by Troy Spradlin
    One of my favorite maxims, or rules of life, is this, “It is always right to do right. It is always wrong to do wrong. It is never right to do wrong and it is never wrong to do right.” That truth has helped me navigate through some of life’s toughest moments. It has never failed me when making a difficult decision. It is one of those precepts that has always proven to be reliable. Over the years, however, I have developed another rule of life to use alongside that one. It is simply, “Where is Jesus in this?” No matter what the situation may be, how difficult a decision is, or how troublesome a scenario turns out, asking the question, “Where is Jesus in this?” has always guided me in the right direction.


    Years ago, there was a popular acronym displayed on bumper stickers, billboards, T-Shirts, and many other things that was, “WWJD?” Many of you may remember that it stood for “What would Jesus do?” While the intention was certainly good, I personally, felt that it missed the mark of being truly useful. The word would leaves too much room for speculation or personal interpretation. This can be extremely dangerous because our thoughts or intentions may not line up with what Jesus actually did. It allows for one to say, “Well, I think Jesus would do this in this situation,” when in reality He might not. Wouldn’t it be better to imitate Christ than to speculate as to what He might do? I have always thought a better acronym would be “WDJD – What did Jesus do?” If we simply study His actions and replicate them to the best of our ability, then we certainly cannot go wrong with that!


    Looking for Jesus in every situation will greatly bless your life. There is almost nothing that this truth cannot be applied to. For example, before you are about to confront someone, or engage in a difficult conversation, ask yourself, “Where’s Jesus in this?” and it will help you have the right attitude before going into it. If you become angry with someone, look for Jesus in the situation and it will help you deal with it in a more proper, Christian manner. Perhaps, you know of a couple of brethren who are at odds with each other, ask them to think about “Where’s Jesus in this?” It can possibly provide the remedy so desperately needed in the resolution of the conflict.
    There are also those moments when we have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes, we must make a decision in a rush, which can often result in making a bad decision. Asking “Where is Jesus in this?” will always guide you in making the best determination. If we are honest with ourselves and truly look upon His example, we should always be able to find a good solution. But, in order for this to work the way it should, you must first learn about Jesus. Open up your Bible and get to know the Son of God. Observe His actions, His mannerisms, and His responses to various situations. Let that be your guide. The more you know about Him, the easier it is to lean upon Him, and this will help you to always do what is right.

Many Blessings of 2018

What a great year this has been! This past year was marked with some new milestones and achievements! Our Margaret Street family experienced a few new changes and faced some challenges, as well. Overall, it was certainly a successful and eventful year. Above all, our God was glorified in the process! Let us take a moment at some of the highlights of this year. As you reflect over these bullet points, won’t you take a moment, stop, and pray to God?
Let’s give Him the thanks and recognition He deserves for the blessings He has poured out upon all of us here at Margaret Street. We are blessed!
New additions to the family!
  • Eden Wren Hatcher was born March 15th.
  • Harrison Wyatt Freeman was born August 15th.
  • Carder Dilger was baptized into Christ on April 16th.
  • Colby Bingham was baptized into Christ on May 9th.
  • Brayden Davis was baptized into Christ November 29th.
  • Stephen Fulton was identified as a member.
  • Billy and Barbara Helms were identified as members.
  • Peggy Mason was restored to the family.

Evangelism, Missions, and Benevolence

  • Hosted dinners for the Milton H.S. Football Team
  • Entered a booth in the Annual Scratch Ankle Festival
  • We made mission trips to Georgia and to Paraguay
  • Blessed with a new missionary family: Scott, Rebecca, and Violet Shanahan and a new mission work effort to Italy
  • We served many local families with several hundred food boxes through our Pantry this year!

We hosted several successful seminars, activities, and fellowship gatherings:

  • Our youth group brought home 39 awards and trophies from the Lads-2-Leaders Conference!
  • Annual Area Wide Youth Gathering
  • Vacation Bible School with the theme of “The Judges”
  • Human Trafficking Seminar with Theresa Moses.
  • A successful Family Enrichment Seminar with David Baker.
  • SRC Church Leadership Luncheons
  • The first ever Spiritual Renewal Forum, UpKeep! in the NW Florida area.
  • Don’t forget about the Sweetheart Banquet, L2L Banquet, Graduates Banquet, Thanksgiving Banquet, Fall Festival, Christmas Party, Elder’s Banquet, Men’s Breakfasts, and Ladies’ Game Nights
There is so much more we could list, but space is limited. As you think of some of those other things, please give God thanks for those also. We can’t wait for this next year because we know God is going to provide even more blessings as we strive to honor and glorify Him in all that we do!


   Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of our visitors. Why would anyone want to be a part of our congregation here at Margaret Street church of Christ? Have you ever considered what makes us stand out or different from anyone else? What would be the draw for someone new to come here?
   While pure and sound doctrine, standing for Biblical truth, and practicing first century Christianity should be the main reason most people are attracted to Margaret Street, let’s be perfectly honest with ourselves, many who come through the door for the first time are simply looking to see what kind of environment exists here. Before they start considering doctrinal questions, most seekers merely want to know if this might be a place where they feel welcomed and loved. People only want to be a part of something if they feel like they belong. So, do we make our visitors feel like they belong? I think we do and there have been many visitors who’ve expressed that Margaret Street is a special place – a very friendly, loving place to be.

What makes Margaret Street so special?

Through our love for Jesus, we strive to emphasize family – both in our spiritual family of the congregation itself and in our physical families that make up the congregation. In today’s world, the home and family are constantly under attack. We want to provide support, encouragement, and spiritual nourishment to all of our families in order to help them withstand those destructive forces. Here are a few of the things we offer to help strengthen our families:
  • For our youth: We offer Sunday and Wednesday Bible classes and other activities through our Margaret Street Youth and Lads to Leaders Programs. There are frequent youth devotionals for Jr and Sr High students, called “S.N.A.C.” (Sunday Night After Church) and “Stair Stackers” for grade school children. Our youth also attend numerous camps, conferences, and area-wide gatherings throughout the year.
  • For our smaller children: We offer “Cradle Roll” and Nursery classes, as well as, other activities like our annual Fall Festival and Christmas Party.
  • For the adults: We have regular Sunday, Wednesday, and weekday Bible classes in multiple topics and groups, such as our “Golden Agers,” “20-Somethings,” Ladie’s Class, and others. We also have seminars and special events for various Biblical and family topics. We schedule many activities throughout the year such as retreats, devotionals, workshops, holiday gatherings, and special fellowship gatherings.
  • Our Breakout Connection Groups provide an opportunity for everyone to make new friends and to help strengthen relationships among the membership.
Fostering a family-friendly environment is very important to us! Those who follow Jesus are called His “body” (Colossians 1:18) and the “family of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Our members are striving to be that loving, encouraging, and obedient family as described in the New Testament. We believe it makes us unique and this a special place to be. We want everyone to know Jesus. Let’s start with our loving family!



by Troy Spradlin
    I love that old hymn we sing in worship, “Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary. Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary! ” Not only have I heard the word Calvary from this song, but I’ve also heard it mentioned in many sermons. What is “Calvary” exactly?
    The word comes from a verse found in Luke, And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, …” (23:33). Curiously, only the King James Version, and the New King James use this word in that verse. If you compare the same verse in the English Standard Version, the New American Standard, the CEV, the NIV, and others, you will see that they do not use the word Calvary in those translations. Instead, they use another word, Golgotha, which is also found in other verses like Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22; and John 19:17. Even the KJV uses the word Golgotha in those verses.

So, why the difference? Where did this word come from?

    First of all, consider what John says, “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha,” (19:17). Here, we see the word is from a specific location with a peculiar name and John explains the translation. The name of the place in Greek is kranion topos (kraniou topou). Now, say the words again slowly. Do you hear a similarity to our English word cranium in there? Our word came from the Greek language! Also, our word topography, meaning “the arrangement of geographical features” comes from the Greek topos, meaning “place.” In Hebrew, the place is called Gulgolet and in Aramaic it is Golgolta. These words were transliterated into the English rendition, Golgotha. So, all of them are just as John translated it, “the place of the skull.”
    Secondly, the English rendition of the word Calvary comes from yet another translation of the Bible, the Latin Vulgate. In that version, it is translated as Calvariae Locus. The Latin word calavaria simply means “skull,” just like cranium, kranion, gulgolet, or golgolta do in each of their respective languages. Translators of the King James Version merely transliterated the Latin word into English for their rendition of Luke 23:33. Since the KJV is one of the most widely distributed Bible translations in history, the word Calvary has become a familiar part of our English religious vernacular.

