The Coming Hard Times
In the coming hard times, we will be tested. Your score on this
future test of life is determined by how much you know before the test
is given. Sounds like school doesn't it? Life is like school. Some
people constantly learn, grow, and achieve. Others are in school all day
but never learn. Our attitude about our present circumstances goes a
long way toward determining how good a grade we get. Some people are
incredibly good students. The good student takes advantage of every
opportunity to grow and achieve. The poor student walks through the
circumstances of life and gives no attention to his or her surroundings.
In a religious sense, God, through the Holy Spirit, tries to reach us
and teach us every second. God speaks to us, tries to instruct us, and
tries to guide us. Some persons try to tune into what God speaks about
and other persons either reject God entirely or ignore God as the Great
Teacher. In real life as in school, some persons pay attention and some
In real life on the street, the success of our life is not determined
by money in the bank, the net worth of our stock portfolio, or the
amount of land and goods we own. In real life on the street, the
determinant of success is our willingness to follow God's will in all
the aspects of our life. Some people get a well-deserved "F"
on their report card of life for they ignore God. The "F"
student ignores the instructions and teachings of God. The "F"
student remains doomed to a life of rebellion, crime, depression, anger,
hurt, resentment, and the consequences ignoring God and His love. What
the "F" student and even some "A" students do not
realize is that the grade we get in life is the grade we essentially
give ourselves. We all do our homework or ignore our homework. The grade
on our reports handed in, the grade we get on the daily quiz, and the
grade for participating in the class of life depends more upon us than
any other factor. In our present day life and in our life in the future
we have incredible opportunities to learn and grow.
In the future, adversity will come and fall upon us like a bad storm.
What will we do? Will we sit idly by as the foundation of our life
washes away or will we try to gather the water and redirect its power?
Will we put gutters on our house to catch the water and direct it away
from our home to protect our foundations from being undermined? Will we
do advanced planning now so we can prepare for what the future brings?
In our present world, in the world of the past, and in the world of
the future, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance means disaster when tough
times come. Ignorance gets us an "F" on the test in school and
ignorance gets us an "F" on the test of life. It is a grave
mistake to not be aware of what God expects.
It is a grave mistake to not prepare in advance for the test of life
by hard studying and application of God's word. Each of us instinctively
knows what material will be on the test because the questions and
answers have already been given to us in nearly every aspect of life.
In these uncertain times, many people run to prophets to see what the
future holds. Like a student in school who wants the answers to the test
in advance, the prophecy dependent person wants to know ahead of time
what will be on the test. Like a student looking for the easy way out of
studying, the prophecy dependent person tries to avoid doing the hard
work of preparing and studying. Many people will take their chances life
and will not study or prepare for the future. Like the student in school
who remains hopeful that the test will be easy and that he or she
already knows the answers, many will not prepare themselves emotionally
and spiritually for the tough times ahead. Perhaps you believe the test
in the coming days will be a multiple choice and that you can guess
right. Perhaps you can guess right on the next test, perhaps you can
guess right about the test after that one. However, eventually your
ignorance will catch up with you. Yes, you can take your chances.
However, like school, your lack of preparation, your lack of attention,
and your lax attitude will catch up with you. When we refuse to live as
God wants us to live or try to get by with just a minimum of work to
please Him, the tests of life eventually catch up to us. Every day is a
day we go to school. Every day is an opportunity to learn as much as we
can. Every day represents an opportunity to soak up the wisdom that God
wants us to absorb.
There are hard times ahead. Our survival as a child of God depends
upon our willingness to follow God's instructions. In the coming days,
will you delight in small things, will you praise God in every
circumstance, will you count your blessings one by one? In the future,
will you constantly look back over your shoulder at what was in the past
and bemoan your loss or will you rejoice in the joy of Christ's love of
the present? Will you grieve for the "good old days" or praise
God for His blessings in the here and now? Will you stop for a while,
meditate on the Lord's wonderful beauty and grace, or will you be so
caught up in the difficulty of your circumstances you do not see Him,
hear Him, or experience Him?
In the hard times ahead, many people will lose all their worldly or
material goods. All their worldly dreams and worldly aspirations will
evaporate into thin air. At these moments, the Lord is constantly
teaching, showing, and demonstrating that He loves us and is with us.
When we lose everything, we have an opportunity to either find out how
much God truly loves us or we can turn away from God and mistakenly
blame Him for our misfortune. In the hard times ahead, will we pray for
guidance and an opportunity to do God's will or will we pray for a
restoration of worldly things? In the hard times ahead, we will have an
opportunity to find out who truly loves us and cares about us. If we
find out that we have no friends, will we finally learn we have a friend
in Jesus? In this world, when we learn we have no earthly foundation
upon which to stand, will we learn that Christ is our only firm
foundation? When this world assaults us from every direction and we have
no place to hide from the world's onslaughts, will we learn that Christ,
the Rock of Ages past, does indeed cleft for thee? Will we learn that,
in Christ, we have a shelter from the storms of life? In God's classroom
of life, will we learn about the freedom that forgiveness brings or will
we remain in the prison of revenge?
Will we learn anything in the coming dark days or will we be consumed
and victimized by the circumstances that befall our lives? The outcome
of the coming test can be determined by us today. We can write our own
future. We do no need a prophet to tell us what will happen in the
future because we can prepare ourselves for the test in advance. We can
prepare ourselves spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, and
mentally. Each day, we can adopt an attitude of winning, regardless of
how the world keeps score. In this world, we can soar above every
obstacle and defeat every opponent because in this world, as a
Christian, we are not called to win at the physical or worldly level. In
Christ, we are called to win at His spiritual level. In Christ, when we
lose our jobs, our homes, and our fortunes we still have an unending
job, a home that cannot be destroyed or taken away from us, and untold
wealth in heaven.
Poverty has a way of destroying the lives of those who invest in the
worldly side of life. Today, poverty is in the future of many people.
Poverty has a way of destroying the best men and women when they have
not given all they are and all they own to Christ. What so many persons
do not realize is that Christ came to earth to help us survive poverty
and help us come out of poverty as a better person. When what we value
in life is riches, land, gold, silver, and things, then we will surely
come to learn the hard lesson that these things pass away. What we must
learn is that we must make investments in Christ. We must learn that
when we give Him all we are and all we own then we have a reward waiting
for us in heaven that is full of glory, joy, and love. The things of
earth are of no value to us when we die. The things of earth cannot be
taken with us when we die. However, when we die, we can look forward to
a mansion full of spiritual treasures. When we die, we can look forward
to a time of untold prosperity of the heart and soul. We can look
forward to a world full of treasures that will last forever.
Matthew 12:35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored
up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up
in him. (NIV)
Matthew 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do
not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where
your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)