Monday, January 23, 2017


            How many times have we used the phrase “get ready”?  We get ready for work, ready for church, ready for whatever task awaits us, and hundreds of other things every day.  But how often do we think about getting ready to answer God’s call on our lives?  It doesn’t just happen automatically.  We need to learn to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.                       2 Peter 1:10 says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”  Diligent means conscientious, careful, attentive and persistent.  In other words, it takes determined purpose and effort to walk in God’s will.  God has called all of us, but it requires preparation to answer the call. 
            In Matthew 22, Jesus told a parable about a king who had a wedding for his son and invited people to come, but they would not come.  They were busy with their own affairs and rejected the king’s invitation.  So, the king sent his servants out to gather whoever they could find to take the place of the other guests.  However, one of those guests who came was cast out of the festivities because he didn’t have on a wedding garment.  He had been called, but didn’t prepare himself to take part in the wedding feast.  Then Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  How can we, as God’s called out ones, prepare ourselves to be chosen?

            First, we have to stay close enough to Him to know what His call is on a daily basis.  He seldom gives us long-range details.  We must be sensitive to what God is saying and what He is doing now.  If our communication with Him is sketchy, we won’t hear Him clearly.  Neither will we have the power and ability to follow His leading. Those who follow Christ know Him personally, hear His voice and follow.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”  And He has called us all to play a part in bringing that prayer to pass.  If we want to have the power and authority of Jesus to do our part, we have to allow Him to change us and empower us.  That comes only through relationship with Him.  But we need to be aware that there is an enemy who is trying to keep us from preparing ourselves.  Satan wants to make us lukewarm, and keep us from hearing Jesus’ directions.  If we do hear, he tries to keep us busy or too comfortable where we are to answer. 
If I’ve ever had a life Scripture, it would be Psalm 57.  I have turned to that chapter numerous times in my life.  But, recently, I was reading it when something came to my attention I hadn’t noticed before.
In verses six and seven it says, “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.  Selah. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” 
The word ‘prepared’ in verse six and the word ‘fixed’ used two times in verse seven both come from the same Hebrew word, ‘kuwn.’  Both words mean the same.  ‘Kuwn’ means to make ready, to prepare, set up, be steadfast.  This Psalm was written by David when he fled from king Saul.  He was hiding in a cave at the time.  His enemy was steadfastly plotting against him.  It was no accident that the traps were set for David.  Saul and his army carefully crafted each one for his destruction..  They went through the process of preparation to bring them about. So, what did David do?  He made preparations of his own.  He made his heart secure and steadfast in God.  He listened and obeyed, and not one of the snares of the enemy was a match for God.  That’s what we have to do if we want a vision and passion that is God-inspired.  We have to prepare our hearts before God if we want His holy fire burning in us.  We have to have a hunger and thirst for His Word and His Spirit if we are to be filled.  Remember, although the enemy is making his preparations, we can overcome with a prepared heart.
Examine your heart.  Is it prepared and established in Christ?

            Changing our hearts will change our priorities.  Jesus taught that this life is not nearly as important as God’s kingdom.  He said, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life,what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment…But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:22-23, 31)  When we make our Father’s business our top priority, He promises to take care of what we need in this life.
            It’s time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up above the things that pertain to this life and give our all to obtain eternal life, and then spend our days sharing it with others for the sake of the kingdom.
            We live in a land of plenty where we have been told we can be whoever we want to be and accomplish whatever we want to accomplish.  But Jesus puts it all into perspective.  This life is over too soon and then we step into eternity.
            When Jesus spoke these words in Luke 12, He had just told the story of a wealthy farmer who had such abundance that he was planning to destroy his old barns, build bigger ones and then eat, drink and be merry.  “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”  (Luke 12:20)  He died that night and left all his abundance to someone else.
            When our soul leaves our body, everything we worked so hard for will belong to someone else and we will meet God empty-handed unless we have done everything we could for the kingdom of God.  All that God allows us to have in this life is for the purpose of building His kingdom, not to lavish it on ourselves.
Isaiah 40 records the account of God giving Isaiah a message for His people.  “The voice said, Cry.  And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”  (verses 6-8)
That message still rings true in our generation.  We get so caught up with accomplishing things in this life that we forget how uncertain it really is.  We have no guarantees on our lives here, but we do have a guarantee of eternity.  This life is spent making the choice of where and how we will spend eternity.
Examine your priorities.  Are you investing in the Word or this world?

Once we hear His call, we must act.  We can have the best of intentions, but we need to put action to what God speaks to us.  Don’t just dream about it, do it, even if it scares you.  It requires surrendering our lives, all of it, to Jesus Christ. 
It’s not enough to act out of our own desires or our own intellect, no matter how noble they may seem.  We are to act out of a steadfast heart that simply hears the voice of God and obeys Him.  When we do that, we are walking in the Spirit.
            If Jesus’ disciples had built a steadfast relationship with Him and changed their priorities to leave everything behind to follow Him (which they did), it would have been of no use if they had not acted on His directions.  He told them to go and preach the gospel, not to keep it to themselves.  If they had refused to act on what He said, the gospel would have never been preached and no one would be saved.  Their obedience was essential.  God has a part for you, and it is essential, too.  We are to carry out the same commission Jesus gave to His first disciples.  “Go…and preach.”  Share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Live as Jesus lived and make disciples.
            How can we be a follower of Jesus Christ if we don’t emulate His example and carry it out?  If I went through recipes and pulled together a delicious, nutritious meal, but only went through the process of making it in my mind, I would not feed anyone, not even myself.  The same applies to the Word of God.  We must prepare by reading and studying His Word, but if it is never worked out in our lives, we will not feed anyone, not even ourselves.
            Examine your actions.  Are they in obedience to Christ?

Get ready so you can make a difference in the world!