Matthew 25:1-13 records Jesus telling the parable of the 10 virgins. In the parable, when the bridegroom came at midnight the virgins were alerted and summoned to go out and meet him. Only five of them were prepared and used their oil for their lamps, enabling them to go into the marriage when the bridegroom arrived. The oil in this parable signifies the Holy Spirit. I do not have to wait to meet Jesus on His return to this earth, He comes to me in the challenges of my daily living, where I prove God by the guidance of, and my dependency on the Holy Spirit – the “oil in my lamp.” Jesus spoke in parables to expound a simple message. Some take the parables literally but Jesus used them as a vehicle to enable kingdom principles and truths to be declared and understood. Matt. 25:1 Jesus began with, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven belikened unto 10 virgins….” 1 John 2:27 declares, “The anointing you have received of Him abides in you…….and teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.” So – the anointing abides in us, so we cannot lose our OIL, but we can lose our way if we do not take our guidance and dependency on the Holy Spirit – our divine oil supply. Romans 14:17 declares “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The kingdom of God is not about what we do, (works,) but it is a gift of righteousness, joy and peace in our salvation package – we cannot earn it! Where does that leave works then? Our daily challenge is living the message, becoming the message in an outward demonstration of an inward condition – “Christ in me, the hope of glory!” – to a lost world. WHAT I AM SPEAKS FAR LOUDER THAN WHAT I SAY! There are times when words are not appropriate but we need to learn sensitivity to the Holy Ghost, knowing when to speak and when to be silent. On the other hand, 1 Peter 3:15 teaches, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…”, a sanctified heart is a prepared heart – one that has entered into the secret place with God and has the “wick trimmed” and the “oil in the lamp” at the ready. A life lived “in God” will cause men to enquire of you of “the hope that is within you,” and a sanctified heart is able to answer and declare the kingdom of God to an enquiring and seeking soul – as verse 15 instructs. For the Lost who are seeking reality, they will recognise Jesus when He comes, reaching out to them through His “chosen vessels.” “Zeal without wisdom is folly,” and has caused much damage. It is the Presence of Jesus, indwelling His blood-bought children that brings us in, keeps us in and reaches out to the Lost. When Jesus walked the earth He did not first relate to men because of their need. He was firstly related to His Father who then directed Him to a specific need. A sanctified heart is firstly related to our Heavenly Father. Our dependency on the Holy Spirit gives us a relationship and dependency with the Father. Out of “being” (not doing) comes opportunity to do the will of the Father. The Christ within us seeks outward expression in DEED and word. Philippians 2:7-8 Speaking of Jesus, “He made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross.” Someone stated the difference between reputation and character: Jesus made Himself of no reputation but in doing so He demonstrated the character of God, His Father. If we have no reputation to uphold, the character of God can come forth in us. What God thinks of us far out-weighs what man thinks of us. “The fear of man is a snare,” living to people brings bondage and is not pleasing to God. We can all be guilty of this at times but the loving kindness of God teaches us, by His Holy Spirit, how to prioritize living to Him and pleasing Him. Jesus made Himself of no reputation. Our reputation has to go on God’s altar that the life of the Son of God be seen in us – “beauty for ashes!” This is the glory of God. The pursuit of recognition, reputation, fame and celebrity is nothing but “wood, hay and stubble,” – man’s glory! Philippians 3:8 “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but DUNG, that I may win Christ.” In the economy of God, my failure and reputation can serve as DUNG to fertilize the life of Christ within me, that His character may come forth in greater measure from a sanctified heart in demonstration and power to the glory of God. THINE IS THE GLORY! ————————————————————————————————————————————- ARTHUR’S HEALTH UPDATE…..February 12th, 2014 ———————————————- Arthur has finally been discharged from hospital and is home again. He is delighted to be in his own surroundings once more and is being cared for by his family. He is a little more frail than before but is eating well and settling in at home again, glad to be able to sit by his fire and see a little more of life outside of hospital. We thank God for the kindness of the hospital staff who nursed him back to health. We praise and thank God for His mercy and grace, and thank all of you for your love and prayers during this season. To God be the glory….as we enter the next chapter!