Five Minute Word- Rain

Rain

As I try to rest, all I can hear is the drip, drip, drip tapping at the window. Autumn rain slowly coming down as the wind whirls around. The air is crisp and cool. I pull a cardigan close around me to try to stay warm.

I love the sound of rain. It is very soothing and calming. I also love the smell. I learnt a few months ago why we humans love the smell of rain. There is some sort of chemical that is released when the rain first hits the ground. Animals cannot smell it as much as we do. People have tried to bottle it up, but they can never get the chemical smell of rain.

I pray for the rain of the Holy Spirit to come down upon me. I am not completely sure of why we call it rain; however, I do know I want him to overflow in my heart and soul. I want him to pour out his Spirit in a mighty way within my heart. I don’t want a trickle like a small shower. I want him to pour down rain like a monsoon. I want to be so overflowing with God’s Spirit it pours out onto other people. I want them to see Christ in me.

I pray that somehow, God will bring that rain. Rain of revival, restoration, and renewal within my soul. I want to be able to hear his word and share it to whomever I can.

Holy Spirit rain on me. Amen.

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A Pattern for Prayer based on Luke 11:1-10

One of the disciples asked Jesus to teach him and the rest of the disciples how to pray as John the Baptist taught his followers to pray. Jesus was a great example of someone who truly knew how to pray. Prayer was as important as breathing to Jesus.
 
The first part of what we know as the Lord’s prayer opens focusing on God our Father. The opening of the prayer was not unusual for Jews. This opening was used in most of the Jewish prayers. However, Jesus was teaching more than just opening a prayer with a few simple words. He wanted the disciples to understand about the relationship we have with God our Father. This is a conversation of intimacy, love, and trust. It is also acknowledging that God is indeed Lord of all. His name is holy, righteous, worthy of praise.
 
When we pray Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, we are humbling ourselves before our God. God’s kingdom is already here within our hearts. When we pray this as it is meant to be prayed, we are seeking to do His will in His way. We want God and His kingdom first in our lives and on earth.
 
When we ask for daily bread, this is God’s Word, His manna for our souls. We cannot follow Jesus without partaking of His Word, His flesh. Jesus’ mission on earth was to follow God and His will. He wanted the disciples to understand they could do nothing without the power of God and that daily time with Him. In order to grow in our relationship with Christ, we have to spend time with him.
 
Jesus then goes on to teaching about forgiveness. Forgiveness is pivotal to our relationship with God. He desires us to forgive others, so we may be forgiven. Unforgiveness hinders us from moving forward and growing God’s kingdom. Jesus forgave us from our sins, the least we can do is forgive others. It is so easy to hold on to grudges, yet those grudges can turn into bitterness and then hatred if we are not careful. If we are harbouring unforgiveness towards someone, we cannot expect Christ to forgive us.
 
When we ask God to lead us not into temptation we are not suggesting God is going to take away all that may tempt or try us. In fact, those very things are allowed so we can grow in our relationship with Him. God desires to deliver us from evil. God will not remove all the evil around us, but He will protect us as parents protect their young. At the end of the prayer, Jesus once again recognises that everything belongs to God and is under God’s control.
 
The disciples were used to praying set prayers such as Christians have come accustomed to praying the Lord’s prayer. Most of what they learnt in the Lord’s prayer is what they already knew, because they prayed these prayers so many times during the day and the Sabbath. There is no magic in these words. Jesus wanted the disciples and us to understand that prayer is about a relationship with God our Father. He wants us to understand that His name is to be high and lifted up and most importantly we are to seek God’s will not our own.
 
We are to be persistent in our prayers. Jews were used to this idea- for example, Daniel. Set prayers were a vital part of a Jew’s life. Jesus doesn’t want to us to be religious in our prayers. Instead, He wants us to be honest, sincere, and open with God our Father. He desires us to have a contrite spirit and brokenness before Him. He desires us to be humble and come to Him in worship. When we come to God in this type of attitude and worship, we will move His heart. And the good news is when we don’t have the words to say and we struggle to share what we are really feeling, Paul tells us in Romans, that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf in groans and words that we cannot every express.
Jesus goes on to tell a parable after teaching about how to pray. Although the man in this story did not want to answer the door because he was very tired, he did so because the friend kept knocking. In the tradition of that day, to not answer the door and meet the need of the friend or neighbour, would bring shame to the man’s family and home. He had to spare his name, therefore, he answered the door and met the friend’s need. Jesus was teaching us that God is always listening, He is always there with the door opened wide to listen to our needs. Even though the man was tired and did not want to open the door to his friend, he still did so and still met the need. The friend’s persistence paid off and he got what he needed. Jesus is teaching us not to give up in our prayers. We need to keep seeking God’s will, and keep asking Him to answer our prayers. The hardest thing at times is to wait and be patient.
 
