A Special Message About Living in the Last DaysDecember 31, 2016
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7
This is the greatest hour for the Church of Jesus Christ. A massive harvest is coming into the Church all over the world. Statistics prove that right now more people are coming to Jesus worldwide than at any other point in history. The Spirit of God is swinging the Gospel sickle, and millions upon millions of souls are being swept into the Kingdom of God. Praise the Lord! This is one of the greatest signs in evidence today that we are near to the coming of Jesus.
But right in the midst of all this, events have occurred throughout the earth that have shaken the nations of the world and filled men’s hearts with fear. I am convinced that part of this worldwide assault has been the devil’s attempt to put believers in fear so they will retreat from this worldwide Gospel advance. Although we need to be wise and do what we can to protect ourselves in times such as these, we do not need to react in fear. Fear is never the answer, for it results in blurred thinking and bad decisions.
God’s Word promises us a sound mind if we will claim it. When Timothy was facing hard times, Paul told him, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
This verse says that God has given us a “sound mind.” This comes from the Greek word sophroneo, and it is a compound of the words sozo and phroneo. The word sozo is the Greek word for salvation. It means deliverance, protection, and soundness. The word phroneo is the root for the word mind. When these two words are put together as in this verse, the new word is translated sound mind. The idea presented by the word sophroneo is a mind that is saved and protected or a mind that is sound. It is just the opposite of a mind given to fear, panic, or unfounded and unreasonable thinking. This word describes a mind that is thinking correctly!
Because God has given us a “sound mind,” we can think correctly about how to live in these last days — a time that Second Timothy 3:1 predicts will be “perilous.” The word “perilous” in that verse is the Greek word chalepos, and it literally means something that is difficult, dangerous, or filled with risk. This is a prophetic warning to let us know that those who live in the very last of the last days will be confronted with a strange period of time like mankind has never seen before. It will be a time filled with difficulty, danger, and risk.
In this last Sparkling Gem of the year, I want to give you what Denise and I believe is a sensible approach to living in these last days. To ensure that we are doing all we can to remain in the blessings of God, these are the steps my wife and I apply to our own lives. These are the Holy Spirit’s orders to Denise and me, and now I am passing them on to you as they’ve been given to us.
Living in the last days requires that we have a greater sensitivity to the Spirit of God. Romans 8:14 declares that one of the privileges of being a son of God is that the Spirit of God leads us. The word “led” is the Greek word ago. It is the picture of someone extending his hand to you so he can gently lead you.
In these last days, we must be led by the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit will lead us only if we give Him this right. Oh, how many times the Spirit of God has wanted to be our Leader, but we went our own way and ultimately suffered the consequences! He knew exactly how to lead us past every attack. He knew how to avoid each strategy of the devil.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would “…shew you things to come” (John 16:13). The word “shew” is the Greek word odegeo and is the word for a guide who shows a traveler the safest course through an unknown country. This means the Holy Spirit is our Guide. He knows the way we should go. He understands how to avoid every trap and obstacle along the way. When we are going into an area we’ve never been before, the Holy Spirit wants to show us how to take the safest route. He knows exactly how to get us safely to our future point of destination.
The Holy Spirit often stopped Jesus from going to certain regions because the Jews were waiting to trap Him. To avoid these traps, the Holy Spirit would guide Jesus another way. The Spirit also warned Paul not to go to certain places for the same reason. Also in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit warned the Early Church in advance about persecution, famine, and other trials.
The Holy Spirit knows the future and wants to enlighten us with all the information we need in every situation. This is part of His ministry to you and me.
If the Holy Spirit speaks to you and tells you to do something specific, then obey Him! Do you remember when the death angel passed through Egypt and took the firstborn of all the Egyptians? The reason Israel was unaffected was that the Israelites obeyed the instructions God gave them to put blood on the doorposts of their houses. They brushed that lamb’s blood on the doors of their homes just as God had ordered. Later when the death angel came, he passed by every home where he saw blood on the doorposts. In the end, not one of the Israelites was touched!
But what if Israel had disregarded God’s instructions and tried to protect themselves another way? Would their efforts have worked? Of course not. God told them how to be protected. All they had to do was obey. If they did what God told them, they were guaranteed protection and blessing. They were untouched because they walked in obedience. Weeping, crying, and mourning were heard in Egypt, but not in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel lived. They found protection in their obedience to the Word of God.
As we obey the Word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading, we will have wisdom to know every step we need to take in the days ahead. All we have to do is obey God’s instructions, and He guarantees us blessing and provision even in difficult times. But if we try to take another approach, there is no guarantee for us to claim. We must do what God says if we want to be assured of His divine blessing and protection.
As a spiritual leader and friend, I want to encourage you to increase your level of faith, especially if you are facing challenging times. Stand on the Word of God; exercise your faith; listen to the Holy Spirit; and obey what He tells you to do. As you do these things, God’s supernatural blessings will kick into action, and you will soon find a river of supernatural provision flowing to you.
There is no doubt that we are living in some of the most challenging days the world has ever seen. But you can face these times victoriously because God has given you a sound mind; He has given you the promises of His Word; and He has given you the leadership of His Spirit. Never has there been a more crucial time for you to operate in faith and not fear and to believe for a mighty move of God to take place on this earth!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, as an end-time believer, I need to be filled with faith and not with fear. Help me to fill my heart with Your Word, to stand on Your promises, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to exercise my faith more than ever before! I know that fear has blurred my thinking in times past, but it will NOT have any place in my life from this day forward! Instead, I release my faith and confidently expect to be a partaker in the last and greatest harvest of souls ever to be reaped for the Kingdom of God! Holy Spirit, help me rise to the occasion as I become an instrument God can use in these last days.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am filled with faith and not fear, and that I am excited to live in these last days. God has chosen for me to live in some of the most challenging days the world has ever seen, but I will face these times victoriously. He has given me a sound mind, the promises of His Word, and the leadership of His Spirit. Therefore, I will NOT retreat in fear or panic; instead, I am believing to be a part of the mightiest harvest of souls that history has ever seen!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do you listen to the Holy Spirit when He nudges your heart and gives you direction?
2. As the calendar turns and the New Year begins, what instructions has the Holy Spirit already given you regarding the next twelve months?
3. Are you spending time with the Lord so He can speak to your heart? What changes do you need to make in your life so you can spend more quality time with the Lord during the next year?