IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: LIVING, SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN PERILOUS TIMES
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days”
II Timothy 3:1
The “last days” will be fierce, violent, dangerous and frightening. Here’s another word you could use: In the last days, savage times will come as men cast off all moral restraint and society begins to disintegrate.
In 1988 evangelical philosopher and theologian Carl Henry made a stunning prediction in his book, Twilight of a Great Civilization (Crossway Books). He said that as America progressively loses its Judeo-Christian heritage, paganism would grow bolder. What we saw in the last half of the 20th-century was a kind of benign humanism, but he predicted that by the start of the 21st-century, we would face a situation not unlike the first-century when the Christian faith confronted raw paganism—humanism with the pretty face ripped off, revealing the angry monster underneath. His words have come true, and are coming truer with every passing day.
So Paul warns Timothy, “After I am gone, things are going to get worse before they get better. Buckle up, Timothy. Terrible times are coming.” That’s why Paul said, “Mark this,” or “Understand this,” or “Pay attention to this.” Don’t be naïve and think that everything is going to be okay. It’s not all going to be okay. But forewarned is forearmed. If we know what is going to happen, we won’t be surprised when it does.
The first five verses of II Timothy 3
offer a sobering catalogue of corruption. In a sense, this is a shorter version of Romans 1:18-32. This is what happens when a nation turns its back on God. First, there is a total rejection of God. People are unholy, ungrateful, lovers of themselves, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. This leads to a total moral collapse. People become lovers of money, conceited, without love toward others, boastful, proud, unforgiving, conceited, “not lovers of what is good.” Finally, there is the total breakdown of society. People will be treacherous, rash, slanderous, brutal, disobedient to parents, abusive and without self-control. That last phrase means that in the end, anything goes. No rules, no moral absolutes, no restraints of any kind. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and woe to the person who dares to question his “lifestyle choices.” Side note: It’s interesting that Paul includes “disobedient to parents.” It may seem too trivial to be in such a solemn list, but for Paul, disobedience is the spark that ignites the flame that leaves the home in ashes. (Is it any wonder that divorce has become commonplace or that many people want to redefine marriage to allow for homosexuals to marry each other? Answer: No, it’s not surprising, and we haven’t reached the bottom of the pit of moral degradation.) In the light of Bible prophecy, we should expect that as we approach the end times, all these things will increase in intensity and frequency, until we have the situation portrayed in the Book of Revelation, the total implosion of the social order as men utterly rebel against God and destroy themselves and the world in the process. Perhaps this is why Jesus said that unless those days were shortened, no one would survive (Matthew 24:22).
Some time ago as I was praying the Lord began to deal with me about preaching on God’s Survival Plan for Perilous Times. We are living in perilous times. The word perilous means dangerous. Webster’s Dictionary defines perilous as “involving peril, which means exposure to harm or injury, danger or peril.”
How do we survive and thrive in perilous times? There are three important things that we must do:
We must live in God’s provision. We must learn to live by the promises of God. In these last days we will have to trust Him as our provider. He is looking for a people who will live in His miraculous provision.
We must trust God for our protection. His protection will come through our relationship with Him. The 91st Psalm is known as the protection Psalm. We must learn to claim this promises as our own and stand together in faith for His protection over our lives.
We must live in the power of His Spirit through prayer. If we truly believe that we are living in the last days, then we must live in the power of His Spirit. James 5:16 teaches, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
We are living in perilous times, but we do not have to be afraid. Jeremiah 29:11 reveals that God has a plan for each of our lives. He has a strategy to bless you and keep you safe even in times of uncertainty and difficulty.
We can live in victory regardless of circumstances or what the news reports are saying — by knowing God’s promises of provision and protection and releasing your faith to receive.
Those who know the Lord and learn to follow after the peace in their heart can avoid trouble. By faith you can rise above the faulty world system and prosper with the favor of God.
We are not to let fear or anxiety consume our thinking, dominate our minds or take hold of our hearts.
Darkness is certainly coming and judgment is at our very door. But as God’s people, we cannot allow any cloud of darkness to hide the great light of his promises of love and mercy toward his people. We must be well informed by God’s Word and his prophets, but we are not to dwell on prophetic knowledge so much that it takes over our lives.
The devil would love for this to happen. He knows he can’t get us to doubt the Lord’s Word concerning judgment, so he will attempt to take us to another extreme and drive us to a fearful obsession with perilous times.
Simply put, Satan wants to rob you of all hope by consuming you with foreboding thoughts. But you cannot figure out the future through being totally preoccupied with this. In reality, it can get you bogged down in fear and obsessing about frightful events.
The apostle Paul reassures us with this instruction: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, my italics).
In other words: “You have heard all the warnings. Now, take heed to what God’s Word reveals and to what his watchmen are saying. And, finally, fix your thoughts on Jesus and his goodness.”
In a time when great judgments were falling on the nation all around him, Isaiah testified he had a double portion of peace.
The same wonderful outlook that Isaiah had in the perilous times of his day is available to us also. This promise of rest applies to “all whose minds are stayed on him.”
Isaiah was overwhelmed by what he saw happening in the world around him. But Scripture reveals he enjoyed great peace. How did he come into such a place of peace, with everything he saw? There were two reasons for it:
First, as judgments were poised to strike the nations, Isaiah was in constant communion with God in prayer. “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee” (Isaiah 26:8). Isaiah was prepared for anything because he was already “praying without ceasing.”
I must ask you: as the storm rages, are you going to the Lord in prayer, as Isaiah did? If you are, then you’re gaining strength, because your mind is becoming fixed on your sovereign heavenly Father’s love, and he is continually revealing his power to you and encouraging you that you’ll make it through.
It is not God’s will that any of his children face the perilous times ahead with paralyzing fear.
The Lord does not desire that biblical prophecies and warnings frighten us. Instead, here is Jesus’ heart on the matter, stated very plainly: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
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