America is on a collision course with Almighty God. For too long we have ‘done that which is right in our own eyes’. “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” We are quickly approaching the slaying of sixty million innocent lives. These precious gifts from God we have butchered more brutally than we do our cattle. It’s time to pay the Potentate, the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. My late father, Leonard Ravenhill, said repeatedly prior to his death, “God is going to have to destroy the economy of this nation in order to get out attention.” His word is rapidly coming to pass. Like the days of Haggai, God is punching our national purse with holes because we have failed to give Him the place of honor He so rightly deserves. Regardless of whatever steps Washington takes to resolve this crisis, God will continue His loving discipline until we turn from our wicked ways and seek His face.
During these times of national crisis it is vitally important that we press into God as never before. Here are some practical as well as Biblical guidelines for survival.
1. Love PASSIONATELY not PASSIVELY
Jesus warned us that in the last days, “The love of many would wax cold”. We need to guard our hearts from complacency, apathy, and the tendency of becoming lukewarm. Repent of any indifference to the things of God and ask Him to rekindle again that first love. We can readily deceive ourselves into thinking everything is OK. After all I’m not involved in any gross sin. I’m attending church regularly. Yet we can easily become drowsy like the five foolish virgins and not be ready for His appearing. Praise Him wholeheartedly, thank Him continually, and adore Him incessantly.
2. Live FRUGALLY not FEARFULLY
During times of economic hardship we need to tighten out belts and use some restraint. God has promised to supply all our needs but not our greeds.” For God has not given us a spirit of fear but …self control” Proverbs tells us to ‘consider the ant and be wise’ by saying “ she gathers her provisions in the harvest.” In other words, during times of plenty she sets aside provision for times of lack. Yes, God is able to multiply food as in the case of feeding the five thousand, but lets not forget that He gathered up the fragments so nothing was lost.
3. Give CHEERFULLY not RELUCTANTLY
When facing financial difficulties we are often prone to cut back on giving. This is possibly the worst thing to do. Let me encourage you to reread the book of Haggai. When God’s people put their own needs first, God began to make holes in their purses. I believe God honors those who give their firstfruits and even makes their provisions stretch further. Consider the widow who was down to her last measure of meal but who selflessly provided for God’s servant, Elijah. The result was that God, provided for her needs and those of her family. One word of caution: Do not be taken in by those who constantly seek to manipulate you through the promise of 30, 60 ,100 fold returns if you give to their specific cause. If they really believed that, then they would be sowing into your life and reaping the rewards. Take your tithes to the storehouse.
4. Trust EXPLICITLY not EMOTIONALLY
John Bunyan wrote:
“Feelings come and feelings go but feelings are deceiving.
My warrant is the Word of God naught else is worth believing.”
God’s Word remains true regardless of our feelings or emotional state. We may feel alone, neglected, and anxious about the future and wonder whether or not God really cares about us. These are times when we need to trust His promises. “I will never leave you or forsake you” “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.” “His promises are Yes, and Amen (final) in Christ.” God’s resources are limitless and His love for us is endless – how can we fail?
5. Meet REGULARLY not INFREQUENTLY
When times are hard we tend to isolate ourselves and withdraw from fellowship with other believers. We are encouraged in God’s Word to “neglect not the assembling of yourselves together and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Now more than ever before we need the support and encouragement of other like-minded believers.
God sets the solitary in families. Don’t avoid the family of God. They need you as much as you need them. We were never created to dwell alone. Remember two are better than one because if one stumbles the other is there to lift him up. I believe we are going to see an increase in home fellowship meetings in the coming years. It may well be that persecution is just around the corner. After all, Jesus warned us that “We would be hated by ALL nations for His name sake.” (Note there is no exception clause in there for the USA)
6. Pray FERVENTLY not OCCASIONALLY
God is a very present help in times of need or trouble. Tragically for some, that is the only time they ever seem to pray.
We should pray without ceasing. Not simply as a means of supply but because we desire His presence. While He has promised to meet our every need, we don’t use God for our own selfish ends. Prayer permits us to have fellowship with the one who holds all things together by the word of His power. Prayer is an honored privilege and should rank as our highest priority. Peter exhorts us, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be of sound judgment…for the purpose of prayer.” The more we press into God the more we will know His voice, which is critical during seasons like these.
7. Look EXPECTANTLY not INDIFFERENTLY
There is a tendency during times like these to fix our eyes on our circumstances, and allow ourselves to be swallowed up by fear and depression. This is the time to “Look off unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Our future is not one of uncertainty but of a blessed hope. Jesus challenged us; “When you see these things begin to take place, look up; for your redemption draws nigh.” Like a woman in labor who knows that the travail will end with the birth of a glorious child so likewise we too must face the present difficulties with the anticipation of a glorious end. “To those who look for Him He will appear…”
8. Work TIRELESSLY not LAZILY
This is not a season to throw in the towel but to rise up with a new determination to finish the task we have been assigned. Revelation tells us “the devil has come down, knowing his time is short.” Shame on us if we allow the enemy to gain the upper hand because of our indifference to the call of God. The night cometh when no man can work, therefore we need to work while it is day. As these difficult times increase, the unsaved multitudes are going to be looking for answers. If we fail to reach them for Christ, the enemy will certainly gain the upper hand . The Master of the vineyard is still offering top salaries to those who enlist at this final hour of the harvest. Eternity is just around the corner. What we do now will have eternal consequences. Lift up your eyes. The fields are white and ready for harvest.