Bill Rudge Ministries received a letter with prophetic perception from Mrs. Valerie Graves, a pastor’s wife from upstate New York, who has read much of what Bill has written over the years, finding the teaching insightful and encouraging. Valerie described her and her husband’s adventurous trip to California, visiting their daughter who is pursuing a PhD at Berkeley. They enjoyed sunny skies and cool breezes as they toured the San Francisco Bay area and surrounding sleepy beach towns. One moment they were relaxing in the lap of luxury and the next they were fleeing for their lives as wildfires ravaged the area.
Some of Valerie’s thoughts:
We were to end our time in California at a lovely house on a vineyard in Sonoma Valley with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. We drove up a long driveway through a vineyard. The front lawn was meticulously landscaped with pathways leading to the front porch where welcoming rocking chairs awaited. There were pomegranate, lemon and apple trees. The inside was gorgeous with large windows to enjoy the beautiful view. It was difficult to take it all in.
That night as I was falling asleep I remember hearing the wind outside picking up, leaves blowing against the window. My husband Charlie and I woke up at five in the morning and went downstairs to make coffee. It was still dark outside. Just as Charlie was reaching for the pot of coffee there was a loud banging on the door. Clearly something must be wrong. Then I heard shouting, “Wake up! Quick, you need to leave now. There is no time to waste.” Within five minutes we were in the car heading away from the beautiful house on the vineyard. As we headed slowly in the opposite direction of the fire in a line of traffic, we could see the sky aglow with the fire which was close.
It was a scary night, and the moment when I realized how serious this fire was, the Lord pressed on my heart to “go back and warn My people.” It became clear the fire I was seeing was a picture of the impending judgment and that it would come suddenly and unexpectedly to all those on the earth who are living lives in the lap of luxury.
Though we don’t see ourselves as rich, we are! We have our own homes, heated in winter and cooled in summer; we sleep on our comfortable beds and wake to warm water to bathe in and food in our cupboards to eat…Food we buy from a local store that we drive to, by the way, in our heated or cooled vehicles. We get to select the foods we enjoy (if we don’t feel like preparing it, we simply call and order our dinner) or go to a restaurant where someone brings us our food, chosen from the many options on the menu. We take breaks from our relatively easy jobs, for which we are well compensated, to go on “vacation” from our easy lives. We entertain ourselves with movies, games, shows and shopping. We paint and redecorate our homes when we become bored with them. We have so much that we have garage sales to pare down our “stuff” that has gotten out of control. We run to the doctor when we don’t feel well and our health insurance pays the tab for testing and medicine. We have gym memberships to get the exercise we need because our lives are so “cushy” we get out of shape.
Living in all this ease, it is difficult for us to imagine that judgment will come and we will hear that sudden alarm:
The Lord loves each one of us and wants us to be ready when He returns, suddenly and unexpectedly for His Bride, before He judges this world. Heed the warnings He provides through His Word. Do not prefer this world with all of its allure; the things that are coming to an end. Wake up and watch! Be ready and waiting for Him! Pray for each other and pray for the Lord to open the eyes of our unsaved loved ones. Flee from the wrath to come. Don’t look back. I sincerely believe the Lord is about to return for His church and it is His desire we all be ready! The finish line is in sight.