A Passion for Christ Ministries: February 2004 Newsletter

"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul" Acts 4:32(a)

Sudden Calamity




Sudden: Happening or coming unexpectedly; changing angle or character all at once; hasty, rash -- made or brought about in a short time.

Calamity: Great distress or misfortune. An event causing great harm or loss and affliction: disaster.

Have you ever heard of such words as "funnel cloud, hail, vortex Doppler radar, tornado watch, tornado warning, or F6?" These are all words used to describe tornadoes.

It has been reported that tornadoes have hit all 50 U.S. states. Tornadoes are unpredictable and deadly. They are also irresistible, it seems. With such obvious danger, there are still those who are fascinated by taking risks and putting their lives on the line. This has been a well-known fact throughout history. People are willing to put themselves right in the path of danger -- for the "sheer thrill of it all." Tornadoes can last from several seconds to more than an hour. The size or shape of a tornado does not say anything about its strength! The size often deceives many into thinking that they can "outrun" or "wait out" a tornado. The results are often terminal and devastating.

Without Warning

According to some, a tornado is nature's most violent wind. Somewhere in the figure of 800 of these vortices spin up beneath thunderstorms year round in the USA and can generate wind speeds faster than 250 mph, at times devastating entire communities, cities, counties, and states.

Scientists have greatly improved in their methods of determining the when, where and how of tornadoes but not all knowledge proves to be exact. The only remedy is to give warning to people. People must then take heed and be trained on how to avoid such calamities.

The Skies Got Real Dark Real Fast

Tornadoes bring sudden and lasting calamity. Many families have been robbed of loved ones, communities, and livestock due to the occurrence of tornadoes. With all that is being done to prepare individuals about tornadoes, some still are not willing to take heed. Often, individuals will "gaze in awe" as they watch the television screen while tragedy resulting from tornadoes is reported, but they are not moved enough to take heed for their own lives. One would think that such tragedy would prompt individuals to make preparations but no plans are made.

We can look at cities around our nation and witness the impact that tornadoes have had in the past. We can look at the sudden disasters that surfaced and thereby learn from the past; learn from others -- if we really want to. However, many reject correction and warning, thereby falling into the hands of catastrophe.

It Just Sounded Like a Huge . . . a Beast

Many historians have picked the Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 as the number one U.S. killer tornado in history. It occurred in Desoto, Illinois. Several counties were affected. Over a 3 1/2 hour span, more people died, more schools were destroyed, more students and farm owners were killed, and more deaths occurred in a single city than from any other tornado in U.S. history. Records were set for speed, path length, and probably for other categories that couldn't be measured in the past. According to reports, the tornado maintained an exact bearing, N 69 degrees E, for 183 of the 219 miles, at an average 62mph, following a slight topographic ridge on which a series of towns were built.

It just came so fast . . . There was no warning . . . No warning

Sudden Calamity -- Oklahoma and Texas -- 24 buildings were destroyed. Outages were felt across a town of 30,000 people. They were in complete darkness -- no power -- no light to guide them -- complete darkness. According to local reporters, the storm that produced the tornadoes continued eastward through the state, weakened, but was expected to produce some hail and high winds in that area.

In such places as Mansfield, Texas, according to reports, a tornado touched down in the center of town.

Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi Valley and Tennessee -- no one is exempt from sudden calamity. It strikes hard, fast, and can be unnoticed until it is too late.

Sudden Calamity -- Genesis 6:3 And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man. God, through His precious Holy Spirit, is doing all He can to warn people of the sudden calamity that is coming. He is using every opportunity to reach souls. However, even amidst destruction, desolation, and disease, people are turning their backs on God, not realizing that He is the only hope for this last and final hour.

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

It Was the Start of a Catastrophe

Proverbs 1:24-30 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Our Saviour, He will laugh at the sudden calamity of those who refuse Him. He will mock their fear. Out of reach of all the wonderful promises and protection of God; no more joint heirs with His Son, they will inherit only damnation. Hidden away from God's memory as the eternal ages roll, they will suffer the endless torments of hell with the devil and his angels. The mark of sudden calamity, the mark of doom, will take them out of reach of divine favor, ushering them into a living hell. All souls will either go to heaven or hell. We – you and I -- are either making plans to avert the sudden calamity or we are making plans to be right in the heart of it all. You have a choice. There, in eternity, some will be with a lifetime of regrets, "I would give anything for another chance." There is only one flight out! Are you making plans to avoid the sudden calamity that will most assuredly come and even now is?

Matthew 24:36-42 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, unto the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Sudden Destruction

There are so, so, so many signs to alert us of this hour, if we would only look at the hand of God moving to warn His people. I Thessalonians 5:3-5,6 For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [6] Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Genesis 18:20-21 And the Lord said, because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. Genesis 19:1, 12-14 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. [12-14] And the men said unto Lot, hast thou here any besides? Son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city, but he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Lot, vexed in his righteous soul, was provided with a warning of the sudden calamity that was coming upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He and his family listened to the voice of God and fled for their lives. Lot, like the bride, is attempting to rescue everyone possible -- every honest-hearted person. Yet, some with all that will be done for them, will not adhere to the warnings of God and there they will be left to face sudden calamity.

Genesis 19: 15-17,26 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying arise, take thy wife, and they two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plan; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. [26] But his life looked back from him and she became a pillar of salt.

