Sunday, March 27, 2011

20 minutes to lift-off

2:1 p.m. Today's project was to prepare meatball sandwiches for our Home Fellowship this evening. We'll be leaving about 4:45, so we'll have plenty of time to set up the crockpot with the sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. So I made sure to get the spaghetti sauce heating up in the crockpot before we left for church at 9:30.

The morning had been hectic, but as I shared with a friend before service started, my mornings get hectic because I add in lots of little projects between my devotions, getting ready, and eating breakfast. This morning as I listed to the founding Pastor Ramiro Lopez on the evangelical Spanish radio station, 93.4 FM Vida Abundante talk about their outreach all the way from San Bernardino to Guatemala, and their Mexico prison ministry, I felt led to write them a check along with my tithe check to our church. Our service had a special speaker today, Don Stewart, co-host with Pastor Chuck Smith, of "Pastor's Perspective" radio program on KWave 107.9 FM. We have been looking forward to hearing him while our pastor is away leading a group in Israel right now.

It seemed that the enemy was very much trying to hinder me this morning (more than I typically hinder myself!), because a number of small snafus came up. My cell phone was dead this morning, but aha! the Lord woke me up 15 minutes earlier than the alarm I had set. Steve had left his wallet upstairs, so I took that down to him. Even my black socks were mismatched and I had to start over before I could put my boots on. Small things add up to minutes of time away from my schedule time and again. Song of Solomon 2;15 admonishes, "Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines." That's a skill I need to learn when my mornings start to go awry!

Because a pastor, author, and skilled Bible apologist was coming to our pulpit, I prayed for help as I scurried to get Steve and me out of the door. Bless his heart, he was just about ready when I came down to stuff down my scrambled eggs, vitamins and a strawberry. We were both ready, Steve went on out to the Jeep, and I reached up to set the alarm. The enemy had one more trick up his sleeve...the alarm wouldn't set, because one "station" was open, i.e., the wireless circuit was broken. But I knew immedieately which one #6 was, the Levelors in the downstairs office. Sure enough, one slat lay between the top and bottom portions of the sensor. I drew it back, checked that the system was on green, set it, and off we went. I worried about not getting a seat to hear this popular speaker, but we would be happy even if we were seated in the overflow room!

Amazingly, we arrived a bit early. Worship was powerful, and I had a moment to write checks for a young friend's mission trip and put money from a cosmetic sale in an envelope for Japan's tsunami victims. Don Stewart was outstanding, teaching that the prophecies given to Daniel Chapter 12:4-10, in 500 B.C., are truly ready to come to pass as "all the players--Iran, Syria, Russia and Turkey--are on the stage in their places." Furthermore, he said, that if Jesus is coming back in 5 or 10 years, we could be taken to heaven any minute! Are we ready?

Pastor Don told a story of the great evangelist D.L. Moody staying perfectly calm during a near-deadly shipwreck, and people asking him why he didn't attend the prayer meeting onboard. He replied, "I'm all prayed up." Are we? Or do we have unconfessed sin to take care of?

The best story came about a Franciscan monk was asked by another while playing a game, "If you knew Jesus was coming back in 20 minutes, what would you do?" Others answered, "Pray." Perhaps we might say, make that long-overdue phone call, reconcile, or tell someone we love them. But the man of God answered, "I would finish my game." That sounds stunning, but think about it--he was ready to go!!

We were asked the same thing. The first thought that came ot my mind was "could I get home in time to shut off the crockpot?!" No sense burning down a building... when I told that to Don Stewart after the service where he was graciously autographing his books, he laughingly said, "I haven't heard that one before!" If we've kept short accounts with God, have met with Him today as any other day, and have loved Him "with all our heart, soul and mind" (Deuteronomy 6:5) we don't have to scramble to get ready to go. We ARE ready. Might as well turn to the practical matters that make up life on this planet.

I'll be finishing the preparations for a yummy dinner for our friends at Home Fellowship, which includes a fresh-picked salad from our garden. Meanwhile, I'll continue to look expectantly for Jesus to call me home at any time, while serving and living for Him, loving my husband, kids and grandkids, and allowing Him to shower me with unimaginable and undeserved grace!

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