COPING WITH CHANGE …

2020 appears to be flying by at a rate of knots!
Not only is it speeding along, it is changing our lives in ways we could not have imagined when we welcomed in the New Year less than 6 months ago!   Even the last 3 months has brought about unbelievable change.  We are being told that life will never be quite the same again (and that is true!!) and that we have to get used to the “new normal”.
Along with the changes come so many conflicting voices causing confusion and uncertainty.

The ONE TRUTH we can hold onto is this …. God NEVER changes. As that lovely little chorus of yesteryear reminds us:  “Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same.  All may change but Jesus never – glory to His Name”. God’s Word reminds us of this fact in many places, but be encouraged by the following three:

“I am the LORD, and I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)
“But You remain the same, and Your years will never end” (Psalm 102:27)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow” (James 1:17)

Knowing Jesus and putting one’s trust in Him, provides us with security – not just for the present, but for eternity!
Here are some helpful verses to “hide in your heart” and find strength in these surreal days we’re living in:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between His shoulders” (Deut 33:12)
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut 31:8)
So, may the unchanging LORD Himself be with you, strengthen and uphold you.  Keep looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
If you would like to get to know the Jesus, please contact us for further information.

Why are churches silent about this?

PROPHECY – a sadly neglected message from our pulpits these days – IS NOT MEANT TO SCARE US, it is meant to PREPARE US!!!

According to recent survey by LIFEWAY Research¹, many pastors are apparently having an “aha” moment due to the tide of our times…. and about time too!  They are beginning to see current events today as things the Bible forecast for the end-of-days. But sadly … as with others, I think their pulpits could remain silent on this subject as and when things return to the “new normal”!   Why?

 

The research results indicate that many pastors in the survey have noted that world and church events have meaning today. They include the rise in apostasy, the love of believers growing cold, the decline in traditional morals, national conflicts, natural disasters, famines, and even the rise in Antisemitism. Even if they are Tribulation events, they are casting a shadow on the Church Age now.  But sadly, despite acknowledging this, most will be reluctant to preach about it and guide their flock of whom they are overseers (as the Bible puts it clearly).  [There are reasons for this, which will be covered in another blog post very soon, God willing]


In these surreal days in which we find ourselves, it is time for people, Christians AND non-Christians, to WAKE UP and realize that what is happening is warned about in the precious Word of God! What God’s Word says is TRUE and it is time to take note and believe His Word.

Almost 25 years ago, the church-growth movement said that teaching any kind of eschatology² would not grow the church.   Pastors were encouraged to keep quiet about the soon return of the Lord. Pastor Rick Warren even said in his Purpose Driven Life book that teaching Bible prophecy would distract you from your purpose and make you unfit for the Kingdom of God. Tragically Pastors listened to him! ¹   Tragic!!!   The most amazing thing is, if prophecy is correctly taught, it inspires people to get right with God!

 

The book of Revelation provides a clear picture of what will happen in the last days. It is NOT a closed book.   It is a clear picture and timeline of the Lord’s dealing with the church, the catching away of believers, the rise of the Antichrist and False Prophet, the pouring out of God’s wrath on an unbelieving world and culminating in the magnificent return of the Lord with His saints to set up His 1000 year reign on earth.  It explains the final destination of those who have rejected God and those who have trusted Christ as their Saviour and much more.

Why did I mention all this?   Sadly people avoid Revelation and prophecy in general in their preaching – they avoid the reality of what is a crucial part of the Word of God.   Many say it is merely symbolic …. not so!!   The Bible is virtually thirty percent prophecy (30%) – much of which pertains to the end times …. but the churches are silent!  If they were taught about these things, people would realize that what is busy happening now – today – is all part of the end-time scenario all falling into place.  A foreshadowing of the time of Tribulation which is around the corner.  They would start to understand the dangers lurking in the shadows.  But they would also realize, if they were taught all of Scripture, what a great opportunity AND responsibility it is for those who know Jesus as Saviour, to reach out to others with the life-giving message of the Gospel of Jesus!

 

Joel Rosenberg states, “For too long, many pastors have shied away from teaching on birth pangs and events leading up to the Second Coming of the Lord, but the current pandemic demonstrates the need for solid, non-sensational preaching done in a biblical manner.”¹

 

Things might appear to be falling apart, BUT they are actually falling into place … exactly as foretold in the precious infallible and unadulterated Word of God, the Bible.

So many prophecies are being fulfilled on a DAILY basis and with increasing speed and intensity.  BUT people are not being told just how relevant prophecy is today.   When last did you hear a sermon about end-times in your church?  I am not talking about a sermon that says the Lord is coming back someday.   No urgency to make sure people come to know the Lord before it is ever too late.  Seldom if ever do you hear both eternal destinations mentioned – Heaven yes, but seldom the reality of Hell and a lost eternity.

 

Be alert, the Lord is coming at an hour that you do not expect ... I believe VERY soon!!

