ARE YOU READY?

 

 

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

 

Are you ‘Ready’?  If so, how do you know you are ready?  Has someone told you, you are ready?  Are you waiting for someone to tell you, you are ready?  Do you doubt yourself?  Will you be ready when you get a degree, or certificate, or when you are ordained?  When you are older—more mature?  When will you be ready?

 

Is there a person or group of people who can prove or give assurance that you are ready?  Is there a certain criteria that must be met—a course of study, an internship?  When does one become—READY?!

 

Alright, enough with the suspense and questions, you say?  --Ready for what?  --Ready to follow Jesus.  Are you ready to follow Jesus?

 

How much time should be spent getting ready?  Do we know where we’re going?  Will it be a long journey?  What should we take?  Certainly, this is not a literal question, or is it?

 

 

 

When we were children, we were often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Usually, there was a short list of careers in our knowledgeable repertoire of employment categories, such as a doctor, firefighter, police officer, and teacher.  Many of us wanted to be just like mom or dad.  Yet, how many of us were encouraged to become like Jesus and do what He did?  Would that be categorized as a priest or minister?  Did our church prepare us to follow Jesus?  Do our spiritual leaders teach us everything we need to know to follow Jesus?  How many people know what is needed to follow Jesus?

 

So much time is put into learning the Bible and learning about ourselves, but what do we know about following Jesus?  How did the disciples follow Jesus?  How did they grow in Christ?

 

 

FAITH MUST HAVE WORKS

 

We have an entire book devoted to the Acts of the Apostles.  Within its contents, we can observe the growth and journey of the Apostles.  It is important to understand that their growth was not in gaining knowledge how to do an act.  Their growth was the act of trusting Jesus and the Father to lead them.  The more they trusted, obeyed, and followed Jesus, the more they grew.  Their acts were based on faith and trust.  As they walked with Christ, their faith grew.  Their righteous and miraculous acts increased.  Their following grew in number.

 

James 2:13-26

New King James Version (NKJV)

13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 

16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 

20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 

22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 

24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

Jesus sent His disciples out and told them: “to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts.”   Jesus was trying to purposely send them unprepared; making them completely reliant upon God’s grace and mercy to survive and complete their journey.

 

 

Matthew 14:16-19 (NKJV)

16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.

Mark 6:7-9 (NKJV) Sending Out the Twelve

And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

Mark 14:12-14 (NKJV) Jesus Celebrates the Passover with His Disciples

12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”

13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Jesus, instructed His disciples to do a task, He did not prepare them with practice and preparation.  He simply told them to go and do.  Their preparation was in their relationship; a relationship that grew.  Slowly, the disciples learned not to question Jesus, but to trust Him and act upon His commandments and requests.  Again, their growth and success was dependent upon the act of trusting Jesus and God, His and their Father.

 

 

WHAT IMAGE ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

 

If Christ walked amongst us again as a man, would we know Him?  Would we be able to point Him out in a crowd?  Or, would our eyes deceive us as the eyes of most of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Israelites were deceived by their hardened hearts?  If He were sitting in a bar amongst drunkards and sinners, dressed as they were, would we know Him? Or, would we only see flesh and label Him, just another drunk and sinner?  Would we say that He will never amount to much, because of the company He keeps? Would we say that He couldn’t possibly be the Messiah, because of where He was from, or the color of His skin? Yes, no doubt, many would come to these conclusions.  However, was Christ affected by the people He was around, or were they affected by Him?

 

How are we affecting others?  That is what we must ask ourselves.  If we are following Christ’s image; if we are abiding in Him, then those around us should be affected by the presence of His Light.  Our faith should be strong enough to endure the world and abide in God’s Holy Spirit.  True strength comes from God.   

 

As Believers—followers of Christ, we cannot accept that man and our environment are the key to rising above our circumstances, lest we be cast in the pit of hell with no one to help us.  We have all been in a situation where we felt that there was no one to rely on or help us.  Many times, we turned to God, alone.  This is not to say that we are not to ask or look to others for help or encouragement; nor that we should not do the same for others.  God wants us to know where our help truly comes from, even when it comes through our neighbor.

 

You may not have Believer friends.  You may not have wealthy friends. You may live in a poverty stricken environment.  What image will you follow?  If you can not remove yourself from your environment or associates, what help is there for you?  Can you rise above your circumstances?

 

The world would have us believe that you can put on a new life by changing your clothes and shoes, changing your job, venue, the people you associate with and reinvent yourself.  We can follow others, we can stop and ask for directions and guidance, but the final decision is up to us.  How do we know we are going in the right direction?  How do we know if they are following Christ?  How do we know we are truly following Christ?

 

 

 

We must always look for Christ’s image—the characteristics of God.  Is His character upheld, taught, properly conveyed?  God’s characters are:

 

 

We look for those characteristics and fruits, which God manifests through His Holy Spirit.  If we are truly following Christ, we will bear His fruit and we will do as Christ did—listen to the Father and do as He does.

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) 

 

FISHERS OF MEN

 

Ask yourself—what does God do?  Love, forgive, heal, be merciful, etc.  Then, know you are ready when you can say, Father, use me as a vessel to do Your Will; send me to do what needs to be done.  If we are to truly follow Christ; if we are to impart His gifts, and bless others, then, we must trust Him, when He calls us.  When He sends you; when He tells you to go do this or that; even when there are just two fish and a loaf of bread, trust Him.  Know that He will provide all that you need for the journey.  He will give you the wisdom to accomplish the tasks.  He will use your hands to heal.  He will use you to forgive sins, encourage and glorify God’s name.  He will use you to bring God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.

 

 

Be ready to leave the nest; in other words--your comfort zone that prevents you from doing His will.  Don’t be afraid to grow up and leave the cradle that keeps most Believers rocked to sleep, stuck in infancy.  If you are caught up in a cycle of therapeutic self-help or religion; always looking for ways to improve and grow, but feeling you’re not where you’re supposed to be, let go of the apron string.  It is time to stop being spoon-fed and eat real meat.  Leave self behind.  Humble yourself.  You’ve reached the point when it’s time to truly die to self and follow Christ.  Put down your net and follow Christ; it is time to be fishers of men.

 

Father, we humbly thank You for Your invitation to take up the cross as Your Son, Jesus did.  Search us Lord for doubt and fear and root it out, Lord.  Help us to take that first step of many as fishers of men.  Humble us, Lord, that You may rebuild us as worthy vessels for Your temple.  Send us, Lord, to speak Truth; to expose lies and deceit; to cast out darkness and despair and replace it with Your Light.

 

Help us to stand firmly in Your name, always; rooted in Your love.  Father, we know the road ahead will not be easy.  We know that there will be many who don’t believe.  Please, keep our fire burning.  Help us to continue to hold Your banner high, as we march on.  Let us wield Your sword, Your Word, to bring peace; for blessed are the peacemakers.

 

You are a Mighty God. Let us be not dismayed, whatever betide.  We know that You will take care of us in our going out and our coming in.  We bless You, Lord.  We praise You, Lord.of Lords and King of Kings; forever and ever. In Jesus name. Amen

 

 

By the Grace and Mercy of God,

Your Servant,

Mishael


 

 

Published by Mishael T