Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Are We Ready?

                This morning, most of this nation arose to frigid temperatures. Even here in the southeast we woke to single digit temps and wind chills that cut us to the core. As I opened up Facebook this morning, I see many of my friends talking about the cold, the climate changing and the drastic winters we are experiencing across this nation. As I read these posts, a question came to me. That question was, “Are you ready?” As I pondered on these words, I was reminded of all that Jesus talked about in regards to His return. How we are to be waiting and ready for Him at any moment, for He will come when we least expect it.

                We hear so many different reports on why the climate is changing. Some say it is global warming, others say it is because the earth has moved off its axis (yes, I have actually heard that reported). The Bible doesn’t really address the issues of climate change, but in some ways, I believe that this is all part of God’s great plan and for us as Christians a reminder and a warning to look up. The Son of God is returning, whether you believe it or not. Jesus tells us that He is coming, and that certain things are going to take place, as signs for us of His eminent return.
                “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must first come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8
                There is always a war going on somewhere in these times that we are living in. Nation is rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. We hear and see the famines, the pestilences, and earthquakes devastating parts of the world which have never experienced an earthquake before. But what does all this mean to the Christian? As I think about all that Science is telling me about the earth changing, whether it is called global warming or whatever term they are using today, all I can think is that I need to be ready, and I find myself asking, am I ready? Am I ready for His return?
                Pondering on all these things this morning reminded me of the parable of the Ten Virgins which Jesus spoke to His disciples. Matthew 25:1-13 tells us of ten women, five were wise and five were foolish. Jesus says that half of them were prepared and waiting, while the other half seemed prepared, having lamps, but they were not actually prepared because they had no oil. Jesus ends this parable with a warning, a warning I think that we all can take to heart today, as we see the coming of our Lord draw near. “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) Are we ready? Do we have our lamps burning, and our oil full? Are we prepared for His return?
                Paul tells us that in the last days “perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”( 2 Timothy 3:1-5)  The age we live in testifies to the truth of Paul’s statement. We are living in the last days, my fellow Christians. The question is, “Are We Ready?” Are you ready for the Lord’s return? Are you ready and waiting with lamps burning and oil full? Are we prepared to leave the things of this earth to receive the Kingdom God the Father has prepared for us?
             http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Mat/Mat_25.cfm?a=954001 ) Are we prepared or are we like the foolish virgins who just look prepared. I believe with all that is happening around us today, that we as Christians need to take a close, microscopic look into our hearts and ask the question, “Are We Ready?”
   David Guziak writes, “The five foolish virgins appeared to be prepared for the bridegroom, because they had their lamps in hand. But they really were not prepared, because they took no oil with them.”
                Let us not be found sleeping. The climate’s changing, the state of the world we live in is just getting worse and worse; it all points to His coming, it all points to His return. Are we ready? What will He find us doing when He returns? Will we be sleeping, lamps all burnt out, or will we be ready and prepared to leave this earth and come into the Kingdom He has prepared for us? Jesus tells us to be ready and prepared. He warns us that we are to be discerning the times that are upon us and looking always for Him to come, at any moment. He could come for you today, are you ready?
                “Then He said to the multitudes, ‘Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:54-56) Can we discern the times that are upon us? Can we see that His return is drawing near, that we are in the last days?
                I do not know the time or the season that the Lord has prepared for His return. But as a child of God, as a disciple of Jesus Christ I am to be ready and waiting at all times. Are we ready? Are we prepared? I think for all of us today, God is calling us to search our hearts, to come before Him and ask Him to show us if we are truly ready, or if we just appear prepared. It is so easy for us to get caught up in the day to day drudgery of life and forget that we are to be looking up, that we are to be waiting and ready for Him when He comes. We do not know the number of our days, only the Lord God knows that, but we must be able to ask ourselves the question “Are we ready?” and be able to answer, “Yes.”

                I pray today for all who read these words that the Lord God would reveal our hearts to us, to show us if we are waiting and ready or if we only appear to be ready. I pray that we would seek out and search out our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that He would show us the truth of His word each and every day and that we would become the wise stewards and the wise virgins who wait for their Master’s return. To Him be the glory, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.