Good Son day to everyone!
Yes, it is Sunday, the day believers would have been flocking to their church homes – to worship and praise and encourage one another. But the threat of COVID-19 has disturbed that precious right, the freedom to congregate. This shelter in place order has forced many churches to deliver their message via online and social media, Facebook, YouTube, and others. And for churches that had not/have not, taken to the airwaves, now is a good time to start learning how to reach folks outside traditional means. How the church will be impacted by the President’s extension to his social distancing order remains to be seen.
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3)
Well, I have been praying about this whole pandemic situation. And my husband and I are in that high risk category, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on COVID, and related topics. On that note, I have to confess, that I am not at all encouraged, or inspired, or even slightly moved by what I hear from the pulpit. All I hear is platitudes, or very lackadaisical attitudes or the other extreme. I think my husband is right. I do expect a certain degree of godly wisdom from Christian leaders. I expect them to be praying about what God is saying to us, during this time. I am sure God is talking, but is anyone listening?
These are a few things that I’ve heard. One preacher was talking on worry during these times. Jesus said, worry is unreasonable and it’s unchristian like. So, we should not be worrying over anything. And it’s true, but why is it that we worry?
David Jeremiah: I’m a pastor, not an infectious disease expert. But there’s one thing I know about the unprecedented coronavirus crisis: we need hope.
I find that hope in words Jesus spoke to his disciples on the night of his crucifixion. He said: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not only as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Here’s something else I know about the frightening pandemic in front of us: We can choose to respond with faith and wisdom instead of fear and panic. Here are three ways we can do that in the midst of this chaos. Pray – Control your mind – Be a good neighbor.
Chuck Swindoll: While the world is in turmoil because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we can rest in God’s promise to never forsake us during uncertain times.
“Let’s agree to trust and not be afraid. Let’s also keep in mind that our God is still in full control.
And, finally, let’s remember that we are not alone. He loves us with an infinite amount of love and, therefore, will never release His grip on our lives.” — Chuck Swindoll
To protect the health of our church and community, our campus is closed until further notice. But remember that our church is a family, not a building, so church life is never canceled.
March 14. Another: (One of Trump’s Favorite Pastors Says, “All Natural Disasters Can Ultimately Be Traced to Sin.”): He explained that the reason the coronavirus wasn’t a specific instance of God’s wrath was because the Antichrist hasn’t appeared yet. In the Evangelical Christian narrative, the appearance of the Antichrist, the figure who will appear to attempt to replace Christ with an evil presence, must arrive before the throng of natural disasters that herald the end times. And though the coronavirus didn’t have a direct role to play in Jeffress’ interpretation of the apocalypse, he spent his sermon closely intertwining the two.
For some conservative Evangelical Christian leaders like Jeffress, the frenzy surrounding the spread of coronavirus—an international pandemic according to the World Health Organization—has provided fertile ground for inserting an absolutist religious narrative with an emphasis on punishment. Along with Jeffress, evangelist Rick Wiles called coronavirus a “death angel” sent in retaliation for sin—“God is about to purge a lot of sin off of this planet,” he warned.
Excerpt: “Be wise to take the necessary precautions,” Prince said, “but at the same time, pray the prayer of protection found in Psalms 91 daily. I encourage all believers to speak the promises of God’s protection over yourself and your entire household and church.”
Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has congregations in multiple locations in California and in Hawaii, said, “In some ways the viral fear may be worse than the virus itself.”
He said Christians should be practical, prayerful, and proclaim Christ’s peace in an atmosphere of fear. “Don’t worry about it, pray about it,” Laurie told his church in a clip posted on Instagram. “God is bigger than the coronavirus. Don’t be afraid.”
I found a website where this believer is theorizing that this is a staging for a new world order.
And while many large congregations have already settled into online services, there’s a few pastors out there that refuse to compromise.
Religious Exemptions During the Coronavirus Pandemic Will Only Worsen the Crisis
I had this long discussion with my husband about how this virus, even – entered the US. I was like, we keep hearing “travel related exposure.” And, really, I couldn’t help but note that the virus was mostly affecting the rich and famous (COVID-19’s Global Spread Among The Relatively Rich Has Been Remarkable). Well, it can be assumed that to travel outside the country one has to have significant means, or the ability to save significant means. I am so glad I was not the only one that made that connection. Even here in San Antonio, a zip code rundown shows a higher number cases in the more affluent communities.
And the rich are always in a better position to pay for healthcare (It Pays to Be Rich During a Pandemic).
