly seemed different.

This morning’s scriptures seemed hand picked.

35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 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. 37 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! 38 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.

39 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Luke 12:35-40, NLT.

And Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?” (Luke 12:41, NLT).

I sit at the Lord’s feet and consider these words today.

Lord, help me to live with your kingdom in mind. Help me to be ready for you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1Kings 16; Col. 3; Ezek.46; Ps.102

What he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 1 Kings 16:5

 

But you remain the same, and your years will never end. Psalm 102:27

 

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The gate of the inner court facing east is to be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New Moon it is to be opened. The prince is to enter from the outside through the portico of the gateway and stand by the gatepost. Ezekiel 46:1-2

 

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4

 

Earthly kings and princes come to nothing in the end. Their deeds are but words on the pages of ancient history. Jesus, the Prince of Peace will enter Jerusalem through the East gate on his triumphant return. That gate is blocked now and a graveyard stands outside of it. None of that will stop the return of the King of Kings.

Will he find us ready, clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love?  Will we recognize Him as the one who rules our hearts? Will sweet songs of praise and thanksgiving greet Him?

Then our biographies will disintegrate into the dust. When we belong to Jesus, He is our everything, our reason for being, our inheritance.

Surrounded by His glory, my life will fade like the mist at dawn. I will only see Jesus smiling at me, arms outstretched, beckoning me forward into his arms.

yicareggie

From the archives. Originally published October 13, 2010

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Genesis 41-41, Matthew 22:1-22

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:2, 14

1. Joseph was invited.

Pharaoh sent for Joseph from the dungeon.

2. Joseph was properly attired

When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

3. Joseph was prepared.

“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.

4. Joseph was rewarded.

Then Pharaoh said, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace…” Genesis 41:14-16, 38-40

1. Many were invited.

a king prepared a wedding banquet for his son… sent his servants… to the street corners … invite to the banquet anyone you find…

2. Not all were properly attired.

the king …noticed a man not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?

3. Not all were prepared.

The man was speechless.

4. One was rejected.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness… Matthew 22:2-3, 9-13

1. Who is invited?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

2. Who is properly attired?

My soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness …Isaiah 61:10
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22

3. Who is prepared?

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1Peter 3:15

4. Who is rewarded?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

yicareggie

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Joshua 22; Jeremiah 11; Acts 2; Matthew 25

Choices and paths. Preparedness and action. Earlier posts came to mind when I read Matthew 25 this week. I thought about Dave’s reflection last Sunday about Matthew’s book being about choice and what we do with what God has given us when I read about the servants entrusted with the talents when the master went away (Matthew 25:14-30). And Greg’s thoughts yesterday of the servant tending daily responsibilities were the precursor to reading of the ten virgins, the lamp oil and awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).

Choices and paths. Preparedness and action. These were the words that flavored the text as I read about feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36.

Sometimes reading verses like these take me to a broader, global application–which is good. But when I considered the local, immediate involvement … the daily application of compassion and hospitality … opportunities to look into someone else’s eyes and glimpse Jesus–the sowing becomes the harvest.

A food gift to a new neighbor; a pitcher of ice water to the cable installers on a summer day; inviting a new mom to playgroup and cultivating a friendship; assisting a family struggling in a rough economy; caring for someone afflicted with a chronic illness; looking into the eyes of someone imprisoned who may feel forgotten and unwanted.

What am I doing with the talents God has given me? I could read these passages and feel condemned–or I can read them and see great possibility even in the smallest action.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40.

I echo Greg’s prayer. Lord, give me the staying power to be obedient to your will moment by moment.  It is my greatest desire to abide in you so that when you come looking for me you find me serving your purposes.  Amen

Courtney (66books365)

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