Uncategorized

Build your sukkah: Reports of the Old Testament’s demise are greatly exaggerated

This post is a continuation of my review of the movie “Let the Lion Roar,” and I want to elaborate more on replacement theology’s error of New Testament (NT) primacy, which is to prefer the NT over the Old Testament (OT). Although Derek Frank does not specifically address this aspect of replacement theology in the “Let the Lion Roar” movie, he almost sounds like he alludes to it in this quote from the accompanying book “Escaping the Great Deception.” In this book, Derek Frank says:

The father of lies has misrepresented the gospel by luring the body of believers away from its Jewish roots. Bending the truth as he did in Eden, he has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant. Restoring the Gospel from the Great Deception will leave us dissatisfied with partial truth and make us hungry for it as a whole. (p. 63)

It would have been wonderful if he was addressing replacement theology’s NT primacy error, but the context makes this impossible. Nevertheless it remains true that replacement theology prefers the NT over the OT, and just like Derek Frank says about the Great Deception, NT primacy also “has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant.” Consequently, many Christians and the Christian culture in general have become unwitting adherents to this error. Consider this experience I recently had.

Yesterday I visited a local Christian bookstore to ask about books and/or audio/visual resources to help people become more knowledgeable about the feasts of the Bible. This store had plentiful resources for apologetics, church history, sermon helps, marriage, personal finance, Christian living, witnessing, etc., but only one wall poster and one DVD for the feasts. I then pulled a handbook for Christian living off the shelf to see if it had anything to say about celebrating the feasts of the Bible. There was no mention of celebrating the feasts at all, and I could not help but see the preference for the NT at work. It’s like the OT is not as worthy of our attention and observance as the NT, and that is wrong.

Those who prefer the NT over the OT argue that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. It is true that Yeshua came to deliver us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3: 13), but does that mean we can disregard the OT as a guide for the believer today? Absolutely not!

The OT has much that we need to know in order to live a life that is pleasing to God, but when we use the terms OT and NT, we inadvertently help perpetuate the error that the shelf life of the OT has somehow expired. Scripture is Scripture, and that is how we ought to regard all of it without preferring one portion of it over another. Paul wrote that “All [emphasis added] Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV). We should remember that when Paul wrote those words, the NT canon was incomplete. He included all of Scripture in this pronouncement (e.g. the Law and the Prophets). If Paul tells us that there is profit in all of Scripture, do replacement theology adherents have greater revelation than Paul? That cannot be true. But can replacement theology be in error? Yes indeed.

The OT was the guide that Yeshua had when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Far from disregarding it, Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the law. If He can live a life that is pleasing to God based on the OT, then there must be vital information we also need to mine from this source. I have heard it said that the OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed. This is true. The NT and OT are one Word of God woven together in a seamless fashion. Yeshua guided His life by the Scriptures, and He did it in the way that was acceptable to God, not like the scribes and Pharisees who followed manmade doctrines. He understood the things that God freely gave Him. As an obedient Son, Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the appointed feast times. If He honored and reverenced the feasts of the Lord in the OT, are we better? Didn’t He say we would do the same works as He did?

Think about this; Yeshua was able to properly understand the Law and the Prophets. He saw the NT in the OT, but that is only possible with the right teacher. Yeshua was not taught by man; He was taught by the Father. Yeshua was one with the Father, so He had the same spirit with God. This allowed Him to understand the Word of God. We must remember that the Law is spiritual (Rom 7: 14), therefore it can only be understood when we have the same spirit that Yeshua had. As Paul wrote:

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

1 Cor 2:11-13 (ESV)

The Scriptures contain His thoughts toward us; we need His spirit to understand them.  Having the mind of Christ gives us understanding the world will never arrive at. This was why Simeon and Anna knew who the baby Yeshua really was (Luke 2: 25-38). This is why Yeshua commended Simon for knowing who He really was (Matt 16:16-17). It allows us to see the NT in the OT. Yeshua’s preaching was in demonstration of the spirit and power because He had God’s spirit. This was why Yeshua was able to teach with authority, and not as the scribes.

