This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall 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 “exceeding 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 chaos.
- 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 Kingdom.
- 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 ask You to help me assume my role in prayer as we charge forward into the last of the last days. In these last days, everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Holy Spirit, since judgment begins at the house of God, I ask You to help me as I examine myself. I want to be certain that I live my own life worthily as I ought so that after having preached to others, I myself won’t become a castaway. Lord Jesus, I embrace my divine duty to build the Kingdom of God until You return and to lead others in taking a righteous stand to actively withstand the forces of darkness by the power of Your mighty name! Strengthen me with Your wisdom, counsel, and might to accept my responsibility to pray and to live with unflinching conviction. Father, although spiritual darkness seems to blanket the nations, You promised that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. So I refuse to allow fear to grip my heart. By the power of Your might, I know that I am exceedingly able to meet every challenge, no matter what is happening in the world around me! The darker the hour, the greater the opportunity for Christ in me — the Hope of glory — to shine brightly and be revealed to a dying world that needs His life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I live a life of increased prayer and consecration to God. In those moments when I may be tempted to think I’m too busy to pray, I will recognize that I’m just too busy and that something has to go — but it won’t be my time in the Bible or in prayer! As the days grow darker spiritually, I will become even more accountable to my church and to fellow believers because we are stronger together. I receive the wisdom of God that protects me from falling into either a ditch of legalism or of lawlessness. I keep myself in the love of God and find new avenues to work with other Christians to build God’s Kingdom. Because I increase my time spent in the Word of God, my faith increases regardless of circumstances, and I continue to pray for those in authority. It is an honor to help gather in this end-time harvest of souls. Therefore, I confess that I take my place to drive back spiritual 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. I refuse to slow down or weaken my stance of faith until the nations come to His great light and kings to the brightness of His dawn!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you sensed that we are entering the darkest time in the history of mankind? What is your Christian responsibility in regard to shining the light of the Gospel during this time?
- How do you shine the light of the Gospel in a society that is deteriorating? Can you state specific ways that you can effectively shine your light in the darkness?
- In what ways do you know that God is stirring your heart to shine His light to your family, friends, and associates?