Prepared for Presence

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Matthew 25:1-12

I have heard this passage preached in regards to being ready for the second coming of Christ.  I have even written on it several times in regards to end times and even procrastination.  Today as I read it, I thought about how it relates to actually being ready to enter into God’s presence daily.  Likely because I have been studying it, and my pastor has been preaching about the importance of God’s presence in our lives, this is where my mind turned this morning as I journaled.

For much of my Christian life, especially prior to the last two decades, I knew I was a child of God, but I did little to prepare for Him.  I was a part of the bridesmaid Church, but I was certainly one of the foolish ones.  I had a lamp, but it was usually running on fumes by the time I made it into God’s presence and I was expecting Him to refill it.  I was dry, embers smoldering, and not much of a light to those around me for the Kingdom of God.

wise opportunity.pngPart of being a Christian, is being prepared at all times.  The light not only identifies me as God’s bridesmaid, it also draws others to Him.  Those who were wise bridesmaids, had not only enough oil, the could replenish their own lamp when they started running low. They were prepared to enter into His presence and had something more to offer Him from their reserves.

Last night, as I prepared to go to our church’s Wednesday night prayer meeting, I felt so exhausted.  I had tried to talk myself out of going because I wanted to just go to sleep, but I hate to miss because I so enjoy just being in His tangible presence.  As I found myself sitting there, it was so hard to pray because I was just wore out.  I had spent little time preparing to enter into His presence.  Instead of entering with praise and thanksgiving, I just wanted Him to refresh me.  He did, and when I came home, I entered into restful sleep.

As I look back on it this morning, in light of this passage, I am repentant.  I don’t want to be the selfish or foolish bride.  I don’t want to be someone who is comes to God only looking for what He can and will do for me.  He gives me my heart’s desire, but I want to give back to Him the sacrifice of praise.  It wasn’t the sacrifice of my presence He asked for, but the sacrifice of prayer.  Obedience is better than sacrifice, and He asks for us to enter His gates with thanksgiving, and enter His courts with praise.  I want to bring pleasure to Him also, at every encounter.

I want to be prepared to enter into His presence when I walk through the doors of church, better yet, I want to bring Him with me.  Not just bring Him because of His omnipresence but bring His tangible presence because I am abiding in it.  I want to be fully prepared to praise and worship Him.  I want to be in continual thanksgiving to Him.  I want to be ready to be a tool for His use in voice and action.  I want to be a wise bridesmaid, fully prepared for the Groom, not just at His final coming but daily prepared to abide in His presence and prepared for every opportunity.

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