Let’s also ask ourselves this: Can we really prefer the NT over the OT if the OT still has “unfinished business?” The OT contains prophecies and events that have yet to be fulfilled just like the NT (e.g. Revelation), so it seems dangerous and unreasonable to disregard the OT if its business has not been completed.

The one who prefers the NT over the OT may ask “does the OT have “continuing application and relevance” for today’s believer?” Yes it does, and this can be easily shown when Yeshua was asked about the greatest commandment:

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matt 22:35-40 (ESV)

Now notice this: These commandments are in the Law (Duet 6: 4 and Lev 19: 18). If the we are no longer under the Law because of grace, and consequently it has nothing to say to a believer under grace, does that mean that since these two commandments are also found in the Law, that they are not to be regarded as guides for our lives today? That doesn’t agree with the words of the Lord or the writings of the Apostles. For example, John exhorts his audience “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” 1 John 3:11 (ESV). The Lord Yeshua affirmed these commandments and the Apostles echoed it. Since this is so, it can be stated with confidence that the OT still has continuing application and relevance for today’s believer. This is where the feasts come in, and why they are still relevant to believers today.

All the males in Israel were required to appear before the Lord three times a year (Exodus 23: 17): The appointed times were for Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. When the Jews assembled in Jerusalem some two thousand years age, they witnessed the fulfillment of the Passover when Yeshua was crucified; they witnessed the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that the Lord would pour out His spirit on all flesh during Pentecost; but Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled. You may ask, what’s so special about the Feast of Tabernacles? The Feast of Tabernacles is a dress rehearsal for the return of the Messiah! At some future Feast of Tabernacles, the assembled Jews will witness the Lord return to the Mount of Olives and begin His thousand year rule among us. Not only that, the Feast of Tabernacles will happen at its appointed times during Yeshua’s millennial reign with international participation with Jews and Gentiles:

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles]. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

Zech 14:16-19 (ESV)

This “unfinished business” ought to be high on our minds, but the nefarious work of replacement theology has convinced many people that the feasts of the OT are expired and consequently they pay them no mind. This is so wrong, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with the feasts and what they were about. This is especially true since we are in the midst of four blood moons. The first has already occurred during Passover 2014, the next will be 8 October 2014 during the Feast of Tabernacles, with the final two blood moons will occur on Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2015. The last blood moon will be a super moon visible over Jerusalem. It’s no accident that these blood moons appear on Jewish feast days; serious events are about to occur that point to the coming Tribulation. We need to be like the wise virgins and prepare beforehand for these things (Matt 25:1-13).

The only sure refuge we will have in the coming Tribulation will be in the Lord Yeshua Himself. This is the time to draw close to God and be about His business. If you have not received God’s forgiveness for your sins, I would strongly urge my reader to repent and be reconciled to God while there is still time. We have this precious promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (ESV). Give Him your whole life and everything it contains; don’t hold anything back from Him. Confess your sins and failures, and He will give you forgiveness, love, mercy, and make you into a new person. Believe in Him, and you will live forever. Come to the Lord and see that He is good! And then tell me about your experience so I can rejoice with you.

Completing the Reformation must also include doing away with the preference for the NT and regarding all of Scripture as valid for us today. Every jot and tittle in God’s word is there by design; it has a purpose, and does not return to God void. Focusing on only part of the Scriptures leaves a believer spiritually anemic and frustrates the purpose of God to fully equip every believer. The Lord does not want believers who are spiritually weak and sickly; He wants strong, mature believers who eat solid food, and this happens when we avail ourselves of all the Scriptures.

To give you a taste of the Feast of Tabernacles, I recommend visiting with a Messianic Fellowship and participating in the feast with them. When I started going to the feasts, it was like I was going home after a long absence. These have been wonderful experiences, and I encourage every reader to also experience the feasts for themselves. You are going to do it in the millennium anyway, why not get started now?

Here are some resources that will help get you started:

Leviticus 23: Passover, First-fruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.

Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz (also in DVD)

Information about the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4126/jewish/Sukkot.htm

How to build your tabernacle (sukkah):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/420823/jewish/How-to-Build-a-Sukkah.htm

Keep calm and build your sukkah the sukkah

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Do not be disqualified by foolishness: A wise virgin’s guide Part 2

There is a detail about the ten virgins’ parable that needs to be examined. The second verse tells us that “Five of them were foolish, and five were wise” Matt 25:2 (ESV). This verse reveals that there were two distinct groups; this is important even if it doesn’t get talked about a lot. Groups are important parts of all our lives. The most important group believers can belong to is the body of Christ. We are by nature social beings; it is part of our human nature to want to belong to a group. The desire to be part of a group can be very powerful, and there are two principle reasons for this.

A group creates an atmosphere of acceptance. This acceptance is based on some kind of common ground that the group members share. When we interact with these people, we can exchange thoughts and ideas without sounding out of place. We can open our hearts with someone who knows what it’s like to go through what we are experiencing, and who can say “I have been there.” If the shared experience is especially strong, one might even say “it’s like we have known each other our whole lives.” The saying that “birds of a feather flock together” is true. A group of people who share life’s trials have agreement and harmony; this creates an atmosphere of acceptance (especially if love is involved) that has a very powerful appeal.

A group can also create a sense of security. It is much easier for a person to weather a storm knowing others are there to help, and they are not alone in this. There really is strength in numbers, and Solomon tells us:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Eccl 4:9-12 (ESV)

We can even see this in nature itself. Animals that stay in the herd are safe from attack. It’s the stranglers and loners who are vulnerable to predators. Safety can be a compelling reason to be a part of a group as well; there is a great comfort in knowing that someone is watching your back. Now you may ask, what does all this have to do with the parable of the ten virgins?

Craving the acceptance of the wrong group (or person) can come at the expense of your eternal life. When I said that the desire to be in a group can be powerful, I meant that as a warning because it is powerful.  Wise virgins take note! I believe the strongest example of this can be found with Solomon, who was one of the wisest men ever to live. Solomon knew the Scriptures, and what they said would happen if he married foreign women. Solomon followed God, but he also loved foreign women who followed their own gods. Solomon could not have any common ground with his wives without compromise. Even though Solomon was very wise, he did not listen to wisdom when it came to marriage:

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.

1 Kings 11:1-2 (ESV)

Notice that last line. Solomon craved love and acceptance from the foreign women he married, but people cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. He had a choice to make. Either he should follow God with all his heart, or he must compromise and turn away from God. Here is what happened:

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.

1 Kings 11:4-8 (ESV)

If a man as wise as Solomon can fall, we should not underestimate the power of love and acceptance to persuade us to turn us away from the Living God. It is always tragic to hear about people who have gotten into abusive relationships, lost money in a romantic scam, or joined cults because they thought these things would give them the love and acceptance they were looking for. We can avoid this trap by remembering the counsel of God: Examine everything under the light of God’s word. For those who will heed this, it will save them from many sorrows.

In this case, the first thing we need to do is define what love really is. If we know what true love is and what its qualities and characteristics are, we can spot the counterfeits. This is what Paul tells us about love:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Cor 13:4-7 (ESV)

Let’s compare this with the deal Solomon got from his foreign wives. The price for their love was accepting their gods and rejecting the one true God. This cannot be true love because it insisted on its own way. Solomon’s wives never wanted to serve the Lord God (Cf. Ruth 1: 16-17); they insisted on having their own way and worshipping their own gods (Strike one). Worshipping other gods was also a direct violation of the first commandment. This is wrongdoing of the highest order, but the love his wives had rejoiced in this. Rejoicing in wrongdoing is not evidence of true love (strike two).  True love is enduring. It doesn’t present a list of conditions that must be met before it is bestowed. Solomon’s wives offered a conditional love; it would only be given in exchange for meeting its requirements (strike three). This cursory examination shows that Solomon was not being offered true love, but a counterfeit. This brings us back to the virgins.

