We deal with, or fail do deal with, the prospect of the future all the time.
- In business it is called everything from a “to do” list to an annual projection.
- In school it is the almighty calendar.
- In church leadership it is a strange three-way dance featuring today’s demands, this week’s services, and the season of the year that has all the dancers out of breath.
- In the home each child and adult has a personal agenda that combines with the others to create domestic chaos barreling like a runaway train toward the future.
It isn’t that we don’t know what to do about the future—we do!
We do basically four things:
- We ignore it.
- We fear it; this is another form of denial.
- We worry about it.
- We prepare for it.
We may not know the details of what will happen in the future but we have some promises from God that are as sure as the future is uncertain.
What will the future hold?
One must be careful predicting the future—one’s veracity as prophet is immediately put to the public test. I will venture three predictions—three things the future holds for sure.
- God has a future for each of us. The Path of Life deals with the past, enriches the present, and secures the future. This is the “Abundant Life” Jesus promised each of us.
- In the Last Days before the Return of Christ, there will be a great “Falling away.” The world which has never welcomed Jesus will so influence His Church that many will walk away from the faith “once delivered to the saints” in a fatal reenactment of the Babylonian Captivity. The Spirit of the Lord will be supplanted by the spirit of the age. The Bible calls this the spirit of antichrist, the spirit of iniquity. The love of many who once followed the Lord Jesus will grow cold.
- Also “in the Last Days,” the Lord has promised to pour out of His Spirit “on all flesh.” This outpouring is greater than any human tradition or theological system. Nothing like this has ever happened before. It started on the Day of Pentecost and was renewed in the 20th Century. It spilled over the denominations formed by it. It brought the charismatic renewal and the rain of the Spirit has continued to fall beyond the 20th Century into this one as the whole church opens to the reality of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The Poet prophesies,
“Let this be written for a Future Generation…”
He describes an unprecedented move of the Holy Spirit—an outpouring of Grace like the world has never seen:
- God will look down from heaven and hear the voice of a hurting humanity.
- God will open prison doors, releasing people from the death sentence of all kinds
- The name and fame of the Lord Jesus will be declare from every coast to every coast.
What triggers this Out Pouring of the Spirit? The answer is surprising:
“… when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.”
True Worship is our privilege today and our hope for tomorrow.
We gather—not to deliberate or debate to confer or to complain—but to worship and serve the Lord!
Each day we face a choice: Will we fall away from faith in Jesus? Or will we experience the Outpouring?
- As we walk the Path of Life each day we choose to follow the Lord Jesus, positioning us to receive our part of the Outpouring.
- To ignore the future or to fear it or to waste energy worrying about it is to shrink back from the Outpouring and to join the Apostasy.
The daily disciplines required by the Path of Life equip us for today and prepare us for tomorrow’s demands.
The harvest of the future is found in the seeds of obedience we plant today.
Psalm 102:18-22 NIV
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Acts 2:16-18 NIV
…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 NKJV
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
1 John 4:3 NIV
…every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
Matthew 24:10-13 AMP
And then many will be offended and repelled and will ebegin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved.
1 John 3:1-3 NIV
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Lord Jesus, all my tomorrows are in Your capable hands. I don’t need to know what tomorrow will bring because You are already there. Today I will do what is given for me to do and tonight I will rest in hope. Show me the horrid details of a church that is falling away from the True Faith; keep me from this apostasy. Show me the wonderful details of the Great Outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that I can be a part of that tomorrow. Somehow, Lord, you live outside of time, equally present in past, present, and future. This is beyond my understanding. I will remember that You laid aside Your omnipresence and entered into time. You understand how we must live—step by step, day by day—and You help us find each tomorrow. Amen.
I Know Who Holds My Hand
Words and Music: Ira Stanphil
1. I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
2. I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow
Is the one who stands by me
And the path that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved