Feelings or Faith?

It really does come down to this.  The minute we are born, we begin to die.  When we are young we become aware, at least on some level, of what death means, but we are able to deal with the reality of death by also believing it won’t happen to us.  This is why young teenage undeveloped minds can do such death defying and crazy things, because they believe they are invincible.   This belief, nonetheless, does not change the fact that death is coming.  We don’t know where, or when, or how, but we can absolutely, and unequivocally rest assured, death is coming, and not just from COVID-19.

This is where it gets sticky.  There are those who never are able to get over their fear of death.  I’m not talking about just unreligious people with no faith, or no belief in eternal life.  There are those I’ve known in the past who truly led their whole lives based on feelings, specifically the fear of death.  They lived in fear, so their actions and speech and beliefs were based in their “feelings” of fear.  Even now I struggle with how to help them, it’s rather sad to watch.  And, they don’t seem to want to listen to the Bible’s instruction: “Do not fear.”

One last observation.

I believe God is in control.
I believe God wants us to live by faith in reality of His being in control.
I believe we will not die before God says it is our “time” to die, because He is in control.
I believe the Bible instructs us to not live by feelings (fear) but faith.

Here is a video that might help.  You might want to watch it today.  The people who want you to continue to live in fear, will surely take it off of facebook, just like they took it off Youtube.  They want you to be afraid.  Don’t be.

 

Easter 2020

The Christmas story and the Easter story have always intrigued me as the focal points of the Christian faith.  My sense is that many people treat them as singularities, to be celebrated in grand fashion, but wholly separate from one another.  This has always given me pause.  I keep asking myself…  “How can you have a cross without a manger?  How could there be a man without a baby?”

The two images are more like a microscope and a telescope.

Looking back through the microscope of a manger scene where Jesus lies wrapped in “swaddling clothes” we see the creation of life as God intended.  Adam and Eve were perfect people, and God intended when they procreated, they would have perfect babies. Not perfect in the “oh how beautiful a child!” but one that is born with a perfect relationship with God.  This is what they enjoyed, and without that one awful decision when they listened to the Father of Lies, it may very well have been our reality today.  But that didn’t happen did it?

From the manger looking through the telescope of the cross where Jesus hangs on a Roman instrument of torture and death, we see a glimpse into God’s answer to the awful decision by Adam and Eve.  We see the great I AM giving His own life, so that we might be restored into that perfect relationship with our Creator.  We also see the truth of heaven revealed above the Savior’s head, there on a plaque was written, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”  He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and is a King, but not just of the Jews.  The great I AM is King of the universe!

What grabs me is how fickle the hearts and minds of people can be at times.  One gift given to all mankind, in the form of a baby destined to become Savior of the world, is not enough for some.  We have turned the story of a Savior into a gift-giving madness where bigger is better, and more is better, and regardless of what we do receive it is never enough.

We watch the Easter  vids, or we listen to the stories of people lining the streets waving palm branches and throwing their outer cloaks on the ground as Jesus makes His way into Jerusalem and we too have a sense of celebration.  But these first-century folks were fickle too, they went from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” in a short minute.  We buy new outfits, new dresses, to gather in a place of worship and shout “Hosanna!”  After which, our lives go back to normal, whatever normal may become these days.

But here’s the thing.

There is a third part of the story.  Life in the manger didn’t end on a Roman cross.  In a garden tomb, the light of the world overcame death in a final victorious resurrection.  Jesus the man, was transfigured into His true identity – Jesus the LORD – for the final time.  He rolled away that stone from inside the tomb and walked out the other side.  Or did He?

My question is not whether or not Jesus Christ is alive today.  My challenge is to get us past this idea that as the transfigured LORD how He could have been held by any tomb or any boulder across its opening?  Why would He need to roll away the stone to leave the tomb, if later that day He would appear in a locked room without having come through the doorway?   Yes, the stone was rolled away.  Maybe just pause and think for a moment, that happened for YOU as a SIGN of the resurrection… not to facilitate His leaving!

