Lord! Let us in! Matthew 25.10-12

“Then the door was shut. Later, the other virgins came too, saying, ‘Lord, lord! Let us in!’ 12 But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!'”

Matthew 25.10-12

Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins registers the Lord’s sad refusal to let in the unprepared. No one should expect entry into God’s kingdom who has not prepared himself before the hour comes.

Will God change his requirements for heaven? No! Must I believe and obey his commands today? Absolutely! What do I lack to be prepared for eternity?

#votd #Matthew #preparation

Survey gives 4 reasons why people change churches, author gives 5 reasons when it is OK to quit

According to this recent article, a Pew Research study (sounds like a pun in this context) has revealed four primary reasons why people change churches:

  • Sermon quality
  • Welcoming environment/people
  • Style of worship
  • Location

In my opinion, one reason is hopeful, one is expected, one is typical and one is practical.

The author of the post (who, along with his wife, serve as “lead pastors”) comes to some conclusions that I believe are quite honest. He says, “The translation is clear – Americans treat church like a product to consume instead of as a family to belong. When we treat church like a product, we consume until our needs are no longer met. … Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit.

The author goes on to offer his thoughts on when it is “OK” to quit church … five of them to be exact (to be fair, I believe the author intends for the word “church” to be equated with “congregation”):

  • It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave
  • It’s OK to leave for family and marriage
  • It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church
  • It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership
  • It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.

In my opinion, one reason is questionable, one is expected, one is practical, one is typical and one is hopeful. Similar to my opinion before, but in a different order.

Articles like these are interesting to me, not because I believe they should validate or negate the church’s direction in regards to mission, purpose or correction, but rather because it helps us to understand the perspectives that are being shared with the “general church public.” Such knowledge gives us the chance and opportunity to be better equipped when it comes to presenting the truth of God in a 2 Timothy 4:2 and a 1 Peter 3:15 sort of way.

#church-life, #preparation, #survey

Phases of life

Phases of life are as natural as phases of the moon.

Each phase of life is meant to be used to prepare us for the next (1 Corinthians 13:11, Ecclesiastes 11:7-10; 12).

A good tip for parents is to keep in mind what life was like for us during the phase that our children are currently in. The same could apply for grand-parents and grand-children.

At this point in time, I remember clearly what it was like to start kindergarten, and to spend time with my parents, grand-parents and great-grand-parents. I keep this mind when it comes to my child. I remember the memories that I want to create for her – memories that will be beneficial for as she goes through the different phases of her life.

Life is different through the perspective of a child. Backyards are huge! Bills are incomprehensible. The necessity of learning is something that mom and dad emphasize. The toy-isle is a slice of paradise. Slides, swings, wading in a creek, walking in the woods and watching cartoons stick with you for a long time. Each learning experience (and memory) allows a different experience (and memory) to be built.

It is easy to forget about the way others go through phases in life … especially a child. But remembering the importance of these phases will help to govern the way we deal with others as we go through our own.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV)

#life, #parenting, #preparation

Some people treat God like … windshield wipers

It would be nice to say all people looked to God as the comforter who wipes away all tears before the tears even begin to flow, but the reality of the matter is a lot people treat God like bad windshield wipers on a rainy day … you don’t think about them until you need them! And by the time you think of them – it may be too late! Continue reading

#preparation, #some-people-treat-god-like, #spiritual-illustration

What does the Bible say about preparing for eternity?

From the desk of Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The above verses with others, and the entire tenor of God’s word, tells us of the necessity of making preparation to meet the Lord in heaven, and to escape hell. God has made every provision necessary for the salvation of everyone through the gift of His Son. And, Jesus was willing to sacrifice in His dying upon that old rugged cross, that we might be forgiven of our sins.

Even though God has provided the gift of salvation to everyone as the Bible states, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” (Titus 2:14), God requires our faith and obedience.

Jesus stated the necessity of obedience when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus also encourages us to follow the narrow way that leads to life, because there are few that do so. But, He says there are many who travel the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

It is true that “heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people,” and that “not everyone talking about heaven will necessarily go there.”

We must make preparation by obeying the Lord as the Bible teaches. Jesus tells us we must have faith in Him as the Son of God; that will lead us to repent of our sins; to confess that Jesus is the Son of God before men; and to be baptized into Jesus death to have our sins forgiven as they are washed away in His precious blood (John 8:24; Luke 13:3; Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21).

Are you preparing for eternity?