Like Lot, we can't let those who fail God hinder us from finishing our mission for the God of the universe. We must work with speed and hurry to get this work done. We must move with fear at the warning of God that sudden calamity is at the door. We can't fret and worry over those who choose no part of this life. We must move ever onward to finish this great work for God, knowing that end is coming -- the ending is coming -- the end is coming. The word of God plainly states at the time of Jesus' return, there will be those who will scoff and even fall away from the divine will of God. We can't let this discourage or hinder us in our work. We must seek to go deeper and deeper in God in this final hour. There is no other choice for the bride. There is so much going on around us. Our only relief -- our only safety -- is inside -- inside God; inside the promises of God -- inside the will of God -- inside the word of God -- that's where we will find safety.

Dear one, there is safety from the sudden calamity that is coming. There is cover from the storm.

Why not give God an opportunity in your life. You have tried everything else. You have sought love from all the wrong places. Now come to the one true SOURCE. God is waiting to use you if you would only give Him a chance.

Please repeat this simple prayer with me, asking Jesus to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. He is able to restore, create, deliver, and most importantly, save you. He is willing. He is ready. He wants you, dear one. No one has ever loved you like Jesus. He does love you.

Oh, God! I have sinned against you. I am so sorry! I have come home, and I'm going to serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. I do believe. I do believe that you are able to deliver me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ can make me clean and whole. Come on into my heart and help me. Help me, Lord. I trust and believe that through the blood, I can make it. I do believe that I can make it with your help. Oh, Lord, I want your help. Save my soul. Love me, Jesus. I must have your love. Love me, Jesus. Come on into my heart, Jesus! Come in!

If you meant that prayer, He has come.

Praise Him, He is Yours!


Casting Light into the Darkness

Once, on a return trip from Akron, Ohio, I experienced something that I would like to share with each one of you. The darkness -- boy, that's something. Quite often, I drive to and from Ohio and I always attempt to be on the road prior to nightfall. Driving through the darkness is hard, hard work if you are not familiar with it. The darkness brings with it an overwhelming sense of anxiety, uncertainty and nervousness.

As is customary, we attempt to be in the van by a particular time in an effort to make it home or at least through Indiana by a certain time. When traveling from Ohio to Chicago, Indiana is one of the darkest points. I had precisely calculated how long it would take to get from Ohio to Chicago, with a couple of stops in between. I began the trip home by encouraging everyone to "get on board -- get on board. Let's get going". I dared not allude to the others that I had some insecurity about driving in the dark. That was not the "cool" thing to do. At any rate, we didn't get started for home soon enough. Nevertheless, I began driving -- heading for home.

Driving, driving. I started to notice that the sun was making its departure and the darkness was fast approaching. I knew when it "started" getting dark but didn't notice anything further until we were in complete darkness. "What happened? It was just light."

During the ride home, I began to come face-to-face with my insecurities about this whole matter. Of course, now all my fears of driving home in the dark were becoming escalated in nature and somewhat overwhelming. Since I was the "leader," I had to give the impression that this wasn't any real big deal. "I can handle this." If you know anything about driving, you know that the "light" can be a help to you or a hindrance against you. While driving, there can be many lights that will come your way. The light, which came across the opposite lane, was a terrible hindrance to me. It took away from my visibility and hampered by vision and perception. This added to an already tense situation. Remember, I was the leader and could not demonstrate anything but smiles. The traffic, which approached me from the opposite side of the highway, started to distort my vision and I immediately felt the need to grasp the steering wheel tighter. The tightness was felt and penetrated throughout my entire body, including my back, hands and neck. I had to come up with another plan -- and quickly.

Finally, I decided to follow the light that was given me -- follow the light that was right in front me. The drivers in front of me knew where they were going, right? It was so simple. I stayed to the right, which was the lane for S L O W drivers. Already full of intimidation, I stayed in "my" lane. As I suspected, drivers would come around me and then I would follow their light. The drivers in front of me -- their light led me for miles and miles. At some point however, I lost that light because I had to slow down. I wasn't comfortable. I didn't know my way and therefore lost the light that was directly in front of me. At certain points, because of inexperience, I had to pause or even come to a slight, but obvious stop to regain control of myself and regain my bearings. By then, the light -- the light that I had depended upon so much was gone. The pressure, the tightness in my neck and the sweaty palms now began to resurface. As I continued driving [All that were with me were now asleep] another vehicle would come in front of me. "Whew! Thank God. Thank God." There appeared another light for me to follow. Every now and then I would approach a stretch of the road where I needed no man's light. The highway provided, for a brief moment, the light that I needed. It was greater than any light that I had been following. That light -- "yes" that light provided a greater comfort. It came from over me. Those high poles had light, which penetrated the darkness. With that light came a sense of security and relaxation that I needed -- that I longed for during those long hours of driving. Just as fast as it came, it was gone and then returned the stress and uncertainty. This went on until I reached "home." Home was far from my own house but home was where I was familiar. Home was an area on the road that I knew -- an area where I needed no man's help.

Interestingly enough, there were drivers from all over the country. There we were. We were all in the dark at the same time. They were experienced and I was not. They knew where they were going and I didn't. They had the road mastered. I came to a definite conclusion -- I needed them. I needed the light that they provided to me. Their light helped me find my way home. Not willing to lose the light that I depended upon so greatly, I worked hard at keeping up speed -- no matter. I couldn't afford to lose the light.

Just as those whom I depended upon for their light, we need each other. We all provide something that is of value to another. Remember the people in whom I depended had no idea how much I depended upon them. They were completely unaware of how much I needed their brightness -- vision -- and illumination.

Someone is depending upon you. Someone is looking, watching and counting on your light to get them through. Your light may be that of encouragement, strength, comfort, gladness, or just a kind word.

You may never know it but others are following your light. Be careful to lead them -- lead them -- lead them all the way…

Matthew 5:14-16[a] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do me light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men.

God bless you all.

— Rev. Beverly Thomas

Yours with a Passion for Souls,

Pastor, A Passion for Christ Ministries

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