The Shepherd's Voice

Preparation - Mark Copeland

I like all the seasons of the year.  There are certain things that I like about summer such as long days of sunlight and a few days off  work.  I love when the leaves turn different colors and the days are cooler in the fall.  What could be more beautiful than a snow fall in the winter!  In the spring comes the flowering vegetation and the sign of new life is all around.  Another thing that I like about spring is planting time.  I didn’t like garden work when I was made to do it as a child, but now that I am older I rather enjoy it.  One thing that is really enjoyable is getting out that old tiller (about 30 years old that was passed down  by my parents) and tilling up the soil in the garden spot.  You see, to plant a garden one of the things that has to be done before any seeds are planted is to prepare the soil and tilling the soil is one of the steps of preparation.  A garden just doesn’t happen without preparation!
The words prepare, preparation, preparest, prepareth & prepared appear over 200 times in scripture.  I am reminded of John 14:2-3 where Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  It has been in God’s plan from the very beginning of creation to prepare a place where His children will live forever.  Jesus is getting things ready.  He is preparing that mansion for us and will come back to get us in due time.
Someone once said, “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”  We don’t do well on a test in school without preparation.  We don’t build a house without preparation.  We can’t become a good athlete without preparing.  A financial adviser would tell you that you won’t have enough money in retirement without making preparation.  We can’t even cook a meal without some preparation!  We wouldn’t want a doctor to do surgery on us without preparing!
Much of the religious world believes that everyone is going to heaven.  God’s word teaches otherwise.  Jesus said in Matt. 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  Jesus also said in Matt. 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” 
Our gardens won’t produce in harvest time without preparation before planting.  The way that we prepare to go to heaven is by obeying the will of God, the Father.  There are two places that have been prepared.  One of them is heaven, which is prepared for the children of God.  The other place is prepared for the Devil and his children.   I am making preparations for one of those places by the way I live my life while on this earth.  For which place are we preparing?