"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
May 22, 2013
A while back Jon and I had been asleep for an hour or so when I suddenly awoke to the sound of the tornado siren going off. We got up and came downstairs. I looked outside to see that it was very still and quiet. Our tornado safety spot is the closet underneath the stairwell. We opened the door and Jon found the local news station on his cell phone, who was broadcasting a live weather report. There were possible tornadoes headed towards our town, so we went ahead and got inside the closet.
We stayed until the sirens turned off. It was pouring rain outside by that time so we went back upstairs and started to get back into bed. About that time, the tornado siren went off again. We checked the weather and there was the possibility of additional tornadoes coming our way, so we went back downstairs and stayed until we knew all was well.
Before going to bed that evening, we knew there was a possibility of severe storms but didn't really know if it would come our way or not. Before going to bed, I had asked Jon if he knew where we had a flashlight, in case the electricity went off. He found one in his bedside table, but when he checked it, the batteries were dead. Jon found another flashlight and laid it out in case we should need it.
When we went downstairs to get into the closet, the first thing I did was check the flashlight that was inside to make sure the batteries were working. I didn't want to risk the electric going off and being inside a dark closet with a flashlight that didn't work.
We should periodically check the batteries in our flashlights, but forget when we don't need them. If not used, batteries can corrode and stop working.
In Matthew 25:1-13 we read the parable of the ten virgins.
"The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, 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. At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!" Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' But while they were on their way to buy oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. 'Lord, Lord,' they said, 'open the door for us!' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I don't know you.' Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
The past couple of weeks I've written about the parallels between ancient Jewish wedding customs and us being the bride of Christ. One of the responsibilities of the bridal party was to be prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom. Traditionally, the bridegroom would arrive around the midnight hour, so the bride's party were to have sufficient oil at all times in order to keep their lamps burning upon his arrival, so they could go out to meet him.
Five in this parable were prepared and had enough oil for their lamp. Five had been negligent in their preparation and had forgotten or failed or got too busy to purchase oil. When they heard the cry that the bridegroom was coming, the ones without oil tried to borrow from those who had some. But the ones who had been diligent in their preparation knew if they were to give away the oil they had, then they would run out because they didn't have enough for both themselves and someone else. Their suggestion was to go and try to find someone who sold oil and see if they could buy some.
It was the middle of the night, so they would have had to wake up the merchant to get him to open his market and sell the oil to them. Had they been prepared ahead of time, they wouldn't have had this problem. They wouldn't have been panicked about their predicament and been out running around at the last minute trying to get the necessary oil.
While they were gone, the bridegroom arrived and the wedding celebration began. When the five foolish virgins arrived back, the door was shut and they were too late. They were not allowed entrance to the wedding.
When Jesus returns, we are to be prepared for His arrival. If we've grown negligent and are unprepared, then when He arrives, we will miss the wedding celebration and be left behind. It's not a mystery or a secret what we need to do in preparation so that our "lamps" will be full of oil, but the Word of God lays out the plan of salvation very clearly. Should we choose not to do so, or put it off until sometime in the future, or if we neglect our relationship with God, then we will find our lamps are empty when Jesus returns. There won't be time to borrow from our neighbor or a family member. We can't get to heaven by holding onto our praying Mama's apron strings or on the merit of a godly spouse or by having a minister in our family or by being a good person who tried to do good deeds. But we have to receive salvation for ourself and have our lamps (or our life) full and ready for the appearing of the Bridegroom.
When Jon and I lose electricity or a severe storm comes through with tornado sirens going off and we need to get in the closet underneath the stairwell, that isn't the time to be searching for a working flashlight. If the tornado sirens are going off and a tornado is headed our way, that isn't the time to be going through our home looking for flashlights with good batteries. If we wait until then, a tornado could hit and we wouldn't be in our place of safety (or at least the safest place in our home) and could end up getting hurt or lose our life. The wise thing to do is to always be prepared.
We can't wait until the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes to take His bride to heaven, and then try to prepare our hearts for His arrival. There's not going to be enough time to pray and confess our sins in that moment. If we're not ready to be caught away with Jesus and be safe for all eternity when He arrives, then we'll be left behind. At that moment, Jesus isn't going to wait around until everyone has time to say a prayer and confess their sins. If that were the case, there would be no need to prepare our hearts ahead of time; we could all live like we wanted now and wait until then to pray. The wise choice is to always be prepared; watching and waiting for His appearing.
I like being prepared for everything. We have several flashlights scattered among the house. I think most of them have good batteries. We have kleenex boxes scattered around. We almost never let our car get below 1/4 tank of gas. We keep at least a little savings for minor emergencies. It gives us some peace and comfort. We know that even if something happens, we are ready.
When Jesus returns or we go to meet Him, it will probably be without warning. But we have the peace and comfort that we are ready.
Southwestern Crock-Pot Roast and Beans
2 lb. Chuck Roast
2 cans Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes
1 pkg. Chili Seasoning
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups uncooked (presoaked) Pinto Beans
1/2 soup can of water
Cover pinto beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Rub roast with chili seasoning. Place roast in crock-pot. Pour uncooked beans over the top of the roast. Mix Ro-Tel, soup, and water together and pour over the top. The beans will cook in the roast juices. Cook on high for 7-8 hours or until roast shreds easily. Serve in bowl or in warm tortillas garnished with grated cheese, cream cheese, sour cream or picante sauce.
Have a safe and happy Memorial weekend.
Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who had died in military service. By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion where people visited graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether or not they had served in the military.
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans, living or dead.
The practice of decorating soldiers' graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldier's graves were decorated in the US before and during the Civil War. Decorating graves of deceased loved ones is now a common practice.
However you choose to celebrate Memorial weekend, take time to remember not only family members who have passed away, but also say a prayer for military families who have lost loved ones who were in active service.
Our strength is shown in what we stand for; our weakness is shown in what we fall for. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon