First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

May 16, 2016

Well, yesterday will go down in history as one of 'thee' weirdest days weatherwise. Saw a funny post on Facebook that said, "If you don't like Pennsylvania weather right now, wait five minutes." Yesterday was a day to verify that funny post.  With forecasts calling for cold temps overnight and possible frost, I had to make a decision about our garden. To cover or not to cover was the question of the evening. I considered keep a smudge pot burning all night to combat the chill, but decided against it with all the whipping wind. Agh, what to do? Some plants in the garden would be fine no matter the temperature. Onions, potatoes, and broccoli don't mind the cold, but tomatoes, peppers, and maybe the lettuce might not survive.

    With tarps in hand, I decided to cover. I set up an intricate structure of patio furniture to support the tarps (Okay, it wasn't really that intricate). It did function as I designed it. It supported the tarps and they remained in place.  This morning I walked groggily out to the kitchen stopping briefly to squint at the thermometer and read "42.6" (**Insert grumpy face here**). In hindsight, I'm glad I covered. It is a small price to pay for the assurance that the garden and my investment in it was protected in spite of no frost arriving.

                                  (Yes, I used what was left of our Christmas tree as a wind block)

    Preparation is essential in just about every facet of life. We always need to hope for the best in every situation yet prepare for the worst. Funny to see me write this since I thrive on the "fly by the seat of my pants" on many days!

    Lately I have felt a heaviness as our country continues to divide and become increasingly angry and hostile. Citizens, government officials, and church denominations are just some of the places where it appears we are about to tear apart at the seams. Frankly, I have pondered my own place in this chaos. What is my purpose and how can I be used of God to reduce the anger and strife? I have fairly firm convictions about much of the divisive issues in our culture and tend to keep them to myself. This might be seen as weak or ineffective. I choose to concentrate on Jesus Christ and His power to redeem even the worst situations. I could become militant in my approach to the ills of our day and try to bludgeon others into my way of thinking. I'm thinking I would become part of the problem instead of a viable solution.

    I still remember Dr Dorsey telling us in Old Testament class in so many words, (Feed the sheep who are hungry and work with those who aren't, but in the end all sheep decide who they are). As a called shepherd of the church, I choose to feed the sheep that are hungry and to attempt to lead other sheep toward the feed trough. Maybe that old adage, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" has application within ministry. 

    Another piece of advice given by our New Testament instructor, Dr. Buckwalter, "You can successfully win an argument and lose a friend." continues to roll around my head.  His message was to imitate Christ and bring God's grace into our conversations. Ultimately, I understand scripture to bear the truth of God and for some the message will be good and for others it will be frightening. I choose to feed and cover sheep that are hungry and threatened. I'll work to bring more hungry cold sheep into the flock. At some point when some sheep refuse to be cared for, I'll need to consider shaking the dust from my feet and moving on to new mission fields filled with cold hungry sheep. (Matthew 10:14)

        "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, when

        will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered:

        “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will

        deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.

        Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom

        against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of

        birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all

        nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate

        each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the

        increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be

        saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations,

        and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:3-14, NIV)

 

I choose to stand firm in my faith in Christ and promote Him. How about you?

 

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