The microscope of the manger and the telescope of the cross will have no transforming effect on your life today if you don’t believe then apply the empty tomb and resurrection of the Savior.  Here it is, and you know you’ve heard it a million times from me in the past couple of years.

Jesus is LORD.

The Lordship attributes of Jesus are:

Jesus is in Control
Jesus in sole Authority over all things
Jesus is present with us, right here, right now

This Easter we are sheltered in place and not meeting at the House of Worship.  You think it’s hard being cooped up where the kids are screaming, you’ve gained 5 pounds eating snacks all day, and watching more TV in a few weeks than in your entire life?

Imagine being dead, and in a cold, damp tomb for just three days!  Jesus didn’t “want” to be there any more than you want to be at home right this minute.

But He did it to save mankind.  Because this was God’s will.  He said “yes” to God’s will.

How about we do it for the same reason?  For just a few more days, weeks, or whatever it takes…

Can we do it?  I really think so.

Because I believe in Jesus as LORD, and He has got this!

Happy Easter ya’ll!  Praise the LIVING LORD JESUS for all He is doing … that we can’t even see!

You Are Here

YOU ARE HERE

Do you see what I see?  I see a universe being held together by God’s own hands.  I see stars that He calls by name.  I see the earth in this picture relative to distance and time.  Yet, even the details of our own planet cannot be seen, except in the image on the bottom left. This image of God’s creation is what I call big.

Do I have any Biblical evidence that my statements are true?  Sure.  First let’s consider:

 John 1:3
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

This supports my claim that God made everything you see in this image, and all the tiny details which you cannot see, on every dot in the image, including planet earth.

What about God making it all, and holding it together?

Proverbs 30:4-6
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Colossians 1:16-17
For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

What about God knowing all the names of the stars?

Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.

Look at the image again and see the marvelous truth that we are NOT ALONE!  “You are here” in this image gives clear indication that the LORD of all the universe is fully in control, has sole authority over this pandemic and your life individually.  But most important of all, HE is RIGHT HERE TOO!  He is present with us. Right now, right here.

Based on these truths, let me pray for you now.

Father, thank you for demonstrating your power, in Your words, as seen in this image.

I pray today for all those reading these words, who need your hand to touch their hearts and minds with peace.  There are those reading this who are terrified, please calm their hearts.  There are those who are single, living alone, facing the hours and hours of uncertainty, so please Father, reveal your presence to them in these moments.  Help those who live alone, know without doubt, they are not alone because You are there with them.

There are moms and dads who while loving their children, have never been faced with this much time together and under these conditions.  Father I ask that love, gentleness, and relationship building take the place of frustration, anger, and depression.  In addition to these relationship struggles LORD, some families are facing financial crisis, and I pray You would send them help.  Not just from our government, but from Your people.  Open our eyes to see the needs around us.

For those infected, and in varying degrees of failing health, LORD JESUS, Healer and Savior, I ask for You to say the word from Your throne which brings healing around our world.  We ask it selfishly, for our friends and our families who have been effected.  But we also seek this to happen for Your glory.  What greater evidence could there be than Your own healing power to be demonstrated this way?  Yet, just as You prayed Jesus, not our will, but the Father’s will be done in our world today.

Keep us strong LORD.  Keep our minds in perfect peace as we face the unknown.  We trust You alone LORD, help us when our trust and confidence waivers.  Give us your wisdom on a daily basis, until this unseen force has passed us by.

To You alone be all the glory and honor for all our days.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Mind Control?

Anyone… and I do mean anyone… can observe what is going on today, and remain calm, rational, logical, and peaceful.  But this is a choice.  And this choice once made, requires certain actions on the part of the person who desires peace in the middle of this chaos.

The media and those who want to politicize this pandemic want to control your mind with a constant diet of infection projections, death projections, causing you to think you are next.  Not might be. That YOU are next.  They want you to live in fear.  This agenda is straight out of the pit of hell, because Satan wants you to live in fear.  Satan wants to rob you of peace, and the joy of your salvation.  Whether knowingly or not, those who usher into your mind all these fear factors, are doing the work of Satan to control or destroy your mind.

I recently read about 5 visible effects of Mind Control:

  • Isolation
  • Moody Behavior
  • Metacommunication
  • NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
  • Uncompromising Rules

Yes, I know, I’m taking a chance here.  But I promise this is not going to be a technical discussion… I’m offering tangible and applicable ways for you to fight against this mind control effort.

We are isolated (1)… causing moody behavior (2).

We are being told that using “the Chinese Virus” is racist and xenophobic. (3 – Metacommunication)

We listen to phrases in the reporting process like, “could be as many as 2 million deaths in the USA.” (4 – Neuro-Linguistic Programming)

We are sheltering in place under penalty of law. (5 – Uncompromising rules)

Now what can we do to combat these mind control efforts?

Many years ago as a young boy, I learned an acrostic (A.C.T.S.) that helps me in times like these. Before I walk through that remember what the Apostle Paul instructed the church in Rome, and us today…

ESV-Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A – adoration

Turn your thoughts to adoring the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Know that His claim to be God is true.  Which makes His claim to have Sole Authority over ALL things true as well.  He is worthy of our praise.  He deserves to be worshiped and adored.

C – confession

Confess to Jesus you are afraid.  Confess that all these statistics and modeling and projections of infection and death are getting to you.  Of course Jesus already knows this, but when you tell Him, you are recognizing His claim to know it ahead of time, and that makes it safe to say it out loud.

T – thanksgiving

Think about how this progression works.  When you take the time to worship and adore Jesus for being in control, through His sole authority; then take the time to confess these things you can’t control make you fearful… this frees up your mind to simply ease away from the fear and say “Thank YOU for being in Control!”  Thank God today for all the first responders, for our national guard, for leaders that are doing everything they can do to get us through this WAR with COVID-19.  Thank God for the home you live in.  Thank God for the family around you.  Thank God for friends you still have, but from a distance.  Thank God there is still enough toilet paper to go around.  (Did you smile? I know you did!)

S – supplication

About now, if you have followed through with a dedicated to choice to fight against the mind control… you are fully engaged in the spiritual war around us.  I’m sure you have a list of people that you are thinking about during this time.  I’m sure you have been praying for them already.  But what about those not on your list?  Why not ask God to open your eyes to see a need you haven’t seen before?  Why not ask Jesus to give you some insight on how you can make a difference in this world under attack?  Do you get where I’m going here?  It’s not about you.  Each of us have our own needs, and I am not trying to minimize any of that.  But in times like these, we must come together.  We must support each other.  We must get away from the mind control games of the world, and meet needs.  God will help us do that, if we ask Him how we personally can be involved.

What is the RESULT of this simple exercise?  What does God promise?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
ESV – Isaiah 26:3

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
ESV –Philippians 4:7

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing can make them stumble.
ESV –Psalm 119:165

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. For the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He also has become my salvation.
ESV –Isaiah 12:2

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
ESV –Isaiah 9:6

We serve a Mighty God!  He is the PRINCE of PEACE!

How about just one feel good story, about how we come together to meet other’s needs?

Did you hear the one about the Dr. going home after work, getting stopped by an officer for doing 85 in a 70 mph zone?

Oh… this is good.  When you read it, just see it as God at Work… maybe He wants to use you, in a peaceful state of mind, to reach someone today.

Click here for the story.

 

share this post with your friends and family if you want.

 

 

 

Chimers, Haters, and Nay-Sayers

Is COVID-19  a life or death crisis?  A little perspective here might be nice for all of us.  In your neck of the woods, you may not know anyone who is infected or in an urgent care condition from this virus.  This does not mean that others around the block, in another state, or around the world are not facing serious life and death battles with their health.  So, we all have a choice to make when we are not the ones facing these issues.  Do we pretend that all the news reports are fake news?  Do we denigrate the leaders we don’t like because we think their communication is just constant fear-mongering babble?  Do we offer an opinion on issues when we can’t possibly see the larger picture, or all the details that are prompting all these local, state, and national reactions to this war with … aren’t you tired of hearing it yet… COVID-19?

