A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
For many years we have passed this structure along Grandview Road as we return to Mount Joy from Lebanon. Twenty years ago Brooksyne walked past it daily when she took her walks when we lived on the other side of town. It is often accessorized with attractive wreaths and always has a tidy appearance. Yesterday we met the owner and learned the rest of the story. He bought this "retired" outhouse to be used as a bus shelter for his children though in the end it wasn't used for that, as I recall!
"You Also Must Be Ready"
Message summary: Certainly one of the greatest blessings of life is being ready when our time comes to depart from this life or when the Lord returns.
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“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 Ida has been in the news for several days now, with severe consequences along the Gulf Coast. Today it's come our way with lots of rain and even flooding projected. Thankfully in nearly 20 years of living in our present home we've had no flooding in our house although we do have a low area of our lawn near the road that floods. The extent of our Ida preparations was stopping to get milk last night after we picked Ester up from work at Fuddruckers but we know that is not the case for millions living in vulnerable flooding zones.
Hurricanes are interesting in that for days leading up to them predictions can be made detailing the time they will land and how severe they will be. Unlike other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes people can usually prepare. When we lived in New England in the 90's they really took their storm prep very seriously. They cleared out the grocery stores and hunkered down to survive as if they will be homebound for weeks.
They say it goes back to a devastating New England hurricane in 1938 and the Blizzard of '78. At the projection of a hurricane or blizzard all sorts of activities, schools and businesses are canceled. I was kind of excited about having one since as a Midwesterner I had never been through a real hurricane, which at the time Ester called a "horicane". However, in the 7½ years we lived in that area we never had one severe enough to adversely affect those inland (aside from wind damage).
The truth is we’re always in a state of getting ready for something in every season of life, whether it’s attending kindergarten the first day, our first piano recital, entering high school, our first job, getting engaged and married or having our first baby or first grandchild. And then those latter years when one has to sell their house and valuables to move into a retirement home. We finally face life’s greatest event and one requiring ultimate preparation, our transition to the other side.
Jesus stressed getting ready, the kind of getting ready that supersedes all those important things that are present only for a limited time. Unambiguously Jesus 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. Whether it's preparation for our imminent death or Christ's return many mock and scoff at the mention of the vital necessity of being ready. Sadly in my observation, even in much of the visible church it is too often under-proclaimed.
Most just put if off and ignore it. In fact Jesus Himself likened His returning 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).
But Jesus said, "You also must be ready". And He went on to state, "because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him". In some cases we expect an imminent death such as the end stages of a deadly disease but most of the time we just don't know. So we have a very forthright warning from Jesus Himself that we are to be ready for His return. However regarding the specific date or time we do not know, even though all throughout the church age many have attempted to forecast that date, but as you know they've been wrong every time!
So the focus is not so much on the unannounced date, as it is on living in a state of preparedness for our death or the Lord’s return, whichever comes first. 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 clouds. Through Scripture we have been adequately warned.
Have you heeded that warning?
Are you ready?
Are you warning others?
Certainly one of the greatest blessings of life is being ready when our time comes to depart from this life or when the Lord returns.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, depending on the state of our hearts we view the Scriptures about death or the return of Your Son, in dread as a warning, or in joyful anticipation as a welcoming. We prepare our hearts by trusting You and asking 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 for their death or to be ready for the trumpet sound when the dead in Christ rise first and then we who believe will be caught up to meet Jesus in the skies. We have been warned, so we want to be prepared and welcome with great anticipation the time when we will transition upon our death or when Christ returns at His second coming. 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
"I Wish We'd All Been Ready" Video Larry Norman Stephen's note: In the early 70's this song was instrumental in my decision to accept Christ.
While I'm getting tools or workshop supplies at Lowes Brooksyne heads to the garden center (I'm sure glad they have one since she doesn't mind my frequent stops at Lowes during the summer gardening months). Yesterday we stopped and she saw an employee carrying a rose tree (shown above). She inquired about the plant and the employee said she was taking it out to throw away. There were a few fresh leaves and a couple buds so she asked if she could have it rather than her throwing it out. She said, "I'll sell it to you for $1.00". The deal was made and Brooksyne brought home a $50.00 rose tree for one dollar! She pruned and repotted it so we'll see if we have a nice rose tree next year since it's zoned for our area as a perennial.
Dottie was our cat from May 2001 - January 2019 when she died in Ester's arms at 17 1/2 years of age. Although Ester has been asking for another cat we have been in no hurry to get one. Yesterday returning home we saw a sign "Free Kittens" right next to the "retired outhouse" and I asked Brooksyne if she wanted one and you know what happened next. She found this kitten! On the way home we stopped at Hostetter's for some cat litter and a lady came up and exclaimed, "You have a Calico" and suggested we name her Grace. In determining a full name I suggested "Amazing Grace" or "Marvelous, Infinite, Matchless Grace" but we settled for Gracie Sherrell Weber as Ester gives full names to all our animals.
Gracie's getting acclimated to her new home and we took this photo this morning.
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