There is hope for today. There is hope for you. There is hope in the world even though it seems to be in a downward spiral. Economically things are shaky. We seem to be moving toward a major financial collapse, countries are going bankrupt and financial markets are unstable. Wars, terrorism, poverty, and civil unrest continues to escalate around the globe. Politically many countries are in great turmoil. Our country seems to have lost all political sanity and our moral compass is spinning out of control. There is no question we live in some very disturbing times. Even though things may look hopeless – I want you to know there is HOPE!
Too many Christians have become demoralized and discouraged. They’ve lost hope. They seem to have no idea what to do. You may be in a difficult place in your life and wonder if there is any hope? You may look at things going on in the world around us and wonder if there is any hope? What can we do as followers of Christ? What should we do? There are several things you can do. First, you must keep your hope. Then you need to understand the times we are living in – from God’s perspective.
Living in the Greatest Time
We are living in the greatest time when you understand what is happening. First Chronicles 12:32 speaks of how “the sons of Issachar had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” Just as it was important to have an understanding of the times in those days, you need to have an understanding of the times we live in, so you can have hope and know what to do. While the times we are living in are troubling they are steeped with great opportunity. This is not a time to be discouraged and give up. There is hope! Understanding the times is not about becoming fearful or worried. It is about knowing what to do.
In a world that is confused, fearful, frustrated, and morally corrupt, God wants us, believers, to go on the offensive and aggressively lead others to His throne of grace. He wants us to resist the works of darkness and enforce the victory Jesus has won. He wants us to seize the moment. We are not to be conformed to this world, we are to be totally transformed. We are in this world but not of it.
Agents of Hope – our assignment – knowing what to do
Understand you are on assignment in this foreign land called the world. You have a divine purpose. You are ambassador for Christ!. (2Corinthians 5:20). You represent the Kingdom of God and the King of Kings. You are not called to change the world. That doesn’t mean you give up and do nothing. You can and should have a positive influence that can change the environment in which you live and improve the world.
It is important to understand the world is on a collision course of ultimate destruction that we cannot change. The world is groaning to be redeemed. (Romans 8:22) One day Jesus will redeem this world and establish a new heaven and new earth until then we are agents of hope in this dark world. Until the day Christ returns our assignment is to share the good news of that hope and RESCUE people out of this dark world. Having an understanding of the times we live in is crucial, so we can know what to do!
3 Keys to Understanding the Times
There are three key things for us to understand about the times we live in;
First, we must understand that what is happening in the world is not something that should surprise or shock us. The Bible warns us many times about the world becoming more evil. Old testament prophets wrote of the darkness of the end times. (Isaiah 60:2) Jesus foretold of things getting worse and worse. (Matthew 24:6-7) The apostle Paul wrote this in 2 Timothy 3:1&13, “There will be terrible times in the last days… while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” This is not to discourage us, but to encourage us. We should be motivated and excited about the opportunities we have. When we understand the times we live in we will be properly prepared to know what to do.
Second, we need to understand this is not a time for us to shrink back. “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” .(Hebrews 10:39 NIV) This is not a time for the church to isolate itself and withdraw from the world. We are a people of faith and we walk by faith and not sight. (2Corinthians 5:7) We must fight the good fight of faith. We need to understand the times so we can engage and confront the world. We aren’t to be fearful or without hope. It is critical for us to understand the times and not shrink back, but instead advance the kingdom of God. (Matthew 1:12)
Third, we need to understand our calling and purpose in light of the times we are living in and fulfill it. We are called to be salt and light. (Matthew 5:13-16). We don’t curse the darkness, we turn on the light. We are called to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) This means we share the good news about our faith. It means we share the opportunity to have life eternal and never force our faith on any one. Christianity is not about following a set of religious rules it is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They will know us by our love. (John 13:35) We are called to demonstrate the love of God. When we understand the times we live in we will know what to do – be a light in a dark world!
Great Opportunity- There is Hope
The tribe of Issachar was surrounded by a land filled with immorality, paganism, idolatry, unrighteousness, and evil. Not much different than our world today. They didn’t lose hope, become discouraged and withdraw from their world. Instead they had an understanding of the times and knew exactly what to to do to provide the right direction for Israel. It’s our time to arise and be 21st century son’s of Issachar. We need to be those who understand the times we live in so, we can know what to do. We can bring hope to a hopeless and dark world! Be encouraged we are living in the greatest time ever with the greatest opportunities. There is hope!