“Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also heaven. Now this, ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:27-29).
I shared last week a sense of prophetic urgency that the world, as we have known it for generations, is about to change. Judgment hangs heavily over the United States of America and the world as a whole. Though the spring of the year has brought a growing stock market and a few encouraging signs of a turn-a-round, the voices I trust are warning that it is a “lull before the storm.” A time of major change is coming because:
- We have a non-revived and largely unengaged Church that God ultimately holds responsible for our national sins.
- There is blatant immorality, family breakdown and increased abortions in the land.
- Government tyranny and control continues to grow and expand, and
- Unsustainable budgets and deficits, for the first time in our history, could bring everything down in a very short space of time.
We shouldn’t be paranoid or live in fear. But we should be ready.
This was Jesus’ emphasis in Mark 13 when he talked about the Last Days. After mentioning all the difficulties that believers would face, and signs and wonders in the heavens, he concluded his message by twice telling his followers:
“You must always be ready” (Mark 13:35).
“Be ready!” (Mark 13:37).
In today’s blog I’d like to help you get ready for the coming season of upheaval by remembering some of the lessons of Y2K. Some people laugh at the Y2K scare–that for weeks and months preceding January 1, 2000 people were worried that faulty computer programming could cause great havoc around the world. They boast that Y2K came and went and we didn’t skip a beat.
Well, I’m glad the doomsayers were wrong, but I also used that concern to ready my heart and family for what could have happened. We got ready– we prepared. When it was a false alarm, we thanked God for his mercy (and hard-working computer programmers!) but also were grateful for a season of prayer and preparation that greatly helped us gaze beyond the status quo. I knew then there would come a day when many of those preparations would pay off.
That day is coming. Are you ready?
Here’s what I learned from Y2K. I hope you find it helpful, and will pass it along to others.
Get out of debt.
The 2007 popping of the real estate and personal credit bubbles were a wake-up call to many, but I fear that too few are taking long-term steps necessary to prepare for the bigger ones to come. One of the major reasons for uncertainty in our world is that we are reaping what we’ve sown. We have lived beyond our means, and have become slaves to debt-laden living.
During the nineties our family worked very hard to become debt-free. It was an important lesson to learn after years of careless compromise. It is very important for you and your family to say no to all consumer debt spending, work to pay off your mortgage, or sell your home and move into a rental. In the coming crash, those with unsustainable debt-loads will pay the greatest price.
Simplify your life–including storing some basic essentials.
Y2K taught me to think the unthinkable: What would I do if normal income was no longer there? How would we eat and live–even if just for a short time? How could I provide for my family? These questions led me to getting some chickens (we currently have 24 hens laying about 18 eggs a day) and planting a garden (including many berries and three fruit trees). They are a great fallback for difficult times.
I also prepared a “depression budget” just in case. What were the absolute essentials? How would I pay for them? This exercise in thinking was very helpful. If and when the dollar fails and the government defaults on its debt, it’s important to have a plan to both survive and thrive. This includes storing a little extra each week for that unanticipated disaster. The experts tell you to do this for earthquakes or hurricanes. Shouldn’t we do the same for man-made disasters?
Be careful of your involvement in the Stock Market
Those I am reading believe the stock market will do well this year, but sooner than later will crash once again as it did in 2007. If you lost 40% of your value then, there will be more to lose this time. I would advise you to broaden your investments to include tangibles like precious metals and land. Our family is working on some real estate plans because I learned from a godly mentor named Larry Dullum that “the only investment I trust is the kind I can walk on.” It’s true that stocks have generally risen over time. That may not be true in the coming years.
Deepen your prayer life–including fasting.
One of the most encouraging signs of God being at work is the many ways his people are being called to prayer. Prayer houses are springing up all over the place; 24/7 prayer watches are becoming common; and many individuals are being led by God to go deeper and get to know him more intimately in the place of prayer. Since prayer is a pre-cursor of revival, it appears that God is setting the stage for great harvest during the hard times. This is always his way. He leads us to pray, then draws more people to their need for him through trials and tribulations.