So, here’s the thing.

I read an article yesterday about a Hollywood celebrity who Tweeted about her support for  how our President is handling the crisis in our country.  Immediately she was ridiculed by the other celebrities and followers on her account since not many folks in that community support anything President Trump does.  But I loved her response:

“You can tell a lot about people who belittle you for your views and beliefs, when u aren’t even TALKING TO THEM!” the “Look Who’s Talking” actress wrote. “My bestie and I call these people CHIMERS ..they ALWAYS chime in when u are speaking to someone else.”

Chimers

So, yes, I got the word “Chimers” from Kirsti Alley’s tweet, because it resonated with me.  A lot of people do a lot of “chiming in” today.  Most of it unsolicited, most of it negative, most of it hurtful, most of it we are all better off without.  I have to admit that in my past, I have probably chimed in way too much, with very little impact other than making some people royally ticked off.  Today I just blog.  I am happy to have a voice when asked, but I try really hard to not rock on other people’s opinions or posts or ideas, if I can help it.  Where’s the gain in that anyway?

Haters

You’ve heard the phrase, “Haters are just gonna hate, and judgers are gonna judge!”  And largely today this is true.  I live in Denton county, in Texas where the local authorities have just issued a “shelter in place” restriction.  But they did it in such a way that caused me huge concern about our society as a whole.  I’m reminded of Greg Gutfeld, who has written a great article you may want to check out titled “The Prison of Two Ideas.”

Yesterday, my impression of what  the Judge in Denton county and Mayor of the city of Denton said was (my paraphrase-not a direct quote):

“You will follow this new ordinance and stay in your homes, and not leave for anything except essential services or you are just selfishly putting everyone you engage at risk of infection and death.”

So look.  I hate this virus.  I hate that people in Denton County are suffering, and may die, just like others around our nation and the world, I hate it.  But don’t make me the culprit of all the death in the world, or even someone in the city of Denton, because I went outside and spoke with my neighbor yesterday.  Please don’t call me selfish, because I would like some normalcy in my life.  That’s just absurd.

This kind of hate-mongering, name-calling, illogical over-reaction to COVID-19 is the very reason why people are wondering how they’re going to pay their bills, or keep their mortgage up, or buy new clothes for the kids in the fall when they do go back to school.  Come on people, a little perspective ok?

Nay-Sayers

Right about now, someone reading this might say, “Dude, you sound a lot like a Chimer and a Hater about now.”  Sorry if you think that, it wasn’t my intention.  So, let me try one more time to help you with what I’m trying to say.

There were those who believed in God a long time ago who thought they knew more about spiritual matters than anyone else on earth.  God in fact had chosen them among all other nations of the earth to be His People.  Yet, when God showed up in the flesh, to bring salvation not just to them, but to all people, they became such intense nay-sayers that they plotted to have a Roman Governor of Judea hang Him on a cross.  “You cannot possibly be our Messiah!”  “You claim equality with Yahweh?  Blasphemy!”  “You break the very laws God gave us to live by, what Messiah would teach people to do that?!”

For thousands of years now, people have been suggesting Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, but certainly not God, and definitely not the Savior of the world.

Well, guess what. That is a personal choice that every individual is given the privilege of deciding for themselves.  Chimers, haters, and nay-sayers are always going to look at me and say, “how can you possibly believe that rubbish?”  Yet, I want to live my life in such a way that when crisis comes to town, something like say, COVID-19… that those folks will see my faith as Rock solid, not filled with fear or uncertainty.  I want my speech to be filled with loving words of hope.  I want everyone who knows me to know I believe with absolute certainty that God is in Control, Jesus is who He claims to be, and nothing since the beginning of time has taken Him by surprise.

Let’s not be a chimer, hater, or nay-sayer.

Instead, let’s act like true Christ-followers and give these folks something to think about, something to hope in, something to believe in that will see them through dark days of doubt and confusion.

Jesus is the Rock.  Jesus is in Control.  He holds it all, including you, right in His hands.

