My siblings and I spent yesterday making final arrangements for my mothers memorial services. The celebration of her life will be next Tuesday, (September 12) at the First Baptist Church in Englewood. We have been dealing with her house and as anticipated it has been a challenge. The issue with the “depression-era” generation is not in their propensity to hold to things, but what and how much they decide to hold on to. We are just thankful that while she held on to “things” she held firmly in her faith in the Lord anticipating the “end.”

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven….And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” Luke 21:11,25-26 ESV

The news of natural disasters has captivated the airwaves, internet and new outlets. A 1,000 year hurricane in Houston, Texas, a great hurricane off the coast of Florida, an historic earthquake in Mexico. All within weeks of each other.

Some view these as “normal” or “abnormal” weather patterns or events. Some view them as the consequences of global warming. Some view them as “acts of God” or “signs” of the times.

I was thinking earlier today as I was out for an earlier morning meeting about “signs.” They are certainly much more prevalent and a part of our lives today, than 2,000 years ago. There are signs outside of businesses. There are all kinds of traffic signs. There are street signs to help us find a location. In our communities signs abound and we take them for granted.

Spiritual signs or signs of the coming of the Lord are much more difficult to “read.” It is easy to panic and have the emotional reaction to when were have misread a street sign and ask our self the question, “where am I at?!” In the midst of everything it is easy to get caught up in what we don’t know and to forget the clear message of Jesus as to what we do know and how we are to focus our hearts and our minds.

Jesus as He tells His disciples about His coming communicates the signs. In short, there will be disruption in the political and natural order. Those disruptions will become more frequent and severe. There will be false “messiah’s” and those who attempt to exert undue influence over people and their lives.

What is important is to understand our reaction. Jesus says,  “And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” (Luke 21:9 ESV) While events around may get our attention and create questions, they are not to create fear and panic. Disorientation, confusion and fear is a tool of Satan. I have found in my personal and public life that no good decisions are made in an overly reactive mode.

Even when God is blamed and believers are viewed as the “enemy” Jesus says, “This will be your opportunity to bear witness.” (Luke 21:13 ESV)

We are to keep our focus and have confidence in the God who is in control and can be trusted with what we don’t know or understand. “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28 ESV)

Regardless of what God “causes” and what God “allows” there are always opportunities to demonstrate in word and deed a “clear headed” calm in the midst of the storm.

Prayer for today….. Lord, our days require us to have Your mind and heart to know how to live and how to be people of hope and peace in a world of turmoil. Bless those who serve, guide our efforts and our words so that Your name is honored as we live in challenging times.