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How Prepared Are You?

How Prepared Are You?

       From before the time we entered this world in birth we have been being prepared and preparing. Upon conception and until delivery we were growing in the womb and being made ready to arrive in this world. When that great day came, our parents began preparing us for life in this world and all the stages of life leading up to adulthood. This includes the feeding and cleaning of us, the clothing of us appropriately, and the teaching which contributed greatly to our initial learning. They prepared us to begin school and receive further teaching.
      As we attended school, or received continuing education in other forms, it was for our good and our advancement. This also is preparation. Most of us have participated in various phases of schooling to prepare us for the next level of learning. Hopefully we persevered to the end and received a diploma or its equivalent so we would be considered ready for some degree of maturity. It seems that some, regardless of the amount of education, have not advanced as they should have. Sadly, these are unprepared for productivity in our society.
      We have other areas in which preparation must be made. We have annual hurricanes in certain parts of the country. Having lived in a hurricane prone area for several years (in Florida), I am very aware of the value of preparation. We also saw what happened to those who waited until the last minute to prepare. The materials needed for proper protection are in short supply because those who have prepared have used them up. Or, in the case of ‘waiting until the last minute’, we realize we haven’t the time to adequately prepare.
      Hopefully, we try to prepare for all the seasons and the changes that occur annually. We have our A/C units serviced before they break down in the Spring or our home heating units ‘checked out’ before the need to fire them up for the chill of Winter. The same can be said regarding our vehicles. It is wise to make preparation for the inevitable if possible. Lack of preparation in these areas is likely to only make us a little uncomfortable at times.
      Failure to prepare for eternity has everlasting consequences. Why can’t some folks see the need to make preparation for eternity? Many seem to embrace the idea that they have plenty of time. Jas. 4:14 makes it clear that we know not what the next day may bring. Could time for us possibly run out? What happens to our soul if we fail to make proper preparation? We will come to the sudden realization of our error too late. This is what happened to the ‘rich man’ of Luke chapter 16. He was in torments and agony to the point that a single drop of water would cool his tongue and provide some sort of relief. When was the time for preparation? Luke 16:27-29 shows that while in this life one can prepare as this man had five brethren who had not yet died and were not in the place of departed souls. They could still prepare.
      This same idea is conveyed in Eccl 9:12. Here, fish are ‘taken’ in a net, and birds are ‘caught’ in a snare. Neither of these knew their lives were in danger and their life force was about to be terminated. However, there is a big difference between a fish or bird or other animal and man. When animals of any kind are killed or die, they simply are no more. The only preparation any of them need to make is what God instilled in them (instinct) to make it from one phase of life to another until life for them is over. They have no soul!
      With man, it is far different. Preparation is made for the ‘here and now’ as well as the hereafter. Upon creation, none of the beasts of the field, the fowls of the sky, or the fishes of the sea were given a soul. We find in Gen. 2:7 that when God created man, He “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Then, from Eccl 12:7 we see that the dust  from which man was created returns to the earth from which it came, but the “spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
      Now before any get the wrong idea, let me point out that the fact that the soul returns to “God who gave it”, doesn’t mean those souls will spend eternity with God. Need we be reminded of the Words of Jesus in Matt. 10:28 as He warned His disciples of the harm that would come upon them for loudly and faithfully proclaiming the soul saving message of the gospel? He said: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Surely, we understand from this that not all souls will spend eternity in the same place. This is why we must make preparation while there is time – While we live our lives.
      In Eze 18:4 the Spirit had the prophet warn Israel that “all souls” belong to God. But he also warned them “the soul that sinneth, (remains in or continues in sin) it shall die.” We are aware that we are all going to die physically, so this statement must mean an eternal separation from God (such as the rich man’s soul in torment). This also means there must be criterion for determining which souls will be with God for eternity and which will not. Indeed, there is.
      The Spirit, in 2Cor 5:10, had the apostle Paul write to Christians in Corinth so they would see the need to stay prepared. He wrote: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. One must become prepared before they can remain prepared.
How prepared are you? If you’ve not obeyed the gospel, you’re not! If you have once obeyed the gospel, then not continued faithfully, daily, diligently in the Word of God, doing as Commanded out of love for God, you’re still not prepared! Make proper biblical preparation now while there’s still time.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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