Don’t delay

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and remembered something that you needed to do, but by the time the morning rolled around, you forgot it again? I tend to be a list maker, and I have been known to send an email to myself, scribble a barely legible to-do note in haste, or leave a voice message on my office phone to remind me of something: “Good morning, Self! Did you add money to the kids’ lunch accounts yet?”

If I don’t leave myself a reminder, then I may drop the ball, miss a deadline, get caught unprepared. Come to think of it, Jesus talked about a similar dilemma in Matthew 25. He told a parable of 10 friends who were tasked with the job of waiting up all night for a groom to arrive to his wedding party. Their job was to light the way for the groom, and they were expected to be prepared when he showed up. They each had an oil lamp, but only five of them thought to bring extra oil.

The groom was really late arriving … like midnight. In the meantime, the 10 friends had dozed off, and when they heard the groom was finally en route, they scrambled to get their lamps ready. Unfortunately, five of them were short on lamp oil and had to leave the reception line to go buy some. When the groom arrived, he invited the other five inside and locked the door. The others returned from the store and asked to be let in to the party but were turned away.

This story may sound like a harsh way for a newlywed to treat his friends, but Jesus is trying to make a point with it. He has already invited us to the party to end all parties – one that lasts through all eternity! – but he asks us to be prepared. Is there something keeping you from being totally committed to Christ? Like the five who forgot their lamp oil, are you hoping to be good enough or perhaps just wait until the eleventh hour to get things right with God? Not everyone has a deathbed on which to make a last-minute confession. Life is short. Be prepared; don’t delay.
(Originally posted April 15, 2012)

Looking Behind, Moving Ahead (Prayer Devotional for the week of February 1, 2015)

It rained last night for the first time in several weeks, and it was still sprinkling when I left the house this morning. On the drive to work, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed a bright rainbow in the distance. I could only look at it for a moment, since I was driving, and I started thinking about how God gives us glimpses of his promises – not necessarily for us to stare at and dwell on for a long period of time, but a quick reminder to prod us as we move forward.


We first read about rainbows in Genesis 9, when the Lord illustrated his promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the earth in a flood. Rainbows are lovely, but they don’t linger very long. They come and go with the rain. This is speculation on my part, but I wonder if God chose a rainbow purposefully, as a periodic reminder.


You’ve probably heard the cliché, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” In my experience, oftentimes, he may show me the window, but I have to get up off of my rump and open it myself. We can’t go through life expecting easy answers. Sometimes, you just have to keep walking in faith until God reveals the next turn.


It’s important to keep that rainbow in our rearview mirror, though. We need to remember God’s faithful promises. He assured us that he will never abandon us (Deut. 31:6 & Hebrews 13:5). His mercies are new every morning, and he is faithful (Lamentations 3:23).


Perhaps your life feels like you are driving in circles right now. I encourage you to hold on to the promises of God. Spend time in the word, reading your Bible and renewing your mind with scriptures (Romans 12:2). Commit verses to memory, so that you can easily recall them in times of distress. Pray scriptures over situations and people in your life. Put you own name into the Psalms, for example, and pray for yourself. When you aren’t sure which step to take next, keep your focus on God’s word and remember his faithfulness.

Prayer prompts for Sun-Tue, July 6-8

(Sunday) Like the pages in my passport that show where I’ve traveled, remind me, Lord, that you know all of my comings and goings.

(Monday) Like the heart-shaped stamp on my driver’s license that says I’m an organ donor, let my life show the world that my heart is yours, Lord.

(Tuesday) We may not all have seminary degrees, but every believer can be a minister. Who needs to see Christ through your life today?