Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 7 July 2014
Page 13

Are You Ready?

Therman Hodge

Therman HodgePeter said, “Lord I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter, though, was not ready; he just thought he was. He later denied the Lord (Luke 22:55-62).

We should follow Jesus for He is our example (1 Peter 2:21). Following him necessitates self-denial (Matthew 16:24), but even a dog will follow his master. Following Jesus is like a sailor sailing under sealed orders. The question of obedience has been settled before the orders are read.

“Be ye ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). It takes study to do this (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:13). It also takes the right disposition of heart to do it in the manner commanded. One might win a discussion and lose a soul. Let us win the soul as well as the discussion. “He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

Paul said, “I am ready to preach the Gospel” (Romans 1:15). Why? He believed it to be “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). He was not ashamed of the Gospel. He recognized that he was a debtor (Romans 1:14). Those same reasons will motivate us to preach the Gospel, “that they be ready to distribute” (1 Timothy 6:18). Sharing with others is a Christian principle of life; God shared His Son with us. This indicates unselfishness and kindness. It was a mark of the early church (Acts 2:45; 4:34-35).

A religion without a heart is worthless! We should be ready to every good work (Titus 3:1). Be ready to do it yourself; do not wish it off on someone else. Works are the fruit of faith, for we show our faith by our works (James 2:18). This kind of religion is known by its fruits (Luke 6:44). Paul said, “I am ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). This statement was correct, for later he did die for Jesus. Just prior to his death, he wrote some very dramatic words which are found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Does the Lord mean that much to us? We have not been called upon to die for Him, but we are asked to live for Him (Romans 12:1).

Jesus commanded for us to be ready for His return (Matthew 24:42-44). The tragedy of the foolish virgins was that they were not ready to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). To be ready, one must be in the kingdom and make preparations as did the wise virgins. This preparation did not come accidentally. One must make it on purpose.

In conclusion, victories are won by being ready. An old Greek officer counseled the generals on the eve of an engagement: “The secret of the victory is getting a good ready.” In keeping with this, we need the day before preparation that we may be ready.

My Conduct in Worship

Mark T. Tonkery

Mark T. TonkeryThis year we had a great couple of weeks of camp. Someone observed during Junior Week that our campers, who are from the ages of 7-12 years old, “did very well during the worship services, and they did not even have coloring books during worship services.” Each day at camp we had two worship services, an evening campfire and Bible classes. The campers were attentive to the speakers, sang and prayed during those times they were supposed to in worship. This is a lot of paying attention and sitting still for a kid, but they showed it can be done. Of course, this did not just happen; our camp staff and counselors communicated with the campers on the first day what is expected of them in our times of worship and Bible Study. Now, sometimes we had to remind the campers before we began what was expected of them, but they followed directions very well.

You know it is good to be reminded from time to time, even as adults, what is expected of us as we come into worship and Bible study on The Lord’s Day and for mid-week Bible Study. It is the way we learn, grow and mature in our relationships with Christ and our worship of God. Hebrews 12:28 states, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Our worship of God is to be done with the attitude of reverence. Reverence is defined as caution, fear or respect toward God.

So, I wonder when we come to worship our Almighty God on the first day of the week is our assembly a place of godly reverence, caution, fear or respect. Do we show our reverence to God in the assembly by talking during the sermon or laughing during prayer? Would allowing children to run in and out of the auditorium or roll around under the seats be the best way to teach them respect toward God? Or, does immodest dress or carelessness in our appearance show that we care about God and His worship? Is there any godly fear when we are using our cellphones and tablets to play games, text and check our Facebook messages during the sermon instead of looking up Bible verses? Is leaving our class papers, bulletins, and gum and candy wrappers on the pews a way to show responsibility and respect to the building that is provided for worship? Is leaving before the last prayer is spoken the best way to close your worship? Could you imagine if you invited a guest to dinner and he left before the meal was over?

I understand there are emergencies and things happen that are unexpected, especially with children, but there are some common sense things we can do to prepare for worship and show our reverence toward God. We can take our children to the nursery, teach them to sit still, clean up our trash before we leave and put the cellphone away. We can dress modestly, and we can stop talking, laughing and making noise when Scripture is read, prayers are spoken, songs are sung and the sermon is preached.

The worship assembly is not like a sporting event where we can yell, be selfish and be careless. Coming to worship is a time to focus upon and reverence God, not ourselves. Also, others are trying to spend time in worship, and may we be courteous of them as well. There will be plenty of time to talk to our friends after the service, go to the bathroom and eat. Therefore, let’s strive to use our worship time for worship to God, and let’s make reverence, awe and respect be the norm of our worship of God rather than the exception.

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