This know also, that in the last days perilous times will come.
— 2 Timothy 3:1
I’ve dedicated numerous Sparkling Gems to Second Timothy 3 in this second volume (see May 10-18). The reason for this is that I am convinced we are entering the last of the last days and that the days ahead will be the most challenging period the Church has ever faced. In this verse, Paul prophesied, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times will come.” This word “perilous” is the Greek word chalepos, which means dangerous or difficult. It is translated in Matthew 8:28 as “exceedingly fierce.” So when Paul prophesied by the Spirit that the last days would be “perilous,” he was saying that the end times would be dangerous, difficult, and exceedingly fierce.
This truth was reinforced in me several years ago as I traveled by airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. As I looked out the window of the plane, I saw a vision unfold before me. It was as if someone suddenly pulled a cord to draw back a curtain separating the natural realm from the spiritual realm, and an entirely different picture came into clear view. Before me, I saw what appeared to be ominous, swirling black clouds spreading rapidly across the landscape of the world. I understood that I was seeing demonic forces that are currently attempting to spread and exert their influence.
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I immediately turned to Denise and said, “The spirit realm just opened up before me, and I witnessed a vast buildup of demonic activity occurring over the nations of the world. It is an attempt to wage war for the control of the nations just before the Second Coming of Jesus.”
This supernatural vision made a great impression on me as I considered the seriousness of this hour, and it alerted me to step it up in my God-given role as a leader in His Church and call the Body of Christ to action. This is a time when we in the Christian community should not only pray more — we should also work together closely to see God’s purposes brought forth on the earth.
In these last days, everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Since judgment begins at the house of God, we must first be certain our own lives are lived worthily so that, having preached to others, we ourselves don’t become castaways. We then have the divine duty to lead others in taking a righteous stand, actively engaging the forces of darkness, and claiming the nations in Jesus’ name.
If you are in a leadership role in your church, I encourage you to work on implementing the following steps both in your personal life and in your church to a greater degree than ever before. These steps will strengthen your spirit and prepare others to stand firm against the enemy’s strategies in the days ahead.
- Increase your prayer in your church, ministry, and personal life. If you’re too busy to pray, you are too busy.
- Be open to establishing increased order and accountability in your church or ministry. Christians are usually in one ditch or the other, creating either a dogmatic order that steals their liberty in Christ or an overly relaxed tolerance that unleashes lawlessness and
- Besides encouraging fellowship with believers from other parts of the Body, find new avenues to work together with other Christians to accomplish the business of God’s
- Walk in faith, regardless of the circumstances!
As for the clouds I saw in the spirit, they were very dark and perilous. But I want to exhort you not to allow fear to grip your heart as you witness what is happening in the world around you. We have been called by a mighty and all-powerful God, and together we are exceedingly able to meet every challenge!
Long ago the prophet Isaiah declared what the role of God’s people would be when darkness blanketed this world system in the last days: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV).
Our role is clear: We must stand together to drive back the darkness with the light of the Gospel so Jesus can be exalted and the transforming power of God can be displayed to this generation as never before. It’s our honor to have a part in bringing in this end-time harvest of souls. But to fulfill our respective roles in this divine plan, we must refuse to slow down or weaken our stance of faith until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God’s glory (see Habakkuk 2:14)!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, I make a fresh commitment to start each day by lifting my voice to You. Each morning, Lord, I will rise and present my life to You, waiting expectantly for what You will speak to my heart. I ask Your forgiveness for all the times I foolishly launched into my day without having read your Word, sought Your face, or consulted the Holy Spirit whom You sent to be my Counselor, Helper, and Guide. Father, how arrogant and misguided of me to believe I could walk effectively in wisdom and truth without having submitted myself to You first. Only through rich fellowship with You can I produce fruit that remains. Forgive me for mistaking busyness for fruitfulness. I abide in You and let Your words abide in me. I treasure the words of Your mouth more than my necessary food. Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me order my day and to keep it set around giving my time with the Father first place from this day forward.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I do not neglect my time in a “solitary place” with God. I deliberately designate an off-limits time and place where I can have deep, meaningful, and uninterrupted fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus arose a great while before day to meet with the Father and then emerged from His solitary times renewed in power, I come forth from my daily times refreshed, reinvigorated, filled with new ideas, and empowered for my day. These moments of solitude with the Father keep my heart sensitive and yielded to Him while equipping me to possess my daily victory in the power of His might!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you have a “solitary place” where you meet with God every day? What time of the day do you set aside for this special moment? Is it in the morning, at lunch, or in the evenings before you go to bed?
- It may be hard for you to rise early, but I strongly suggest that you develop a discipline of rising early before your day gets started so that you can be touched, refreshed, and empowered for whatever you will face each day. What earlier time could you start getting up to spend this time in prayer?
- Do you feel that you actually know how to fellowship with the Lord in prayer? If not, don’t be embarrassed. Get an online Bible-reading plan and start there, fellowshipping with the Lord as you read His Word. As the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart about certain verses, stop and reflect on them. Let His words sink deep into your heart. That is an excellent starting point!