Where is Calvary?

    The place itself is often misunderstood. Calvary, (Golgotha) refers to the cliff face of a hill, just outside the Damascus Gate of Old Jerusalem, whose rock protrusions and indentations give it the distinctive appearance of a human skull (photo above). Interestingly, the Bible never says that Jesus was crucified on Calvary. It just says He came “into” the place called “the skull.”  The imagery of crosses positioned on top of a hill called Calvary came from old Renaissance paintings and the like. In fact, Golgotha faces an ancient east-west road that runs just north of Jerusalem. The area in front of the cliff face is precisely the type of location the Romans would utilize to crucify individuals so that their gruesome handiwork would scare people passing by, deterring any future rebels against Rome.
Who knew there was so much to a word we sing in a song?


    In a beautiful countryside surrounded by lakes and streams full of fish, a few local fishermen began meeting rather frequently to talk about fishing and the abundance of fish. The group eventually formed a “Fisherman’s Club” to define what fishing means, what makes a fisherman, and defend fishing as an occupation. Research began for new and improved methods of fishing. The club eventually developed a mission plea that declared “Everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish.” As the association grew and expanded to other areas, they started holding large meetings and conferences called “Fishermen’s Campaigns” where they would discuss and promote fishing practices, new fishing equipment, and newly developed baits.
One thing no one ever did, however, was go fishing.
    The club grew so much that the fishermen decided to build a large, beautiful “Fishing Headquarters”. In time, it became a large training center to teach fishermen how to fish. Courses were offered on the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, the needs of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had masters degrees and doctorates in fishology. Of course, the teachers did not fish, they only taught about fishing. As a result, many who felt the call to become fishermen responded. They went on to graduate and were given fishing licenses. They were given salaries and were all sent out to do full-time fishing, some locally and some to distant waters. In some of the places they went, they built power plants to pump water for fish and used special methods to make new waterways for fish. Some of them constantly traveled around the world looking for potential fish hatcheries. Others decided they wanted to be part of the fishing association, but felt they had been called to furnish fishing equipment and baits, instead. Others believed their job was to relate to the fish in a way that would exemplify the difference between a good and bad fishermen. Still, others figured that simply letting the fish know they were nice, kind, land-loving neighbors was enough to persuade them.
The one thing everyone still neglected to do, sadly, was go fishing.
    Finally one day, after a prominent member of the club gave a rather stirring lecture about “The Necessity for Fishing,” one young man decided that he would go fishing. The next day, he returned to report that he had caught two outstanding fish! In fact, he was amazed at how easy it really was and that the fish were so abundant! The Fisherman’s Club leaders were greatly impressed and immediately honored the young man for his remarkable catch. Soon, he was scheduled to visit all the major clubhouses of the association and tell everyone how he did it. He was placed at the top of the lecturer’s circuit as a one having considerable experience. His memoirs of that day of fishing were eventually published and became a best seller. Almost overnight it seemed, he began to travel and lecture so much and was so popular that he had to give up fishing in order to focus on this new career direction.
    Now, it is true that some fishermen in the club had sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. A few even lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. Still, others had been ridicule by those who made fun of their clubs and pointed out that, while they may claim to be fishermen, they never went fishing! Imagine how hurt some club members must have been when it was suggested that those who don’t catch fish are not really fishermen. After all, didn’t the Master say, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”?
Is a person truly a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish? Are you truly following Jesus if you’re not actually fishing?

