Ready

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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. But do this with gentleness and respect,  I Peter 3:15

I have had more than a few conversations of late about our need to be ready for the future that is sure to come. To be honest, there are many outside forces sparking these conversations: Wars and rumors of wars; The increasing wickedness of the nations. Upcoming elections. The Brexit. Our eyes are certainly turned toward the sky watching closely to see the breaking of clouds that will usher us into the next age of the planet Earth. And this is the right posture.

Jesus said, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” Ma. 24:42

That said our watching is not to be a passive thing. It is to be a watching filled with work. We are called to have a hand on the plough and an eye to the sky. We are, in light of our understanding of Scripture, to work because we know a dark night is coming.

Our work according to Peter is to be always prepared to give an answer for our hope.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what we, the people of the church, must do to prepare to give that answer. I have come up with four answers.

First we must focus on hope not fear. We alone have the hope of eternal life. Let’s act like it. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO ADJUST IN YOUR HEART TO TURN FROM FEAR TO HOPE?

Second we must revere Christ as Lord. This speaks to obedience An old church saying reminds us that “God cannot work through dirty vessels.” Our hopeful answers will only ring true if our lives reflect the principles of God. IS THERE SOME LIFESTYLE CHOICE YOU HAVE TO CHANGE TO BECOME A MORE BIBLICAL PERSON?

Third we must actually think about what we will say to people when the opportunity arises. Spiritual conversations are the most important conversations we ever have. Why then do we allow them to catch us unawares. We should always be intentional about what we will say to people who ask and how we will say it. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND ASKING GOD TO SPARK SPIRITUAL CONVERSATIONS AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND PREPARING YOURSELF TO HAVE THEM?

Fourth we must prepare our attitudes to stay sweet. I am watching as much of our Christian rhetoric across the internet, in public forums and even in personal encounters quickly dissolves into self-protectionism, argument and sadly even hate speech. Folks we don;t wrestle against flesh and blood so we ought not to act as though we do. When we speak we need to determine in advance to keep our cool no matter how malicious or hateful the person across the aisle might get. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND PRACTICING PEACE WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

The truth is we are called to be ready to give an answer for our hope at all times. It is part of our waiting and watching for the Lord’s return. ARE YOU READY?

Waiting

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I have prayed

“Even so come.” And yet

I sit here

Silent son

Untranslated, mortal still.

First Born where are you?

Undeterred

I hold faith, refuse

sight, logic

Even sense.

I know this. He will come soon

And find me waiting.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Luke 12:35-40