Ready or Not….

Weather isn’t the problem; our preparedness for it is. That’s never been more obvious than yesterday with the crippling snow in the south. The folks in Michigan accuse us of being weak-kneed, but all things are relative. Folks in Atlanta are simply not prepared for the kind of storm they experienced yesterday. The ice storms of 2011 caused them to panic briefly, but the powers that be promised it would never happen again.

We all make promises in the heat or cold of the moment, but they are forgotten as soon as things cool down or warm up. After all, it’s never going to happen again.  While we cannot prepare for or even imagine every disaster, we can be prudent. The storm was coming, and we all knew it. It is better to err on the side of reason and let go of our plans for a day than face the mess those poor folks in Atlanta faced yesterday. I remember a year when I had to wait for all the children to get home before leaving school. I was scared I wouldn’t get home myself, but there was comfort in being with others. I never had to spend the night with my students during a storm, and I’ve never found myself stranded in a storm on the side of the road. I thank God for both and pray I’ll be a little more prudent myself when it comes to future preparations.

I know I should have water, food, blankets, and flashlights in my car, but I don’t. I know I should keep my gas tank full during winter months, but I don’t. I don’t always do what I know I should do. God would interject an amen here if He weren’t such a patient, loving Father. The lesson this week has been, ready or not, the storms are coming. Preparing for the personal storms in life are not as simple as putting emergency kits together or stocking the pantry. They require emptying, opening, and trusting completely.

Stacking supplies leaves me feeling smug and self-sufficient. I’m a survivor, so bring on your worst. I’m ready and looking forward to the opportunity to say, “I told you so!!” Emptying out leaves me feeling vulnerable and dependent. I accept the reality that I cannot make it on my own. I’m ready to say, “I need You so!” There is a world of difference in the way I prepare my home and my car and the way I prepare my heart and my mind.

Ready or not, disasters will continue to come as long as we are in this world. Thankfully, they are few and far between. Ready or not, Christ is coming! Preparing for His return is never a disaster drill, even though it is often portrayed as such. Preparing for His return simply involves letting go, surrendering to His love, and letting Him lead the way home. The beautiful news is that He is always nearby and ready to help with the clearing and cleaning necessary to experience His kingdom now. Lessons in preparedness are most effectively taught in my unpreparedness. That way, I won’t forget them. God mostly wants me to be prepared to accept and share His love. Sounds easy enough, but I often get stranded when it comes to my heart! The path sometimes seems unnavigable, but then I remember I’m not alone. Christ’s promise in Matthew 28:20 is one I can count on, and that changes everything 🙂

 “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” NASB

The Road Less Traveled

From Premises to Promises

Premises is only a letter away from promises, but there is a world of difference between the two. The definitions for premises are:

land and buildings; a piece of land and the buildings on it; part or all of building; a building or part of a building, especially when used for commercial purposes; matters previously mentioned; matters previously stated or referred to in a legal document such as a deed.”

I’ve depended upon premises far more than promises in my life, but I’m learning that God’s promises pave the path in His kingdom. Walking in God’s kingdom is walking on those sweet promises in a way that changes everything. God’s promises are the heart of His Word, and here are a few favorites that bless me:

2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB)

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 40:29-31 (NASB)

He gives strength to the weary,
 And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired,
 And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord 
Will gain new strength;
 They will mount up with wings like eagles,
 They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:37-39 (NASB)

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Proverbs 1:33 (NASB)

But he who listens to me shall live securely
 And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

John 14:27 (NASB)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Romans 10:9 (NASB)

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

Romans 6:23 (NASB)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There are many more promises in God’s Word, and they each give me the strength and courage to walk in His kingdom with a new vigor knowing that the road upon which I walk has been paved and sealed with Christ’s precious love. His love fulfills God’s promises in a way that allows me to enter His kingdom and walk with the assurance that His promises never fail.

I can stray from the path or turn around if I chose; but if I follow Christ’s voice of love and stay on the path He’s prepared, God will take me where I cannot go alone. He does not promise that the path will be easy, but He does promise that it will lead to joy if I obey and keep on walking even when I can’t see or don’t understand where He’s taking me. He gives me a great Guide in the Holy Spirit and faithful friends to hear my heart and share the journey:)

God’s kingdom now isn’t a field of flowers or a lush tropical paradise. God’s kingdom is a beautiful field ripe and ready to be harvested. When I’m ripe and ready myself, I can begin to walk in a way that helps with His harvest.

“And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'” Luke 10:2 NASB

God's Harvest