UpKeep! Seminar Topics

   We sure hope you are planning to join us for our upcoming spiritual enrichment seminar, UpKeep! It has been designed to be very uplifting and edifying for every Christian, by renewing and recharging your zeal for the Lord and His kingdom. Below we have listed some of the various topics and guest speakers that we will be hosting during the seminar. Looks like it’s going to be a GREAT event! Be sure and register today!
  • “Putting on the Armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-15) – Scott Shanahan, Missionary to Italy
    • Spiritual warfare! Let’s examine this descriptive passage anew and discern what the apostle Paul is implying.
  • “Arriving Back at Camp” (Joshua 10:40-43) – Cory Myers, League City COC
    • A soldier must fall back from time to time to prepare for re-entering the battle. We need to retreat from time to time from the spiritual warfare in order to regroup, repair, and recharge (Mk 6:30-31).
  • “Maintaining the Armor” (Ephesians 6:18) – Guyton Montgomery, Milestone COC
    • A soldier must fall back from the spiritual warfare in order to maintain his armor and prepare to re-enter battle.
  • “Removing the Rust” (Matthew 6:19) – Cory Myers, League City COC
    • We often get too bogged down in worldly affairs, how do we get back to center?
  • “Maintaining Our Spirituality” (James 1:2-4) – Cory Myers, League City COC
    • As we reenter battle, we will get distracted again. We should resolve to not lose what we have rebuilt.
  • “Suiting Up with Armor Anew” (Joshua 1:11) – Cory Myers, League City COC
    • A soldier does not just stay in camp. Once he is recharged, repaired, and renewed, he must return to battle. He is ready. It is all about attitude!
  • “Maintaining Our Servanthood” (Titus 3:8,14) – David West, Pace COC
    • Paul instructed Titus that Christians “should be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8,14).
  • “Maintenance is Stewardship: Your Talents/Gifts” (1 Peter 4:10) – Chance Blackmer, Gulf Breeze COC
    • We all have gifts that we can use for His service. A look at the “Parable of the Talents”.
  • “Practicing Our Skill” (2 Timothy 2:15) – Preston Silcox, Avalon COC
    • Every soldier must learn how to wield his sword, otherwise he could injure himself, or someone else he didn’t intend to injure. Don’t we have a responsibility to use our sword (Bible) correctly when studying with others?
  • “Sharpening the Sword” (Hebrews 4:12) – Josh Holloway, Jay COC
    • Swords can become dull. Every soldier must sharpen his sword before battle. A look at developing study habits.
  • “Still Much to Do!” (Psalm 92:13,14) – Richard Rogers, Brewton COC
    • A breakout class designed especially for our older, wiser saints. The battle doesn’t stop just because we have aged. We may not be as fast, or as strong physically, but we are often much wiser than younger Christians. There is still much we can do in His kingdom.
  • “Maintaining Relationships: Adversaries and Critics” (Matt 5:44) – Ben Boyd, Avalon COC
    • Difficult Conversations and Conflict Resolution; everyone has those certain acquaintances that are difficult.
  • “Maintaining Relationships: That Special Someone” (2 Tim 2:22) – Casey Crawford, Scenic Hills COC
    • What might a Christian do to find a mate, or be involved in Christian “dating”?



by Troy Spradlin
    Has anyone ever said to you, “It’s no fun to be a Christian; you can’t do anything fun.” Perhaps, someone has told you, “Christians never have any fun.” Unfortunately, this notion has become increasingly prevalent among the unbelievers of our modern society. It stems from a false narrative that Christianity is somehow prohibitively restrictive, overly boring, and lacking any semblance of enjoyment. Yet, personally, I don’t know a single faithful Christian that actually feels that way. In fact, I know many Christians who have a great deal of fun, including myself! So, what are they talking about? Why do they say such a thing?

Two Sides to Every Coin

    If we consider this from a more carnal perspective (Romans 8:5-8), then we start to see where this false narrative originated. Ask any worldly person, “What does ‘having fun’ mean to you?” They will most often respond with answers like, “hanging out with friends; playing sports/recreation; partying; going to a show/concert; dancing; getting drunk; doing drugs; having sex; getting away with something illegal; etc.” These are real answers and engaging in these activities are what constitutes “fun” to them. Hollywood and other entertainment sources commonly portray these things as the definition of fun, also. Not all of these are bad, of course, but they’re certainly not all good either.
    Immediately, a spiritually minded person should recognize their definition of “fun” sometimes equates to sinful behavior. What is truly sad, is that some of these so-called “fun” activities can be extremely detrimental to one’s health and longevity. Just as there are things one can eat that are not good for you, it is the same with some of these things deemed as “fun.” Some “foods” may look appealing and even taste good, but could also be completely synthetic, lack any nutritional value at all, and/or be extremely carcinogenic. That’s how it is with worldly thinking, “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,” (8:5). From their point of view, they see Christianity as nothing more than imposed restrictions upon enjoyable things. All they hear is, “You can’t do this and you can’t do that.” They’re not considering that other things exist which equate to “fun” activities.

