False Alarm

Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet     . . . No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. —Matthew 24:31, 36 NKJV

Visiting my daughter and her family a number of years ago, I’d borrowed their new car one evening to attend a local baseball game. Returning after the game, I went to lock the car and pushed the wrong button on her key fob. The alarm horn persistently shouted my mistake to the entire neighborhood. The sound was deafening. It didn’t help that it was nearly 10 p.m., the children were asleep, and this was a nice, quiet, peaceful neighborhood.

As I fumbled with the gadget, frantically pushing buttons—any button—all the buttons—my daughter came out and, with a knowing grin, grabbed the key fob from my hand. In two seconds, the neighborhood was quiet once again.

I think those car alarms go off more by mistake than when a would-be thief tries to break in. With all the racket the alarm makes, it would take a pretty dumb thief to even try.

But maybe not. When we hear a car alarm, do we even pay attention? Or do we tune out the noise, assuming it’s just another false alarm?

False alarms aren’t anything new.  

Over the years, many have tried—and failed—to pinpoint an event God promised will happen: the return of His Son and the end of time.

Remember Hal Lindsey? People rushed to get his book, The Late Great Planet Earth, when it was released in 1970. According to Lindsey’s calculations, Jesus would return within “one generation,” or forty years, of the rebirth of the country of Israel. That would have been 1988.

Yet, in spite of so many false alarms, few topics have intrigued folks more than the end times. Even Christians disagree as to the when and how. And what about all the earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, famines, and fires we hear so much about? Are they signs that the end is near?

Does it matter?

Jesus Himself said even He, God’s own Son, didn’t know the day or the hour—only the Father knows. He warned of false alarms and told us to be ready at all times.

So what really matters? I believe it’s living life as though the trumpet will sound at any moment. Whether or not I’m caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) or whether or not there will be a millennial reign (Revelation 20:6) doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that Jesus will return and I am ready with Jesus as my Savior and Lord and am diligently doing what He’s called me to do.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12).

Do you have the Son and eternal life? Are you ready to meet Him when He comes back for His own?

Let me not put too much emphasis on trying to interpret the signs of the times, Lord Jesus. Rather help me to focus on living my life so I am always ready for Your return. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 24 and 25.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Pierogies and Peace

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. —Romans 12:18 NIV

A Florida woman found herself behind bars over the holidays when she went after her brother with a knife for eating a plateful of pierogies.

According to the newspaper article, the siblings were at their mother’s home when the two got into an argument about the brother scarfing down the whole plateful. At some point, the 36-year-old woman grabbed a knife and threatened to retrieve the eaten goodies.

The article didn’t say whether the pierogies were homemade or how big the plate was. A serving platter? A dinner plate? Nor did it say whether they were the last of the dish or whether there had been a history of bad blood between the two.

The confrontation ended when the woman plunged the dagger into the hood of her brother’s truck.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything (shaking my head).

Not that I always got along with my siblings. My sister once threatened to drown me in the soapy water when we were doing dishes. Another time my brother grabbed me by the front of my shirt in anger. Imagine his surprise when I, five years younger and much smaller, grabbed his shirt right back. We three kids would get into it so badly at times, our mother fled across the street to her mother’s, saying, “Go ahead. Kill each other.”

Of course she didn’t mean it. We were typical siblings—we had our share of arguments. But we had good times together, too. After all, we were kids, not middle-aged adults who should know better than to fight over a plate of pierogies.  

Sometimes it’s just a small thing that appears to incite the blowup.

But the eruption has been building over time, like volcanic gases building up far beneath the earth’s surface. We hold onto our hurts and slights and grievances and stew over them. We keep a record of wrongs, and when we’ve come to our breaking point, like a volcano that can’t contain the buildup of gases any longer, we explode.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is explosion-6239425_1920.jpg
Image by ParallelVision from Pixabay

A woman once justified her temper to me by likening it to a volcano. “Once I explode, that’s it,” she said.

“But look at the damage it does,” I replied.

How much better to avoid the eruption in the first place.

People are going to say and do things that irritate us. That hurt us deeply. Intentionally or unintentionally. I’ve known folks who are born faultfinders, folks who harbor a contentious spirit, folks who are just spoiling for a fight—with anyone. Perhaps they want revenge—to pay someone back for a hurt inflicted or a wrong suffered. The problem with revenge is where does it end?

It’s not our job to label folks, to judge them, or even to understand why they act the way they do. According to God’s Word, it is our job to get along with them and to love them.

Not easy, I know, but we can accomplish this by doing three things:

Focus on the good in that person. It is there. If you can’t see it, ask God to show you.

Forget the unkind word, the thoughtless or malicious deed, the harsh attitude, the contentious spirit. By forget, I mean don’t keep thinking about it. Ask God to help you truly not remember what that person said or did that hurt you. He’s done it for me.

And pray—for that person, for the situation, for your own actions and reactions, your heart attitude, and for peace to prevail.

How much, after all, is really worth fighting over?

Help me, Lord, to focus on the good, forget the bad, and forgive as You have forgiven me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Ephesians 4:20–32.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.