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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conference Table Arrangement
A fall basket arrangement our friend Dorothy Schmidt prepared.

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"Are You Ready?"

"So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him" (Matthew 24:44).

Hurricane photo
There have been several significant hurricanes over the last month along America's gulf coast, most recently Hurricane Ike this past weekend. Hurricanes are interesting in that for days leading up to them, sometimes even a week, reasonable predictions can be made detailing the time, location, and even their severity. People can prepare unlike other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes.

We might get the remnants of tropical storms, but our area here in south central Pennsylvania is rarely seriously affected by hurricanes, but I do recall our years in New England.  For days leading up to the predicted landfall of the hurricane warning, residents would stock up on bread and milk and hunker down to survive.    Locals told me this mentality goes back to a devastating hurricane in 1938 and the Blizzard of '78.  Most schools, many businesses, and other activities are cancelled.

Well, I must admit when we lived in New England I was kind of excited about being in a real hurricane since growing up in the Kansas City Missouri area we didn't have them. (But we did have tornadoes!)  However, in our 7˝ years of living in Massachusetts we never had one severe enough to adversely affect those inland (aside from some wind damage).

Jesus stressed getting ready as well.  Unambiguously He declared to His disciples in His long teaching on the Mount of Olives, "You also must be ready." He's speaking of His promised return to earth; a future event which devout believers hold dear.

But today many mock and unbelievers scoff at the mention of the return of Christ.  Sadly in my observation even in much of the visible church it is too often unproclaimed or underproclaimed.

Most ignore it.  In fact Jesus Himself likened it to the days of Noah.  People went about their business unaware of their impending doom.  Perhaps the economy was strong and people were living well.  They reasoned, "Who needs to listen to that crazy preacher building a boat? Similar to the days of Solomon, "A man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry" (Ecclesiastes 8:15).

Jesus said, "You also must be ready."  But He went on to state, "because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."  So we have a very forthright warning from Jesus Himself. However, regarding the specific date or time of His return we do not know, even though all throughout the age of the church countless  attempts have been made by foolish and even well-meaning people. (I just glanced at the headline of an article that contends Jesus will come in 2013!)

So the focus is not so much on the unknown date, as it is on living in a state of preparedness for the Lord's return.  We won't have time to get ready at the trumpet sound, so we must be ready before that great and glorious moment when Jesus appears in the Eastern clouds.

Through Scripture we have been adequately warned.  Have you heeded that warning?  Are you prepared?  Are you warning others?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, depending on the state of our hearts we view the Scripture about the return of Your Son as a warning or as a welcoming.  We prepare our hearts by seeking You for the forgiveness of sins and inviting You to reign in our lives.  We pray for those we love that they too will make spiritual preparations to be ready for the trumpet sound when the dead in Christ rise first and then we who remain will be caught up to meet Jesus in the skies. We have been warned, we are prepared, and we welcome with great anticipation the second coming of our Lord.  We lift up our heads as our redemption draws near.  Amen.

For further Scripture regarding the second coming of Christ see I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; Revelation 1:7.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

"Soon And Very Soon" Back in our early years as followers of Christ this was a popular song and it's still true!  We recall hearing "Andrae Crouch and the Disciples" live several times.

"The King Is Coming" A magnificent reminder of this future glorious event!

For further study concerning today's message here are two Bible Study booklets from the RBC Discovery Series available
online as a pdf.
"What Can We Know About The Endtimes?"  pdf
"What Can We Know About The Second Coming?"  pdf

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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