 

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Mortality

This is going to be a very interesting few weeks ahead.  My prayer is that this post brings you hope.  But you might want to read it carefully…

The one fear plaguing mankind since the very beginning is the reality and certainty of death.  Those without hope, those without love, those blind to the eternal nature of the human spirit, are most possessed and effected by the ultimate eventuality of their own death.  The natural reaction to something like COVID-19 then, is for a person in this lost and hopeless condition is to panic, act illogically, and do whatever they can to find a way to increase their own ability to survive.

What a shame.  What a loss of time.  What a sad, sad, testament to a life which was designed for exactly the opposite result.

I don’t know when you last spent much time reading Psalm 139, but right about now would be a great time to dust off the old Bible sitting on the shelf, near all those self-help, nonsense works, that haven’t made a difference, and do a little reading and thinking.  Stay with me here, I’m not just making this stuff up.  We’ll go slowly, so you can soak some truth into that truth-starved soul and mind that might be upset about what is happening in our world.

Psalm 139:1-2
O LORD, You have searched me and know me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar.

So, just on the face of it, God sees exactly where you are right now.  He knows the condition of your body, and He knows how panicked you are, and how hopeless you feel.  He knows what you’ve been doing, and how you’ve reacted to this virus scare.

Psalm 139:3-4
You scrutinize my path, and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all.

The Psalmist doesn’t want us to just skate by those first two verses, but spends a little more time detailing the exhaustive nature of God’s understanding and awareness of our condition, our thought patterns, and daily routines.  He knows ALL our ways.

Psalm 139:5-6
You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain it.

Here the thought shifts to gaining a little perspective of God’s control on matters of my life and yours, by understanding God’s presence all around us, all the time.  It’s mind-boggling for sure, but that doesn’t negate the truth of it.

Psalm 139:7-10
Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lay hold of me.

Stop here a minute.  Don’t just read the words.  Re-read them until the truth of what is stated sinks in.  There is no place in this universe where you can go to hide from, escape from, or avoid God’s touch.  His hand will lay hold of you, when it is time.

Psalm 139:11-12
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night. Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day.  Darkness and light are alike to You.

These are dark days for many people around the world.  The virus is continuing to spread, with deadly results for some, and debilitating effects for others.  Yet there is nothing hidden or dark or unknown about this virus to God.  He sees it all with absolute clarity.

Psalm 139:13-15
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Knowing that we are created, and knowing there is a Creator, also serves to give us perspective on our existence.  Knowing and understanding the natural human experience of procreation, that I am a product of God’s will through the efforts of human love, should also bring some basic assurance of God’s awareness of not just my being but also my plot in life.  God knows when you took your first breath, your first step, spoke your first word, had your heart broken for the first time.  God knows because He is deeply invested in you.  He made you in your mother’s womb.

Now comes the part I’ve anticipated writing about, so don’t miss this next part!

Psalm 139:16
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Carefully read that again.

What does it mean?  I believe that no one will die out of the sight of God, or at a time different than that which God chooses.

Yes, I really believe this, based on Psalm 139:16.  But it wasn’t just David, the Psalmist who spoke this truth.  The Author of Truth, the One who called Himself, the Truth, also said:

Matthew 6:27
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

And there it is.  We don’t die out of God’s timing, awareness, or plan for us.  All our days are written, the details of each day, hour and minute, in God’s own book.  He knows us better than we even know ourselves, because He knows when we will finally see Him face to face.

This virus has no power except that given to it by God, not man.  If it is man-made, then God allowed this for some purpose we don’t know and can’t know or see.  If the virus is an un-natural mutation of another strain of the flu, then that too didn’t escape God’s notice as if done in darkness.  He knew when it happened, allowed it, and has a purpose for allowing it within His sovereign will for mankind.

But make no mistake here.  COVID-19 is limited by God’s own all-powerful control.  No more will get sick than God allows.  No more will die, than is predetermined by God’s plan. Since neither you nor I can do anything to alter this fact, then maybe this knowledge will help us alter our own concerns about what is happening around us.

