7 Ways To Be Prepared

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As you looked at the title of this teaching...you might assume that I'm going to teach on the 2nd coming of Jesus.  Not true.

Many of you know I don’t spend a lot of time reading, wondering or worrying about the end-times.

I’m more concerned about growing up in Jesus than going up to meet Him.  If I live the kind of life I should. . .then I will never have to worry about going up.

In my lifetime there have been nine anti-Christs identified by well-meaning believers who are or no doubt will be in heaven.

Before getting to what this teaching is all about. . .let me share with some basic facts for those who love prophecy and the end-times.

A well-known Christian wrote, "The last days are upon us. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible."

That was not written by a modern prophecy expert. It was written by a man named Ignatius about 110 A.D., just a couple of decades after the apostle John wrote Revelation.

Another Christian wrote:

“There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power."That was written by an influential Christian named Martin about 375 A.D.

Another early church father, Hippolytus, wrote in the year 236 A.D. that Christ was sure to return by 500 A.D.

The years surrounding the year 1000 were filled with predictions about the imminent return of Christ - to the point where Christians didn’t plant crops for the next year, buildings weren’t repaired and the details of daily life were ignored.

In the 1500’s, Martin Luther wrote, "We have reached the time of the white horse of the Apocalypse. This world will not last any longer . . . than another hundred years."

A little known fact of the life of Christopher Columbus is that he was a student of biblical prophecy. He wrote a volume called "The Book Of Prophecies," in which he predicted that the world would end in the year 1656. He even wrote, "There is no doubt that the world must end in one hundred fifty-five years."

Here’s what I know. . .Jesus is coming soon. . .and by the way, I don’t believe He’d tell somebody else zz

I think everybody would agree. . .Jesus is coming soon. . .He’s coming for His bride without spot or wrinkle. . .if you’ve been born again and are living a righteous life. . .you’re going up to meet Him. . .whenever He comes.

So I’m ready. . .to go up. . .when He shows up.  How about you?

However, God expects us to be prepared to facilitate His return and the advancement of His Kingdom here on earth. When it comes to being prepared here are two quotes that stir my faith and expand my vision.

I will prepare and someday my chance will come.  Abraham Lincoln

It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.  Whitney Young, Jr.

Let’s look at seven ways to be prepared for kingdom business.

# 1       Be prepared for battle.

Ephesians 6:13 in the Message Bible says:

“Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

The World English Dictionary defines preparation as:

“the act or process of preparing and the state of being prepared; readiness”

Preparation is a mental decision because it becomes a practical reality.

Before any well-trained soldier goes into battle. . .he/she will inspect their equipment to make sure they’re fully prepared to face and defeat every attack of the enemy.

In preparation for spiritual warfare. . .the most important you can do. . .is to sanctify yourself for battle.

Joshua 7:13 in the New Living Translation says:

“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.”

How do you purify yourself for battle?

1.         Enter into His presence

2.         Read your instruction manual/battle plan.

3.         Repent

4.         Eliminate any doubt about the outcome of your mission

5.         Receive your forgiveness

6.         Determine who will be in the foxhole with you.

7.         Get out in front of your battle by praising God.

Joshua 3:5 should become our expectation for each new day.

“For tomorrow, Jehovah will do wonders among you.”

If you want to be successful you can never ignore or minimize preparation time.

The price for success is always paid in advance of your victory. . .never after the fact.

2.         Be prepared for a life of righteousness.

Several days ago, on our daily Rich Thoughts For Breakfast 13 minute conference call . . . I pointed out that 1 Peter 2:24 was. . .is much more than a healing scripture.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

The word righteousness in the Strong’s Concordance and found that it’s the Greek word dikaiosynē (G1343) which means:

“(1)in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God: integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting.”

That’s when I saw it . . . righteousnessis the “state of him who is as he ought to be.”

How “ought” we to be?

Walking victorious. . .winning every battle. . .because of the Greater One who is in and empowers us. Everyone who is serious about the cause of Christ should be endeavoring to be as they ‘ought’ to be.

