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Wake Up Call!

November 6, 2014

We live across the street from Unity Baptist Church in the fine little town of Plainville, Georgia. As I write this, I can see the beautiful, quaint old church with its rusted, red-colored brick, and red roof welcoming all to God’s house. However, not all the church is brick. If you draw your eyes to the top of the roof, you find a tall pointed steeple, gleaming white with narrow, antique wooden siding and housing a bell . . . yes, an actual, real-life, metal bell.

Every Sunday morning at 10:45 sharp it rings . . . and rings . . . and rings . . . It rings for a good two minutes solid! And let me tell you, it’s loud! Why does it ring so loudly and long-ly? Because its sole purpose is to wake up passed out, distracted, uninterested, apathetic, tired, or hungover sleeping people and inform them that the time to see God is almost at the door!

In Matthew 24 Jesus informed a group of people who were acutely interested in knowing when it would be time to see Him again. Jesus, sharing specifically what the climate and culture of the world would be before His return, takes a “halftime” break from His predictions to remind His disciples—and us as well—of this principal principle: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:32, 33, NIV).1

With ISIS, Ebola, financial uncertainty, and social unrest all over the world, not to mention volcano eruptions in Hawaii, Iceland, and Costa Rica, landslides in Sri Lanka, and a multitude of other natural disasters, divorce, violence, abuse, and children and teenagers dying from what used to be adult and old-people diseases such as cancer—do you hear the bell ringing?

God, in His mercy, is ringing that bell . . . loudly and long-ly. And why? Because “God our Savior . . . wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3, 4, NIV), and it’s clear that He’s doing everything He can to wake all people up! Ellen White wrote these insightful words about what’s happening in the world right now and God’s attitude toward humanity:

God bears long with the rebellion and apostasy of His subjects. Even when His mercy is despised and His love scorned and derided, He bears with men until the last resource for leading them to repentance is exhausted. But there are limits to His forbearance. From those who to the end continue in obstinate rebellion, He removes His protecting care. Providence will no longer shield them from Satan’s power. They will have sinned away their day of grace.2

Scary, serious, and sobering words indeed. But they don’t have to be scary if God’s bell has served its purpose to wake you up. If it hasn’t, then don’t waste another moment; get to know God today (2 Corinthians 6:2), right now confess to Him that you’ve been asleep, unaware, or apathetic—whatever the case may be. Let Him know that you’re an imperfect sinner (yes, a sinner) who has broken His perfect law. Acknowledge that He is perfect and the only way that you can get to, and with, Him is to accept Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection in your place (1 John 1:9). If you do that, He’s always ready and willing to forgive your sins and give you Jesus’ perfection, eternal life, and the promise of a fulfilled life of joy, peace, purpose, and power! (John 10:10).

Then, when all the world has heard His message of forgiveness and made their decision, He’ll come and take us all home to be with Him—forever! (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 21-22). I can’t wait for that day because then I will be with Him forever, and—I’m embarrassed to say this—I won’t have to hear that loud, long bell anymore!

Oh, happy day!

1 Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Sept. 17, 1901.

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