If we are living in the last days, then we must be prepared for those things which are coming and are even already here.
The “love of many shall wax cold.” It is all around us. This message is not about doom and gloom, it’s about being ready and being equipped for the battle in front of us.
If we ever needed to put on the whole Armor of God, it is now. The garment of Charity must be taken down from storage, dusted off and brushed for adorning.
We say we are part of God’s mighty Army. An army that does not prepare themselves, practice mock skirmishes and keep their weapons cleaned and ready for instant action is a force quickly defeated.
Paul told Timothy that in the last days, “perilous times shall come.”
What we see in the storm clouds surrounding us are the signs of which Jesus spoke. And he said, “all these are the beginning of sorrows.”
We don’t like that. We want to believe we are just going to fly out of here at any moment and miss all the troubles.
He also said that, “many would be offended and betray one another.”
Do you think we are prepared for this battle?
Do you think we are fully aware and prepared for tests we thought we might escape?
Paul used some very startling words in that passage to describe the people of these last days. I want to talk about only one: “Fierce!”
The definition of fierce is: … “of a violent, cruel nature, uncontrolled.”
Another definition from the original basic languages is, “like a wild animal.”
This is talking about human behavior, the way many people will be acting in these days.
That time is already here. I have never seen a time like this when people literally want to eat you up at the drop of a hat. Whether in the grocery, in traffic, on the street or on the job.
If the way people are driving on the roads is any indication of what they are feeling inside we are in for a rough stretch.
People are more and more becoming thoughtless, only for themselves and they will run over you to get what they want.
It doesn’t matter who it hurts, even if it endangers their own life and those around them. The economy is bad, jobs are bad, even more people are losing their homes. They’re frightened, scared and very, very angry. And they are desperate…..
I watch drivers with a car full of children, even mothers, drive insanely. People step in front of you in line as if they don’t see you, and dare you to say anything.
The least comment to someone on the street or on the job and holy war has begun. And some of this is in our homes as well as our Church peers.
People act like animals with no self-control or restraint. The least little minor event can develop into something tragic.
Road rage is scary and people’s eyes are wild. We have a culture that wants wealth and riches and will do anything they have to to get it whether it bankrupts their company, their family or the entire country. Violent in their actions and with their words.
And religious people. I have never in my life seen religious people who are so fierce.
Listen people. Politics is one thing but this spirit of violence behind some of us is incredible.
Christians here, when talking about politics and religion, are so caustic and degrading of others, it’s alarming.
We’re not prepared for battle. If we were, the weakest of our members could detect that there is something wrong with the sound of speech, something violent and off-center about how we express ourselves.
So, if this is the beginning of sorrows, and it is, what can we do. Jesus did not say we would escape these end times.
He said, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
ENDURE…. What does He mean endure?
Definition: To stand, put up with, tolerate, to hold out.
Like it or not, we are going to have to tolerate some things, we are going to have to put up with some things and we are going to have to hang on and hold out — AND keep the right spirit while we’re at it. Sounds easy.
We can go to Church and jump and jive and shout and run the aisles and I dearly love to do that, but the moment you walk out that door, LIFE will be staring you right in the face and just waiting for many of us when we walk through the doors at home or on the job the next day.
We’ll need more tolerance than we ever dreamed of. Some of us have wondered why we have had our patience tried and why everything in the world has come against us and we’ve become weary to the bone with dealing with people, especially those who ought to know better and revel in causing trouble for others.
It seems you can’t say one word you think might prepare or help others without some goody-two-shoes thinking they just have to say something to tear you down or prevent the message you are doing your best to convey.
They don’t care about the message. They’re only jealous it didn’t come from them.
So, why have we gone through hell and all else? To prepare us for these days Paul spoke about. To toughen us, raise our patience levels and get us in the habit of making the best of things and having been tried beyond measure, to keep our eyes focused on the only one who can save us anyway.
We have learned how to comfort, to lift up, to find the good in others and the enemy as well as some so-called sanctified folk can’t stand it.
Remember this, they are going to lose. When the fire gets hot, the chaff is the first to go. Being full of the Spirit is the only thing that can keep you from losing your cool.
You don’t let people run over you and you confront when you have to but a quiet spirit and soft answer STILL turns away wrath.
Avoid arguing with hard-headed and know-it-all people. Sometimes you have to be still and be quiet even when you don’t want to.
There is a time to speak but there is also a time not to speak. Don’t be baited. Always be flexible but don’t be passive or yellow.
Perilous People, Dangerous People — those who will distract us and cause us to take our eyes off of the only true sacrifice and the only salvation.
We’ll never make these end times on our own steam or self will. It will take more Spirit and stamina than most of ever thought of.
We’ll never make it on our own. Our self-sufficiency, our shallow ho-hum, ain’t everybody lovely, I just love everybody attitude is not real and just wait until this bunch starts slapping at what I am doing my best to say here.
All doom and gloom? Noway. And an ostrich better not just have it’s nose in the sand either.
If we’re coming up on a big Test, then somebody had better sound the alarm as one sister said today. This enduring is also covered under, “I can do all things through Christ!”
We can shout and dance at Church and we should but we also better make sure we are in full fighting armor when we march out into the streets.
Those who are not prepared will get run over. Those straddling the fence will have to choose. Some are going to get shot down and we’ll get one more chance to see what we do with our wounded.
The battle’s not ours. He will give us all the strength we need. But do not show up on his battlefield without your spiritual weapons. If we are naive, we are going to get broad-sided and we could lose our footing. Wise but harmless.
Endure, tolerate, put up with, hold out. If you stumble or lose it, get up, make it right and keep swinging.
Admit when you’re wrong. That’s right! Admit when you’re wrong, the sooner the better.
Reach down and pick up a fallen comrade, encourage the weak and one another. It won’t last too long.
Find those who are your true friends, cling on to them, hold on with them and fight for them like your life depended on it. It does.
The biggest lie that the perilous one has concocted lately is making you believe you are all by yourself and no one understands what you’re going through.
This battle is not going to end with a bunch of worn out, barely gonna make it leftovers. Gold. They will look like gold and then His Kingdom will shine forth brighter than the sun. Their arms are too short to box with God.
First published: August 10, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn