Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 4, 2019

Thought For The Week September 8, 2019

First, let me apologize for missing last week.  I took a brief vacation to spend time with my family and forgot to ask a guest (ghost) writer to fill in for me.  I’ll try to do better in the future.

In the last few days Hurricane Dorian has been the number one new story everywhere, and justly so.  She slammed into the Bahamas with a ferocity few of us could imagine leaving behind a trail of devastation that will hold a place in the record books for a long time.  Now the storm has its sights set on the East Coast and could have some impacts on our area by early Friday.  While the current forecast holds nothing of the magnitude felt in the islands, this hurricane is nothing to trifle about.  We have prayed and are praying for everyone who might be in its path.

As I thought about this hurricane and every tropical storm, I noticed a spiritual lesson that could be drawn from such occurrences.  One upside of hurricanes, if there can be an upside, is that usually there is plenty of time to prepare.  As we saw the initial forecast track, news out of Florida showed residents boarding up, stocking up, and for many, packing up and getting out of Dodge.

The nature of tropical storms today along with the sophisticated way the weather can be monitored and studied means that it’s almost never a surprise when a hurricane hits.  It’s not like an earthquake for which there is rarely any warning.  We know it’s coming and if we are not prepared, that is on us.  That being said, I realize that there was virtually no way those in the Bahamas could have adequately prepared for what they experienced short of flying away before the storm came.  We must pray for and do what we can to help them.

Back to being prepared.  The Bible has a lot to say about being prepared.  Jesus gave us the parable of the virgins to tell us how important it was to be prepared for when the Lord comes.  Those who were wise kept a continual supply of oil for their lamps indicative of spending time with the Lord, receiving from the Holy Spirit, and growing in God’s Word.  Those who were foolish relaxed, thinking they had all the time they needed but the master showed up when they least expected it and it was too late to get oil.  They were locked out.

The interpretation of that parable is about being prepared for Jesus to come again.  We have no idea when that will be, so we can’t risk living a worldly lifestyle, chasing earthly riches or pleasures and thinking we’ll get ready when it gets closer.  We don’t know so we need to be ready all the time!  We must heed what Jesus said, if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Luke 12:39-40).

While these warnings concern the Second Coming, they can be applied to life in general.  Just like we don’t know when Jesus will come, we also do not know when sudden storms will come in life.  I never had an inkling that something like atrial fibrillation existed until, in an instant, my heart was racing at 160, and I found myself in the Emergency Room.  We don’t get warned about car accidents, sports injuries, job losses, etc.  If we are not spiritually prepared when life’s storms roll in, it can take a toll on our faith and our testimony before the world.

Peter says, Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (I Peter 5:9-10).

He’s not talking about Jesus coming back but about the everyday trials that we all face living in this world.  We never know when the enemy will attack us.  The devil likes nothing better than finding a Christian with the shutters off, the gas tank empty, and no water stored up for a possible storm.  He wants to attack those who are not prepared by regularly reading the Word, by regularly gathering with the Body of Christ for worship, by spending time with the Lord in prayer, and by walking away from worldly practices that weaken the foundation of our faith.

Jesus said that the one who hears what He says and does it is building a house on a rock.  When the rain comes bringing floods and the wind blows in hurricane strength, the house stands.  But the one who hears what Jesus says and does not do it is like building a house on the sand.  When the storm wails the foundation can’t support the house and it falls. (My paraphrase of Matthew 7:24-27).

My family experienced this first hand living in Guam.  Much of the housing, Navy and civilian was built of reinforced concrete block.  The homes were so solid that Super Typhoon Pamela in 1976, a Category 5 storm like Dorian, could not knock them down.  Windows were even engineered so they didn’t break.  But those who had frame houses that were not built to withstand the force of the wind were blown away.  We had half a house land in our front yard!

Friends, can I suggest that we view Hurricane Dorian as an illustration of the best way to life for Jesus?  We know what happens when people don’t prepare for a hurricane even when they have advanced warning.  We also know what happens when we don’t prepare spiritually.  Jesus has given us ample advance warning.  The storms of life don’t come with a forecast track six days out, so we must always be ready   What are you doing to keep you spiritual house safe from the next storm.  If you’re not in one now, you can bet one’s on the way.  Just a thought.

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