I have developed a small prayer “house” on our property that I’ve greatly enjoyed for seeking God. At another location we’re working on a 24/7 Prayer Room where people can come to pour out their hearts to their Creator–including fasting. Are you hearing him draw you into deeper and fervent prayer? The place of real triumph in the coming era will be on our faces and knees. Good preparation for heaven.
Develop a storehouse where you can give to the needs of others.
Part of our storage of food and goods is meant to be used to meet the needs of others. Joseph heard from God and stored food for seven years to provide for a nation. I encourage you to use your pantry not just for yourself–but to position you and your family to be the heart and hands of Jesus during the days that lie ahead. Our family already enjoys giving eggs and bread stuffs away to those in need. You can’t be a Good Samaritan if you have no resources. Don’t just plan to survive–but prepare to be God’s gift of provision for others.
Join a small group for accountability and support.
The movement toward small groups for fellowship and accountability is a vital trend in the Western Church. In the coming world of change, it is our love and encouragement of others that will make a major difference in many lives. The days of Lone Ranger Christianity and being self sufficient behind our white picket fence are mercifully coming to a close. We were created for community–and if God has to use hard times to get us where he wants us–then so be it.
Cooperate with him by linking yourself to other families and singles where you can regularly share faith, love, provision, prayer, and outreach with each other. This is the message of the Book of Hebrews, sent to a suffering people to encourage them to grow in Christ (Hebrews 13). Hard times will demand that we lean on one another.
Be filled with joy! Suffering is for our good.
We must not look at the coming “shaking” through the eyes of doom and gloom. Meditate in the book of Philippians and join Paul in saying, “Rejoice always! Again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The Apostle penned these words in a rock cave (I’ve visited it in Rome) during a time of great suffering and death in the Early Church. He himself was about to be executed for his faith and Jerusalem was near destruction. But Paul saw the dark clouds through the silver lining of God’s mercy and grace. Our wealth and easy lifestyles have not helped our faith and devotion. Suffering will.
Boldly share your faith–it’s harvest time!
This is not a time to worry and turn inward. The coming havoc will lead to the greatest global harvest of people in the history of the world. This is the time to be a contagious and on-fire believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit and loving on people in every circumstance. Has your humdrum life and daily routine dulled you to the friends that are perishing around you? Now is the time to wake up and talk about Jesus–everywhere–in the stores, in the streets, in your neighborhood and around the world.
Persevere through suffering and pain–even martyrdom if necessary.
We must even be willing to die for our faith. A few years ago this seemed unthinkable in the Western world, but with tyrannical governments growing in many nations and the devil knowing that his time is short, it would not be surprising to see a great increase in persecution of believers–including some being killed for their faith.
Todd Johnson points out in his new Atlas of Global Christianity that at a steady rate over the last twenty centuries, and in all 238 countries, seventy million Christians have been martyred (killed, executed, murdered) for Christ. Our turn may be coming. It’s both a high price and a privilege. Have you thought through the possibility of being faithful to Jesus “even unto death?” (Revelation 2:10).
Center your life in Jesus’ love and grace.
The greatest happening of the coming years will be the growth of the Kingdom of God and the outpouring of his grace into many lives. Are you living in his grace and goodness everyday? Are you madly in love with Him and committed to be his follower through thick and thin? If your life is not completely centered in faithful obedience to his will, this may be the final opportunity to give him his proper place in your life. He is the Lord of heaven and earth (Revelation 16:19). All the coming difficulties are meant to prepare us for a certain and unshakable future where Jesus is Lord and his Kingdom is coming.
Y2K got me thinking about these things ten years ago. It helped me to learn to rest in Jesus’ love and care, and to center my life in his unshakable Kingdom.
Are you ready?
Everything is about to change. Let it begin with you today.