I am in God’s care.
He loves me more than I love myself.
Jesus gave Himself for me so that I might know the truth of God’s love.
I am who He says I am, and He says I am His child.
He is in Control.
He has absolute Authority over my life.
And He is right here with me… whatever may come.

And I will not face death, until all my days are done.

Snoopy said to Charlie Brown one day, “We’re all going to die someday.”

Charlie Brown’s response bears remembering:

“But, not today.”

 

 

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Supposed To, Have To, or Want To?

Here is the headline I read just minutes ago:

Across faiths, religious rules bent as virus alters worship

The article goes on to describe all the different religious leaders who are implementing initiatives to protect their congregations from the coronavirus.  From the Roman Catholics halting Mass, to Orthodox Jewish rabbis, to Evangelicals and even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… everyone would think that America’s faith-based element in our society is finished, we’re closing it down. One prominent exception to this movement is the First Baptist Church of Dallas, pastored by Dr. Robert Jeffress.  He is quoted as saying,

“What we do is more important than what the NBA is doing. That is entertainment. That’s optional, worship is essential.”

The church my wife and I attend is among those who will not have a joint meeting at the physical location of the church building this morning.  However, in a rather creative way, our church is offering an on-line experience at 10 AM central time.  And if you would like to join us, click here.

All of these actions across the USA are stimulated or are attributed to COVID-19.  Which caused me to ponder a few things.

The basic question I pose is this:

Do we attend worship because we are supposed to, because we have to, or because we want to?

I’m convinced more people would choose “supposed” to or “have” to, rather than “want” to.  Maybe this is because in my early days, my mother and dad imposed on me the “have” to mindset of: “The church is open, we’re going to attend.”  It wasn’t ever really my choice, it was theirs, and I was under their authority (at least for a time), and that was that.

Later, after I left home, my attitude fluctuated between “have to and supposed to” as I stretched out my right-to-choose spiritual wings.  I found myself sleeping in some Sundays, or suffering through another session of guilt-laden “have to” syndrome on others.  Finally, as I matured both physically and spiritually, I realized something.  It isn’t really worship in the true sense of the word, unless it is given willingly, and by choice.  Worship, of all spiritual activities, is a choice.  We worship in the truest sense, when we worship like Jesus told the woman at a well in Samaria.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. [John 4:24]

Which caused me to think next,

Is church the only place we can worship?

Now, we have to be careful here.  Because some false teachers have led many astray by suggesting no one needs to go to church – for any reason, including the three I presented here.  So, I’m making a distinction between going to church, and true worship of the LORD of heaven and earth.

The answer might lie in understanding what Paul was really saying to the men of Athens regarding worship.  These men were so wrapped up in not missing any of the idols of gods dreamed up all over the world, they had constructed one to “The Unknown God.”  So, given the opportunity, Paul the Apostle says:

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth... [Acts 17:24-26]

Here’s the point.

We don’t go to church because that is where God is (dwells according to Paul).  In fact most people wouldn’t go at all if they thought God would dwell there, their guilty conscience’s  wouldn’t allow them to be comfortable there.

One of the greatest dangers of the current COVID-19 world-wide panic, might just be the elimination of faith-based practices world wide; of gathering together for the Worship of God.  But one thing this virus will never be able to do, is keeping God-loving people, the true Bride of Christ, from worshiping Him in homes, or one-on-one with Him.

The very thing the enemy of Christ wanted to do in the first century was to wipe out the spread of Christianity, by eliminating gatherings of believers.  The church has always been persecuted, but has remained strong and committed to the message of hope in the gospel of Jesus.

So, worship is a “want to” choice.  You can choose to do it at home.  You can choose to do it in a group.  You can choose to do it in a large church. Where is not really the issue.  But it is only truly worship, when it emphasizes the object of our worship – Jesus Christ – as LORD of all, in control of all, having authority over all, and present right where we are.  When we declare these truths by singing together, reading His word together, and celebrating His grace together… well, simply put, the enemy of Christ loses, and we win.

