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Being Prepared

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted February 19, 2014

RELIGION – To say we had a big week around our town last week would be an understatement. My week was easier than the week many of you had. Our power was only out for around 12 hours. So I did what anyone would do and I checked Facebook. I noticed that my buddy, Pastor Stacy Williams at First Baptist Church Edgefield, was without power for many more days than I was. So I began to inwardly and pridefully think “God must love us at Antioch more than the folks at FBCE.” It seemed reasonable to me.

Then Friday evening God sends an earthquake a few miles from Antioch to cut me down a few notches! I knew pride went before the fall, but I never knew pride went before the earthquake!

But this has been a week that we have had little control over. My best friend in Greenwood said that while the earthquake was going on, he told his wife to "calm down it feels like an earthquake" and she yelled back "do something!" But alas, he could not, as none of us could do anything to prevent our circumstances. We saw the ice storm forecast and many people said “I don’t want all that ice.” What you going to do about it? Nothing! This past week served to remind us that the reality is we are small and powerless in light of this large world and God, and He alone, is sovereign over it!

The response to the quake, especially on Facebook, was what really stood out to me. There was much absolute fear. Now I was pretty wigged out, but no harm was done. I was in Haiti after that earthquake and saw firsthand what devastation can look like. The fear for people was that for those moments they were confronted with something larger than themselves and the reality that they were powerless before it!

Mankind has an intuitive sense of accountability before our creator. This is true for all men. Paul makes this clear in Romans 1:18-19 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Mankind tries to suppress this knowledge away. You can try to drink or party it away. You can try to work it away with pride in wealth and accomplishments. You can try to study it away, by figuring and rationalizing the Creator away. You can even try to church it away, by putting more stock in your religious service than in the merits of Christ alone.

But think about these words from C. S. Lewis “In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that—and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison—you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

So the question becomes, are you prepared to meet your Creator? We laugh about buying the proverbial “Bread and Milk.” Well this past week many were unprepared. We did fill our tubs with water for flushing. Much to my amusement, when my wife went to fill our dogs bowl, she cracked open a bottle. I then reminded her that Elaine also drinks from the toilet! However, most of us try and prepare for important events in life. But for many when we look at how prepared we are to face God, we just sort of wing it and hope for the best. I have been told by people near their death, me and God will work out. No you won’t! I mean being cute can get you out of a little traffic ticket, I do it all the time!

But, there isn't any bargaining with God, especially when He has laid out crystal clear how one can be saved and avoid fiery judgment. But still many foolishly and arrogantly reject the way of salvation and fail to grasp the grace of God! You see God is the teacher who gives you the study guide and the open book test! God is rooting for you to grasp it, but you have to listen!

Readers, please understand our default destination is hell. We are saved by giving up on ourselves and trusting in Jesus alone. Please understand there is no second chance at salvation after death. You don’t get a do over, when the final game clock winds down, it is game over for you. Please understand the best assurance of salvation is a walk with God. If all you hope in is a church membership, you will find your “letter” may not get you into heaven! Please understand that God is not playing hide and seek! He desires and waits and longs for you to come to Him in joyful repentance. Please understand that you should not just assume on your salvation! 2 Corinthains 13:5-7 calls you to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (6) I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. “

So are your prepared to face God on the day you breathe your last? I pray you are. If you are not, please contact me or speak to another Christian who can share with you how to be prepared not just for the day of judgment, but how to enjoy Jesus today! “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

Pastor Howle

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