The friend had boldness to go to his mate’s house and ask for what he needed. So often we tend to not come to God in persistence due to our pride. We think we can do it on our own, because we may not get an answer right away, we tend to think well, God’s not listening anyways, so I may as well do what I want. Fear also keeps us from seeking God for His desire. What if it’s not what I want to do, what if it is out of my comfort zone? Fear keeps us from doing so many wonderful things for the kingdom of God.
 
We have to be careful though when we are persistent in our prayers that we don’t do out of selfish motives. We must seek the will of God. There are times however, that we need to be active in the answer to our prayers. We know what is God’s will and yet, we expect God to just give us what we want here and now without obedience and doing what God is calling us to do. This is being selfish and almost like a toddler who has tantrums to get their own way.
 
The Lord’s prayer is a simple way of remembering how to pray. However, Jesus’ main point that He wants us to understand is that we are to see God as our Abba, Father. He is our friend, someone we can trust. We are to come to Him in humble worship seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. If we put God first in our prayers in reverent fear, then we can pour out our hearts to Him on behalf of others and ourselves. We must have a forgiving spirit, because unforgivenness and bitterness causes us to stumble and not grow. Jesus does not want us to be stuck in a rut, constantly praying the exact same prayer all the time. The Lord’s prayer is not a magical prayer, a rabbit’s foot, a lucky charm. It is an example from many prayers that the disciples would have understood. We are to be persistent in seeking God’s will and not our own agenda. We are to put God first and foremost.
 
The good news is that when we do pray in this manner, with a humble heart, seeking God’s will, we will move the heart of God. Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede on our behalf, and we will see mighty things happen! Prayers will be answered and lives will be changed, including our own. Praise be to God!

Trust

Trust is the word that has come up often in my readings today. Trust is something I am not very good at most of the time, mainly trusting people.

However, I know I need to trust God in all things despite what is going on around me. The devil plays with my mind with worrisome thoughts. Especially with the “what ifs?” or “what about?” questions and scenarios. Have you ever been there?

I know there are many verses in the Bible about trust. I am good at finding and quoting them. However, what needs to happen is to have the knowledge of the verses go from my head to the realisation of truth in my heart.

I think we all struggle with this problem. We know the truth. Jesus says we will know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Knowing the truth and standing firm with no fear because it is ingrained in our hearts is another thing. Oh, how I long for His truth to penetrate my heart when it comes to trust.

God has never failed me yet. He has always come through for me. He answers prayers. God does not let me down. So why is it that trust is such a difficult thing for me and for you?

I think it’s because we are trusting in someone we cannot physically see. Hebrews 11:1 says this is what faith is: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Also, when someone hurts us, trust can be a difficult thing, and we tend to place that distrust for others onto God. Sometimes, God doesn’t do what we want him to do and we blame him for the circumstances we are in. He doesn’t heal us or a loved one we have been praying for. He doesn’t provide the money we want. He doesn’t give us the friend or spouse we wanted. He doesn’t open our wombs so we can conceive. He doesn’t give us everything we want or desire.

What I have learnt through the years is God gives us what is best. He knows our hearts. He knows our desires. God wants us to trust him knowing that he will fulfil his will for our lives.  It’s not our will, but his will.

Trusting is not manipulating God. We cannot tell God what to do and get upset when he doesn’t. God is not Santa Claus or a genie which we can ask him to do anything and everything for us.

Allowing trust to not just be a matter of the head but allowing our hearts to believe, to have confidence and assurance about what we do not see, is to allow God to be God and realise we are not. God wants to have full control of our lives. He wants us to surrender our “what ifs?” and “what abouts?”. He wants us to stand firm on his word to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

The enemy attacks our minds and he gets us so wrapped up in what could be. However, if we allow our hearts to trust God, not just our minds, then we will be able to stand firm on God’s Word. We can trust and know God will do what he says he will do. God is who he says he is.

