We are living in turbulent times.
And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:25-26
Signs, distress, perplexity, shaking and times in which people will literally be scared to death because of their fear of the future. In 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul warns us about these days: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. The word perilous means: hard to bear, troublesome, dangerous, harsh, fierce, savage.
2 Timothy 3:1 in the Amplified says, “But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].”
We were born into a dangerous world during stressful times. Paul told Timothy to “understand this”. These aren’t the happy days that your parents told you about when they were growing up. We need to realize that we aren’t on a Christian tour of planet earth, but we are in the middle of a great battle for the souls of men. The stakes are high and the enemy of all mankind is desperate and will do anything in his power to destroy as many lives as he can.
I think it is important to stay informed. We need to be aware of the world around us and always be ready to seize the moment and recognize opportunities. However, there is a delicate balance between staying informed and being infuriated at the condition of the world or frightened over the future. There are some big time issues that will affect all of our lives in the days ahead and the following are just a few.
In the US they have been printing money like there is no tomorrow, the value of the dollar is going down, jobs are being lost. The national debt is out of control. People are ready to riot at the drop of a hat, racial tension, political tension, financial tension is at an all time high.
Europe is even worse. Nations are on the verge of bankruptcy, as they try to cut spending people are rioting in the streets. The future of the EU is in doubt. No one knows how to fix it. But everyone knows that spending more than you take in sooner or later spells disaster and try as they might, the day of reckoning is at hand.
In the middle east they continue their saber rattling. Only now it’s with nuclear weapons. In the past, those who had them did not have the will to use them and those who had the will to use them didn’t have them. That’s changing, those who have vowed to use weapons of mass destruction are on the verge of getting them. The world is changing and becoming a very dangerous place. Even if this were the only problem we were facing, any disturbance in the middle east that disrupts the flow of oil to the rest of the world, especially the US, could cause the economies of the world to collapse.
What do we do? Obsessing over the problems, and there are many, is not the answer. I have spent a lot of time looking at world events by reading various publications and listening to and watching the news. I believe the world is changing before our very eyes. We are living at an historic time in history and we are surrounded by much uncertainty, but there is a way to live victoriously in Christ even in perilous times.
I believe God has given me two powerful principles to help us live in the end times without losing our minds. We must be proactive and not let fear or anger slip up on us. I believe these two principles are life changing, they have helped me tremendously and they will help prepare you for whatever comes.
1. We must not fight in battles where we don’t belong.
It seems that everyone is on edge. Tension between people is at an all time high. People are touchy and resentful. Jokes aren’t funny because people don’t want to laugh at themselves anymore. We must look for ways to diffuse explosive situations without taking sides. There are people and groups who profit from chaos and escalating tensions and violence, there are those who want to further their ungodly agendas by mass hysteria and anger. The enemy is behind all of this, we must not fall into these traps.
We must not let lies and hype pit us one against another. (Republicans against Democrats, rich against poor, white against black, Mexican against American, Muslim against Christian) We are god’s representatives, the family of God, we have a message for a frightened, angry world and it’s peace on earth good will toward men. We are the light of the world. It’s time to let our light shine. We shouldn’t take sides, we stand with God and are in favor of helping all people, every creature. No one is off limits. No one is too hateful to love, so lost they can’t be found, so broken they can’t be fixed, so sinful they can’t be forgiven. That’s the beauty of our message, it has the potential to work for every person.
Refuse to take on someone else’s offence. There are many injustices in the world and some will have to be settled after this life is over. And be assured they will, every wrong will be righted, the motives of hearts will be revealed and every tear will be wiped away. Until then, we love all people and should be willing to help anyone find the Savior.
It’s so easy to be caught up in other causes, but we already have a cause, the cause of Christ, we already have something to be passionate about, the salvation of the world! We’ve been given our marching orders. We have good news for the world. We preach this gospel to every creature.
One day this will all be over and what will matter most is whether you loved or hated, did you fear or believe, did you help or hurt your fellow man, were you part of the problem or part of the answer? God has His agenda, if we’ll get involved with His plans, we’ll succeed and we can help people along the way. Replace bitterness and resentment with the love of God and refuse to engage in battles where you don’t belong!
2. We must not worry about things we can’t change.
I’m not talking about living in a stress free environment, that would be impossible. There is a difference between being stress free and being worry free. A certain amount of stress is normal when living your life, holding a job or raising a family. It’s worry we have to deal with, and especially about things we can’t change. The ancient Mayans predicted 2012 would be the year the world comes to an end. People have speculated about what this means with great concern. My response is, “What’s the bad news?” I can work the end of the world into my schedule. I always have time for Heaven! We can’t do anything about it so why worry about it.
We don’t have to be ignorant about what is going on around us to be happy. We can stay informed and continue to trust God. But we must learn to immediately identify the things in life that we can’t change. We must do what we can including prayer, voting, being responsible at work and at home. If we do what we can, God will do what we can’t. We are required to do what we can within the realm of our responsibility and refuse to worry about the rest.
“ Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
If you read further in chapter 6 it’s as if Jesus is surprised that we would ever worry about our well being since God is our Father. He has it all under control. In Matthew 10:30 Jesus tell us, “the very hairs on your head are numbered.” God knows more about you than you know about yourself.
It’s time to defeat worry and not allow it to rob you of your peace and even your health. The person who does not deal with worry will only be happy when there are no more problems in life. That day may never come!
In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us what to do about worry:
Be anxious for nothing [NKJV]
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything [Amplified]
That includes everything. If God told us to do it then we can do it, but it may take some practice. What else can we do besides worry? He goes on to tell us:
but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Pray about the things that bother you that you have no power to change, then place them in God’s hands and refuse to worry. He said prayer and supplication, that’s praying with more umph! Some things are not so easily turned over to God, in those cases supplication or more intense praying may be necessary. But the effort is worth the results.
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
That peace is what we are looking for and it comes by refusing to worry about anything and praying about everything! Replace worry with peace, that’s a good exchange. We can be happy and joyful in these last days but it may take a little practice.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. [NKJV] 1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Amplified]
Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. [The Message Bible]
Let’s declare a war on worry and live the life God has commanded us to live! By putting these simple principles to work on a daily basis, refusing to fight in battles where we don’t belong and casting all our care upon Him, we can enjoy a lifetime of carefree living even in perilous times.