Restoration: View From the Front Porch

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View From the Front Porch

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It is midsummer and there seems to be a lull in the news as I write. No big event or crisis has erupted. You can tell this by the headlines on the Internet—there are none. Right now it seems the biggest news is the release of the last Harry Potter book and the further antics of young, misguided Hollywood starlets.

Years ago I gave some talks called "Life on the Front Porch." I used the example of the front porch of Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel with its long veranda and many large rocking chairs. This spot is perfect for whiling away an hour on a summer afternoon with a glass of tea while watching a storm move across the Straits of Mackinac. Somewhere in this scene time seems suspended, hanging softly on the passing wind.

I used this picture to illustrate something about prophecy and God's plan. Too often when we study prophecy, we get caught up in the speculative aspects of "when will Christ return?" or "who are the two witnesses of Revelation?" Granted, these are among the most interesting parts of the subject. But everyone who gets too specific on these and other points always ends up looking like, well, a false prophet.

When you look at the flow of events in the Bible, from creation forward to today, you see a lot of high points such as the time of Abraham, the Exodus, David and Solomon, and Christ and the apostles. But these events are separated by at times hundreds of years when not much seems to be happening.

But something is happening in those in-between years. Everyday life is taking place. People are "marrying and giving in marriage." Babies are born and families grow. People rejoice and mourn within the normal cycles of life and death. Life goes on, and sometimes it is no more exciting than sitting on a front porch and watching the hours slip by.

But that's okay. God did not determine that we would always be hyped up in alert mode. Prophecy is not to be used that way. Prophecy is a compass that helps us see our world for what it is, from God's point of view. We can understand the high points of history and know that God is guiding the world to a point where He will completely take over with the appearance of His Kingdom.

Until then we are to follow Christ's instruction in the parable of the pounds, "Do business till I come" (Luke 19:13). What is that business? It is the business of the Kingdom of God in the life of each of us.

Christ came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). The knowledge of that Kingdom has come to your life and mine, and it is the guiding star of each day. We live by the laws of the coming Kingdom today, and that makes all the difference.

Enjoy the life you have and make the most of it within the framework of God's way of life. Understand that at times life is experienced while sitting on a "front porch." Nothing grand or dramatic in the scheme of God's plan may be happening at that moment. Your life may be calm and tranquil. But events can be building on life's horizon that can sweep through and change everything. We have to be ready, and we prepare by obeying God and seeking His will in our lives.

I learned this one day while sitting on the front porch of the Grand Hotel and watching a storm build and move across the Straits of Mackinac. This dramatic scene etched a lesson in my mind. It helps me keep a balance. I hope it does for you as well. WNP

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