TRIUMPHANT VICTORIOUS REMINDERS
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
~ II Timothy 2:21 ~
"Preparation is key."
This is something I heard in 2006 as I was reading about Noah, and the many other amazing accounts of people in the Bible. At the time I heard, "Preparation is key", this was the beginning of our great financial hardship. We knew we weren't financially prepared and then in 'the knowing' it hit us hard when the economy in Michigan started to make a slight downturn.
Through that situation, my husband and I were starting to understand that the Word I received, so simple, yet incredibly true is that truly 'Preparation is key'. However, it is in ALL areas of our lives. And with preparation we must seek out and 'dig' in many areas of why we should be prepared spiritually, financially, and physically.
We all know the financial realm is of great importance, and most of all spiritually being right with God through Christ Jesus is of the greatest importance. However, we must also be prepared in the physical realm in regards to our livelihood. If anything were to happen whether it be due to weather catastrophe, martial law, or anything that would put us in a situation where we are not prepared, we place ourselves in a situation where we have to rely on someone or something else. We must be in a position to provide provision in our own house, so that when we are taken care of we can hopefully be vessels to be able to help others for His glory!
I have noticed that many times in my own life, I use the question to justify 'why not' to be prepared by saying, "God is in control, don't I trust God?" "Jesus is coming, it won't matter, I won't be here". Well, prayerfully we won't have to be here, but if we are here when it happens, are we spiritually, financially and physically prepared?
I am reminded of Noah before the flood. God told Noah he was going to destroy the people and the earth because of the great sin and wickedness that filled the earth (Genesis 6). God also, as we know, told Noah to build an ark. I must remember that God didn't provide the ark as if He just said, "OK, Noah here is that ark I told you about". No, God provided the wisdom, the measurements, the tools, etc. to build the ark. It was up to Noah at that point to be obedient to build the ark and he did so for almost one hundred years (It doesn't give specific time frame of how long, however, from the list of the generations in chapter five to the point of the flood, some scholars believe it to be a maximum of one hundred years).
I ask myself, "Are we ready if something were to happen?" I laugh at myself as I have so many times made fun of the people who have the gas masks, the gardens, the food pantries, the water, yet I wonder, even the Mormon churches give out a list for their people to know what to fill their pantries with.
I ask myself another question, "If something did happen, what would I do?" Most likely I'd try to find those people or families that were ready, right?
Being prepared in every realm also reminds me of the story that Jesus told about regarding the ten virgins. Better known as the five foolish and the five wise virgins or bridesmaids. Five came with just enough oil for their lamps and the other five came with more than enough oil for their lamps. Well the bridegroom was delayed, as he was delayed the bridesmaids slept. When they awoke at midnight they awoke to a shout, "Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome Him!" As the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps, the five foolish ones asked the others to give them some of their oil because their lamps were going out, but the wise bridesmaids replied, "We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves." So while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. As the 'foolish' bridesmaids returned, they found that the door was locked. As they called outside the door to beg the bridegroom to open the door, they heard the worst words that could fall on their ears, "I DON'T KNOW YOU"!
That story shows us the need for preparation for every realm of our lives, but most of all in our relationship with Him. I am realizing that with God's wisdom it covers every realm.
I am reminded by Proverbs 2, that I must "cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them (insight and understanding) as I would for lost money or hidden treasures." As I do that, then I will understand what it means to "fear the Lord, and will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom."
I am thankful that He knows we are works in progress, but I also believe that my progress is determined on my obedience unto Him. Just think how much progress I would make, and how much faster I would get there. I am not at all saying it is by who we are and what we do that determines our progress; however, it is our reliance on Him that works right along with our obedience to Him that we can see accelerated progress in ways we could never imagine.
May we be a people that is totally surrendered. And in that surrender, great obedience flows, and in that great obedience many lives will walk out in His great abundance in every part of our lives.
How much more effective we can be as vessels, truly set apart and useful for the Master, PREPARED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK!