Were you prepared for Florence?

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist
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Hurricane Florence has come and gone, though the scars and destruction may well be many years in evidence. Any time there is an event such as this, we have opportunity to look back and learn. What could we have done better, or what could we have done that we didn’t even attempt to do at all? We wish to consider the subject of preparation and note the parallel when it comes to being prepared spiritually as well.

The first point we might note is that there is a logical reason to be prepared. When hurricane Florence was first predicted to hit the North Carolina coast, expectations were that it could be a category four hurricane when it hit. That would be some powerful winds and much water as well. Wind damage, flooding, closed roads, power outages and other hardships could be experienced. Though it would be virtually impossible to alleviate all possibility of damage, preparations could well minimize the amount of damage, in discomfort, physical harm, expense and stress. Obviously well worth the effort for preparation.

Now, let us consider the thinking and actions of those around us as Florence made her way here. On the part of most, some preparation was made. There were some who just locked the doors and left to head to high ground, so to speak. One could say they prepared, they did so by fleeing. Others gave consideration to the things that would need to be done and began the various preparations. Supplies were purchased, generators were repaired and purchased and other means of providing power or possibly just light as with flashlights were engaged in. Windows were boarded up and all kinds of things had to get tied down,

But, another very important part of preparation is that of making the right preparation. One could spend time covering the flowers while leaving their large plate glass window exposed. Some stocked up on milk and other perishables while failing to provide a means of supplying electricity to keep those items cool. It is important to make sure that the preparations one is making are those that really need to be made.

One other point that needs to be made is that we do not always know just what we are going to get when it comes to such weather related disasters. Meteorologist can be wrong. The “weatherman” does not always get it right. It could be better than expected, but it could also be worse that expected.

So, what about the judgment, should we prepare? Is there a logical reason to do so. Amos told Israel, “…prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12). The Hebrew writer stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Paul told those of Athens, “…he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Paul told the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). Once that time has come, there will be no second chances, no arguing the verdict, no paroles and no presidential pardons. The judgment will be final.

The fact is, many if not most have made some sort of preparation for the judgment. People tend to be religious, even if they are not actively religious. They will often call upon God for help and thank God when something good happens. Many are extremely active in various religious endeavors. But, this brings us to the next major point. Are you making the right preparations? As with preparation for a hurricane, one can make useless, unwise and vain preparation for standing before the judgment seat of the Lord. Just because someone does something in the name of the Lord and even with all sincerity, does not make it something that meets the needs of preparation. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23). Speaking of Jews who were actively practicing their religion, Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:8-9). If it is not that which the Lord has authorized in the gospel of Christ, it is the wrong preparation for the judgment.

Unlike the preparation for a hurricane, we can know with certainty what stands before us. Our spiritual Weatherman, has made no mistakes in His predictions and has clearly revealed to us what preparations must be made if we are to stand in the day of judgment. Since we cannot flee the judgment, we must make preparations. Are you prepared for it?

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By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

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