Proverbs 4:18 in the Amplified Bible says:

“But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].”

Are you mentally, physically and spiritually prepared. . .regardless of what the circumstances appear to be?

2 Timothy 4:2 in the New Living Translation says:

“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your with good teaching.”

3.         Be prepared to move outside your comfort zone.

If you’re living in a comfort zone. . .it’s because you don’t know something or you’re not willing to do something with what you know.

Romans 1:13 says:

“Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.”

According to Strong’s Concordance the word ignorance means:  “not knowing.”

Simply said, ignorance is not knowing the facts.

Now, stupid is knowing the facts but choosing not to do anything with or about that information and insight.

Benjamin Franklin said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

There is a cure for ignorance. . .get knowledge

If you lack knowledge, it's your fault because knowledge is available.

Psalm 119:66 in the New Living Translation says:

“I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.”

It’s been said that if you don’t like where you are in life. . .chances are. . .there’s something you don’t know yet.

How do you get knowledge and wisdom?  You seek them.

Proverbs 4:7 says:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

Increased wisdom will prepare you to move outside of your comfort zone.

Let me ask you seven questions. . .and just write now yes or no.

Do you read your Bible on a daily basis?

Do you take notes on what you’ve read?

Does the Holy Spirit bring things to your remembrance as you read and take notes?

Are you reading any book any than the Bible at this very moment?

Is the book motivational, inspirational and practical?

Are you taking notes as you read this book?

Is the Holy Spirit stirring things in you as you read the book?

If you answered “no” to more than one of those questions. . .you need more preparation in the Word. . .because you enjoy living in your comfort zone.

Get wisdom. . .move from where you are to where God wants you to be. . .and that most assuredly, is not your comfort zone.

4.         Be prepared by following His instructions.

When you prepare for your destiny. . .with the Word of God. . .amazing things are going to happen.

Deuteronomy 8:11-16 in the Message Bible says:

“Make sure you don’t forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and upmake sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery; the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions; the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock; the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.”

2 Timothy 3:17 in the Easy-To-Read translation says:

“Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work.”

By the same token, a lack of knowledge about the scripture will definitely restrict, if not prohibit, your blessing flow.

Matthew 22:29 in The Living Bible says:

“But Jesus said, “Your error is caused by your ignorance of the Scriptures and of God’s power!”

Big surprise. . .seven words sums it up beautifully and powerfully.  READ YOUR BIBLE…DO WHAT IT SAYS.

5.         Be prepared to exercise His gifts.

John 14:26 in the Amplified Bible says:

“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”

At our disposal we have the nine power gifts of the spirit. . .the gift of wisdom; knowledge; discerning various spirits; speaking in tongues; interpretation of tongues; prophecy; faith; working of miracles; and the gift of healing. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)

In preparation for Kingdom Business. . .our loving Heavenly Father allows us to tap into what is most frequently called the motivational gifts of the spirit.  Romans 12:6-8 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;  7[He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.”

And the very good news. . .God wants us prepared to effectively operate in these gifts.  Be prepared for the Kingdom power. . .your Heavenly Father wants to release through you.

Once again, be prepared to use your gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:26 in the Message Bible says:

“So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. If prayers are offered in tongues, two or three’s the limit, and then only if someone is present who can interpret what you’re saying. Otherwise, keep it between God and yourself. And no more than two or three speakers at a meeting, with the rest of you listening and taking it to heart. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other. If you choose to speak, you’re also responsible for how and when you speak. When we worship the right way, God doesn’t stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony. This goes for all the churches—no exceptions.”

What happens if you prefer not to use kingdom gifts. . .to do the things God wants you prepared to do.

The answer is found in Luke 12:47 in the New Living Translation which says:

“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.”

6.         Be prepared to assume a leadership role.

You may not see yourself as a leader but God truly sees you as one.

1 Peter 3:15 in the New International Version says:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

The verse says:  “. . .Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. . .”

There’s nothing in this which says:

“Pastors, always be prepared to give an answer.

“Prophets, always be prepared to give an answer.

“Apostles, always be prepared to give an answer.”

“Teachers, always be prepared to give an answer.”

“Evangelists, always be prepared to give an answer.”

1 Peter 3:15 isn’t limited to those who operate in the five-fold ministry gifts.

This verse applies to everyone. . .that included every one of us.

Leaders are prepared to give answers and yes, take the lead in conversations.

Ezekiel 38:7 in God’s WORD Translation says:

“‘Be prepared! Be prepared, you and all the soldiers assembled around you. You will be their leader.”

# 7       The Soil Must Be Prepared For The Seed.

My parents worked as sharecroppers until I was about four years of age.  Our home was nearly a mile off the highway up in the fields.  We didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing.  

I remember playing at the end of the rows while my Daddy and Momma would turn the soil for whichever crop they were about to plant.  In fact, I still have the yellow road grader that I would play with while my folks were preparing the soil to receive the seed.

One of the first things Bev does at a new house is have the soil prepared so she could plant her flowers around the house.

Soil must be prepared to receive the seedand Jesus compares the soil to our heart condition.  Just as the earth is prepared, so we must prepare our hearts before the first seed is every sown.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus describes four different spiritual heart conditions using the example of the farmer with his crop.

First, those who have a hard, ungrateful heart won’t be able to receive the seed of God’s Word.  Doubt and cynicism allow no place for the hope of His promise.

Doubt and faith cannot live in the same house… no one can have faith for what they don’t have knowledge of as F.F. Bosworth liked to say.

The person with the hard heart has absolutely NO hope for their situation or circumstances changing for the better

Second, those who have a shallow heart with many stony places are easily offended.  When things don’t go the way they think they should, they abandon the hope of His promise.

Too many times, I’ve heard people say, “Well, I tried tithing and it didn’t work for me.  I gave offerings but nothing happened.  I never received a harvest.  This giving stuff just doesn’t work for me.”

When people make statements about how they tried tithing and it didn’t work for them;  the truth is that God was trying them to see if they would be faithful stewards or they’d quit.  God never gave up on them; they just gave up on Him.  A person’s expectations must be rooted in the Word of God . . .not circumstances.

When people say they tried giving and it didn’t work. . .they are basically voiding the Word of God, but even worse, they are calling God a liar. They are saying He is not faithful to His Word.

What they really did was try God but quit before it had a chance to happen.

The scripture is very clear in Acts 10:34: “. . .God is no respecter of persons.”  So for someone to suggest that God would do one thing for one person and not for another is to make Him a liar.  And we all know that God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).

So if the seed is falling on stony ground, it’s because the sower is not paying attention to the details.

Third, if your heart is crowded with the weeds or the cares of this world, including the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things, the seed planted in your heart will soon be choked out without producing any fruit.

As you travel down the highway of life, there are a lot of birds (buzzards) sitting on the power lines waiting to swoop down and gobble up your seed.

I once heard a motivational speaker for a large networking marketing company encouraging his listeners to “fake it (the lifestyle of the rich and famous) until you make it.” 

Living a lifestyle beyond your means will end in all the “D” words. . .debt, disappointment, despair, and depression.

Living a lifestyle beyond your means is the kind of prescription that will prevent you from giving to God the way you really want to.

Financial freedom is not based on how much you make but rather how little you owe.  Sad to say, I know believers who’ve received tremendous financial blessings only to find themselves in more debt.

If the first thing you think of when you receive a financial miracle is what you can buy for yourself or your family

If your thoughts are:  “now we can buy this or that”

. . .then you are overlooking the avenue that brought you the blessing in the first place.

“You forgot who brought you to the dance.”

Too many believers are willing to give God the credit. . .but they are reluctant to give Him the cash.           

Finally, a heart that has had its soil turned, with the rocks removed, the weeds picked out is prepared to receive proper seed and bring forth an abundant harvest.

God wants us prepared and operating in the end-time Office of the Giver.  He wants us prepared for and about Kingdom Business.

One final verse.

Matthew 25:13 in The Living Bible says:

“So stay awake and be prepared, for you do not know the date or moment of my return.