Second Coming: We Are in Perilous Times

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul told us “that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Other translations render the word perilous as times of stress, hard, grievous, dangerous, distressing, difficult, extremely fierce, terrible, terrifying, and violent. I think it’s evident to any watchful believer in Christ that we are in the last days and that we are currently living through “perilous times.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 29, 2020 (Wiki Media Commons)

In his letter to fellow disciple Timothy, Paul went on to list what to look for in these times (see 2 Timothy 3:2–9). What we are seeing in on our city streets right now—vandalism, rioting, looting, violence, and murder, under the banner of a worthy cause—is a reflection of Paul’s list. We seem to be at a precipice.

The List

Let’s review that list. I’ll add synonyms from other translations (other than the King James version) and my own comments along the way. You can decide for yourself if you are a witness of prophetic times:

  • “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” — selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered, the opposite of the love Christ shows to us
  • “covetous” — obsessed lovers of money, desiring the rightful property or relationships of others
  • “boasters” — pretentious, haughty, stuck up, self-congratulating
  • “proud” — arrogant, not humble, swaggering, ignorant, unwise, self-deceived
  • “blasphemers” — abusive, mocking and speaking evil of sacred things and of God and His Son
  • “disobedient to parents” — not honoring or respectful of parents, disobeying “the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2)
  • “unthankful” — grumbling, murmuring, ungrateful, unappreciative, lacking self-reflection
  • “unholy” — cursed, crude, profane, willfully self-defiled, ungodly, knowingly walking away from God’s commandments
  • “without natural affection” — cold, unloving, uncaring, unkind, heartless, callous, inhuman, hardhearted
  • “trucebreakers” — promise breakers, implacable, unwilling to reconcile with others, unforgiving
  • “false accusers” — pointing fingers, shaming, accusing, slandering, gossiping, backbiting, lying about others, not taking responsibility for their actions but blaming others
  • “incontinent” — lacking self-control, giving in to pleasure, without restraint, intemperate, dissolute, profligate, unashamedly justifying their giving in to carnal desire
  • “fierce” — mean, untamed, angry, brutal, savage, violent, ruthless, unmerciful, unrelentingly cruel, acting like wild animals
  • “despisers of those that are good” — opposed to and hating those who are good or are trying to be good, calling evil good and good evil
  • “traitors” — without principle, treacherous, turncoats, turning against friends, family, commitments, and allegiances to God, faith, and country
  • “heady” — self-important, conceited, full of themselves, excessive claims about self
  • “highminded” — pretentious, exaggerated, intellectual mocking
  • “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” — self-indulgent, sensual, led away by a variety of lusts, preferring physical pleasure over loving, honoring, and serving their Creator
  • “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” — pretending to be holy, acting like followers of God or higher principles but denying, mocking, and abusing God’s power

Turn Away

Paul advises us “turn away” from such and tells that this “folly shall be manifest unto all men.” I believe Paul meant we should turn away from people who behave and live like this, but I also think it means we must turn away from all these evils ourselves. This isn’t about judging others; it’s about living for Christ.

Turning away, for me, includes turning off the popular media voices who want to flip our world upside down while claiming to be full of virtue. I believe among the politically righteous there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, matching Paul’s descriptions of self-congratulating end-times characters.

We are and have been misled and deceived on a massive scale. Could this current unrest—a good measure of which appears to be legitimate protests co-opted by more nefarious actors—be an attempt to distract a nation from what is really going on behind closed doors? I believe it is.

You may also like: “The Riots and the Danger of False Narratives” from Meridian Magazine online.

The Way Out

If we deny our Creator, we will remain “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Always learning something new but forgetting God. Always seeking “the truth” but coming up unhappy and short. “These also resist the truth” because they are “men of corrupt minds, reprobate [lost] concerning the faith” of Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way [and] the truth” (John 14:6). If we want to find the truth, we have to first find ourselves in Him. There is no other way. Any other path is a false path.

There is hope for all of us through Christ, through humility and faith on His name, the faith to exercise sincere repentance and obedience to Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and God.

I invite you, plead with you, to turn or return your heart to Jesus Christ so you may be led away from the coming calamity. This is not doom and gloom: this is a way out.

Be safe and lean on Jesus. I promise to do my best to follow my own advice.

Spiritual Whirlwinds


This short video came out a few years ago. It was introduced to me tonight. I can’t believe I missed it, but I’m so glad I found it—or it found me. I love how everything changes when the young man, who could be any of us, takes upon himself the image of Christ.

