When God Calls Be Ready To Serve Him.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, .
From: seedsofthekingdom.org, Malcolm Wood
A little while ago my wife went away for over two weeks, during which time I had a list of things I wanted to do. Although we’ve now been in our new home several months there are still things needing to be done. These jobs were things such as, decorate the hallway, finish some tiling, fit some cupboard door handles, and fit some new lights.
My plan was to try and complete what needed to be done, so everything would be straight and tidy by the time Anna returned. I had a lot to do, but as I knew when she was coming back I could work to that end. This proved to be the motivation for me to keep going!
Before Jesus went back to heaven He said He was going to return, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3). He didn’t say exactly when, but there are several clues throughout Scripture about when this is likely to be.
When we observe world events in the light of Scripture, it helps us have a better understanding of the significance of the days we’re currently living, and when we can expect the Lord to return.
If we are living with the constant expectation of the Lord’s return, how is that affecting the way we live each day? Are we prepared and ready for Him? Are there still things in our own personal life which we need to work on, so that we’re not ashamed when He comes?
How about our churches and fellowships? Paul talks about the Church, the Body of Christ, being ‘holy and without fault, as a bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish’ when her Bridegroom (the Lord) comes for her (Ephesians 5:27). I think many will agree that there’s still work to be done in that area as well.
As we anticipate the Lord’s return, our passion to reach those who don’t yet know the Lord should grow even stronger. Another look at the Lord’s final words while on earth should inspire us afresh, ‘Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:19-20).
There is, obviously, still a great deal of work for us to do, in readiness for the return of the King of kings. The question is “Will I be ready, and will you be ready?”
Jesus said ‘You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected’ (Luke12:40).
The Israelites are getting ready to cross the Jordan to take on Jericho.
The momentum is building, and the Israelites are under the impression that God is about to perform something great.
But what did Joshua mean by using the word “sanctify?” The word means to “set apart” or “declare holy.”
To live a sanctified life first begins with possessing a legitimate relationship with the Lord.
Living a holy life has never been solely defined in following a set of rulesBy just following rules, we are only practicing religion. Whenever Moses went to speak to the Lord, his face would glow. This glow was apparent to all who were around him. While our faces may not physically glow, our lives should.
It struck me that Joshua specifically instructed the people to sanctify themselves before this huge manifestation of God in tearing down the walls of Jericho. And I began wondering, do we live sanctified lives only when we want God to perform miraculous works for us?
We may enter an intense period of prayer in order to ask God for his intervention. However, once our prayers have been answered and the situation has resolved our intensity for God ebbs with time. In essence, there are peaks and valleys in our relationship with God.
When our relationship God is characterized by peaks and valleys, we have placed limits upon where we think God can act in our livesWe have essentially said, “God, I will pray to you about the big situations and I will handle the small situations.” and, in doing so, we have come to rely upon our own understanding.
You see, God tells us that we should live lives that are constantly sanctified; our relationships with God should scream with intensity, allowing us to become vessels of the Lord.
Four ways to ‘always be ready’
Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. But answer them in a gentle way with respect. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
1. Be ready through prayer
Pray specifically that God would cause someone to ask you a question. If you are praying everyday to your heavenly father for someone to ask you a question, you should never be taken by surprise. My kids usually tell me exactly what they want for their birthday, they’re always delighted when they get what they’d asked for, but they are never surprised.
Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful. Also pray for us. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. (Colossians 4:2-3)
Asking specifically and believing wholeheartedly can help us to always be ready! You could pray something like this:
Dear Lord, I pray that today you would give me an opportunity to share my hope in Jesus with [insert name/s]. Help me be ready to spot the opportunity and be ready to give a good answer.
2. Be ready to share
One of the best ways of sharing what you believe is by sharing the story of how you became a Christian. You won’t know all the answers to the questions you are asked, but you will always know your story.
In John 9, a blind man who had been healed by Jesus was asked many questions by the Pharisees. His answer was brilliant! Though he didn’t know the answers to all their questions he told them the one thing he did know – his story. He said,
One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see. (John 9:25 NIV)
Why not write down your story and practice retelling it in less than 2 minutes?
3. Be ready to learn
It’s OK to say ‘I don’t know’ to tough questions. When the disciples asked Jesus about the precise time of his second coming, what did he say? ‘I don’t know!’ (Mark 13:32)
When it comes to the questions people ask you, don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ but don’t just stop at ‘I don’t know’. Go and find out the answer. One thing I’ve discovered is that there are lots of hard questions, but there are few new questions to answer. Here’s one of the classic questions: ‘If God is so good, then why is there so much bad stuff in the world?’ It’s a good question for which there is a good answer. There are Christians who have put loads of thought and time into how to best answer questions like these.
Why not get your youth leaders to take you through some of the BIG questions and how best to answer them? Or get a Christian book written for non-Christians and see how the author goes about answering their questions (e.g. Answers to tough questions by Josh McDowell).
Don’t forget that 1 Peter 3:16 also says that we should answer with ‘with gentleness and respect’. Remember, your learning is not so that you can win the argument but so that you can win people for Jesus.
4. Be an inviter
In John chapter 1, when Philip told his friend Nathanael about Jesus, his friend was deeply sceptical (had doubts). Philip’s response was just three words but brilliant. ‘Come and see’. He invited Nathanael to see for himself. There are some great answers to life’s big questions, but what our friends need more than a great answer is to meet a great saviour.
There are many ways we can invite people to hear more about the hope that we have in Jesus and one of them is through an exciting new course called ‘The Changing Lanes Course’. It’s a 7 episode course which aims to take teenagers on a journey of discovery in search of the meaning to life and the truth about God. It includes video clips, discussion questions and bible studies.