Friday, June 28, 2013

Preparing for the test...

I got accepted into the nursing program this fall. My summer class is half over now and I have been thinking ahead to the fall. I am so thankful that God has helped me get this far. I have talked to friends of mine that are nurses and I have read various things about preparing for the nursing program, and then I decided to watch a YouTube video about preparing for the program. I came across a video about things that nursing students say. One thing in particular caught my attention. This man repeatedly turned down offers to family functions and outings with friends in order to study and prepare for an upcoming test. And that got me to thinking...

How wonderful would it be, if we could be so in touch with God, so aware of the importance of our "seat" in the Kingdom that we would do everything we could to prepare ourselves for the journey? What would family and friends say if we start declining a few invitations to events that really aren't going to help us walk closer to God? What kind of reaction would others have if we said, "You know I would love to hang out with you and watch a movie but I need more time to pray. I need more time to study God's Word."

The Bible tells us that we are to be prepared for the second coming of our King because we do not know when He is coming. We do not know when He will call us home. Where will we spend eternity? How much did we prepare for our spiritual journey while we had the chance? The book of Matthew tells a story of how we are supposed to prepare ourselves for that great day.

Matthew 25

King James Version (KJV)
25 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

We must prepare ourselves for the Lord's return, but we also must be ready if God calls us home. We will leave this earth and all of the things we have treasured will rust and pass away. But if we have prepared our hearts for our eternal reward we will not be like the foolish virgins. We will have our lamps trimmed and enough oil to last through the night. You see the oil is the anointing and if we have invited Jesus into our hearts and became a Christian, we are anointed with His Spirit.

Why do you think the oil ran out from the foolish virgins lamps? They had lamps with them. They thought they had enough but they didn't check. They didn't stay in tuned with God's Word. They were not watching and waiting. Instead they hoped they would get close to other Christians that had more oil than they did. That way if they ran out, someone would just give them some of theirs but that is not how salvation works. It is not a group policy. Just because your grandmother prayed for you and your daddy tried to lead the way, and they both make it home, does not mean that you will. You have to have a personal relationship with Jesus and let Him help you on your journey towards home.

The Christian walk has been compared to a race. You can ask any champion runner and they will tell you they didn't just get up one morning and decide they would like to run a race and happen to win it. They have to make a decision to run. They have to commit to the race. They have to train hard to get their muscles in shape and learn breathing techniques so they don't fatigue in the middle of their stride. They have to work hard one day and harder the next. Always pushing themselves to work harder, go further, and run faster. The Bible is full of examples of men and women of God who went before us, running the race with all of their might and receiving their prize.

Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Philippians 3:14
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So let's run this race! Don't be afraid to give up some of this world's pleasures for more time with God. Pray more, worry less. Read the Bible more and put down the newspapers. Stop listening to the gloom and doom of this present life and open up the Good News of God's plan for your life.