2016: Page 154

Today’s page was a good balance of adventure and rest.  I finally made it up for another sunrise and it was a beautiful one to photograph.  As has been the case each morning I’ve made it up for the sunrise, a dolphin made its way up the intercoastal waterway during the sunrise.  After a relaxed morning of everyone getting up and around, we headed back to Fort DeSoto to see if the dolphins could be seen at the park today.  It ended up being a good day as we saw at least three different dolphin playing in the water as they enjoyed a meal of the small fish that were thick in the water.  After we photographed the dolphin, we stopped by another park where we took a very hot walk on a trail that was much less desirable than described.  After lunch we headed to the beach to enjoy the warm, clear water of the gulf.  While there Susan had another seizure but it was milder than the one early in the vacation so she rested a bit on the beach chair then we went back to the room where she could cool down and nap.  I eventually grilled hamburgers for supper then took our evening walk to get ice cream as the sun began to set.  When we arrived back to the hotel, a large thunderhead was visible beyond the building with frequent lightning flashing through the clouds.  

Many times we go through life enjoying the good times and living as if they will never end.  We enjoy the blessings that God showers upon us without ever considering that there will be times when we need pruning and/or discipline.  Sometimes in our walk with God, the storm clouds will gather simply as a reminder to be watchful.  Other times they gather with a warning to be prepared.  Not all of life’s storms are the same and they’re not all for the same purpose.  At times, the storm we see building isn’t even ours to deal with!  Scripture talks a little about the gathering storm clouds that will continually grow as the return of Jesus nears.  Jesus also assures us that those who belong to Him need not be anxious or fearful when they see the end approaching.  God wants us to be watchful and ready, but more importantly He wants us to encourage one another as we see that day coming.  We live during a time, as has every generation since the ascension of Jesus, that grow increasingly nearer to the return of Jesus than any time before.  Some become unnecessarily worried when the storm clouds of war and rumors of war begin to gather.  Some focus on a storm cloud of an anti-christ, and trying to figure out who that is.  Others look at a storm cloud of people calling good evil and evil good.  Still others recognize a storm cloud of those who gather to themselves teachers that reject the Word of God as having any application or authority in life.  Mankind has always worked hard to explain away scripture when it doesn’t suit their particular needs, desires, or way of life.  While all of these, and other storm clouds, are present and attention should be paid to them, the main emphasis they should cause in our life is that we would be more intentional about being ready — being faithful in representing Christ accurately in all we say and do.  

The cloud in the picture likely won’t affect the area that I am in.  It developed beyond where I am at and is headed away from me.  But we’ve been caught in two different downpours when we’ve been inland this week, so I’m watchful and I’m ready.  

I pray that you and I would pay attention to the storm clouds which gather around us, but that we would do so with confidence in whose we are not in fear of what they are.  I pray that we would take to heart the instruction of scripture to be faithful in gathering together with other believers to encourage one another.  I pray that we would understand the storm clouds of the end that the Bible talks about — not to cause us to be fearful, but to prepare us to be faithful.

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