I am choosing from this day forward to trust God with my heart, not just my mind. Nahum 1:7 says, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

constantexchange

God says to us what he said to the Israelites in captivity, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

David says, “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:3-4).

I declare with the psalmist, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).

Trusting God may not be easy, but I know it is worth it.  I close with a poem I have shared before, but it says what my heart (not my mind) says to God. God bless you all…

 

Still, I Trust You ©

I may not always feel Your presence

I don’t usually understand

I struggle with doubt

But no matter what, I still choose to trust You.

Some days I feel alone

The darkness seems to be closing in.

Frustrations rise, questions go unanswered,

But no matter what, I still choose to trust You.

No one said it would be easy…

Being a Christian.

But why the padded answers,

So many try to give?

No matter what, Lord, I still trust You.

I remember the words that I have hidden in my heart

I sing familiar songs

But nothing compares to Your presence.

Please stay here with me,

Carry me through,

I cannot keep on going,

If I don’t have You.

Lord, I choose to trust You.

I will praise You despite how I feel,

I will trust Your way is best.

I will not forget

All You have done for me.

You promised You will never

Leave nor forsake me.

However, when those doubts arise,

Please help my unbelief,

Help me to always trust You.

Amen.

God wants us to trust him knowing that he will fulfil his will for our lives. It_s not our will, but his will.1

 

Wonderfully and Marvellously Made!

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. -Psalm 139:13-16 ESVUK

 

Everyone on this earth was formed and fashioned within the womb by God’s hands. He created each of us in His image. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, or culture we come from, we were all created by God. He gave us the choice to live for Him or turn away. Sometimes we don’t think this way. We look at others with contempt and with hatred. But God loves each person as His own because He knitted each of us within our mother’s womb.

 

We are valued, loved, special and wonderful. If we can but see other people as God sees them, what a difference it would make in this world! People have lost their hope because they don’t feel loved or valued. When asked, most people would say that they are not worth anything. They are searching for meaning, hope, peace.

 

God sent hope and peace through His Son Jesus Christ. He was formed in fashioned in the womb as well with God’s hand upon Him. He was knitted the same way we were within the womb. His days were recorded in God’s book just like ours are. I am amazed at the fact that Jesus came to earth this way. Yes, the angels sang the night that Jesus was born. But you know what, I believe angels sang the day we were born as well.

 

It grieves my heart knowing how many people don’t see how valuable they are to God. It grieves me to see how badly humans treat each other and their own selves. If only we would see each other as we truly are, wonderfully and marvellously made, what a difference I think it would make. If only we can see Christ as our hope, our joy, our peace.

 

But you say, I was not wanted as a child, praise the Lord you were born and not aborted. You say, I have been rejected all my life and no one wants me. Jesus loves you, and there are people around you right now that love you. You say I have done so many wrong things, God could never love me. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. He is there with open arms to welcome and accept you. You say you don’t understand.

 

Let me tell you, I know from experience the pain of rejection, the pain of not being wanted! But I also have experienced the healing love of Christ in my life and I know without a shadow of a doubt that He is with me and has always been. I know that He was there the day I was born rejoicing. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I marvel at that!

 

I praise the Lord for this and I pray that others would realise how precious they are to God. I also pray that we would love others the same way, no matter what they look like, no matter what they believe. Let us love them, let us see them as God sees them and instead of bashing them, let us lift them up in prayer. I pray that we would encourage each other and accept each other in love. Until we do, people will still be lost without hope. Let them see in us Christ who was fearfully and wonderfully made just like you and me.

If only we would see each other as we truly are_ wonderfully and marvellously made in the image of God,maybe, just maybe, love would reignand people will

Personal Thoughts…

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days I was fit and healthy. I would have been able to spend time with my children, maybe go abroad for a holiday, and been a better part of their lives. Sadly, they are almost finished with high school and sixth form and will be on their way to university and the life ahead of them. In a few more years, we will be empty nesters.

Today is one of those days. Sitting here alone whilst Mark, Josiah, and Joel are helping with Kids Alive at our church, the quietness is still, painfully still. Usually, I enjoy quietness. I am an introvert by nature, so I enjoy time by myself without all the background noise. For now, all I hear is the white noise of a fan.

