Many of us are under more pressure than ever before.
Our world and our country is changing in ways we never dreamed of. We are often under attack from the enemy as well as our peers, often on a regular basis.
It’s time we went back to the scripture and took another look at what the apostle said about the end time, these “perilous times.”
Twenty-five years ago I heard a camp evangelist say that perilous times were not coming, but that they were already here. If he thought things were bad then, I wonder what he must think of the days we are in today.
We are in trouble, big trouble.
I don’t think the American people have yet really grasped the things that have happened to us, even since 9/11. It hasn’t sunk in completely.
The fact that our financial system almost collapsed, not just here but all over the world, having wars and rumors of wars, the housing market imploded, businesses are closing daily and people are out of work, hard working people or now homeless and now this big oil spill….. all of this, is too much.
Flying is a nightmare. We are stressed, some of us to the point of breaking. Earthquakes, volcanoes erupting; should I go on?
Keeping a cool head and not reacting in a negative manner is more difficult than many of us have known in our life times. God in us is the answer and we can make this with his help. But, we are human, very, very human.
The first thing noted about these perilous times is that people would love themselves more than any thing else. You see it everywhere on a scale not quite seen before.
The King James Bible Version used such words as “fierce” and “incontinent.” Jesus said people would be so easily offended. Have you ever seen a time when you have to be so careful what you say to people?
They will go off on you and eat you up. It seems that self-control is totally lost. There is so much anger over all the things mentioned above and so many are tense and edgy.
It would be so nice to think that our fellow Church folks are not included in this group and everyone is loving and kind to one another. It would so grand to know that all families are serene and peaceful with each other and home is a blissful haven.
What I’m trying to say is that no matter how spiritual you think you are, sooner or later you are going to lose it.
Somebody is going to say just one word too much, gouge you at just the wrong time and you’re gonna let them have it! Of course we have the super-humans and super-spirituals who’ll disagree.
Before anyone gets too well, may I remind us that even Jesus lost it a couple of times. And he even did some name calling.
You can pretend the enemy doesn’t know your weak points but you’re likely fooling yourself. We all can remember what we were told in Church many years ago.
If the devil isn’t bothering you or trying to cause you trouble, it’s because you’re no threat to him. Some will say that I am only being negative here, but I believe I am being a realist.
If the scripture is right about these times we are in, then this is just the beginning of our woes. It says evil men will wax worse and people would hate you just because you’re good and trying to do the right thing.
The news is shocking. What people are doing to one another is shocking. We will be challenged as never before and many will fall.
Keeping the right spirit will be more important than ever, forgiving and letting go a daily exercise. If the scriptures are true and I believe they are, it’s going to take more than positive thinking to survive all of this.
The power of the Holy Spirit in us is absolutely the only thing that will give us the strength we need. We need to go back to the Word and look up that term “endure” once again and study it’s meaning.
May I say in all earnestness, the fruit of the Spirit will need to be manifested in us greater than ever. It’s hard to stand against the fiery darts of the enemy if you’re hungry, if you can’t pay your bills, you don’t have a job and you can’t give your kids the things they are accustomed to.
What will you do when a neighbor wants to nag, a fellow Church goer decides to give you a hard time, or when somebody tells an outright lie on you?
We are gonna go through some things whether we like to hear it or not. Those in the Church before us were beaten, boiled, crucified and knew many woes for this Jesus and His Church.
Most of us have gone through nothing compared to that so a bit of suffering might go a long way in knocking out some of our judgmental, self-righteous attitudes.
To those who have already known suffering, maybe you have a head start. It looks like a lot of people are going to need your help.
Something came to me a few weeks ago when it seemed there had been a series of days in a row when everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong. Not picky stuff — but real peace-shattering things.
I realized something and I spoke it out. It went a bit like: “We might as well get over this hurt today and let it go, because tomorrow, there will be plenty more things to be upset about.”
Satan and his bunch and all his helpers, both human and angelic, are going to see to it. That’s very negative, I know that, but it is also real.
We simply have to do our best to keep a positive attitude, constantly look for the bright side and find every bit of the good we can in every thing and everybody.
There has never been a time when we absolutely must count our blessings. There will be days when it seems everything is wrong when everything is not wrong, it just feels that way.
We’re gonna revisit some scriptures and decide once again if we really believe them or not. Either the enemy is indeed going all over the world looking for those he can devour or he is not.
The love of many is waxing cold or it is not. And please, don’t give me these ready-made answers and heady sayings. Some of our pitty-pat form of religion and shallow knowledge of God and his ways will allow us to be some of the first ones to faint.
Tares will begin to stick up like a bad cowlick. The real people will stand and reach out while scoffers and lookalikes sit by dumbfounded without a clue.
We will have to learn when to apologize and when to say “I’m sorry!”
Some will go another step and admit, “I WAS WRONG and I should not have done that or said that.” We will fully understand what the scripture meant by “agree quickly with thine adversary.”
Being a peacemaker will be vital to diffusing angry confrontations and strive among brethren as well as neighbors.
Remembering that a soft word can turn away wrath, will save a lot of situations at home from getting out of hand and us saying things we will regret later.
In no way does this imply that we should let people run over us, or not stand up for ourselves, and that sometimes we won’t have to speak words of correction, or tell someone the truth they may not want to hear.
But how we say it and what spirit we say it in, is going to impact all situations like never before.
Some of us have somewhat of a bad temper… Hello? And others have a sharp tongue. Yelling at someone in traffic today can get you killed.
Speaking back to someone who is being rude can start an event that can get out of hand. Those of us who think we just have to make some kind of answer or remark to everyone are going to have to learn to zip our lip.
It’s not our place to correct everybody. Whether we are right or not, there are times when keeping our mouth shut is the best thing, especially when it just makes the situation worse.
We will have to learn to ignore some things and some people. I believe the scripture said somewhere that if they be ignorant, let them be ignorant.
If you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t care about what you’re saying and does not intend to listen or change their behaviour anyway, why push it.
You might as well save your breath and your effort for something or someone who does want to work with you and appreciates the things you have to say. Hey! Sounds very easy doesn’t it?
I can tell you, I already had to put these things in practice last evening before I wrote this today. It’s called “Practice what you Preach!”
Sometimes I think I’m right and I’m not. You’ll never be so spiritual that you don’t need to listen to what other people have to say.
We’re going to have to admit when we are wrong, not ten days later, but promptly, as soon as we realize it.
Forget the idea that this shows weakness. It shows meekness and honesty and it will encourage people to trust you and some will even admit their faults and seek peace.
Don’t worry about the fakers, the egoists, the self-righteous or the hypocrites. They will begin to perish like the chaff in the wind the scriptures talk about.
This is trying time. Only those with the real goods will stand in these days.
Nothing but the genuine power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost and all of the fruit that goes with it will defeat the enemy, whether he flies in dark places or walks on two feet.
We will pray differently and more than ever before and healing will come to us and those about us.
One last thing I almost forgot.
One of the last things Jesus said before he hung his head and died was, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Some people truly do not realize what they are doing to us. They really don’t or they really don’t understand.
There is no use in continuing to feel hurt toward them either past or present or when we do we just have to let it go.
We think everyone can do better. Perhaps some can’t or they would. He forgave them, I can’t. But Jesus in me can!
First published: June 4, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn