Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning earlier this week. It was late afternoon, and the tornado sirens were ringing in the neighborhood. These sirens are always tested at noon every Wednesday. This wasn’t noon at Wednesday. It was Monday. This was a warning. Not a test. The weathermen on every channel were alerting everyone to shelter in place. Go to the basement and get away from windows. Protect yourself from flying debris. Multiple counties were included in the warning. Oh. A tornado watch had been issued earlier in the day, but this was the first alert of a warning. The warning let us know that a funnel had been sighted in some unknown location. Perhaps multiple locations. This was real.

We were told by the weatherman that the storm had a history of minor rotation in the tv station’s viewing area. The wind was picking up to high speeds. Hail was beginning to form in some areas. And of all things. It was rush hour. Many people were leaving work and heading to the freeways to make their way home.

Emergency alerts were being sounded at multiple office buildings. Employers were rushing to put their emergency plans in place. They wanted to let their employees know that this was an actual warning. This was not a test and all emergency plans must be implemented. Immediately and without question. Now is not the time for businesses to figure out how to handle an emergency situation. Emergency plans should already be in place and rehearsed. It’s not the time to fly by the seat of your pants. Lives could be at stake.

According to the weatherman, the biggest thing to watch for is the thunder. Wait thirty minutes from the last clap of thunder, and then it’s safe to come out from under cover. Until the threat has finished and moved to the east of your area, you must remain in your safe space. Sirens are reactivated every few minutes to let the community know that the threat is still viable.

No doubt. Not everyone who heard the warning heeded it. There were plenty who went about their day without skipping a beat. They were too busy to take cover. They had to get on the road to pick up their little ones before the daycare closed. They had to stop for a few groceries for dinner. Or maybe they didn’t understand what the sounding of the siren meant. And they didn’t bother to find out. They didn’t know or care that a life threatening weather pattern could be coming their way. After all. They had heard the sirens plenty of times in the past. And they never saw a tornado or lived through the devastating aftermath. They assumed that life would go on as usual, same as any other day. And fortunately. It did.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

A similar scenario happens every day of the week. Oh. It’s unrelated to the weather. It’s related to the end of times. This earth as we know it is headed to a day of reckoning. Every life living on this earth will be called on to stand in judgment. Jesus will be coming back for all Christians. Those who have repented and confessed their sins will be removed from this earth in an instant. The rapture will remove believers who have breathed their last up from their graves. Then those who are alive will rise up to meet the Lord in the air. After that, Christians will never be separated from the Lord again. Their life on this earth as we know it today is over. Praise his name.

However. Those left on the earth are the ones who made the choice not to be a Christian. They didn’t repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness by God Almighty. They chose to follow their way instead of God’s way. And they are headed for trouble now that all the believers have left the earth. Oh. They don’t know what they’re in for.

But. Between now and that day, the siren is roaring on this earth. The sound is deafening to those who have been awakened to the need for salvation. Because they know what the risk of living for themselves versus living for God. But those who are ignoring this upcoming event or are ignorant of its coming are tuned out. They are unprepared for this final moment of life as we know it on this earth. Either they don’t care or they don’t know that this event is a separation of God’s children and Satan’s children.

Oh. There are plenty of warnings. There are wars and rumors of wars. For the past few years, it seems the world is in a state of constant chaos. We hear confusing messages of where hope and peace can be found. Morals and ethics continue to plummet at an all-time high speed. A one-world government commonly known as globalism is already being planned. Self care is promoted, but does it lead to eternal life? That’s the question we must ask ourselves. Are we caring for ourselves enough that we have given our lives to God and have submitted our will to him? If not, all our so-called self care is in vain.

You should know this that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Those who don’t hear the sounding of the last days are the ones who are most at risk. They will face an eternity in hell if they don’t repent of their sins and turn to God. But those who have heard the call and responded still must stay on the path. Because the path is wide, but the gate is narrow. All of us are on the path to eternity, but we’ll only enter heaven’s gates if we remain faithful in following God.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

You Never Know

Last fall, she succumbed to the virus that’s been making headlines for over two years. Her family and friends were stunned. She had two teenage boys. She had everything to live for, but her time was up. A few weeks ago, her boys were in an ATV accident. The younger boy was unharmed. The older boy, who turned eighteen the day after the accident, had massive brain damage. He has now been reunited with his mother. Nine short months and the family has been reduced by fifty percent.

It’s devastating. It’s unsettling. Family and friends once again gathered around this small family to grieve and mourn. A life gone too soon. No one knows the right words to say. No one knows the right things to do. Just be there. Share a hug. And tears. And a prayer.