As I mentioned at first, there were two groups. The foolish group was careless, compromising, and negligent, and given the case of Solomon, it follows that some of the foolish virgins were once in the wise camp. There was something about foolishness that persuaded these once wise virgins to embrace it. Foolishness can be very persuasive in areas we are vulnerable in. For example, if we have had a childhood in which the parents withheld love, or only showed love under certain conditions, we will want to find the love and acceptance we didn’t get somewhere else. If we have had a life where we never felt secure, then we will try to find that security somewhere. Foolishness offers deceptive imitations to satisfy our needs, but since these imitations do not originate from God, they do not have the divine power to affect a cure. They will never be the healing balm we need; they can only bring ruin.

Foolishness has a sweet and pleasant taste at first; it can even be like intoxication. This is deceptive because only later does the taste become bitter, but by that time a person has ingested large amounts of foolishness and the weeds that choke out the word have been sown. The heart becomes hard, and this makes a spiritual recovery doubtful. Foolishness truly has a season when it feels pleasant and enjoyable, but it lasts just long enough for the hook to be set. If Solomon perceived the bitterness immediately, would he have continued? Given Solomon’s case, there are two things we should watch out for: We should never underestimate the power of our need for love, acceptance, and security to draw away into foolishness, and we should never overestimate our power to resist. In other words, we should take the warnings of Scripture seriously:

The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

Prov 9:13-18 (ESV)

We should always try to help people recover from the grip of foolishness, but if you are trying to help someone who has been persuaded that “stolen water is sweet,” remember this warning: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” Gal 6:1 (ESV). Watch out that your efforts to help don’t end up snaring you. Don’t become a casualty!

Wise virgins, stay in your group. What kind of people do you associate with? Do they rejoice in the truth? Do they insist on their own way? Are they telling you to stock up on oil while the markets are still open? Or are they saying there is no need to get all radical, there’s plenty of time and the wait for the Bridegroom won’t be that long anyway? The time is getting short, and the Lord will soon return for His people. Do not stop meeting together and encouraging one another while it is still called today. Build each other up and pray for one another. Do not turn away from wisdom:

And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.  Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.

Prov 8:32-36 (ESV)

Take care, my beloved.

Standard
Uncategorized

There’s no harm in asking the Lord: A wise virgin’s guide part 1

Before beginning this study, it would good to review an incident that happened with Joshua as he was leading Israel into the Promised Land. As the Israelites entered the land, the fear and dread of the Israelites affected all the inhabitants of the land. The Gibeonites realized they would not survive a fight with Israel, so they devised a plan to get them out of harm’s way:

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.”

Josh 9:3-6 (ESV)

Joshua and the elders of Israel were suspicious at first, and they were unwilling to make a covenant with them because they might be inhabitants of the land. The Gibeonites then told their story of distant origins and showed the evidence:

Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.”

Josh 9:12-13 (ESV)

Joshua and the elders looked at the Gibeonites and believed what they saw:

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

Josh 9:14-15 (ESV)

Three days later Joshua found out that they really were inhabitants of the land, and that the Gibeonites had deceived them. Since they had sworn to let them live, they could not raise a hand against them. There is a principle here that we must not overlook. Appearances can be deceiving, and this is especially true in the last days. Jesus warned His disciples that: “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” Matt 24:24 (ESV). If God’s own people could be deceived if it were possible, what chance do people outside the church have of distinguishing what is true from what is false?

Since our eyes can deceive us, as the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites illustrates, we need is an objective and totally reliable source of information that can see through even the most well-crafted deceptions. The Lord knows all things, and He is the one who can help us distinguish the good from the bad; in order to do this, we must “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Prov 3:5-6 (ESV). This simple formula is very important; we cannot get our lives straightened out and expose deceptions unless we follow His rules.

Paul compared our lives to competing in a race. There are rules for running a race as well as in living for God, and if you don’t compete according to the rules, you will be disqualified. The foolish virgins neglected the rules, and they were disqualified when the Bridegroom came. We must take precautions against being disqualified. In order to do this, we must make sure our hearts are right before God.

