Tag Archives: preparation

Flip Flop Fiasco

It was only supposed to be a quick walk around the block. I got the dogs ready to walk, fitting them with their harnesses and latching them to the double leash. Since it was only going to be a short walk, I solved the no-socks-downstairs problem by simply slipping on my flip flops (thongs). I walked down the street a bit and realized we had a problem. Dogs were approaching. Max surely would get anxious, so I turned and went another direction to avoid the situation.

As I continued on the walk, I was about ready to turn and head back home. Once again, there was a dog up ahead. What was going on this evening? Was everyone walking their dogs? It became apparent that I would be taking the dogs for a much longer walk to avoid the other animals. There I was with my flip flops, certainly not good walking shoes, walking over a mile with the dogs. Talk about being prepared.

When we venture off for our day, we are supposed to be prepared. There is a battle out there. Before we step outside the house, we need to be sure we are armored up. Did you pray? Did you read His Word? This is the preparation that helps to start off the day the right way. When we leave the house in a hurry, missing out on our morning time with God, we likely will continue to walk around in flip flops for miles, when we should have been ready. Just like my feet were not feeling right afterward, so we will feel drained, burdened, and tempted out in the world. Just like I turned again and again trying to find the path to take, in the same way the unprepared turn and turn again going around in circles, never realizing that God has made a way to travel. You have a choice today my friends—how are you going to start your day?

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3 [NIV]

Slipping Through the Cracks

I love Spring. I enjoy opening the windows and letting in the fresh air. I enjoy seeing the sun brighten up the sky during our morning walks. I love watching the flowers begin to bloom and the robins seeking out food. One thing that I cannot stand is the invasion of the ants.

Ants are clever and annoying. It is interesting how one day there are no ants and then the next day, BOOM! It is not like you leave the door open. How do they come? It’s as if they slip through the cracks. Slowly one slips through and notes that there’s a good area to investigate. The ant calls for more ants. Before you know it, there are ants galore, and it demands a trip to the local store to get some ant bait to remedy the situation.

No matter how much you try to prepare for the ants, it seems like they come through the cracks. They are not sneaking in right before your eyes. They enter another way. In the same way, as we try to prepare for the attacks from the devil, we find that he sneaks through the cracks. It’s a gradual process. It’s a process that you often don’t see coming. Then it happens. BOOM! Spiritual attack.  Today, pray for the Spirit to strengthen you. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. Dress in your armor and pray, pray, pray!

Preparation

I have OCD tendencies so I appreciate preparation and organization. I am definitely a planner, which is why I can appreciate the Book of Nehemiah. We read about preparation in Nehemiah 2, when Nehemiah makes his request to the king to leave, and then is granted permission. He is sure to ask the king for a letter to ensure safe passage, as well as supplies to see the project through to completion. Upon entering Jerusalem, he was there for days to inspect and gather firsthand information.

The Lord tells us to prepare. We are supposed to be prepared to share in our hope (1 Peter 3:15). We are also supposed to be prepared for battle, wearing our Armor of God (Ephesians 6). As well, we are to be prepared for the Lord’s return (Matthew 24:44). Preparation is important.

Today, examine your own life. Are you prepared? I am not asking that you join me and the rest of the OCD people. Rather, let us remind ourselves that everything we do should be for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we fail to prepare, lack organization, find ourselves all over the place, etc., we surely are not doing everything as if for the Lord. A lack of focus on God—a failure to make Him the priority of your life—will always make it difficult for you to honor God with all you have as you aren’t giving all you have.

Acts: Possessions

[[Acts 4:32-37 ]]

No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (v. 32b)

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (v. 33b-35)

At this time people would sell some property – brought all proceeds – not told you have to sell everything (voluntary not mandatory) Barnabas sold a field he owned to support the ministry – sharing without considering repayment

[[Acts 5:1-11]]

Ananias & Sapphira – Sold property but kept back part of the money

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” – Acts 5:3-5 [NIV] The Holy Spirit Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38 [ NLT]

Quench or Grieve It

  • Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
    • Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
    • NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
  • Grieve—Ephesians 4:30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
    • Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
    • ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER

The Holy Spirit…

Counsels You (John 14:16)

Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)

Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Empowers you (Romans 15:13)

Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)

Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)

Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)

Encourages you (Acts 9:31)

Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)

Gives you wisdom & revelation (Eph. 1:17)

Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)

Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)

Convicts you (John 16:8)

Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)

Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)

Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)

Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Helps you remember (John 14:26)

Dispenses God’s love in hearts (Romans 5:5)

 

Spirit leads into the Wilderness

“I suggest that many Christians… have never allowed them to be led by that selfsame Spirit into the wilderness. But those who would know the Spirit’s power and not just His presence must be tempted, tried, tested, and tempered, so that they might learn to live dependent on God and not on themselves.” – Oswald Chambers

1) Wilderness is a place of Separation Stripped down, out of comfort zone

2) Wilderness is a place of Grace God provides despite our sinfulness – Pillar of fire, Manna, Quail

3) Wilderness is a place of Revelation Opens your eyes to greater knowledge and understanding of God and His Word

4) Wilderness is a place of Preparation Correction, pruning, discipline

5) Wilderness is place of Choice With God – without God – a choice must be made

Download Outline PDF

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Run with Purpose

Running a race is one thing; winning a race is another. Paul told us to “run to win” (v. 24). If we look at our Christian walk (or run if you will) as a journey with an eternal prize, we can understand it is not some short race in the backyard with a younger or older sibling. Rather this race is to the end, which really is not the end but an eternal prize, eternal life with God.

Paul held that we should “run with purpose in every step.” Every single step. Runners prepare for their big runs. I have never heard of a person one day waking up and saying, “Hey, I’m going to run a 4k today.” I have family members who run. They train. They run daily. They purchase particular sneakers. They register for the race. They plan. Every step is in place. They don’t just show up on race day—they begin the journey early on and the culmination is race day when they are crossing the finish line. Everything before they reach the finish line was another step they took to get there.

When Paul tells everyone to run with purpose, he wants us to understand that we have to have our eyes on Christ and we have to be intentional with each step of our lives. This requires preparation. This requires dedication. So how do we prepare for each step? How do we prepare for each day? Dig into God’s Word daily. READ! Get a daily devotional and be sure to read it as well. Get involved with a Bible Study Group. PRAY! Connect with the One who will provide the strength you need to finish the race. WORSHIP! Take time to praise Him. You were meant to worship. Come on now – run with purpose.

“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26 [NLT]

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Prepped and Watching

In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.

We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.

Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.

“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]

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Dressed for Travel

In Exodus 12, the people are given instructions: “be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in hand” (v. 11 NLT). They were getting dressed for travel. These people were slaves, slaves that were not allowed to leave due to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. But God was preparing the Israelites for the Lord’s Passover. God promised that they would soon be leaving.

Getting dressed for travel was an act of faith, trusting that God truly was going to do as He said. Are you dressed for travel? Are you prepared to do whatever God has called you to do? Are you believing the promises of God? The Word of God?

We might not need to have sandals on and a walking stick in hand, but we should always be prepared to walk in faith. Trusting God—trusting His Word, His character, His promises—that’s faith. Believing Him. And the only way you can believe Him is to know Who He is and what He promises. That requires prayer. That requires reading His Word. So are your sandals on? Are you ready?

“These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the LORD’s Passover.” – Exodus 12:11 [NLT]

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By the Window

Whenever I leave the house and do not take my dog Max with me, he will look out the kitchen window for me while I am gone. There is a bench my grandfather built long ago that he puts his paws upon to hold himself up to see out at the drive way. I have found that if I am only gone a short while, my dog Max is still waiting by the window awaiting my arrival. However, if I am gone for hours, he has long given up on watching out the window. Instead, he is resting on the sofa at his special spot.

maxrestingwithmaster

This reminds me a lot of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25). There were ten virgins, five who were prepared and five who were unprepared. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (25:3-5 NIV). It ended up that when the bridegroom returned, he told the five who were unprepared that he did not know them. We are told to be watchful because we do not know the time of the return of Christ.

So the questions I have for you to ask yourselves today are:

*Are you like my dog Max?

*Are you waiting by the window, prepared to greet your Master?

*Have you gotten tired of waiting, and walked to the sofa to rest?

We don’t know the time or the hour, but we do know what awaits us if there is no oil in our lamps. I pray that today you are able to find renewed energy for your walk with Christ. We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised that He will be by our side through it all.