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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Are We Living In the Last Days?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Every day that passes we get a day closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ. The season of time His second coming will happen in, is called the last days. How long are the last days? Is it that time now? Will He be coming back soon? Those questions are difficult to speculate upon for the simple reason that time outside of the earth is not the same as time we experience day-to-day.

After Jesus' death and resurrection, Peter was in the midst of a move of God. The Holy Spirit had come upon all the disciples and as a result, they were speaking in tongues.  Crowds grew to see what was happening and Peter brought definition to it saying it was the fulfillment of a prophetic word from the prophet Joel. Acts 2:16-17 (NLT) "...what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people..." This happened close to 2,000 years ago yet Peter said it was a sign of the last days.  Peter later gave insight to understanding time through God's eyes. 2 Peter 3:8 (NLT) "But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day."

Peter taught us that a thousand years is the same as a day  in God's eyes. So that means about two days in God's time has passed since this event Peter was describing.  We are in the last days but it's hard to speculate in our perception of time when Jesus will come back. But regardless, there is one thing you can be sure about, God wants us to plan like it won't happen for 100 years but live like it could come tomorrow.  We must live in a godly fashion that helps people distinguish between the world's lifestyle and God's plan for us. Colossians 3:7-10 (NLT) "You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." 

We must also plan and be about God's business influencing as many people as possible with the love of Jesus Christ—yet not frantically, but purposely, patiently, and steadily through prayer and action.  And we must remember that God is doing something too! He is pouring out His Spirit on ALL flesh—on all people. They may seem hardened. They may seem cold toward God, but you can trust that God is working to reach them and would like to use you as part of His work in their life. The Bible teaches that God is patient for mankind to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His mercy is great. He hates Satan. He sent Jesus to pay for our redemption. He hates evil yet is patient for man to come to Him. And He is pouring out His Spirit. James 5:7-8 (NLT) "Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You too must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near." 

Yes, He is patient, but there will come a day just as the door of the ark closed for Noah, so God's patience will come end and Jesus will return. The Bible has a lot to say about those days—the last days. In  Timothy 3:1 (NLT) it says, "You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times." The Greek Word difficult means perilous—many hard things going on in the earth. But it means even more. It means that what is going on—the evil and lack of living for God will reduce the strength of His people to resist the evil that tempts them. The pressure of evil will diminish the Christian's strength to do what they know in their hearts they should do. It then describes what many will become like in these last days—descriptions that are not good, of which I will give you just one: “People will be… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”

The Bible says that “God richly gives us all things to enjoy.”  He doesn't mind if we have things and enjoy them, but He doesn't want things to have us—to dominate our thinking creating a craving for pleasures of every kind that only diminish and supplant our craving and love for Him and His plans.

Can we return to our knees? Can we honestly open and examine our heart before God? Can we ask Him to strengthen us to live for Him so that we see evidence of it in our life? Things are okay when and only when our focus is God and His plan is the center of our life. If we return to our knees with sincerity, openness, and repentance if necessary, then He can refresh our love and impart His strength and a renewed focus to live for Him. When this happens, we are living how God wanted us to live in the last days—soberly, alert, and purposeful to reach those God calls His precious fruit of the earth—those who God is patiently waiting for!

Matthew 6:33 (NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.“

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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