Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Faith and the presence of God

March 24, 2017

Psalm 91--1 new

In keeping with the recent series of the Quote of the Day, here is another quote related to faith for March 24, 2017:

“Wherever faith is, God’s presence is there.”

In reflecting on this statement, Psalm 91 came to mind, as to where believers desire to remain and ever abide:

Psalm 91 (NKJV)

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Our desire to ever remain in the presence of God is also expressed this way:

To Abide in God’s Presence

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

Psalm 16:11

To abide in God’s presence is our utmost desire.

So moved by compassion, we marvel and admire

This passion to pursue the Lord, in whom we delight,

Bringing such joy and peace to comfort us through the night.

Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ burns as a fire.

Clothed in righteousness, garments of praise are our attire.

We seek to do God’s will and all that He may require.

We meditate on the Word of God both day and night

To abide God’s presence.

Touched by the Master’s hand, we are whole and entire.

We have learned to trust God who is our sole supplier.

Challenges confront those who seek to do what is right,

But beyond the dark is the golden edge of daylight.

The dawning of each new day reveals our desire

To abide in God’s presence.

Esther Mui offers this moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

Beyond the crowns

March 23, 2017

James-1 12

Revised and re-posted from a previous entry, the Verse of the Day for March 23, 2017 makes reference to “the crown of life” one of five different crowns mentioned in the New Testament.

Translated from the Greek word stephanos, the word crown relates to the symbol of victory given to athletes in the Greek games, such as the Olympics or other contests, where winners are honored or crowned with laurel leaves or olive branches.

1 Corinthians 9:25 mentions an “incorruptible crown” awaiting those who discipline themselves and compete lawfully, those who “run their best race and win it”:

25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.

And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

A “crown of joy” is spoken of in terms of leading others to Christ.  1 Thessalonians 2:19:

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

2 Timothy 4:8 speaks of a “crown of righteousness” for living righteously in this world.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

A “crown of life” awaits the individual who endures trials while carrying out the purposes of God’s plan, as James 1:12 states:

Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1 Peter 5:4 speaks of a “crown of glory” awaiting those who fulfill their calling and finish the work that has been set before them:

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that does not fades away.

In reflecting upon the various aspects of crowns as they relate to athletic endeavors, we also think of what motivates us beyond the desire to receive rewards at the bema or the judgment seat of Christ, in that we are striving to hear something that will make all the time, energy and effort put into living our lives for Christ worthwhile. Our deepest yearning is expressed in the poem

Much More

His lord said to him, “Well done,

good and faithful servant;

you have been faithful over a few things,

I will make you ruler over many things:

enter into the joy of your lord.”

Matthew 25:23

 

More than mere status or the embrace of the crown

Around the head or glory, honor or renown;

More than medals of gold or laurels that fade

With the thundering applause and ceaseless accolade;

More than any crowning achievement or success

Or the rarest prizes eyes could ever witness;

More than the taste of victory every time you try:

Such alluring sweetness can never satisfy.

So much more are these words when the race is finally won,

When we finish the course and cross the finish line,

And stand upon the bema where we shall incline

Our ears to hear God say, “Good and faithful servant, well done.”

We shall bask in ultimate ecstasy of victory

And savor the goodness of God for all eternity.

The essence of the message is embodied in “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant”—featuring Roger Hoffman

Faith is a learned habit

March 22, 2017
Faith

Faith: We are encouraged to be established and built up in our faith.

Within the past week or two, a number of Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith, including the Quote of the Day for March 22, 2017:

“Faith is a learned habit. Be sure to practice it.”

In reflecting on faith, my mind goes back to a previous entry which included the following comments and poem:

In reading, occasionally one may encounter a double entendre or a figure of speech whereby an expression can have two meanings. Such is the case with “Faith as a Habit,” meaning that a “habit” can be a behavioral pattern that is practiced repeatedly; “habit” can also refer to apparel or clothing that is worn, a garment or costume. As you read and reflect upon the poem and its accompanying scripture, what does “Faith as a Habit” mean and how does apply to you at this time?