And now behold, I ask of you, . . . have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? (Alma 5:14.)

I believe we were all destined, foreordained, and sealed to take on His image and likeness, if we are only willing.

For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined [Aramaic “sealed”] us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him. (Romans 8:29, The Passion Translation.)

Favorite moments are at 1:49 and 1:58.

Facing Uncertainty with Faith

Man facing a wall of waterLast year, I wrote a blog post called “Diving through the Waves of Uncertainty.” It’s a personal story of when I was 17. I was faced with a barrage of persecution, contradiction, and what I now call “scornography.” Fortunately, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to find my way. I’m sharing this link here because I feel prompted to share it. It might help someone who’s passing through the same fire.

Scornography

I see scornography—media that mocks, belittles, blames, slams, and tears down—the same way I see pornography. If you spend time with it, it’s venom will cross the blood-brain barrier and spread like black ink across your mind. It will bind you and block your ability to see and understand God’s hand in your life. There’s not much difference between the two when you consider the damage they cause.

A Mountain to Climb

We all have the same mountain to climb. We’ll climb different faces, hike trails of our choosing, meander from camp to camp at the base. That doesn’t matter much. What matters is that God our Father stands at the peak, offering His help. If we can manage to lift our eyes from the trail we’re on at the moment, we might just see Him there. He is always willing to help when we ask for it with all our hearts. This I know for certain.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11–13.)

In spite of grinding weakness, I keep looking for the top of the mountain. In tatters, bloodied knees, and a broken spirit, I intend to keep climbing. I don’t know if I’ll reach it in one piece or not, but for now, I’m taking one step, one confession, one slice of humble, and one prayer at a time.

“What Temptation Really Means” by C. S. Lewis

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/pictures-of-jesus-1128833?lang=eng
“Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation really means—the only complete realist.”

During a meeting I attended yesterday, I heard this remarkable quote about temptation from C. S. Lewis. It is from his book Mere Christianity, published in 1952:

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives into the temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation really means—the only complete realist.

My Best Teacher

Courtesy LDS Media Libary

I overheard a proverb in testimony meeting today that really sank in. The last person to bear testimony said this: “My best teacher is my last mistake.”

Those words settled on me like warm rain, and I’ve been soaking wet all afternoon.

I don’t like my mistakes. So why do I invent new ones every day, against my will?

Every single day.

I’m embarrassed by my mistakes, and bone weary of them. I wish I wasn’t such an expert at making them. When I suddenly remember mistakes from childhood, from my teenage years, or from last week, I turn a bright, hot red.

As I get older, though, I realize that each mistake I’ve made, each error in judgment, is a gift.  Regret, properly applied, can be a healing balm.

The great plan of happiness allows for us to make mistakes (Alma 42:8.)  Without sin, pain, sorrow, and opposition, there would be no purity, health, happiness, or strength. Without contrast, there is no perception. If we were faultless, coddled, and comfortable at every turn, we would be blobs of humanity, unable to comfort or strengthen others, unfit for celestial company.

So I welcome my mistakes. I still don’t like them or plan them out or wish for them, but I accept calmly that I will make them, no matter how hard I try not to. Personal mistakes are a path to pain, but that pain can teach us how to avoid the same trauma again, how to not repeat them. I am grateful for those lessons. Isn’t that the point?

Thank you, whoever you are, for your seven enlightening words. It would be a mistake for me to forget them.

The Keys to the Mansion

Columbia River Temple. Courtesy LDS Media Library.
Columbia River Temple

At our branch family home evening this week, I learned a lesson from Tom, a former branch member who was visiting. He told me that he’s been “having fun” with the scriptures lately and that after he recently read John 14:2, he felt inspired to share the verse with a friend.

Tom called Brian, age 82. I’ll paraphrase their conversation.

Tom asked, “Can you think of the largest mansion in the valley?”

“Yes,” said Brian.

“The owner is probably famous, right? And you might be familiar with him on something like Facebook or Twitter, true?”

“Sure.”

“If you asked the owner to give you the keys to his mansion, would he?”

“No. You’d have to have a relationship with the owner before he loaned you his keys.”

“Brian, ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ Think about it. How are you going to get the keys to one of those mansions unless you have a relationship with the One who built them?”

Brian paused. “You’re right, Tom. You’re absolutely right.” They discussed it for awhile and then hung up.

When he called back about a week and a half later, Brian’s wife told Tom that Brian had died.

Do you think Tom was inspired to call Brian for a reason? I know it wasn’t by chance he told me that story.