A planned meeting in Denver was cancelled today. I was glad to have that off my schedule. It gave me time to work on a memorial service for tomorrow. This afternoon, I traveled to Greeley. I enjoyed a lunch with Pastor Michael Popineau (and gave him a copy of my book). I then was part of a radio interview at KFKA for a “Senior Circle” program that will be aired on Sunday.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be…. ungrateful, unholy, unloving….“ 2 Timothy 3:1.2 HCSB
As Paul writes Timothy toward the end of his days, he desires Timothy to be prepared for future ministry and future challenges, including “last days” actions and attitudes. We don’t know when the Lord will return but we do know what the character of people will be. The difficult times of the last days will not be caused by economic turmoil, though that will happen. It will not be caused by disruption in the fabric of nature, though that will happen. The difficulties of the “end times” will be due to the lack of character of people.
People in this generation will lack the actions and attitudes that hold the fabric of a society and the world together. What people will manifest in their conduct will be the opposite of what God call us to be and what creates peace and harmony among families and nations.
The list includes, “…lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 HCSB)
I don’t believe I can think of a negative trait that is missing from this list. These characteristics can be viewed in individual lives and today as they have been throughout time. However, what creates the intensity of the last days before Christ returns is that the exception today, becomes the norm in the future.
That is why Paul’s advice to Timothy is to, “Avoid these people!” (2 timothy 3:5 HCSB) Individuals who possess the combination of these characteristics or a majority of them become a cesspool that poisons all who come in contact with them. It is like being introduced into a centrifugal force that pulls you into its trap.
Paul says these people are, “always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth…these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith…they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all…“ (2 Timothy 3:7-9 HCSB)
We see in these verses a warning and a challenge. The warning is clear, the challenge by inference, is to live a life that is the opposite of the “un” generation. That means at its core being, “grateful” “loving” and “holy.” I would encourage you to examine the entire list of negatives and consider their opposite as the goal and mandate for our lives as Christ-followers.
When Jesus taught His disciples about serving He said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” (Mark 10:42,43 NIV)
I believe we can take from Paul’s words to Timothy the idea, “This is how people will be in the last day, but that is not to be the way it is to be with you!” When we take this to heart and live by God’s standards, the light of our lives will shine bright in the midst of the darkness around.
Prayer for Today… “Lord help me to remember the greatest challenges in our world will occur due to the character and actions of people who turn away from You. Help me to “stay above the fray” and to focus on what is pleasing to You.”