Echoes From the Campfire

It doesn’t take much guts when you cover your face and ride with a mob.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Texas Standoff)

    “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.”
              –Psalm 37:1 (NKJV)
There has been much said during this time of “virus” about it being the “end times.”  That being said, is it really?  Now, don’t be alarmed that I wrote that.  I am not one of those scoffers, but I do believe that we can spend too much time in wonderment and not continue to be doing what we are called to do.  Is the Lord on the horizon?  Could be, or He could wait a very more years, but I doubt very much longer or there would not be many of the elect left.
    Paul very clearly describes what it will be like in the last days.  He tells us, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” (2 Timothy 3:1, NKJV).  In other words, the way of life will be perilous, dangerous, difficult, grievous, or terrible.  Jesus said those days would be “a time of distress such as the world has never known (Rossier, Matthew 24:21).  No it is not the Day of the Lord, for that will follow after these “times.”  Barclay says that this will be “a time of terror, when evil would gather itself for its final assault and the world would be shaken to its moral and physical foundations.”  The “perilous times” lead up to the Rapture of the Church and the following Great Tribulation; it is therefore, a prelude to the evil that was to come.
    One more description of the word, “perilous” is used to describe the demoniacs that met Jesus among the tombs.  They were violent and dangerous.  Plutarch used to the term to describe an ugly wound (Barclay).  Perhaps one that is festered and full of gangrene.  Barclay continues, “There is an idea of menace and of danger in this word.  In the last days there would come times which would menace the very existence of the Christian Church and of goodness itself…”
    Second Timothy 3:2-5, then goes on to describe characteristics of those “perilous times.”  

         2 – For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
         3 – unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
         4 – traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
         5 – having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  (NKJV)

Read that description and then look at the news.  Every aspect of that is seen.  Hatred is unfettered like it has never been before.  Life will never go back to what was once called “normal.”  People cry for a normal life, but it will not be that way unless one can call evil, normal.  And if that isn’t bad enough, Paul continues to write, “But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (3:13, NKJV).  
    With all of the dreadful words being said, I want to get to the main idea of my note this morning.  In the message last Sunday, one phrase jumped out at me.  “Perilous times are precious times.”  How can that be?  When people, whether friends, family, or even strangers, go through an ordeal together there is a bond.  In the West there was a saying that “he’s a man to ride the river with,” meaning that in tough times he’ll do his part and you are glad to have worked side by side with him through the ordeal.
    In the days of this corona, what have you done to help someone else?  How have you continued to minister?  How important has friends and family become?  You should be in the custom of giving encouragement, helping their faith to grow, exhorting them to continue through.  “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.  To Him be glory forever and ever.  Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:18, NKJV)
    Stand strong, continue in the doctrine, be ready and on the alert.  Remember the hope that is yours and let your faith grow knowing that God is with you in these “perilous times.”