Last night my sisters and I were texting back and forth about this and that. Out of curiosity, I went to visit the worldometer. If you have never visited this website, or don’t know what it is…check it out. This website keeps track of world statistics. Anyway, I shared the total number of deaths in one day, in the world. And while I was making reference simply to total deaths, compared to the number of deaths we’ve seen since COVID-19, my sister commented “apples & oranges.” Anyway, she’s looking at the cause of death. I am only looking at death. Death happens. It is part of life. We are born to die. Few people even think about how many people die on a daily basis.
So the last couple of days, I was praying and asking God to help me make sense of this chaos. Every one has an opinion on the current situation. I just want to hear from God. So, I’m asking God if this pandemic is the catalyst for the tribulation? We haven’t lost our religious freedoms. For an unspecified time, we are being asked to come together differently. Is this a punishment? Are You punishing unbelievers or believers? I am trusting God through all this, but surely there is a purpose – not so much for the unbeliever – as for the believer.
Then I remembered when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Do you remember the dialogue in Genesis 22?
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
And Abraham, without a question did as God commanded.
But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Why doesn’t anything that Christian leaders say encourage me? They say things that we want to hear, or need to hear. I want to hear what is God saying to them about this particular time. It’s not to different than any other time in history where America has faced uncertainty. My sister tells me that some our relatives died in the flu epidemic of the early 1900’s, (most likely the Spanish flu) and to stop the spread they had to burn the entire the house. We haven’t had to do that. So, we are confined to our homes. Let’s face it, some Americans have some very large and extravagant home. They can hibernate in their large, beautiful homes with all their luxuries and be just fine.
In this country, we value so many things. We value longevity. We cater to our flesh. We spend millions on appearance, weight loss, muscle building, hair, nails, clothing, jewelry. The more beautiful, more appealing, more sensuous – we look – the better. We place a tremendous of amount of thought and planning on how we look and how we present ourselves to others. We value what others think of us. From the car we drive, to the home we live in, to the places we shop, even where we worship is more of a status thing. Who we are is defined by what we do in the flesh and to the flesh.
This is not a time for the same old rhetoric from Christendom. We don’t like rhetoric in our politics but we sure don’t mind it in our sermons.
I watched the Jeremy Camp movie today. It was the story of his first wife who died of cancer. It was good. And I think that his first wife, like Rich Mullins also learned that what God has purposed for us we don’t know, at least not until He show us. And when Rich Mullins finally discovered his purpose, he struggle with the fame.
Unlike her, Rich died in car accident. He had no idea that the day he got in his car to go to his next concert would be his last day. It was devastating to his family, friends and fans. But, I doubt that anyone or anything crossed his mind when he took his last breath. This young girl knew she was dying. It was amazing to hear that every one within earshot came to pray for her healing. But the movie shows her struggle. I am sure she did not want to die. Her husband did not want her die. And though she knew – that she knew – the vastness of God and that He knew her name – and that she knew that God’s purpose may not be what she would want – it was God’s decision. Her healing was amazing grace.
I cling to the fact that as Americans we are spoiled. We hold to our inalienable rights, even as Christians. We hold to God’s promises as if He were some genie in a bottle. I heard a sermon the other day from a megapastor. He said that in God all we have to do is ask Him for what we want and He will give it to us. “Why do we settle for C’s when we can have A’s!” Ask for God to give you your dreams back, broken dreams and such.
Yes, at this time and all the time, as believers, we should be in prayer. We should be in God’s word. We should love others, like ourselves. We should love God above all others. The pastor preaches “surrender to God!” But does anyone really know what that means? Christians pack the churches on Sundays, and Wednesdays, but is there any trace of the Holy Spirit living in them? No one is wrong. But everyone can’t be right. We all have to come to that place where we know – that we know – the vastness of God amazing glory – that He call us by name – that He has placed us here at this time – for a purpose.
Now is the time to sit down and have a long conversation with the God of the heavens. This flesh, that we so adorn today may be gone tomorrow. The power of life and death does not belong to man, but to God. The physical death is not the end of the our existence. We will live on eternally with our Creator. When we put the flesh to death it is the beginning of a new life in Christ Jesus.
“If my life is motivated by my ambition to leave a legacy, what I’ll probably leave as a legacy is ambition. But if my life is motivated by the power of the Spirit in me, if I live with the awareness of the indwelling Christ, if I allow His presence to guide my actions, to guide my motives, those sort of things. That’s the only time I think we really leave a great legacy.” – Rich Mullins
If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he has hope. He has the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. God will never forsake His children. He will never leave him or her alone.
The Scripture says “Search me oh God, and know me.” Psalm 139
Romans 8: 5-17 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Remembered when God answered Job 38-41?
Thanks for reading. Be blessed.