My mother had a famous saying when she heard news of an unexpected death or serious illness of a family member or friend. Well, you never know. Is what she’d say. And it’s true. You never know what can happen in life. We need to be prepared to be unprepared for what life throws at us. Because you just never know.

I recently had to purchase a new vehicle. It was unexpected. But one of our vehicles was involved in a mishap that pushed the value of the car underwater. Plus, the expense of the repairs we were continuing to endure shouted that a new purchase was upon us. We didn’t want it to happen. We were planning to keep the car for a few more years and just deal with occasional repairs. Time was not on our side. So we traded up for a newer vehicle in the hopes that it will last for many miles and many years. Only time will tell. You never know.

Another time, we were caught in a flash flood. A rapid rise in water outside the restaurant left us stranded for hours inside the building, while our vehicle sat under water. The car never started again. It was a total loss. Unexpected. Unplanned. You never know.

She got the test results. It was unexpected to hear the word “cancer”. But it was true. She was diagnosed with a terrible disease and was unprepared for what lay ahead. Treatment. Surgery. Hospitalization. Long, slow recovery. Unclear prognosis. Only time will tell if she is in remission. You never know.

Three times in an eight-year period, I heard the devastating words. You are no longer needed in this job. You are done with this company. Three times I filed for unemployment, unsure of what the future would hold. Three times, after months of looking and applying for many jobs, I gained new employment. Hoping against hope that those words would never be said again to me. Only time will tell. You never know.

So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return. Matthew 25:13

We’ve been hearing the same warning for many, many years. Basically, all our lives. And even before our time, the word was out. Jesus is coming again to gather all believers who have repented of their sins. They will be with him in eternity. No one knows the day. No one knows the hour. No one knows when it will happen. Only God himself knows when Jesus will come back to take us out of this world. And at this very moment, he is preparing a place for us to be with him on that day.

Oh. Some think it’s a hoax. Some say it’s never happened yet, so we still have some time. Others believe the time will be upon us shortly. The Bible tells us that Jesus will return like a thief in the night. We will be going about our daily business, expecting life as usual. And then. Bam! The eastern sky will open and Jesus will appear. I imagine time will appear to stand still. And those who have bowed before God and confessed their sins will rise to meet him in the air. Everyone else will be left on this earth to fend for themselves. Rest assured, this will happen. And it will only happen once. So we must be ready for it at all times.

Jesus said his coming back to Earth would be like a thief in the night. No, Jesus isn’t a thief. He didn’t come to rob and steal and harm. He came to give eternal life. Oh, he’s coming back. The first time He came as a baby. We celebrate his birth every year. It’s called Christmas Day. We celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. And people ignore the true meaning of Christmas. It’s all about the gifts, the parties, the decorations, the trees, the food and family time. How often do we stop to think about the baby in the manger and who he really is. He was God laying right there in a manger as a newborn infant, and he lived thirty-three years on this earth as a man. He was fully man but he was also fully God. So anything he did as a man he did it as God. When the Roman soldiers came and arrested him in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot planted a kiss on his cheek to show who they were coming to arrest. Here’s the man who calls himself the Son of God. Jesus was handed over, and was tried at a criminal’s trial. Under the cover of darkness Jesus was convicted.

He was flogged and beaten. His clothes were stripped off of him and cut into pieces. Then he was forced to carry his own cross. He was so weak from the loss of blood that he stumbled, so another man was forced to carry the cross the rest of the way. And when they got to Calvary, the Roman soldiers laid that cross down on the ground and nailed his hands and his feet to it. Then they shoved a crown of thorns on his head making sure the thorns sunk deep. They posted a sign above his head that said King of the Jews because that’s who he was. And Pilate knew who he was. Then they stood the cross up in the hole in the ground and left him there to die. And Jesus, the God in human form died that day.

Oh, he rose from the dead on the third day. And then later, he went back to heaven to be with his father. And now he’s planning to come back again.

He will come back again to take with him all of those who believe in his name, who’ve repented of their sins and follow His ways. He’s coming back. We don’t know the hour or the day. But we must live ready at all times. We must live as Jesus would have us live so we can be with Him for eternity. He promised he would return, and he keeps all of his promises. There’s not one promise he will not fulfill. All of the prophecies that have been spoken about him will be fulfilled at the proper time. So we must be ready, because we don’t know when that time is. We must live a holy life that pleases God, because you just never know.

When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. Luke 17:26-35