Those words came from my friend who is a victim of a mass shooter at his business.
A mad man came inside his facility – a local entertainment establishment in downtown Jacksonville – and murdered two innocent people and then turned the gun on himself.
It was a “suddenly” and shook the soul of our community.
There were eleven people physically hurt from the shooting. Two were murdered. And the shooter committed suicide.
But there were others hurt too – like my friend who did nothing to deserve the nightmare he is experiencing. To walk inside your facility and know death at the hands of a mad man occurred there. To be served papers by the ambulance chasers. To be facing an uncertain future. Horrible.
We’ve all had a “suddenly” happen but for most of us – nothing on this scale.
And now all these preparations will take place:
- Businesses will look at ways to secure the safety of their employees.
- Schools will show videos of how to prepare our children against the “bad guys.”
- Churches will hold hands and pray for healing for the community.
- Lawmakers will try to legislate “mad men” with new rules they will never obey.
- Lawyers will sue anyone and everyone remotely associated with the tragedy.
Preparation is good and my wish is this:
The biggest preparation of all will take place inside each of us.
Preparing for the biggest “suddenly” of all.
The sudden return of our Lord Jesus.
You see, my friends, a long time ago I came to a place where I did not fear death any longer. Death has no sting in my life. I am free from that fear because I know that the One who made me has promised I will live with Him in paradise when I die.
There are days I wish I could go there now. And I’ve had a lot of those days lately.
The world has become so difficult to live in and I’m weary of mean people and “mad men” ruining the lives of so many of my friends.
Yet, God has chosen to keep me here and here I’ll stay until it’s my time to go. And while I’m here, I, too, need to be preparing for His final return.
What do I need to do to prepare? He tells us exactly what our job is and I’ll share a few details here:
- Tell the world about Him.
- Love your neighbors AND your enemies!
- Care for the hungry, the needy, and the sick.
- Expect to be hated for loving Him.
Can you imagine if every day we got up and said these words out loud before we start our day:
TELL — LOVE — CARE — EXPECT
And if we did, we would never have to worry about a “suddenly” showing up. We would be content, satisfied and looking forward to living in heaven when our final breath is taken.
I am begging you: Please consider your own eternal circumstances and plan your destination to heaven today. We are not promised one more minute on this earth and your “suddenly” could happen in the blink of an eye. I want to be your neighbor in heaven!! We are going to have so much fun there.
So in keeping with Tell, Love, Care and Expect – know this:
I’M TELLING YOU ABOUT JESUS. HE LOVES YOU! LIKE NO ONE ELSE ON THIS EARTH CAN OR WILL EVER LOVE YOU. THAT’S THE TRUTH!!
I LOVE YOU!
I CARE ABOUT YOU!
AND… I EXPECT SOME OF YOU WILL HATE THIS MESSAGE. THAT’S OKAY. I’M DOING WHAT I WAS ASKED TO DO BY THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU AND ME. IT’S CERTAINLY THE LEAST I CAN DO – RIGHT?
My friends – can I ask you to please pray for my friend, Toney, who will forever be changed by this “mad man.” He is hurting and I care for him. I love him, his family and his employees. They are all wonderful people and my heart breaks for their broken hearts.
And please do one more thing for me. Forgive me if my message doesn’t meet up with my life. I’m working on that and praying I have time to get it right before I see my Jesus. Because Suddenly He will appear and how exciting that will be!
Peace, Love, Out,