2 Timothy 3: 1 - 6, But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! NKJV
Please take the time to read the entire word today, because I believe it was given by the Lord specifically for the days we're living in.
When Paul describes the last days, he gives us valuable insights into what will be the root cause for the trouble that erupts. All the things Paul lists get their root from self-sufficiency... not depending on God through faith in His Word. He describes the last days as being perilous times, because some people will have a form of godliness, but deny its power. Basically, people will try to be godly apart from the righteousness of God in Christ. When society becomes self-sufficient, this opens the door for Satan to destroy through corruption.
When the world is at peace, and there are no threats of war or calamity, the people of the land don't have to be on guard. They can live in a sense of security that the world is safe. You don't have to take things as seriously as you do when the world is filled with peril. On September 11, 2001, America had a wakeup call that told us that we were now living in perilous times. People listened to all kinds of news agencies and broadcasts seeking information and direction. As the people of this nation and the world watched with unspeakable horror, they began to hang onto every word that was broadcast over the airways. We heard that President Bush was safe and was in the air with the protection of the Air Force. We also heard that all flights were grounded and made to land wherever they happened to be at the time... instead of flying into their original destinations. You see, things changed instantaneously and dramatically when perilous times erupted.
Life becomes very serious, and what you hear takes on a greater weight than before the trouble struck. Why do you suppose humans get serious only after trouble strikes as opposed to being careful or observant at all times? Could it be because we enjoy living life on our own terms? Paul teaches us in today's scripture that living this way can open a door that will lead us into becoming self-sufficient. The Sunday following 9/11, churches began to see an influx of new people filling the pews. We watched as people, who before that terrible day ignored God, now, all of a sudden find a new reason to worship Him. I'm writing this to say that when trouble hits, people turn to Lord and away from self. Why? Because things have become very serious, and they realize that everything in their life depends on what they hear and how they respond.
We're told in Psalms 91 that there is a secret place for those who place their trust in the Most High God. The psalmist writes, "Only with our eyes shall we see the reward of the wicked, but it will not come near us." It is our faith in the Lord and His Word that keeps us from calamity during perilous times. God wants us to trust in Him and live soberly or watchful. He doesn't want us to indulge in the pleasures of this world at the expense of listening and heeding to His Word for us. We see trouble as the biggest threat to our well being, but God views self-sufficiency as the biggest enemy to our souls; let's allow Him to help us keep our "self" nature from destroying us.
In conclusion, if you will read Deuteronomy 8, you will find that God allowed His chosen people to experience some tough times. In this chapter, God tells us the reason He allowed His chosen people to suffer hunger; it was so that they would become humble and trust in God... not in self. They needed to be at a place in their walk with the Lord that they would live by every Word that proceeded from the mouth of God...and not depend only on the daily bread that sustained them.
If you're a pastor who receives these devotions, this is a word of encouragement for you to seek God for direction as never before. The flock of God doesn't need to get into fear, but be led by the Spirit of God through these troubling times. Seek the Lord diligently, because He hasn't forsaken us; He is challenging us to turn to Him with our whole hearts. The Lord's direction will calm our fears, reinforce our faith, and give us the peace we will need to live in a volatile world. Remember saints, we're in this world, but we're not of this world, because we place our trust in the Lord. Be encouraged today and know that our God is still in control; He desires His people to hear His voice... that He might bless us even in perilous times. God bless you today; that is my prayer for you and your family.
In the Secret Place,