Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea.
— Acts 11:29
I have no doubt in my mind that we are facing the most serious time in the history of mankind. Jesus warned of impending floods, earthquakes, and wars as we approach the end of the age. These calamities will become more and more frequent in the days ahead — but how we deal with them is up to us. We can respond in fear, or we can be prepared and rise up in faith to seize the hour for the spreading of the eternal Gospel.
There are numerous instances in Scripture where believers prepared themselves for difficult times after being forewarned. In Matthew 24:1-8, Jesus Himself warned the Early Church that trying circumstances lay ahead in their future, and instead of succumbing to worry and panic, these believers continued to believe and work and prosper. Another example is found in Acts 11:27-30, which tells of believers in Antioch who were warned by the Spirit of an impending famine and then began to set aside food and prepare for the coming crisis.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Notice that when these believers heard this warning from the Spirit, they were “determined” to take action. The Greek word for “determined” is horidzo, which means to be bound or to be obligated. In other words, these believers didn’t hoard their prosperity in times of need. Bound by a sense of covenant obligation as fellow believers, they determined to act. Working together in unity, the believers in Antioch prepared a relief offering to send to the church in Jerusalem so the money could be distributed to believers in need. The action of the Antioch congregation before a time of crisis made them God’s agents of provision and deliverance for others when the crisis actually occurred.
Today the Church’s response to crises is often fractured, disorganized, and negatively influenced by poor doctrine. In the face of an impending catastrophe, one camp’s strategy is to run and hide, whereas another will deny that the crisis even exists at all. Both of these strategies ultimately produce the same result: They prevent the Church from demonstrating God’s manifold wisdom to the world.
There’s no way to avoid the end-time prophecies outlined in the Bible — troubles will increase on the earth in the days ahead. However, these troubles are prime opportunities for those of us who know God and are called according to His purposes. By God’s power, we can walk in faith through every fiery trial and become sources of supernatural provision to meet the needs of those who are suffering, demonstrating His love, grace, and wisdom to those who don’t yet know His saving power in their lives.
Even if days of darkness lie in the future, these are not days to fear. Rather, they are opportunities for you to rise up as a man or woman of faith and do great things for the Kingdom of God. These are days for you to demonstrate that you are a member of the Church of Almighty God and that you will meet the needs of the lost and hurting. Just as God used the church of Antioch to meet the severe needs of believers in Jerusalem — this is your moment to shine! But in order to be God’s hand of deliverance and provision, you must plan and prepare. Are you praying about how to prepare so God can use you mightily in these last times?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, there is no doubt in my mind that we are living in the last of the last days. The challenges in our future are unlike any faced by the previous generations. Jesus warned of impending calamities as we approach the end of the age. He did not warn us of these difficulties to scare us but to prepare us. Holy Spirit, I trust You for the wisdom I need in order to plan and be prepared in every area of my life for what lies ahead. I ask You to make me Your hand of deliverance and provision for others as You equip and enable me to meet the severe needs of those who are suffering in these difficult times.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Therefore, I am well organized and prepared for any dark days that lie ahead. I rise up in faith and boldly seize the hour for the spreading of the eternal Gospel. I remain sensitive to and in touch with the Spirit of God, and He teaches me how to prepare as He leads me according to truth and shows me things to come. God has blessed me so I can be a blessing to others. I have resolved to be an expression of God’s hope and blessing; therefore, He will bless me with resources and provisions that I can share with those who are in need.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever considered how God wants to use you to help people in times of distress? In what ways are you prepared to help people in times of distress? What steps could you take to get better prepared?
- Think of how God used the church at Antioch to help suffering believers in Jerusalem. Because God spoke to them — and they listened — they were prepared to help those who were in need. Are you listening to what the Holy Spirit is telling you about the days to come?
- Joseph is a great example of a believer who prepared for difficult times. Because He listened to God’s voice and prepared, Joseph was a blessing in hard times. In fact, God used him to provide for an entire nation! Can you think of ways to emulate Joseph and prepare to help the people God has placed in your life?