Faith as a Habit

And all who have been united with Christ in baptism
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism
have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

Galatians 3:26

We put on faith as a habit, worn as a garment.
We walk by faith, constantly renewing our mind
With the Word, prospering wherever we are sent.
In serving, we ask to receive–we seek and find
That faithfulness always yields promises fulfilled,
For God is not a man that He should ever lie.
We pray the prayer of faith–with his stripes we are healed,
Being assured that every need God will supply.
Praying in the Spirit or with words we understand,
Crafting prayers to petition or express our praise,
We submit our will and embrace what He has planned,
Mindful of His goodness, as we consider our ways.
We long to listen to hear that we might obey
And trust His heart and act in faith each time we pray.

The opening phrase of the last line of the poem brought to mind a song that has come to mean a great deal, particularly of late, when more than ever we are continuing to learn to “Trust His Heart.” This video provides the lyrics to this most meaningful song:

From milk to solid food: in pursuit

March 20, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 20, 2017 comes from 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV):

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Seven months ago our older daughter and her husband became proud parents of our first grandson, who clearly made them aware of two situations that disturbed his otherwise pleasant disposition: first of all, the need to be fed and secondly, the need to be changed. “For crying out loud,” the baby’s vocal gymnastics was a signal to the mother and to whoever was nearby that “I’m hungry,” and it is time to be fed.

In a similar manner to that of a newborn who expresses a need for nourishment in the natural, so we as believers also desire the “sincere milk of the word” whereby we may grow spiritually. Once an infant is hungry, he or she will make known the need for sustenance and cry out until that hunger is satisfied. The word translated “desire” is translated from the verb meaning to yearn or long for.

As we mature and grow up, having tasted the goodness of the Lord, we find that our appetite changes, or so it should. Hebrews 5:12-14 remind us of the change in diet that should take place:

12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Such is the case with our grandson, who now has teeth and whose diet is changing, as he is now learning to eat solid foods. He is even learning to feed himself as well. Similarly, as mature followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we demonstrate our desire for more of the life-sustaining Word of God, as we pursue spiritual matters and yearn to know the Word of God on a deeper level. The following poem also personalizes our yearning for more of God:

The Proof of Desire

I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
Psalm 119:32 (NLT)

The proof of desire is pursuit.
Mike Murdock

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,
As we follow after God and seek His favor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

This passion to please is our relentless pursuit,
As we seek to taste His goodness and to savor.
In each new season may our lives abound with fruit.

As a seasoned tree is strengthened from leaf to root,
We flow with fullness of joy as we labor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

Though we may seek as silver His wisdom and truth,
This life swiftly passes, fleeting as a vapor.
In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

We have yearned for God’s presence, even as a youth
And now forsake all to scale the heights of Mount Tabor,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

That we seek to know God’s will no one can dispute,
To follow in the steps of Jesus, our Savior.
In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,
To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

In reflecting upon the pursuit of spiritual matters, I thought of the lyrics of the Don Moen song “My Soul Follows Hard after Thee”

Now anchored in hope

March 18, 2017

The Verse of the Day provides a comforting reminder of God, our Father’s desire for His people:

Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This benediction closes the Book of Romans on a hopeful note, but we find that hope abounds throughout the Scriptures where we find out that God is our hope; indeed, He is the God of hope.

Psalm 42 verses 5 and 11 offer this marvelous reminder as to what to do when we encounter situation where we may be “feeling low”:

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.

Indeed, God is the center of the hope of our lives, as revealed in 1 Peter 1:20-21:

It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you.

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.

Once again the Psalmist reiterates the source of hope for the world:

Psalm 65:5 (NLT):

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

Psalm 71:5:

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.

Psalm 119:116:

Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live; and let me not be put to shame in my hope!

Psalm 130:5-6:

I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.

I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning.

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation, so defined in the Amplified Bible in a number of different verses. Though we are confronted with challenges on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have hope:

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.

