"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Our Daily Bread: Well Prepared

Christ-followers already know how true today's Our Daily Bread is, but it never hurts to be reminded. If you've already read it, check out "My Take On It," below.

Well Prepared

September 4, 2012 — by Cindy Hess Kasper
You also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. —Matthew 24:44
Bible in a Year:
Ezekiel 1-3
The idea of always being prepared makes me think of the man who lived next door to us when I was growing up. When Mr. Nienhuis came home, he never failed to back his car into the garage. That seemed unusual to me until my mother explained that Nels was a volunteer fireman. If he got a call, he had to be ready to race to the fire station. He backed in so he could leave quickly when he had to report for duty.
To be well prepared is important in so much of life. “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my axe,” said Abraham Lincoln. We prepare for a career by studying. We buy insurance in case of a car accident or a house fire. We even prepare for the end of life by making a will to provide for loved ones.
The Bible tells us we must prepare ourselves spiritually as well. We do that by putting on spiritual armor to protect ourselves from spiritual attack (Ephesians 6:10-20); by preparing our minds for holy living (1 Peter 1:13); by making sure we’re always prepared to answer questions about the reason for the hope we possess (1 Peter 3:15); and by ensuring that we are ready for the promised return of Jesus (Matthew 24:44).
How well prepared are you for what lies ahead? Unsure? Ask the Lord for His help and guidance.
When I awake at early morn
To meet the coming day,
I want to be prepared to take
Whatever comes my way. —Simmons
Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.
My Take On It
      I confess through most of my life I've prepared for life's assaults, except for the spiritual kind. I've attended worship and Bible studies with a passivity that almost dared God to penetrate it with His conviction. Then I wondered why God wasn't advancing me toward Christ-likeness.
      What does preparation for spiritual battle look like? It looks like spending time in God's word, both reading it and waiting for Him to open it to you through meditation and careful study. It looks like positive soul-searching, where we quit making excuses, and allow our best Friend to reveal the chinks in our armor, and then proactively, through prayer and hard work, fix them.
      The Bible passages that Cindy Hess Kasper provided in her devotional above are a wonderful place to start. I've linked those four Bible passages to include the complete chapters referenced, to make studying the context easier. As you read and study, pray through God's word in gratitude and supplication. Then, expect a blessing.

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