In 2 Timothy 3:1-4 it states:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God….”
And Timothy goes on to list more of the problems of his times … which we can all pretty much agree … are the problems of our times at well.
When we became born again believers we were called to Kingdom business.
We may or may not be looking the end of the world in the face but that essentially doesn’t matter because no matter how much longer the earth remains… we have all been called to do Kingdom business.
What we are doing in the here and now will be what we are judged for in the by and by. And the by and by is going to come sooner or later for all of us.
I’m pretty sure that as Nazi Germany was attacking countries and gathering Jews across Europe, they felt this had to be the end of the world. It certainly looked like the end of theirs.
It is said that 6 million people were annihilated in Poland alone, one of the few countries that had always been open to the Jewish population. I might add it is said 3 of the 6 million who died were Christians trying to protect the Jews but that is often forgotten or put in the last sentence of the article.
Jesus’ disciples felt the end was imminent.
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."
The point is. . .Jesus’s appearing is closer than any other time in history…that’s for sure. However, God expects us to be prepared to facilitate His return and the advancement of His Kingdom here on earth.
We could even hasten that return just by doing what we were put on earth to do.
There is an almost obscure addition to scripture in Luke 18 when Jesus is telling the parable of the unjust judge who gave the woman justice because she worried him day and night.
He likens it to God bringing things about quickly because His people are crying out to Him day and night … Jesus says in Luke 18:8:
“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
The question thrown in at the end always makes me pause and think … will He find us faithful?
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 before 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 our instruction manual/battle plan daily
3. Repent immediately when we realize we’ve done something wrong
4. Eliminate any doubt about the outcome of our mission Romans 8:31
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 we want to be successful we 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.
I quote and believe in1 Peter 2:24 being a powerful healing scripture but that is not all it is.
“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.”
An important part is that we should “live unto righteousness.”
The word righteousness in the Strong’s Concordance and found in that scripture is 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 . . . righteousness is the “state of him who is as he ought to be.”
How “ought” we to be?
Walking victorious. . .winning battles. . .all because we recognize that the Greater One who is in and empowers us is capable of far more than we can do in our own strength.
Everyone who is a 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 we mentally, physically and spiritually preparing ourselves. . .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 people 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.
There is a cure for ignorance. . .get knowledge.
If you lack knowledge, it's your fault because knowledge is available.
It’s called get with your teacher every day by getting in His Word.
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?
Are you reading any book any than the Bible at this very moment?
Is the book motivational, inspirational and practical?
Is this book advancing your call into Kingdom business?
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. . .you’re too comfortable where you are.
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 up—make 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.”
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
We’re back living in eastern North Carolina. Every year I drive by fields that are being prepared for the crops to be planted there.
I also love it when I take time to plant my own small garden in the back yard. But all winter the weeds crowd in there and by spring I have to get in there and clear the soil of what will hinder my crop.
Soil must be prepared to receive the seed and 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. Someone has to plant hope in them for it to grow.
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 . . .without looking at all the circumstances that come their way.
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.
Living a lifestyle beyond your means is common these days … but the kind of prescription that will prevent you from giving to God which also negates your ability to use His principles to become successful.
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, 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.”
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