#eternity, #heaven, #preparation

Sometimes we talk about how someone died suddenly…

Sometimes we talk about how someone died suddenly, without warning. One lives in sin and rebellion against God, then they are suddenly destroyed. 1 Thess 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child and they shall not escape.” There is no forewarning, no herald, no trumpet call, no scheduled appointment. Suddenly, silently, in a moment death strikes and destruction comes. It’s only a few months since the tornado ripped though Huntsville leaving death and destruction behind. The one thing I heard over and over by newscasters, weathermen, victims who lived through it – “without warning, without warning.” That is how God’s judgment will come upon the stub¬born and unprepared. This is Just-a-Minute.

#just-a-minute, #preparation

Christian Worker on the subject of “Are We Prepared?”

Here’s a link to a PDF of this month’s Christian Worker. This issue of the Christian Worker examines the topic and question of “Are We Ready?” Please click on the link to open it, and read it with your Bible in hand.

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2013 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-questions, #christian-worker, #pdf, #preparation, #topical-study

Who packed your parachute?

Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform; a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory–he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you. Congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes. I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute! And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. Prov. 16:21-22

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#important, #preparation, #relationships, #supports

Illustration: Bible Study

It Needs to Be Used…

General George Washington had known nothing but defeat in the American Revolution until the famous victory at Trenton on Christmas Day night, 1776.  Every school child knows how Washington attacked the Hessians unawares and defeated them.

But what is not so well known is that the commanding officer at Trenton, Colonel Gottlieb Rall, had been warned of Washington’s surprise attack.  The evening before, Colonel Rall had been passed a note by a Tory farmer of the impending attack.  Yet he put the note aside unread as he played chess [some accounts say cards, ccd] and drank with other officers.  Colonel Rall was mortally wounded in the battle, and the note of warning was later found in his pocket…unopened.

God has given us the best information available on how to live, yet His Holy Word often lies unread at our fingertips.  It bulges with both promises and warnings.  The promises inspire us and refresh us to take courage.  The warnings are like flashing red lights that stop us in our self-destructive paths.  How foolish to ignore the cautions of God’s Word that would detour us from self-destruction!

“Blessed is he that readeth … and keep those things which are written therein…” (Rev 1:3)

Adapted from John Scott –
[Originally via The Friend of Truth, 4/27/2003, came to me via David Lemmons, then further adapted based on additional historical research]

#bible-study, #illustrations, #preparation

Illustration: Living Expectantly

by: Ron Bartanen

Have you ever heard the tale of old Shep? Near where our daughter and family live in Montana, overlooking the Missouri River and the Great Northern Railroad, is a monument erected to pay tribute to old Shep, a collie dog that had belonged to an old shepherd. Wherever the man went Shep was always at his side.

Then in 1936 Shep’s master died. Shep accompanied him the final time when men took his body to the train station, from whence it would be shipped back East for burial. Shep tried to board the train with his master, but was put off. As the train pulled from the station, Shep followed as far as he could. Losing sight of the train, he returned to the station where he dug a spot under the depot, from which he would keep vigil for the return of his master. Through six cold, snowy Montana winters and five springs he would expectantly greet the arrival of each train, looking for his master” return. In January, 1942, a train struck the old dog, killing him. Railroaders who had befriended and fed the dog buried him on a bluff, and the monument was erected in his memory.

Are we, as Christians, as faithful as was old Shep as we look for the return of our Master? Unlike Shep, our Master will return. When God’s table of time is completed, “He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). Though years pass, we are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 3:13). The question is:  ARE YOU READY?

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2)

Source: Bulletin Gold: Vol. 5, No. 6, Aug 7, 2005

#faithfulness, #heaven, #illustrations, #preparation

When our children were growing up, we pu…

When our children were growing up, we purposefully did not make any plans to be out on Saturday evenings. The exception to that would be to attend a gospel meeting. We made sure clothes were ready, kids bathed and in bed at a decent time, and if I was teaching, all my class stuff assembled and ready to load in the car.

Even now we generally do not make plans for Saturday evenings (it’s not wise to be out after dark here any night of the week anyway, although we have to be from time to time). My Saturday preparations for the Lord’s Day are to iron clothes and have food on hand for Sunday. If we have a long drive we’ll bring lunch in the cooler, to eat on the way home. No fast food here. 🙂

#preparation, #saturday

Preparing for Your Own Godly Home

Am listening to Bro. Mike Bonner’s presentation of how to prepare and have godly homes. It’s one of the best presentations I’ve heard in a long time, and heartily recommend you listen to it, if you haven’t already done so.

http://swcofc.org/lectureship/2009-lectureship-honoring-christ-calling-for-godly-homes/

#biblical, #godly, #home, #preparation, #presentation, #principle