Absorbing news stories in this critical hour of history can be quite anxiety-producing. I believe that those of us who minister to others are moving into a season where we will be confronting fear, stress and anxiety as never before. At the moment, we encounter those who have chosen to live in denial, trusting that nothing will ever really change for the worse, that it’s all bluff.

Then, we meet those who are watching and waiting for that big bad thing to hit and are not sleeping, eating antacids like snacks, and fighting depression.  Even most Christians I talk with fall into one of those two categories.  

If we have studied the Bible, we cannot doubt that all those Biblical prophecies of old are now playing out before our eyes. Anyone who discounts that has not studied or is just choosing to be in denial for their own peace of mind.  Whatever the case, the Holy Spirit has been prompting many, many of us now for months to get spiritually prepared for some harder days.  Even as I am totally in agreement with this, I sometimes stop and ask myself what spiritual preparedness really means.  It’s a subject that I’m praying over quite often.  

In the days ahead, you, as a believer, as a leader, as a minister, will come face to face with helping the hurting and fearful to be spiritually strong in the face of turmoil. We must be sure at this point that we are walking in the Spirit, daily in the Word, praying fervently and exhorting one another in the faith.  We must be in a continual state of confession and repentance, so that our hearts are pure before God. This is not the time to slack or shrink back. We must be the strongest we can be in order to minister to others in times of great discouragement.

I’ve been told that spreading doom and gloom is a downer and nobody wants to hear it.  I will agree that it’s not a fun, happy, feel-good topic, in light of what is coming in our nation.  However, if we obey the Lord and determine to be the salt and light in a dark world, we won’t just wake up one morning in that darkness and be super-powered saints ready to conquer it all. This preparation period is a daily, step-by-step process of building our strength and resolve, getting the promises of God deep into our spirit, so that we will be ready to offer hope to the hopeless.  Do you feel ready to take that on?

The good news is that God’s promises are true and eternal.  He will protect and guide us in the worst of days. The key is to know how to follow His leading, hear His still, small voice, and to stand with faith on His promises. We learn and teach that now, so that when times are really tough, we’ve got it going already and it’s working in and through us as we go. Maybe you should pray about discipling or mentoring some who are younger in the faith?   Please pray about these things and do not be one who chooses denial.  You are needed now and will be needed even more when the darker days arrive. It’s like a sports team training and preparing for that big, big competition.  We must be in shape spiritually, trained, fine tuned and on high alert so that as the Lord imparts instructions, direction and encouragement, we will be receiving and obeying to the fullest.  Our truest test of our Christianity is coming soon.  Some are already suffering for their faith.  Let’s take this seriously and be prepared. Hundreds in your own world will be looking to you for answers, comfort and encouragement.  We must all be sure we are up for the job.

Scriptures for Encouragement:

Acts 20:24

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

1 Corinthians 9:25

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

2 Timothy 2:5

Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.

James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

1 Peter 5:4

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Resources for further study:

Are we spiritually prepared for the days ahead?http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/18564-are-we-spiritually-prepared-and-fit-for-the-days-ahead  

Leaders Preparing the Church for Trying Times:  http://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/church-leaders-preparing-the-church-for-trying-times-11582957.html