As I sit here, I wish I was able to help with the kids. I loved working with children and running children’s programmes. I enjoyed helping the vulnerable and those who most other people would not bother with. I enjoyed teaching the Word.

I find it unfair at times. Yes, I have questioned God many times as to why all these things were taken away from me. I have learnt a lot since being ill. I have learnt who my real friends are, they are not many, but I am grateful for them. I have seen the kindness of strangers who are willing to hold open doors so my wheelchair can get through. I have seen my youngest become an advocate in his own way for disabled people.

I would love to have days where I am not in pain or completely drained with fatigue. So far, there haven’t been any such days. The recent heat wave has not helped.

I read several devotions each day and people’s blogs as well. I love to read. One of the devotionals was about suffering and how Jesus suffered not only in his death but in the 40 days in the desert (thank you Rebecca Brand).

No one enjoys suffering. We try to run from it. We try to cover it up and put on a happy face and keep moving forward. However, I have found I need to face the suffering head-on.

I never know what kind of day I am going to have until I get up and start moving in the new day. I just try to make the most of it when I start after breakfast. Usually, my morning consists of prayer, devotions, and posting on Facebook. When I get up early, 6.30 a.m. for example, I have a short nap to refuel myself for a few more hours.

I desire to use this time of what seems like suffering (if someone tells me constant pain and fatigue and loss of mobility isn’t suffering, they obviously never have experienced it) for God’s glory. Jesus did in the wilderness for 40 days. The wilderness in Israel isn’t just desert; there are many rocks, briars, steep embankments, caves, etc. He spent that time hungry, hot, thirsty, with God. I am sure he was tired, he may have had sores on his feet from walking on the hot paths, and feeling dehydrated. It was at the end of this time the sneaky devil tempted him.

When I am the most tired and in a lot of pain, the enemy comes in like a roaring lion attacking me. He mainly attacks my mind and tells me I am not good enough. I am useless. No one cares. No one wants to bother with me. I am a nuisance. No one wants to know what is going on with me. These lies run around my head, swirling, trying to burrow its way into my soul. Most of the time I can take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. But, there are days, I repeat those lies to myself.

I know the words are not true. I say to everyone on Facebook encouraging words. I am good at encouraging others, but horrible at encouraging myself. I am so glad Jesus understands me. I am glad he knows what suffering is like. He knows my pain. I can lean on him in the midst of all the struggles I go through.

So, as I am sitting here in the quiet, I am reminding myself I still have a purpose.. I am able to spend time writing. I am able to pray for people and have the time to do so. I am able to write notes in handmade cards to people. I am able to share on Facebook. God is still using me despite of my limitations.

I still hate not being able to go out whenever I’d like or go longer distances so we can enjoy a holiday together. I still get frustrated when my legs won’t cooperate with me and causes me pain.  I do wish I could be healthy again so I didn’t have to take so many tablets every day and could lose weight. I wish I could be an author one day where people can say, I relate to her and be encouraged that God is with them as well.

I just keep waiting. Waiting in the wilderness of suffering. Waiting for the lies to stop swirling in my head, especially in the quiet moments and in my sleep. And I keep waiting for healing. God’s timing is perfect. I trust him with my life. He has never failed me, despite how much I have failed him. God is so good.

Jesus quoted scripture to defeat Satan. I continue to hide God’s Word in my heart and when these negative lies attack me, I try to remember to hit each one of them with God’s Word. Jesus endured the greatest suffering known to man. With his strength, I can too. No matter what comes my way, I want to be more like Jesus. I want to be an example to others. I don’t want this suffering to be in vain. I want God to use me no matter what I am going through.

judean_wilderness

 

Praise the Lord in all circumstances!

Praise.

What is it and why should we praise God?

According to the Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, the word praise means to say or write good things about (someone or something), to express approval of (someone or something) and to express thanks or to love and respect (God).

To praise the Lord is to say good things of him, give approval of who he is and what he does and to express our thanks, love and respect to our Father God.

Praise is vital in our relationship to God. We should praise him first and foremost because of who he is. God is our Creator. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die a horrible death to atone us of our sins and he raised Jesus from the dead so we can have eternal life. God is amazing. He is always with us. He cares about us. He enjoys our presence and wants to spend time with us. He is a good God and a good Father.

