The past few weeks, we watched as people in Texas came together to show kindness to their neighbors in the aftermath of Harvey.
Now Florida is preparing for Hurricane Irma and the National Weather Service keeps predicting the day and hour of her arrival.
Authorities are warning residents of certain counties they need to respond now because once the storm arrives, they won’t be able to save them.
There will be folks who will stay and ride the storm out.
But for the most part, there is a mass exodus to leave Florida.
Because our State is a peninsula, I-95, I-75 and the Turnpike are getting congested.
To flee this powerful storm, tens of thousands of residents are headed north, the only way out.
Police and State Troopers are working 24/7 and FEMA is already making plans and positioning their people to help.
When we first moved to Florida in June 1995, we were welcomed by two Hurricanes, Erin and Opal.
Both storms defied the storm trackers.
At 2:15 A.M. on August 2, 1995 Erin made landfall on Vero Beach, proceeded to cross over land and re-entered the water on the gulf side.
It ended up striking the panhandle where we live.
My husband’s Great Aunt Gin was visiting family in central Florida when she had to evacuate back up to Uncle Jim’s family home here in Fort Walton Beach, only to face the storm again.
It was as if Erin, which began its life as a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa, chased Aunt Gin.
Well, not really, but it sure seemed like it.
Opal was a different story.
It didn’t seem to threaten until it intensified into a Cat 4 storm within 10 hours of making landfall on Pensacola Beach late into the afternoon of Oct 4, 1995.
Mandatory evacuation wasn’t called until then which led to a desperate mass exodus.
At the time, we lived just off Highway 85 about 28 miles inland from the beach.
Early that evening, radio stations started asking if listeners could take in stranded motorists.
We called to let them know we could take a family in but never got a call back, so we went to bed.
The next morning we went outside and saw Highway 85 was closed to southbound traffic.
All 4 lanes heading north were bumper to bumper with stranded families.
These brave people had rode the storm out in their vehicles all night long.
Despite lack of power, some friends of ours were able to brew some coffee on the side burner of their grill.
And we were able to offer coffee and bathrooms to some of the families.
There is another day that is coming that we must prepare for.
Meteorologists may attempt to predict the time and place where storms make landfall.
But no one will ever be able to predict the day that Jesus returns.
Matthew 24:36 says that only the Father knows the exact hour.
On that day the sky will roll up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands will be moved from their places (Rev 6:13).
Mark 13:26 and Revelation 1:7 tell us that Jesus will come with the clouds and everyone will see Him coming.
There will be absolutely NO WARNING.
Except for all the warnings we read in the Bible now.
We won’t be able to escape this day.
We can’t pack up and evacuate to a safer place.
Unlike the people who didn’t prepare in time to escape Opal, we will be in more need than just relief for our physical bodies.
This is our spirits and souls we are talking about.
This day will either be glorious or frightening depending on how we prepare now.
Our loving and merciful Father has provided the way of our escape in His Son Jesus.
Most people have heard John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
But hearing and responding are two different things.
We can’t wait until its too late to decide to receive Jesus.
If we wait, we cannot be saved.
Matthew 24:36-44 says: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.
Only the Father truly knows.
When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.
In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.
People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away.
That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.
Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
So you, too, must keep watch!
For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.
Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:43
Jesus gives us another warning here in Matthew 25:1-13 . This is the parable of the 10 Bridesmaids (or 10 virgins as some translations read).
When He returns, we need to be ready to go in immediately to meet Him.
Our Christian friends and family members won’t be able to help us.
We won’t have the convenience of waiting until then to prepare because we will find the door shut and locked.
We will knock and hear the Lord say from the other side: “I do not know you.”
We won’t be able to help each other to recover after this big day.
But we can reach out to you now and ask you to please surrender your heart and life to Jesus today?
John 3:16 promises that everyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life and not perish.
We are not promised tomorrow to consider whether we will receive this incredible gift.
Sept 09, 2017
Today we are remembering and reflecting on those who lost their lives on Sept 11, 2001.
16 years have passed but today we remember it as clearly as if it were just yesterday.
We are praying for peace for those who lost friends or family members on that day.
We will never forget.
Sept 11, 2017