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The End Is Near
by Rick Stephenson
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Did that title wake you up or shake you a little? It was meant to. After all, the end is near and we need to be ready!

Now to what ďendĒ do you relate? Being that there is only about one more month left in the year, I could be referring to the end of this calendar year. On the other hand, since it is midweek when I am writing this, I could be referring to the end of the workweek. It also happens to be November 29th the day I am writing this, so perhaps when you read this you could be thinking of the end of the month. Maybe you have a vacation scheduled with the upcoming holidays and you are looking forward to the end of work for a while. Quite possibly, you might be a student studying for midterms and you think of the end of the semester. There is even a chance that with all the hype about the Mayan Calendar you could be thinking it might be the end of the world.

It could be one or many of these examples but with so many endings upon us, it is best to think not in terms of the end because the end is after all the end. By definition, the end is the final part, the limit or boundary of something, the finishing point of a period or an event, or even the termination of something. However, is the end ever really the end or is it just the beginning of something else? If you ponder that long enough with the idea that we often say we must get ready for the end you might agree with me that there really is no end but just a transition into something new. For example, when one day ends a new one begins, when one week ends, we springboard into another, one seasons completion brings about anotherís revival and when one calendar concludes we celebrate the start of one more. When we take off for vacation leaving our work behind for a while, we have started a new event or when the exams have been graded, we either begin another class or take up our efforts in the world of work. Therefore, with every end there is always a new beginning.

Yes, I believe this even holds true for the Mayan Calendar or the end of the world prophecies you may have heard about recently. This world as we know it will end one day and yet I believe we will immediately find ourselves in the midst of another one that either will take us by complete surprise or will provide welcoming opportunity for new adventures. So, the point is not in the ending and to be honest with you itís not even in the new beginning. I believe itís being ready that is important as we see in our habits like: at the end of the workweek, we prepare for our weekend activities, we get organized for our vacations, we plan at the end of one year for the start of the next with resolutions and goals weíd like to accomplish, we set our upcoming courses for the next session and we usually think ahead about what comes next.

Then why is it that not too many of us have thought about what comes after this physical life or even if we have entertained the thoughts about this world ending that we have procrastinated in being ready for the next? Could it be that there are just so many unanswered questions or unknowns that itís too hard for us to get ready?

Being ready simply means being prepared for something that is going to happen, having something finished, completed and able to be used, or even eager, willing, alert and intelligent. Thatís right Ė the dictionary points out that there is a relationship between being ready and being intelligent! After all, when you prepare for your vacation, you use your thought process to pack for the possibilities. Sure, you donít have all the answers to what will happen, but if you have planned accordingly, you wonít be caught at the beach with snow gear on. You will have thought through the process of packing and determined that your paradise vacation can cope without your packing any winter outfits.

When you stop to think about it, a lot of planning got you to where you are today anyway. Hopefully, it wasnít by chance that you have made it through your past events of life to be where you are now. There was either direct planning or indirect planning that guided you to make the choices you made. Direct in the sense that you purposely thought about where you wanted to end up and you made specific choices to get you there. Or, indirect with the idea that your choices were only made moment by moment. Nonetheless, those choices were always in anticipation of your next moment whether they were only minutes away or years down the road. The power of choice is what got us where we are at currently and itís choice that can help us be ready for the next moments in our lives.

The good news is that if we are aware that there is an upcoming end then we can make the choice to plan for it and get ready for it. I know we donít have all the answers to what lies beyond this world but what this world has shown us in itís patterns is that there is indeed something waiting for us. I also believe that as a created being that the Creator would want us to be prepared and gave us a very relevant book to help us get prepared. After all, you donít take a math class with out the teacher providing a book, lessons and examples before giving you the test. God wants us to be ready for the exciting adventure He has for us beyond what we currently know and He has provided a book, life lessons and the examples of others for us to realize that one plus one must equal something important.

I donít know what you might find yourself in the middle of that is coming to an end but I do know that you can be ready, just use your head choose to think it through, find the right resources and plan. I would encourage you today to dig into Godís word and find out what He has to say about both your endings and even your new beginnings.

ďHeaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.Ē
Mark 13:31 (KJV)

ďAnd he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.Ē
Revelation 21:5 (KJV)

God Bless! - Rick


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