And they lived happily ever after

Insight from the spare room where I am in quarantine—

“No one knows the hour or the day, not even the messengers in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. As it was at the time of Noah, so it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. In the days before the flood, people were busy making lives for themselves: they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, making plans and having children and growing old, until the day Noah entered the ark. Those people had no idea what was coming; they knew nothing about the floods until the floods were upon them, sweeping them all away. That is how it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be plowing a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left in the field. Two women will be somewhere grinding at a mill: one will be taken, and the other will be left at the mill.

So keep watch. You don’t know when your Lord will come. But you should know this: If the owner of a house had known his house was about to be broken into, he would have stayed up all night, vigilantly. He would have kept watch, and he would have thwarted the thief. So you must be ready because you know the Son of Man will come, but you can’t know precisely when.

[LH: Take note of how the following verses might apply today.]

The trustworthy servant is the one whom the master puts in charge of all the servants of his household; it is the trustworthy servant who not only oversees all the work, but also ensures the servants are properly fed and cared for. And it is, of course, crucial that a servant who is given such responsibility performs his responsibility to his master’s standards—so when the master returns he finds his trust has been rewarded. For then the master will put that good servant in charge of all his possessions. But imagine that the master’s trust was misplaced, that the supposedly responsible servant is actually a thief who says to himself, “My master has been gone so long, he is not possibly coming back.” Then he beats his fellow servants and dines and drinks with drunkards. Well, when the master returns—as certainly he will—the servant will be caught unawares. The master will return on a day and at an hour when he isn’t expected. And he will cut his worthless servant into pieces and throw him out into darkness with the hypocrites, where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.

This is from Matthew 24:36-51 (The Voice)

I was thinking about a comment my brother-in-law, a Lutheran pastor, once made about born-again Christians being on a slippery slope with belief in the rapture. At the time, my husband and I were estranged and both growing in our faith. Separately, God led us to non-denominational churches. Rooted in the truth of scripture, we have grown in our faith. We started our reconciliation with one another after the world was shaken by the events of 9/11. Almost 30 years later, we are still reconciling. The current state of the world seems to be accelerating the process as we realize our days are numbered and our budget (of days) may be considerably smaller than we thought. I’ve been trying to tell him but, you know…

I see a lot of marginal believers assessing their budgets (of days and more). Some are burying their heads in the sand, covering their ears, and simply singing Kumbaya (no hand holding) and waiting for this storm to pass so they can carry on. God isn’t saying, “As you were, soldier.” with this pandemic. He is asking us to let go of things of this world, drop the weigh, and be shaped into his image so we can run the rest of the race. [Ref Hebrews 12:1-3 one of my favorite books to read]

From Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

If you doubted who you are, who God is, know that He made you in His likeness.

In the string of thoughts about our final days, I recall a workshop I sat in at the Proverbs 31 “She Speaks” conference in 2014. The day after I lost my job, I was scheduled to fly to this conference. I registered with my tax return out of obedience to a well-orchestrated string of events. (More on that another time.) This conference was the week after my first Royal Family KIDS Camp and a few months after my daughter started dating a missionary kid. My faith had been through a refining process that spring— whoa!

Anyway, the workshop (mind you, not the keynote speaker) was Jerry Jenkins. He wrote the Left Behind books as well as a biography for Billy Graham. If you don’t know the first, you might recognize the later.

Two things Jerry said that I kept on my heart—

Billy Graham always left his bible open on his desk. He found that it he was drawn to return to it throughout the day rather than if it were closed and merely sitting on his desk. I tried this and found it to be true for me too. How many have had to dust off, find, download or buy a bible in these recent days? I’ve heard it is a lot.

The second thing I took to heart is this— what the enemy has meant for evil, God will use for good. [This is where I may lose some of you or the hairs on the back of you neck might poke your starchy collar.] If, in fact, the rapture happens as some like to believe, those who are left behind will need truth— written words in books, blogs, articles, and much more. Jerry encouraged us to write.

Now, I decided a while back not to get my undies in a bundle about how the final quarter will be played out. Maybe we will go into extra innings or overtime play. I do not believe there will be a zombie apocalypse, although I am prepared for things to get ugly.

Pop your head out of the sand a moment and take your hands off your ears. I’ve read from credible sources that guns sales skyrocketed with the onset of Covid 19. Some people are clinging to whatever anchors they believe will save them if things get ugly. I pray to God those that think this is prudent will take a gun safety course and pray for Godly discernment. I’m a peacemaker. I appreciate folks desire to have them for practical purposes but just don’t feel brandishing a weapon is my thing. As I’ve stepped into some dangerous places for God’s purposes, I’ve had to think through “What’s the worse that could happen?” and “ Am I willing to go through that?” If I did, I was. I still am.

Check out Samuel 12:16-18 (NABRE) “Now then, stand ready to witness the great marvel the Lord is about to accomplish before your eyes. Are we not in the harvest time for wheat? Yet I will call upon the Lord, and he will send thunder and rain. Thus you will see and understand how great an evil it is in the eyes of the Lord that you have asked for a king. Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day.”

Or wait… that’s not the one I was thinking about. But, man, look at that truth. What king have we asked for and found to be good for some things but not so good in others? Hmmmm…

I’m including it because I like what it says about the harvest. Don’t take it literal celiacs. He wants you to harvest wheat that is ready to be plucked. In other words, be fishers of men.

If you claim to be Christian, this is our instruction from the New Testament (The book of Samuel is in the Old Testament):

1 Peter 3:14-16 (ESV) “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

Friends, it’s ok to feel a bit uneasy about what’s going on in the world. But instead of coping with the number of vices we have discovered we have, our Creator really wants us to come home. He wants us to stand tall and shine a witness of peace that is inconceivable to the world.

On the roller coaster ride, lean into Him for the turns. If you can today, rejoice! Throw your hands in the air like you don’t care! You know there’s another stomach-lifting drop coming followed by a slow upward climb. All the twists, turns, spirals, and dips are a part of the ride— Your cart has to be anchored to the railing.

Well, unless you prefer going around and around on the carousel where it’s safe. Same litany, same petitions, week by weak. Know where in the Bible the liturgy, hymns, and response Psalms come from. There is likely a footnote at the bottom. On your own and in study groups, dig into the verses around them so when you do recite them, there is passion in your voices!

Please don’t find offense here. I’m hoping to turn up the gas where pilot lights haven’t been ignited for a long time. I’m throwing kerosene on a smoldering campfire— sing Kumbaya with authentic hearts. Come by me, my Lord, come by me! How much do you want this right now? I want it for you too.

I love you. Not just “love you”… I’m owning it and putting “I” in front. I love you with all my heart. Yes, even if I don’t know you I still love you.

I think it’s time to wrap it up. Thus concludes this morning’s insight from the spare room where I am quarantined.

I pray your Sunday is more meaningful than ever before but no better than next week. May this season bring new growth (spring), a harvest (fall), or a frost for things that need to be dormant (winter). If these thing we cherished are perennial with solid roots, they will regain life in the spring. Fear not, for I am your God. Seek me and you will find me. Knock, and He will open the door with open arms. God is with you. Amen!

”Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Simply calling Me “Lord” will not be enough. Only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven will join Me in heaven. At the end of time, on that day of judgment, many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Did we not drive demons out of the possessed in Your name? Did we not perform miracles in Your name?” But I will say to them, “I never knew you. And now, you must get away from Me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:21-23 (Voice)

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16 NIV

“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare” Revelation 3:16-17 The Message


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