[For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and \save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself],

In the midst of our most difficult situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love, as we rejoice in hope

With our Souls Anchored in Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Hebrews 6:19

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear
A second time, apart from sin and for salvation.
We know that where sin once reigned there shall not be any.
We look up, knowing that our redemption is drawing near
When Christ shall be Lord over every kindred, tribe and nation.
Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed,
As the signs of his coming continue to abound.
We look to the Eastern skies, waiting for the sunrise.
The time of reaping draws near, for we are not deceived.
To those with eyes to see, end-time signs are all around.
When the bridegroom comes, he will not take us by surprise.
Though fiery trials oppress us, and it seems we cannot cope,
We watch and patiently wait with our souls anchored in hope.

One of my all-time favorite hymns is “On Christ the Solid Rock.” I recall that as a youngster I narrated the words while the Junior Choir sang the song. The following recording contains a medley of that treasured hymn along with “In Christ Alone”:

The Lord is the good shepherd

March 17, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 17, 2017 opens one of the most recognized passages from the Psalms:

Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)

[The Lord the Shepherd of His People] [A Psalm of David.] The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

In the Gospel of John, we note seven metaphors used by Jesus Christ to describe himself in order that his followers might understand to an even greater degree just who he is and what he came to do. One of the most recognized direct comparisons that his followers would recognize immediately is his reference to being “the Good shepherd,” a phrase that is used three times to show completion of a unified figure:

In John 10:11, the Lord Jesus Christ states,

“I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

In the following verses the Lord also speaks of himself in this way:

John 10:14-15 (NKJV):

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

These verses indicate that the shepherd is fully committed to his sheep and consequently has their full trust. The good shepherd cares so much for his sheep that he is even willing to lay down his life for the sheep.

In thinking of the qualities of “the good shepherd,” Psalm 23 in its entirety comes to mind, as one of my favorite psalms committed to memory as a youngster and from which I continue to draw strength:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In Psalm 23 we also find the Hebrew expression Jehovah-Raah (The Lord my Shepherd), also translated “The Lord shepherds me.” The name “Jehovah” denotes God, the Creator in relationship with His creation. Another word derived from “Raah” is “Rea,” translated “friend” or “companion.” Upon closer examination, we see God’s desire for intimacy with His people, revealed in the name Jehovah-Raah: “The Lord, my shepherd” or “The Lord, my friend.”

One of the most popular songs of worship related to the figure of the Good Shepherd is the Don Moen classic: “Like a Shepherd He Leads Us”:

How comforting to know that the Lord, indeed, is our shepherd and that he is certainly a good one.

Without faith it is impossible. . .

March 15, 2017

Recently several Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith, including this Quote of the Day for March 15, 2017:

“There are no ifs,  ands, or buts if you have faith.”

Faith has been topic of continuing importance, in that Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been teaching a series related to faith. This past Sunday’s message “Faith that pleases God” emphasized Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 among other scriptures. Yesterday I participated in an engaging panel discussion regarding the most recent teaching on faith.

In reflecting on our dialog regarding faith, my mind goes back to a Wednesday Youth Night at Camp Gray, a Presbyterian camp in Saugatuck, MI in the mid-1950s. When the request came forth for a young person to deliver a short inspirational message, I volunteered. As a rising sophomore in high school, back in the day, I put together my first Bible teaching, choosing the topic of “faith.” Using the Bible and study material of one of the camp counselors who was a seminary student, I focused on the two verses from Hebrews that have contributed immeasurably to the foundation of faith upon which I have built my life:

Hebrews 11: 1, 6 (Amplified Bible):

“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”

“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

In the course of our dialog last night I shared from a previous blog post on the same subject:

. . . Faith, then can be said to be a kind of sine qua non, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; an essential ingredient. This verse reminds believers that faith is essential to building and maintaining a solid relationship with God, for without it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11, known as the Hall of Heroes of the Faith, introduces an array of individuals who accomplished great spiritual exploits as they walked by faith. Likewise, as we progress in our walk of faith, we learn that faith must be the firm foundation upon which we build. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, as we discover that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t!” but faith proclaims “We can, and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons as to why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.” Indeed, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Listen to this lively musical rendering of these two foundational verses that define our faith: Hebrews 11:1, 6:

All things work together for good

March 13, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 13, 2017 is especially meaningful, in that it has become my favorite verse in the Bible (if I had to choose only one):

Romans 8:28 (NKJV):

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Here are two additional translations of my favorite verse:

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. [Amplified Bible]

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [New Living Translation]

Romans 8:28 also brings to mind a statement that explains how we should respond when we find ourselves in perplexing, painful situations where we by no means desire to be. When we encounter debilitating circumstances designed to side rail us and cause us to give up on God and “throw in the towel,” I recall a stern word of encouragement: “Get a life; get a verse; get over it, and get on with it!”

In actuality I have designated this scripture as my “Life Verse.” According to the Middletown Christian Church, “Life Verses are those words from Scripture that anchor our faith and become touchstones that illuminate, assure, uplift and energize us to live out our faith.”

During such trying times, we ask ourselves, “Why am I here? How did I get here? God, what are you doing? What are you trying to teach me?” We must recognize, however, that God is intentional and does everything on purpose. As for God, His way is perfect. We must remember this as we recall the lyrics to the popular Barbra Streisand song:

Why did the right road take the wrong turn
Why did our heart break, why’d we get burned
Just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take
There are no mistakes
Just lessons to be learned

One of life’s ultimate lessons is that God is good, and because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, we are assured of this one thing: that it will work together for the good.

This often quoted verse is the inspiration for one of Don Moen’s classic praise songs: “All things Work Together”:

Listen to a contemporary version of Travis Greene’s “Intentional” also inspired by Romans 8:28:

We know that we know

March 11, 2017

The Verse of the Day for March 11, 2017 comes from Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV):

 “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

The verb to know in this instance is translated from the Hebrew word yada , which according to Strong’s Concordance means: to  know, to learn, to perceive, to discern, to experience, to confess, to consider, to know people relationally, to know how, to be skillful, to be made known, to make oneself known, to make to know.

The same verb is used in Deuteronomy 4:35 in Amplified Bible:

35 To you it was shown, that you might realize and have personal knowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him.

This kind of knowing corresponds to the Greek word ginosko, translated “to know” in the New Testament.  Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger (1895) translates the verb:

To perceive, observe, obtain knowledge of or insight into.  It denotes a personal and true relationship between the person knowing and the object known, i.e. to be influenced by one’s knowledge of the object, to suffer one’s self to be determined thereby (p. 434).

Once an individual knows God on such an intimate, experiential level, that person “knows for himself or herself,” and that individual is forever changed.

God desires that we know him, as He expresses His deep desire for intimacy on a very personal level. We come to know God through the Word of God. As we establish and maintain our relationship with him, we also experience his love. The popular love song of the 1950s recorded by the Teddy Bears expresses a profound truth connected to God: “To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him.’

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings).

As we continue to draw even closer to God, we also come to know Him at even deeper levels of intimacy, where we sing this love song for Him:

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

No matter how many times we go astray

And leave your side and choose to disobey.

When we’re overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what we do or do not say.

We know that I know that I know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

No one else knows our heart: You are the one

To call us home when we have no place to run.

When we look all around at all that we’ve done,

Despite all our failures, You still love us,

As you loved your beloved Son.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

And so we conclude with this musical reminder:

We Know We Know (I’m Gonna Praise God)

Always be ready

March 10, 2017

1 Peter 3--15

The Verse of the Day for March 10, 2017 provides a reminder for believers to always be ready:

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV):

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

Here is an expanded translation from the Amplified Bible:

But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.

The exhortation “to be ready” is also found elsewhere in the Scriptures. Note these words of wisdom from Proverbs 22:17-19 (AMP):

Listen carefully and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
18 
For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles];
Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].
19 
So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord,
I have taught these things to you today, even to you

Another prominent place where believers are encouraged “to be ready” is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in reference to the Return of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:42-44 (AMP):

[Be Ready for His Coming] “So be alert [give strict attention, be cautious and active in faith], for you do not know which day [whether near or far] your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: If the head of the house had known what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore, you [who follow Me] must also be ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.

The Gospel of Luke reiterates the message:

Luke 12:40 (NLT):

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Clearly, the Word of God encourages us always to be ready, especially to be ready to give an answer to those who ask about the hope that we proclaim. Toby Mac encourages us to be ready to “Speak Life.”