Has your faith been tested?

The Bible can be such a mystery some times. I find that the more I read, the more questions I have. The Bible can certainly be understood, but sometimes, where God wants to take us can depend on the depth of knowledge and wisdom that we desire.

The simple fact is that as we go along our daily lives, we are always in need of being refreshed and being reminded of who God is, who we are, and the path that we should be walking. We need that reminder, and nothing but the Holy Spirit can bring us into that place where we are reconciled to God, not only in spirit, but also in the flesh.

Recently, God has been walking me through the Book of Matthew. He wanted me to reflect, specifically, to those red letter words – the words of Jesus. Today, I am brought back to 1 Corinthians 2 and Matthew 25.

I Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV) tells us,

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

We cannot expect to understand the things of God without the Holy Spirit. And we cannot understand the deeper things of God without spending time with Him. Our devotion to God is what takes us deeper to understand the mysteries that we have yet to wrap our minds around. And we just cannot expect to live in God’s house (Heaven) one day unless we know him.

With this, I turn to the Book of Matthew, specifically Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV). In this passage, Jesus is speaking to the disciples:

At that time, the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight the cry rang out: Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmer their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”

“No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Later the others came. “Sir! Sir!” they said. “Open the door for us!” But he replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”

Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

There is alot to glean from this passage. On the surface, this is about a group of people who missed their opportunities to attend the wedding banquet. Jesus is referring to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb to take place recorded in Revelation.

There are two things I want to highlight: when Jesus says to “keep watch”, and the oil.

When we think about what it means to “keep watch”, what comes to mind for you? For a long time, I have seen this as watching and waiting for the Lord to reveal himself in all his Glory – the day I will see Jesus in Heaven; this is what it is, but this is not all.

Now let’s think about the oil. As I was reading the other day, I could understand what the passage is all about, but then God lead me to the oil. What is the oil? What does the oil represent?

Oil was used for anointing the priests, lighting lamps and to make bread. I believe that their are three things that we can get out of this.

First, the anointing of oil symbolizes someone dedicating themselves to God; it is a spiritual act of worship. We cannot receive the Holy Spirit without it.

Second, the oil is fuel for your lamp. God’s Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light for your path. God’s Word keeps your light shining.

Third, oil is needed to make bread. Every bread recipe I have seen has some sort of fat; oil is a fat. Olive oil is a main ingredient. Oil was something that was a staple for every household. In our passage, the wise virgins not only had oil for their lamp, but they had extra.

So, you might be wondering, what is with the oil. Why is the oil so significant?

Well, we need Jesus; He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. We need the Holy Spirit to keep our own light shining. And finally, we need to keep watch. The only way that we can “keep watch: is if we have already made our preparations. I will leave you with this story.

Back in August 2019, I felt an overwhelming urge to get back to the US to see family. I went to see my sister, and it was a good trip. When I got back, I told my husband that we needed to go back to see his family. I felt an overwhelming urgency to get back there.

We were finally able to see family in December. He was able to see all of his immediate family, something we weren’t sure we had time for. It was a blessing, and something that we thought we couldn’t afford. By the grace of God, and his provision, we saw our family.

When January came, I kept getting these urges to go stock up on groceries. We needed more than just a couplr weeks worth. We needed to make preparations. Well, let me just say, those leadings of the Holy Spirit kept us from getting out with the panicking crowds when our world started to change.

We have been prepared before every wave all because we listened to the Holy Spirit and followed through when necessary. I’m not bragging here. If God wanted us to give our blessings to others, we would gladly do so. These aren’t our preparations, they are God’s. We just happen to be prepared enough spiritually that we knew when it was God telling us to stock up on certain things.

Our other preparation has been that our home and everyone who dwells here have been covered in prayer for protection from the evil one. We have a hedge of protection that we have set up, and we consistently maintain that hedge. If we didn’t know to do this, our home could be exposed not only in the spiritual realm but also in the physical.

We trust the Lord God enough to follow in obedience, and this is what we all need in a time like this. He is faithful! Trust Him and see what happens. But we must get our life in order.

Our spiritual preparation consists of our daily surrender to God. We must ask forgiveness for any and all sin that could be separating us from the blessings of God, and ask Him to help us turn away from those sins. Sin will keep our lamps from getting oil. That oil keeps our light shining.

We must make preparations, because we do not know what we will be faced with today or even tomorrow. Please understand that I am not condoning a spirit of fear. Just make sure that you are right with God, be strengthen by his Word, and follow God in obedience to him. All these things will be a light to you.

Surrender to Jesus, seek direction from God, and keep watch, because one day our faith will be tested. Will you be ready?

Go forth and be blessed, my friend.

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