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Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.   –  Ephesians 6:10-11

Are you ready?

Are you ready for whatever comes your way today?

Are you ready for challenges that are sure to come?

Bigger question…Are you ready to take a stand for Christ?

The disciples sure weren’t ready on the night Jesus was taken to trial.  After sharing what would be their last supper together before Christs’s crucifixion, Jesus led them to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mount of Olives) so they could pray.  Before Jesus separated himself from the disciples so he could pray alone, he instructed them to pray for themselves that they would not fall into temptation, but when Jesus arose from His prayers, He found the disciples asleep!

Jesus awakened the disciples and again instructed them to pray for themselves that they would not fall into temptation.  While he was speaking, Judas arrived with the men who had come to arrest Jesus.  Jesus was led away and the events of that fateful night began, when Jesus – an innocent man – would be tried, wrongfully convicted, and ultimately crucified like a criminal.  Where were the disciples during all of this?  They scattered.  Peter, who had sworn  earlier that evening that he’d follow Jesus to His death, tried to stick around for Jesus, but became fearful for his life and denied being one of Jesus’ disciples when confronted by someone who recognized him.  Peter didn’t just deny Christ once, but three times!  (Events taken from Luke, Chapter 22)

No, clearly the disciples were not ready.  They were not able to stay awake and pray with Jesus,  and they weren’t ready to face the challenges of being Christ’s followers.  Notice that Jesus’ only command for preparation was prayer.

I find the disciples response to confrontation interesting because prior to their final meal together, they had been asking Jesus if it was time for him to usher in the new kingdom.  They thought Jesus was going to overthrow Roman rule, and they were anxious to be His top dogs when His leadership took place!  Of course we know Jesus was preparing to usher in the Kingdom of God, but even if He was about to overthrow the Roman rule, were the disciples ready?  Surely that would mean fighting and clashes with Roman leaders/supporters, but they couldn’t even stay by Jesus’ side when men came to arrest Him!

We were talking about this in Bible study yesterday as we studied the first few chapters of Acts.  A question was raised about Revelation and End Times, when Jesus comes back to usher in the new Kingdom of God, the Eternal Kingdom of God.  I thought about those disciples.  Here they were, anxious to take their places in the new kingdom under Jesus’ rule, but they weren’t ready for the challenges and battles they’d have to face.

Fast forward in time to now.  What about us?  We look forward to that day when all Christ ushers in the New Kingdom in heaven.  Like the disciples, we want to know what places we’ll have there and if we’ll be by Jesus’ side…but are we ready?  Are we prepared to face challenges and fight battles in Christ’s name?  Are we ready to deny Satan and take our stand for Christ?  What about our family, loved ones and friends?  What about you?  Are you ready?

Quite honestly, I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know how to be prepared.  Just follow the teaching in the Bible of  Ephesians 6:10-11 and put on The Armor of God  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”    We have to be strong in the Lord every day and follow Jesus’ instructions to pray, and keep praying, that we won’t fall into temptation.    Reminds me of the Lord’s prayer: ” …And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil…”  (Matthew 6:13)       

Again I ask.  Are you ready?     For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory.  Forever and ever.  Amen.

“There is a time for everything…A time to cry and a time to laugh, A time to grieve and a time to dance.”   ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

What a day. The culmination of a hectic week, really.  It’s been one of those weeks where lots of things were happening at once and it was hard to keep up with it all!  It didn’t help that I started the week behind after being sick for 10 days.  I had a church retreat, an 8-page essay due for night class, communication and organization tasks for our school’s start-up lacrosse team, weekly Bible study, getting the house ready for Mom & Charlie to visit for a few days, Grandparents Day celebration at school, my older son’s lacrosse schedule and a church workshop for my younger son.  On top of all that, I learned early in the week that a very dear friend from church lost her life to a long battle with clinical depression – which was a shock to most of us who knew her.  Somehow in the midst of this shocking loss I would celebrate my 50th birthday.  Yes, it had been a challenging week and yesterday was the day that wrapped it all up.

My older son left early for a practice SAT exam.  From there he would go to his lacrosse game, a game I would miss while I attended my friend’s funeral service.  Rex took our younger son to his workshop at church.  It was called ‘Created by God’, a 2-day workshop for 5th graders about human sexuality taught from a Biblical perspective (excellent workshop!).  From there Rex went to watch the first half of my son’s game.  I went to the funeral service.  It was a wonderful service, a Celebration of Life and Faith that so captured the life and spirit of the wife/mother/friend we lost.  It also reminded us of the joy of salvation we have in Jesus Christ.  Although we came with sad, grieving hearts, we also rejoiced that our friend and loved one was living out the hope proclaimed in God’s Word.

Afterward I had less than hour to change clothes and return to the church for the parent/child session of the Created by God workshop.  My emotions were all over the place by this time but I tried to keep myself together.  We watched the children playing a game that brought up topics like homosexuality, having babies, pornography, sexting, and other topics my 5th grader had no clue about 24 hours prior, but here were these precious children very matter-of-factly and unashamedly having intelligent conversations about these issues. It was impressive.  In the middle of this game my emotions caught up with me. I was having such a weird day!  I’d gone from my friend’s funeral service to my son’s human sexuality workshop.  In the same moment I was grieving for my friend and feeling awe for my son who was growing up before my very eyes.  And then there is my older son who is growing in  independence, managing many things on his own, and preparing for college.  He, too, is growing up before our eyes.

My emotions were about to spill, so I quietly slipped out of the workshop and sought solace in a Sunday school room.  There the tears came.  “God, be with me,” I silently prayed.  Sometimes God speaks to people in moments like these.  Maybe He would speak words of wisdom to me.  I walked over to the windows and gazed outside.  I was looking over the courtyard where a fountain was flowing.  Watching the endless flow of the water, I realized the fountain represented life.  It was a constant flow of waters ending and waters beginning, just like life. In this realization, God had spoken to me.

One life was gone, yet life itself continues on.

I had grieved for my friend, now it was time to celebrate my son.

I returned to the workshop in time for my husband and I to have one-on-one conversations with our son.  The conversations were good.  We had grown as parents, too.  Afterwards the children set the  Lord’s table with symbols from their  time together.  Then they served communion to us.  It was so cool!  What a perfect ending to my day, symbolic of how my son had grown and matured, and a celebration of Christ in remembrance of my friend.

Leaving the workshop I saw a group of young men, finely dressed in tuxes and ties, gathering in the church parking lot.  Wow, the church had held a funeral that morning and now it was preparing to host a wedding.

Yes, a friend was gone, but life itself would still go on, just as God had ordained.

Today was a new day.  There was much joy as we praised and worshiped in church, and afterward I enjoyed celebrating my 50th birthday with my husband and sons.  And life goes on.  Praise be to God.  🙂

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