Joy Equals Fun

    So, what constitutes real “fun”? What enjoyment does a Christian experience? Considering the Bible mentions “joy; joyful; rejoice” some 135 times in NT, it would seem there are certain instances where a Christian has much enjoyment, or delight. It becomes clear that what is considered what is enjoyable is simply a state of mind. For example, shopping is “fun” to many woman, but not so much for a man. Using power tools might be “fun” for a man, but not necessarily for a woman. It depends upon who’s defining what is fun, or not. Since, Paul said we should “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), then, how we define what is enjoyable could be affected, as well.
    The fact is, Christians have just as much fun, if not more, as anyone on earth. Personally, I enjoy going to worship, even though it’s a more pensive event. I have fun fellowshipping with my brethren. I engage in numerous, enjoyable activities and hobbies that are wholesome and good, just like many brethren do. But, until one has experienced true joy and the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) of being an obedient disciple of Jesus, then someone outside of the church will never truly understand how a Christian can certainly have fun, too.

UpKeep! Seminar & Forum

WEDNESDAY, November 14
6:30-7:00 Devotional and “Prayer Chain” (to prepare for forum) Auditorium
THURSDAY, November 15
6:30-7:00 Singing and Prayer Fellowship Hall
7:00-7:30 Keynote: “Putting on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:10-20) Scott Shanahan, Mission Italy Fellowship Hall
7:40-8:30 Forum Activity: Writing Psalms Troy Spradlin Fellowship Hall
FRIDAY, November 16
6:30-7:00 Singing and Prayer Auditorium
7:00-7:30 Keynote: “Arriving Back at Camp” (Joshua 10:40-43) Cory Myers, League City COC Auditorium
7:45-9:15 Movie Night! “Bound” (A production of WVBS) Fellowship Hall
SATURDAY, November 17
8:30-9:00 Singing and Prayer
9:00-9:45 Keynote: “Maintaining the Armor” Guyton Montgomery, Milestone Auditorium
10:00-10:50 Breakout Forum Sessions 
“Maintaining Our Servanthood” David West, (Pace) Room 302
“Maintenance is Stewardship: Your Talents/Gifts” Chance Blackmer, (Gulf Breeze) Room 107
“Sharpening the Sword” Josh Holloway, (Jay) Fellowship Hall
11:00-12:00 Special Focus Forums
Elder’s Exchange (for Elders only) MSCOC Elders Elder’s Room
Deacon’s Discussion (for Deacons and workers) Joe Wilson (Margaret St) Room 303
General: “Practicing Our Skill” – Leading a Bible Study Preston Silcox, (Avalon) Fellowship Hall
12:00-1:15 Lunch (Provided)
1:15-1:30 Singing
Fellowship Hall
1:30-2:30 Questions and Answers with the Preachers Local Preachers Fellowship Hall
2:40-3:30 Breakout Forum Sessions 
“Still Much to Do!” Richard Rogers, (Brewton) Room 107
“Maintaining Relationships: Adversaries and Critics” Ben Boyd, (Avalon) Fellowship Hall
“Maintaining Relationships: That Special Someone” Casey Crawford, (Scenic Hills) Youth
3:40-5:00 Special Focus Forums
Teacher’s Talk MSCOC Teachers* Room 303
Ladies Teacher’s Talk (Ladies only) MSCOC Teacher: Helen Canon Room 302
L2L Forum David English (Margaret St) Elder’s Room
Congregational Forum: “Here’s What Works for Us” Troy Spradlin / Casey Bearden Fellowship Hall
5:00-6:30 Dinner (Provided)
6:30-7:00 Singing and Prayer
7:00-7:50 “Removing the Rust” (Matthew 6:19) Cory Myers, League City COC Auditorium
SUNDAY, November 18
9:00-9:50 “Maintaining Our Spirituality” (James 1:2-4) Cory Myers, League City COC Auditorium
10:00-11:50 “Suiting Up with Armor Anew” (Joshua 1:11) Cory Myers, League City COC Auditorium


by Troy Spradlin
    Seven times in the New Testament and only from the mouth of Jesus Christ, do we read the words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35). He who has ears? Does that imply that there is someone out there who does not have ears? Well, yes, it actually does. Not in a physical sense, of course. But certainly in a spiritual sense. The word “has” in that sentence is a word that means “to hold; to possess; in a sense of wearing.” In other words, it implies that there are some who do not possess, or wear the very thing that Jesus is declaring necessary for understanding, that being “ears to hear.”