The issues of life are in the heart, but “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jer 17:9 (ESV). Even though we are new creations in Christ, it does not mean that our old nature is dead and buried. The heart is sick and afflicted with our old nature; this old nature constantly wants to reassert itself in our lives. We still have to fight against its influence every day, and if unchecked, the old nature will reassert itself. If you have any doubts about this, consider these examples: The Corinthian church had to deal with jealousy, strife, division, and sexual sin. When Paul met Cephas in Antioch, he condemned Cephas for hypocrisy when he and the Jewish believers separated themselves from the Gentile believers (Gal 2: 11-14). Demas was once a coworker with Paul (Col 4: 14), but he loved the world and returned to it (2 Tim 4: 10). Paul had such a sharp disagreement with Barnabas about bringing Mark with them that they separated from each other (Acts 15: 36-41). These examples should be sufficient to show that we must always be on guard against the old nature reasserting itself. The problem is that there is a real danger that it may be asserting itself and we may not be aware of it. Consider the case of two churches mentioned in the book of Revelation.

The Lord addresses the church of Ephesus:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.’

Rev 2:1-3 (ESV)

This sounds very encouraging. The Ephesians are working hard, and they won’t put up with evil. Any deceivers who wanted to masquerade as apostles avoided this church. They held up under trials and endured patiently, and they didn’t grow weary. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to hear this from the Lord? The problem is, this isn’t the whole story, and one word changes the course of the report:

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Rev 2:4-5 (ESV)

One has to ask, how can it be that a church is laboring for the Lord and persevering under trials and yet they were in danger of missing the mark? How can they know when a false apostle is in their midst, but by the same token they didn’t know their own condition? It’s because they were unaware of their true condition. They really were doing some things right, but they mistook that to mean that nothing was amiss, and because of this they didn’t realize that they had drifted away from the straight path. They had abandoned the love they had at first, and because of this they were in danger of having their lampstand removed! They looked alright and they may have felt alright, but they needed serious repentance. Unfortunately, when everything looks alright, no one thinks to ask the Lord if everything really is alright.

The address to the church of the Laodiceans makes the point very clear:

And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.   For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.’

Rev 3:14-17 (ESV)

The Laodiceans also thought everything was fine; they didn’t realize that they were really “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” The common thread that runs through these cases are people who mistakenly believed everything was in order which negated a need for self-examination: “Aren’t we are doing Lord’s work? Since this is so, what could be wrong? There is no need to ask counsel from the Lord” Those who depend on their own understanding (e.g. Joshua and the Gibeonites, the Ephesians and Laodiceans), or who don’t think they need anything are already drifting into the camp of the foolish virgins. Looks can be deceiving. If we have faith to move mountains, and if we have endured under trials, and even if we have cast out devils and have done many wonderful things, it still doesn’t mean that everything is acceptable to the Lord (Cf. Matt 7: 21-23).

The foolish virgins thought they were ready. They were also waiting for the Lord, but the fact is they were not ready, and they didn’t realize the error until it was too late. Remember this: there is no harm in asking the Lord to verify our true condition, but there could be eternal loss for not asking the Lord to help us understand our true condition. If He says we are blameless, then we really are. But if He reveals hidden faults, we must make the necessary corrections while there is still time. Don’t be a foolish virgin and put things off.

It is the Lord’s will for us that we walk before Him and be blameless, but as we have seen, it is possible to think we are alright when we really aren’t. I don’t want any of my brothers and sisters to be disqualified from the race; I want everyone to receive a full reward and hear the Lord say “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Oh Lord, I am not aware of faults that I may have, but this doesn’t mean that I am blameless. There is no darkness in You, and since I am created in Your image, I ask You to examine me for any hidden faults and show me anything about me that may be offensive to You. I want to please You and be free of any faults. I confess that I can be fooled, but You are good, and You know all things. You know what’s really going on. Help me to understand my true condition. I ask You to forgive me if I have grieved You in any way, and I ask You to create in me a pure heart and a steadfast spirit. I put my trust in You, and I will not lean on my own understanding. Make my path straight, according to Your word.

Standard