We should praise the Lord at all times. The Bible says to praise the Lord 377 times! That is more than every day of the year!

Yes, I know it is easy to praise him when things are going well for us.  When we are healthy, happy, family life is wonderful and things could not get better.

But what about when things go wrong. Illness strikes, circumstances are difficult, a marriage breaks up, a loved one dies, there’s no money in the bank and you can’t pay the bills, etc.? Why should you praise then?

Praise puts the focus on God not on our circumstances! Praise puts the focus on God, not on our circumstances!

It is not easy to praise the Lord when things go wrong in our lives. However, it is imperative that we do.  Praise helps us to focus on God and who he is.  Praise puts God first in our lives. God is still in control. God is still good.  He did not cause the problems in our lives. We cannot and should not blame him.

We live in a sin filled, fallen world. God does not give us troubles. Satan does. Instead of blaming God for our problems, let us praise him for goodness.  Praise him for his presence in our lives. Praise him for the good things that are happening. Take time to write down things you are thankful for, for at least a week, even simple things such as a hot shower, and you will quickly find things you can praise the Lord for.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we are to be thankful in all circumstances.  I know this seems very difficult, but it can be done.  I write in a little notebook, every day of the year, things I am thankful for. Doing this has given me a fresh new outlook on life. I am happier in my spirit and I have found many reasons to praise the Lord.

Being chronically ill and suffering from mental illness as well sometimes takes its toll on me. At first I was angry, even angry at God for allowing this to happen to me and my family.  However, when I started to give thanks to God for the simplest things, I began to realise how awesome God is.

I have found praise helps me to focus on God instead of the physical pain or frustration of not being able to do things like everyone else. I have also found that praising God boosts my mood and I sense his presence with me. Praising him really has changed my outlook on life.

When I am down and feeling rather low, I put on praise music.  I sing (even if I’m out of tune sometimes or even have no voice) songs of praise to God. I even begin to thank him for who he is.

I have heard so many people say it’s hard to praise the Lord.  Their circumstances are too difficult. They say I have a gift which enables me to praise God no matter what.

My friends, everyone can praise the Lord. If you struggle to know what to say, have a look at the Psalms. Start by praying one of them, such as Psalm 100.  Listen to hymns, praise and worship songs, and/or contemporary Christian music to help you to focus on God. Listen to the words sung. If you know the words, sing along. If not, Google the words, as most every song out there can be found on Google (you would be surprised what you can find).

When you begin to focus on God and not your circumstances, your heart will be changed.  Your relationship with God will grow stronger. You will be able to weather any storm.

Life here on earth is temporary. Our relationship with God is eternal. What is more important to us?

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! -Psalm 150

Praise helps us to focus on God and who he is. God is still in control. God is still good.

The Wise and Foolish Virgins (based on Matthew 25:1-13)