Ears in Figurative Language

    We certainly comprehend this type of figurative language. We show it when we say, “You may be hearing me, but you aren’t listening.”  It indicates someone is not paying attention. They are not absorbing what is being said. Or, they are simply choosing to ignore the words being spoken to them. This is what Jesus means by this statement. Perhaps, another way to express it might be, “Those who are paying attention and understand, listen up!”
    Jesus typically used this phrase in conjunction with a parable or prophecy. His disciples noted the implication and asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. … Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand,” (Matt 13:10-13).  Jesus knew those who opposed Him were not paying attention to the Scriptures correctly. He knew they certainly were not absorbing His teaching. He knew they simply chose to ignore His words. The very words He said “that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63) and that His word would judge them (12:48) fell on deaf ears!

Truly Hearing 

    I find it rather interesting the way Jesus sometimes expressed prophecy. In Luke 9:44, He uses the same “ear” analogy predicting His death before the disciples, “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” In other words, “Listen carefully to what I am saying!” Hearing Jesus is critical to salvation and understanding truth. He affirmed this to Pilate, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice [emphasis added],” (John 18:37). We must hear Him!
    It is a rather disturbing image to think about a man without physical ears. Think of the handicap, or disadvantages he would have in understanding and hearing important things. He could get himself killed if he couldn’t hear a car coming when crossing a street, or a multitude of other dangers! It is just as disturbing to think about a man without any “spiritual ears” also, because his soul is in grave danger for not hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Do you have ears for hearing God’s word?



by Troy Spradlin
    Florida residents are no strangers to hurricanes. Just a quick glance at the historical list dating back to the late 1700’s, one quickly realizes that the Panhandle has had more than its fair share of destructive storms. Everyone in this area certainly still remembers the devastating effects of Hurricane Ivan. Some can remember Camille and even further back. The mere mention of the names Andrew, Katrina, Harvey, Florence, and now Michael, are enough to bring up tears and strong emotions as those names are now associated with pain, trauma, and loss.

 Improving for Preparations

    Did you know hurricanes weren’t named before 1953? Until then, a storm was referred to only by the year in which it had occurred. In 1979 the World Meteorological Organization started using short and easily remembered names for storms in the Atlantic. The intention was to reduce confusion in communications when two or more storms occurred at the same time. Without the names, radio stations had often created panic and chaos when broadcasting storm advisories that might be for an entirely different storm located hundreds of miles away. Thus, a list of male and female names was adopted. If a storm becomes deadly or so costly that any future use of its name for a different storm would be inappropriate, then the name is retired from the list. Since the practice began, there have been 78 Atlantic tropical storm names retired, according to the National Hurricane Center.
    Research and technology have greatly improved our warning systems and communications networks. It would be impossible to calculate how many lives have been saved over the years thanks to all of these improvements. This is evidenced by the fact that most Floridians will now quickly jump to the call to prepare for a storm. Everyone shows concern for everyone else. A common conversation that occurs among neighbors and even among strangers revolves around a question of concern, “Are you prepared for the storm?” Advice is then freely given and openly welcomed on what one needs to purchase, on how one can safeguard a home, or where one might seek refuge. Most everyone is concerned about not only their own safety, but the safety of others! What a blessing!

The Spiritual Application

    Oh how I wish people had the same level of concern for spiritual matters! When all is said and done, property damage by a hurricane can easily be repaired or replaced. But the destruction of a soul is a much greater loss. For many people, there is a day coming that will be far worse than any hurricane. It’s a day described as having “flaming fire, punishment, and everlasting destruction.” It also has been given a name, it is called Judgment Day (Matthew 12:36; 2 Peter 3:7). Just like hurricanes, there are advance warnings and advisories about this impending disaster (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10; Revelation 20:12-15). Advice is readily available on how one can prepare and be saved from it, (Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 16:16). There will be no excuses for “riding out the storm” or “hunkering down” because everyone will either face the fury, or escape it, depending on how they have prepared (Romans 14:11).
    Hurricanes will continue to come and they will continue to be just as deadly and destructive. We must always be prepared. Judgment Day is still coming and it’s going to be very destructive to some. We must be just as prepared. Are you prepared for the next storm? More importantly, are you prepared for Judgment Day?