A Devotional Thought from Great Commission Ministries

written last winter by Sharon Harms

Be Prepared

The National Weather Service has issued an ‘Ice Storm Warning’ for our area. They are telling people to have a winter survival kit in your car if you have to travel, and enough food and water in the house in case of power outages. We have well water, so having containers of water is very important for us to have if we lose power. No electricity means no pump, no pump means no water.

Like us, people have filled water containers at the artesian well. And, I am certain some have been at the store buying batteries, milk and food. They have been making preparations for the ¼ to ½ an inch of ice.

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I want to pause Sharon’s devotional thought to add an experience Jill and I had while we were in Texas in 1988.  Just like Sharon’s experience, there was a massive storm coming, and people were scrambling to make preparations for the storm.  The main difference between the ice storm mentioned above, was that this was a Category 5 hurricane named Gilbert that was bearing down on Texas.

At that time, Jill was a nurse in one of the hospitals of Beaumont, Texas.  I was working at planting a new church in the city.  (More about that in a couple of weeks from now.)  Like most people, we were watching the news and keeping an eye on the weather as this storm front was gathering its strength in the Atlantic and starting to head into the Gulf of Mexico.

Up to this point of living there for one year, we had seen a few very nasty storms, and had come close to being near a tornado touch down.  But this hurricane was going to dwarf all those experiences.  We knew that it was very serious when the hospital called Jill in to work (along with a lot more doctors and nurses) and was told that they may have to stay and sleep at the hospital for up to three days if the brunt of the hurricane hit our area.

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Meanwhile, I went around and visited the people of our fledging church, as well as tried to visit a number of other people with whom our church had previously had some contact.  Many said they appreciated my call, and definitely would appreciate my prayers for them and their families.  But for the most part, many of them had to excuse themselves while they went and made preparations for the storm.

Now I had never experienced a hurricane before, so I didn’t know what to do or what to expect.  I turned on the radio and listened to all the local news I could.  Even though the weather was still warm and calm, reports were already coming in that there was a critical shortage of plywood, generators and other emergency supplies.  And there were long line ups at gas stations.

But I think I got a better understanding of the degree of panic and impending doom when I went to the local grocery store.  It looked like people were calmly doing their shopping.  But I stood there transfixed as I saw some people calmly reach their arms out on to the shelves and push huge piles of canned food and other items into their grocery carts.  The shelves were literally becoming empty.

The people were afraid, and they were doing all they could do to prepare for the worst.  Now let’s pick up again on Sharon’s devotional thought.

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What kind of preparations are we making for Jesus’ second coming? Are we standing around looking up into the sky for Him? Or are we working for Him? After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and gave them the ‘Great Commission’:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

These verses plainly tell us that we are supposed to teach others about Jesus, whether it is next door or in another country. It is not an option, but a command to all who call Jesus, ‘Lord’. We are not evangelists in the formal sense, but we have all received gifts that we can use to help fulfill the Great Commission. And as we obey this command, we have comfort in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us.

Jesus also taught about remaining watchful in Matthew 24:36-51:

(v. 36) “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (v. 44) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

It is good that we don’t know exactly when Christ will return. If we knew the precise date, we might be tempted to be lazy in our work for Christ. Worse yet, we might plan to keep sinning and then turn to God right at the end. Heaven is not our only goal; we have work to do here.

So while we wait for that glorious day of our Savior’s return, prepare to be working for Him. He has given us a job to do – to teach others about Him.

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