“Tony, I am not trying to make you mad,” Julie pleaded.
“Then why do you call me and start preaching this nonsense?” Tony snapped.
“I mean do you know how ridiculous you sound? Don’t you realize that all your friends think you’ve lost it? That you are some crazy right-wing religious fanatic? A Jesus freak! Yet for some strange reason, Sis, you feel the need to call me as if there is something wrong with me?”
“I’m not saying anything is wrong with you, Tony. What I’m saying is…”
“Oh, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying that I’m going to hell, right?”
“No Tony, what I’m saying is that if you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then He says those who reject salvation seal their own fate.”
Tony, becoming more frustrated replied, “Like I said, you’re saying that since I haven’t jumped on your Jesus bandwagon, that I’m going to hell. Quit dancing around, Sis. I know perfectly well what you are getting at and I’m totally sick of it!”
“Listen, Tony, the LAST thing I want is to argue with you. I have no desire to condemn you or make you mad, but you’re my brother and I love you. What can I do to get you to listen without getting so defensive?”
“Listen to what?” Tony quipped.
“To what I’m really saying,” Julie replied.
“Okay Sis, you’ve got two minutes. I really don’t have time for this.
“Tony, you were there all those years in Sunday school. You know what I believe. You know the Bible stories. Jesus died on a cross, Tony, but why did he do it? Why did He die?”
Defensively, Tony replied, “Oh no, I’m not answering any questions. You’re the one with all the answers Sis, you go right ahead and tell me.”
Julie’s voice spoke with boldness, “Tony, he died for our sins. He took our penalty. The Bible says it and history confirms that Jesus Christ was a Man who lived and died on this earth and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Three days later, He rose again confirming His message that He truly is God. Tony, Jesus promised there would come a time when He would return. That’s why I’m calling you. Jesus is coming soon. I truly believe it!”
Tony becoming more annoyed yelled out, “No way! No way! Are you telling me that you believe that myth?”
Julie, with hurt in her voice replied, “Tony, I really do. If you read the Bible and study what it says, you’d believe it too. Israel is God’s prophetic time-piece. He said there would come a day when the whole world would focus its attention upon that tiny piece of land watching for peace to come. When has there ever been so much media attention paid to that nation as now? Demanding that they give-up land?
Tony, the Bible teaches there would come a day when global markets in unison would begin to shake and that the whole world would cry for someone to bring calm. When have you ever seen or heard of a time when entire countries are on the verge of bankruptcy, and prosperous states like California are going broke? All the news is talking about this bailout—and that bailout. The truth is there will never be a bailout. This world is going to hell and Jesus said that today is the day of salvation. Now is the appointed time, chose this day who are you going to serve. Please, Tony, I beg of you, please. I didn’t call you to hurt you or attack you, but just to tell you that I love you. My hope was that you would pray with me.”
Tony, in anger, replied, “Pray, for what?
Julie continued to put forth her case. “For Jesus to be the Lord of your life and your Savior and that He will spare you from what is to come.”
“There you go again, my “sins? What about your sins, huh? You think I don’t remember all your lies, Sis? How many times in your life have you messed up? I remember the bad things you’ve done. So forgive me if I don’t just run to my knees to try to be like you!”
Julie, in tears, said, “It’s not about being like me, Tony. It’s about realizing that the God who created you is trying to get your attention and call you unto Himself before it’s too late.”
Tony, unaware of her emotion replied, “Oh, spooky Sis! Too late, for what?”
Julie continued, “Too late to be ready to escape what’s coming, Tony. Jesus said there would come a time when He would call His people home. Right after that a season of trial would come upon this earth, such as the world has never seen, much worse than even the Holocaust.”
Tony, laughingly said, “Oh, Sis, you have lost your mind. I can’t listen to this anymore. So let me tell you this, I love you too. I appreciate what you are trying to do, but to be honest; I think you need to see a psychiatrist or something. I really do. But hey, like I said earlier, I really don’t have time for this.”
“Tony…” Julie’s voice cracked.
Hearing the sadness in her voice, he replied, “Oh Sis, please, c’mon, see, that’s why I don’t want to do this, right now.”
Julie continued with tears streaming down her face, “Tony, just promise me you’ll think long and hard about what I’ve said. I pray that you will get on your knees and call upon Jesus while there is still time.”
Tony, becoming aggravated again fired back, “Okay Sis, that’s enough. I’ve had about all I can take tonight. I’m going to hang up now. Love you, bye.” Tony turned off the phone in a rage shouting out loud, “I am so sick of her know-it-all attitude!”
Julie turned off the phone and cried, and then prayed, “Why won’t he listen, Lord?”
Over the next couple of weeks, Julie went about her life. She prayed and witnessed to other friends and family members. Urgency continued to fill her soul. Tony continued living as if there is no God, doing his own thing. Then one night just as he made himself comfortable in front of the TV, flipping through the channels, he saw an odd message scroll across the screen.
“This just in at 6:00 p.m. PST. Newsrooms are being bombarded with reports that thousands and thousands of people from all over the country and even around the world…suddenly and without warning, have just disappeared!”
Tony jumped out of his recliner. His cold beer dropped out of his hand as he rushed to pick-up his remote to turn up the volume. Shock and panic flowed through his entire body. He picked up his cell phone—frantically dialing his sister’s number. NO ANSWER! Just moments earlier, Julie had been reading some of her favorite Scriptures, winding down for the night. She had heard the words, “COME UP HERE” and was taken to be with Jesus…
She was ready!