On Friday, our family loaded the car with camping gear and headed out on our first official family camping trip.
Yes, for the first time ever, we took all our children camping, which is a huge deal for me because until about 2 years ago, I’d never been camping. Factor that in along with the fact that our children are ages 8, almost 7, 5 & 3 and the younger two tend to be escape artists, I was a little concerned that we might not return with all of them.
I took the proper precautions, loaded the truck full with everything we could possibly need for any type of incident, and then arrived at the camp safe and sound.
It wasn’t until we started setting up the tent, that we realized, I had overlooked some very important details.
Somehow I had managed to not pack the stakes to hold the tent down. If that was all, that wouldn’t have been so bad. Most people have some extra stakes and we could have worked it out.
Not only did I not pack the stakes, but I forgot the poles for the tent!
Who forgets the poles? I do apparently!
Since my introduction to the camping world two years ago, I have packed our truck on several occasions and never forgot anything so vital. But this time I did! Where did I go wrong?
Well, when we arrived back from our last camping trip, not everything made it back into it’s organized containers, so I could start to blame it on that but the reality is that I forgot to consult what I have consulted every other time I packed….
My camping supply list. It’s a simple list but has everything from homemade marshmallows for making smores to tent poles on it.
In my rush to get everything done, I forgot to consult the one thing that would have verified if I had everything we needed.
Fast forward to our return home…
One of our neighbors met us in the driveway. This isn’t uncommon. We talk to her often and the kids love running over to say hi.
Today was different. There wasn’t a lot of laughter, but somberness to her usually lively countenance.
She lifted her hat and showed us the scar from where she had brain surgery to remove a tumor. Two more tumors are still on the other side of her brain and they are unable to get them. She was informed within the past week or so that not only does she have brain cancer but stage 4 lung cancer as well. Then she said,
“I’m going to die.”
For the past several years, since we met her, we’ve prayed about opportunities to share Christ with her. The kids and I have spoken with her about our faith, we have offered to pray for her, and she has always thanked us for the prayers. For the first time today, we got to pray over her.
When I asked if we could pray for her, she said, “Yes, of course. I even went to church today.”
We love her and sadly because my husband’s father died of brain cancer, we understand a bit of what lies ahead for her.
But in the end what lies ahead for her, lies ahead for each of us.
One day, we will all die.
So many people are talking about how the world is in a horrible place and they hope Jesus comes back soon. But even if He doesn’t return in our lifetime, we know we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Knowing that her days are few, she is thinking about being prepared.
Are you prepared to not see tomorrow?
You have to know. God has provided us with an amazing resource to know just this – His Word!
You knew I was going there.
The Bible tells us what we need. We do not need to go through anyone else but Jesus Christ. No preacher, no teacher, no mentor. I’m not trying to throw teachers, mentors or preachers under the bus. We all need them, but they will not get us to heaven. Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, alone will get us there. And we need to read the Bible in it’s context, as a whole, instead of picking and choosing what we want.
(If you have never read the Bible for yourself, I would highly encourage you to start by reading Genesis, Luke & Acts. Why those? Well, starting at the beginning, Genesis, is always a good place to understand how sin entered the world, how sin separates us from God and why we need a savior. Luke tells about the One who is to fulfill the promises mentioned in Genesis and how He, Jesus, did it. Acts is a sequel to Luke and continues to explain how we, as followers of Jesus, are to respond with what Jesus did for us.)
Since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), and His Word is written as the Bible, we need to know it. Then, we can fall in love with Jesus and his love for us in the process of understanding more. It is so important to have our own understanding instead of relying on what someone else says about it.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
– John 14:6
It’s not just about believing.
Here’s the thing. Many believe in Christ, but it’s not just about believing. It’s about having faith.
James, Jesus’ brother, said,
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.“
– James 2:15
In Luke 8:27-28, we see that belief in Jesus does not make someone a follower of Jesus.
When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”
The demons within this man knew very well who Jesus was and the power that He had and yet, they did not choose to follow Him.
God has given us a great gifts.
God has given us the freedom to choose. We get to choose if we believe that Jesus is the son of God. We get to choose to follow Him. According to Scripture, it is through our faith that we receive the grace that saves us.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Some want to isolate this verse and claim, faith is all we need. This is why we need to look at each verse within the context of the paragraph, the chapter, the book and the Bible. If we start to choose certain verses and forget it within the context of the Bible, then we will miss the whole picture. The truth is this same faith that compels us to follow Christ, compels us to do what He has commanded us to do.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Praise God that Jesus does not leave us alone, so that we can forget something as important as our Biblical tent poles. He has given us the Bible and the Holy Spirit, who will not contradict the Bible but help us understand it better and put it into action.
Faith is more than words. It is the fire in our soul that provokes us to action.
The Be Prepared Parable
As my husband went to get a new tent (because stores don’t just sell tent poles), I couldn’t help but think of the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time 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 the 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.
We need to always be prepared to meet our maker and savior! It’s time to dig into God’s word and not take anyone else’s word but Jesus’ that you are prepared.
Today I pray not only for our neighbor, but for you. More than anything I pray for our neighbor’s healing, because I want to see her eternally healed in heaven one day. I want the same for you. I want all of us to be prepared and not be caught off guard by Jesus’ coming or our death.
Lord, we praise your name and thank you for loving us so much. Help us be wisely prepared for that day and not left to foolishly running around looking for our tent poles. You have left nothing to chance and have provided everything we need through Jesus to be forgiven of all our sins and to be reconciled to you. You have written it all down for us neatly in the Bible so we can know that we have eternal life. We can know that we are prepared for the day of our earthly deaths. We praise you because for this reason because death has no hold on us. We can rejoice in knowing that even while we live on this earth, Satan cannot touch our souls. You hold us in your hand and carry us through the good and trying times. We will always praise your faithfulness now and forever. Amen!
Do you want to make sure your prepared? We would love to dig into the Bible with you! Send us a message through our contact form and we will start digging in right away.