The story of the wise and foolish virgins is an important one to remember. Let me start by introducing you to a bit of background of an Eastern style wedding. The ceremony of marriage was performed commonly in the open air, on the banks of a stream. Both the bridegroom and bride were attended by friends. After the ceremony of marriage, there was a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father’s house. At the end of that time, the bridegroom brought his bride, with great pomp and splendour, to his own home. This was usually done in the evening, or at night. Many friends and relations attended them; and besides those who went with them from the house of the bride, there was another company that came out from the house of the bridegroom to meet them and welcome them. These were probably female friends and relatives of the bridegroom, who went out to welcome him and his new companion to their home.
This begins our story of the ten virgins. The virgins mentioned in this parable were the female friends and relatives of the bridegroom. Not knowing precisely the time when the procession would come, they probably went out early and waited until they should see indications of its approach. In the celebration of marriage in the East at the present day, many of the special customs of ancient times are observed. The “lamps” used on such occasions were rather “torches”; they were made by winding rags around pieces of iron or earthenware, sometimes hollowed so as to contain oil, and fastened to handles of wood. These torches were dipped in oil and gave a large light.
The church of Christ is called a virgin as she is supposed to be pure, holy, spotless and righteous. This story represents us as the church. Five of the virgins were wise and brought extra oil for their lamps whilst five of them were foolish not bringing oil for theirs.
The conduct of those who were “wise” refers to those who are “prepared” for the coming of Christ, humble, seeking after His heart, longing for His return, holy, and not being just saying we are his professed followers. The conduct of those “without” oil expresses those who profess to love Jesus but do not live a holy life, and are therefore unprepared to meet him.
The five foolish virgins probably expected that the bridegroom would come immediately; therefore, they made no provision for any delay. The wise virgins knew that the time of his coming was uncertain, and they, therefore, were prepared with oil. The oil was carried in “vessels,” so that it could be poured on the torches when it was necessary.
The bridegroom was long in coming, and all the virgins were drowsy and began to fall asleep. This is not to say that the whole church is completely asleep not ready to meet Christ. There will be some who are and others who are eagerly waiting for His return.
At midnight the cry rang out, “the Bridegroom is coming!”
All the virgins trimmed their lamps. Burning until midnight, the oil was exhausted: they gave a dim and obscure light. They trimmed them by removing the burnt parts of the linen or the torch so that they would burn clear. It was needful, also, to dip them again in oil, or to pour oil upon them. This strikingly represents the conduct of most people at the approach of death. They become alarmed, anxious, and trembling, and ask the aid of others, but often when it is forever too late.
The foolish virgins who did not bring oil for their lamps began questioning the wise ones for oil. They saw their preparation, desiring to be like them. The wise tell the foolish to go and buy their own oil. The word “buy” is significant here as the Bible says in Isaiah “buy wine and milk without money and without price” and Revelation tells us to “buy of Christ gold tried in fire.” What we buy becomes our own. Our salvation was bought with the price of Christ’s death on the cross.
As the foolish virgins went away to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived and the wise virgins were able to go to the marriage feast. This part of the parable represents the entrance of those who “are ready,” or prepared, into the kingdom of God, when the Son of man comes. Those who have repented of their sins; who truly believe on the Lord Jesus; who live a holy life; and who wait for his coming will be READY.
The door was shut and no one else could come in. When the truly righteous are received into heaven, the door will be closed to everyone else. There will be no room for preparation afterwards. The foolish virgins tried to get in, knocking on the door and asking the doorkeeper to please let them in. However, the person at the door said, “I don’t know you. You were not in the company of those who attended me to the marriage-feast.” These words apply to professing Christians, who have ONLY a profession of religion but bear no fruit, are not holy, or ready to meet Christ. It means I do not know you as Christians. I do not approve of you or admit you are my friends.
The scriptures before this parable talk about people being left behind that was not ready. I have heard people say this is a scare tactic and should not be taught. We must tell people the truth.
Catherine Booth said “Many do not recognize the fact as they ought, that Satan has got men fast asleep in sin and that it is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do if he can do that. We may sing songs about the sweet by and by, preach sermons and say prayers until doomsday, and he will never concern himself about us if we don’t wake anybody up. But if we awake the sleeping sinner he will gnash on us with his teeth. This is our work – to wake people up.”
Stop worrying about what people think, eternity is far more important! What if Christ returned today, who would be left behind because we wanted to keep appearances or popularity?
The parable ends with Jesus saying, “we are to keep watch because we do not know when He will return.” Like the virgins, many are professing they are going to meet Jesus and like the coming of the bridegroom, his advent will be sudden. Many, even professing Christians, will be engaged in the business of the world; thoughtless about eternity; not expecting his approach, and not prepared. They will only profess to know him, but in their actions, they will deny him, and death will come. All approaches of the Son of God to judge men are sudden. Just like the foolish virgins, many will be trying to be active, preparing to die but not ready and for them it will be too late. Those that are ready for Christ’s return will enter in, and heaven will be closed forever against all others.
As the virgins, should all have watched and been ready, so should we. Christians should be ever watchful for when Christ returns.
It’s been more than 2000 years since Christ shared this parable, a long time to wait for His return. Because of that, apathy and complacency have become too prevalent in the church. We tend to just go about our business without thought of Christ’s return. Oh, Christian, we must wake up. William Booth said, “We must wake ourselves up! Or somebody else will take our place, bear our cross, and thereby rob us of our crown.”
Ask God to stir up the fire within our hearts and to keep us ready always for his return to meet Him. I don’t want to be left out when the door closes, do you?
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