A virus will never stop the spreading of the Authoritative word of God.

Choose to go to worship today.  Online, with a friend, or with a group of friends… even if your church is closed to protect the larger congregation!

 

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You Can’t See This

Today’s headlines along with subtitles:

  • Rewriting History” – China reframes coronavirus narrative, touting Xi’s successes despite body count, global spread
  • Troubling Results” – Nursing home sees nearly 50 employees test positive for virus
  • Rocket Attack” – New barrage hits base housing US troops in Iraq
  • Containing Coronavirus?” – Why have these countries got so few, or no, COVID-19 cases?
  • Helping Hand” – Here’s how to soothe rough, cracked fingers from overwashing

 

The truth is, without a microscope, you can’t see the “bug” causing disruption around the globe.  But it’s there, … and here, … and seemingly everywhere.  The ubiquitous nature of this ugly “bug” is disconcerting at best, and at its worst frighteningly paralyzing bringing death to some.

corona virus

Now I would ask you, even as you read these words:

“Is God really in Control?  Is He in control of even this virus? Does HE know what it looks like?  Can He control how much farther this thing spreads or how many more die?”

It is exactly at times like these that our faith in Jesus Christ, as LORD of all, is so important.

The CDC, and other health organizations have given us specific kinds of activities to help mitigate getting this virus in the first place.  We’re told to wash our hands regularly, get tested if we feel sick, and create social distance from others who might at this moment be contagious.  All these are good, and are not “should-do” but “must-do” things we CAN control in our daily lives.

That said, how do you deal with the growing emotional unease and irrational fear that has permeated almost every town and village around the globe?  I’m not saying the virus isn’t dangerous.  If only one person had died from this it would be classified as dangerous.  What makes the situation so bad is the unseen nature of the germ.

It reminds me of a story out of the Old Testament.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha is being pursued by the king of Aram with a huge army of horses and chariots encircling the city of Dothan.  Elisha and his servant were completely surrounded and it was only a matter of time before the king would capture, then kill them.  The servant is afraid and asks Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

Elisha’s answer in this story holds an ancient truth:

Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
[2 Kings 6:16]

What we need to remember and focus on right here, right now, March 14, 2020 is this;

you can’t see it – but God is STILL in Control.

Elisha prayed these words,

“O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” [2 Kings 6:17]

And God did.  God opened the servant’s eyes to unseen spiritual forces under direct command of the LORD of the Hosts of Heaven.  Elisha’s servant saw the whole mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

God was protecting Elisha and Elisha’s servant the whole time.

Can you even imagine the scene?  Thousands upon thousands of holy angels preventing the sudden demise of God’s prophet, is an awe-filled thought.

I don’t pretend COVID-19 does not exist.  I’m not trivializing the danger people across the world are in from this agent of sickness and death.

In the same way, I’m also not trivializing what God can do to solve this problem that mankind will never be able to do.

From His throne in heaven, God is able to speak a holy word of healing, and this virus could be stopped in a single moment.

The caveat, what we don’t know, is God’s purpose for first allowing the virus to exist, or second, what design and plan God has for its existence that will bring God glory.

We don’t know, and we can’t know.  We can only react to what is happening right around us, in real time, right now.

So may I offer a couple of suggestions?

First, men and women of God, true Christ-followers will not panic or become fearful, or act in irrational or illogical ways, because they KNOW like Elisha knew, that God is in Control.

Second, men and women of God, true Christ-followers will seek God’s face and favor, asking Him to intervene once again in the lives of humans all round the world, and maybe even someone you know, who needs His healing and salvation from this virus today.

Third, men and women of God, true Christ-followers, will seek God’s wisdom in these days of uncertainty, and live out a life of faith in ways that bring the God in Control, all the glory He deserves.

I believe God is in Control.
I am praying now for each of you and your families protection by the hosts of heaven.
I am praying for our world that fewer still will die, or be exposed to this virus.
I am praying for rational responses from people all over the world, and for God to give them courage, and not fear, to face whatever is in their lives this moment.

What are you praying for?

 

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