 

We do not know the day nor the hour of His return, BUT we DO know and if you study your Bible, you will KNOW that this is the season of His return for His church, true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord Himself rebuked the people saying: “”You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?” (Luke 12:5-56)

 

The Lifeway report also revealed that more than half the pastors expect Jesus to return in their lifetime. So why on earth are their pulpits not proclaiming this?
But there is still more to the survey! Almost 70% of those surveyed believe the modern re-birth of Israel and the re-gathering of millions of Jewish people were fulfillments of prophecies in the Bible.   That’s great news but that was 72 years ago. Why haven’t you been preaching that, pastors? More than that, 40% of the pastors surveyed believe that the establishment of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem two years ago was one of the signs of the last days!
This is great sermon material! It could get a church fired up! But most pulpits I hear about are silent on the topic.
The book of Revelation tells us there is coming a one-world system run by the Antichrist. That new world order requires a crisis—a global crisis, not a local crisis. We have it—a global pandemic. Just a few weeks ago one of our former Prime Ministers urged world leaders to create a temporary form of global government to deal with the coronavirus crisis.    Isn’t this more fuel for a discussion?   If your eyes and ears are open, you will hear more and more the terms “One World Government”, “New World Order”, “One World Religion”, “One World Financial System” ….  people have the right to know and to understand what is busy happening.  
And remember, The Church is to be removed before the revealing of the lawless one, the Antichrist who will be “the man with a plan” – the “Mr Fix It”, as it were.  I believe without a shadow of a doubt that what we are seeing taking place is almost like a “practice run” for the real thing …. things that will take place once the Church is removed and the 7-year tribulation begins.
Pastors, please don’t be silent!  Those of us who know about this must not remain silent.   Maybe this is truly something new to you.   A new day!   Some pastors and churches are indeed seizing the opportunity to present the Good News and are seeing thousands come to know the Lord as their Saviour.  We have an open door using modern technology now.    Seize the opportunity. Look around you – see how all things are falling into place. Be excited. Be truthful. Don’t marginalize such important news. Connect the dots for your people.
Jesus is returning any moment. Please stop the silence of the pulpits.
People need to get to know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.   Time as we know it is running out.
Now take action!
  • If you would like to know how to get to know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, contact me via the contact form.
  • If you have not been told about these things at your church and you want to know more about end times and what to expect, request info here.
  • If you are a pastor or missionary and need more info to help you, contact us please via the contact form.

¹Olive Tree Ministries. Hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen? By Jan Markell April 15, 2020
² Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology dealing with the “last things.”

Welcome to the New World Order …

Have you stopped for one moment recently to think … “What on earth is really going on?”
During the last two weeks I have been very privileged to listen to some on-air discussions.  Some of those discussions included a few that Jan Markell has had with some excellent speakers and Bible teachers who have their fingers on the pulse of world affairs.  They share clearly how global events are all tying up with Bible teaching about what the world will look like as we approach the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jan Markell from Olive Tree Ministries discussed these matters with Gary Kah (from Hope for the World) along with additional input from Pastors J.D. Farag (Calvary Chapel, Hawaii) and Tom Hughes (Hope for our Times). At least a  dozen topics were included:
  • The galloping rush to global government
  • ID2020
  • Event 201
  • The role of Bill Gates and other globalists
  • The push for total control and the vaccine agenda
  • The need for a “savior” to rescue the world from massive loss
  • The role of Pope Francis
  • The crisis that is not going to waste
  • Emmanuel Macron’s push for global power
  • The silence in the pulpits
Proposals for a universal income, tracking ID, a cashless society, government surveillance, marginalizing the church, and much more, reveal just how things are falling into place for a global society.
Have you noticed the speed at which these things are happening?  Three months ago you would have had no idea that we would be finding ourselves “locked down” and getting used to a new vocabulary and what will surely end up being the new norm?how fast this is proceeding? But things have changed and will change even more …. and not or the better.    The globalists have no time to waste.

I want to encourage you to access these two current programs and stay up-to-date with our times. While this is globalism’s perfect storm, God remains in total control as all things foretold line up.

Remember folk … prophecy is not meant to scare us, it is meant to prepare us!!!

 

Will you be ready to meet Him as your Saviour when He returns?

Make sure you get to know the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR Saviour.   Don’t be deceived – there is only ONE WAY to God and that is through the Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!  Nobody comes to the Father except through Jesus.  (John 14:6)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life“.   (John 3:16)

 

If you want to be kept up to date with global events and also receive encouraging and devotional posts from time to time, please be sure to subscribe to our feed by clicking on “follow” alongside.

What is in that Jar of Clay?

Sometimes we are so inclined to look at the external – the outward appearance – a plain jar of clay or a unique and ornate china vessel.

Yes, the ornate china jar may be a delight to the eye, cost a pretty sum to acquire, but as regards contents, it is simply filled with “emptiness” and will be a decorative mantle-piece item with no real use or purpose.

On the other hand, the plain jar of clay may not land up on the mantle-piece or in some show cabinet, but it may be holding contents of inestimable value!

Warren Wiersbe, a great Bible teacher once put it like this: “The Christian is simply a ‘jar of clay’; it is the Treasure within the vessel that gives the vessel its value”.  As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must remember that God made us as we are so that we can accomplish His purpose for us and to His glory.   As an example, read Acts 9:15 about Paul who was a chosen vessel unto the Lord.

One of my favourite verses is: 2 Corinthians 4:7: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves”.

What is very important about the vessel is that it be clean, empty and available for service!

You and I need to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use.   We are mere earthen vessels and are nothing in and of ourselves, we need to depend entirely on God’s power in our lives and not our own!

What we really need to do is to …. FOCUS ON THE TREASURE and not on the vessel!

We need to guard that Treasure by being faithful to our Saviour and Lord.

As we face this surreal and unprecedented time globally, it could be that God is permitting our vessels to get a bit jarred and shaken so that some of that Treasure can spill out and enrich others.  Remember who you are in Jesus – you’re not the ornate china vessel, you are the clay pot holding the most precious Treasure within.

“If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honourable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work”.

Here is a little exercise …. 

 

 

 

 

Describe in your own words:

  1. The TREASURE: ________________________________________
  2. The JAR OF CLAY:  ______________________________________
  3. How can some of the treasure spill out from you if you were “jarred” or shaken? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How safe and secure are you?

“For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their Shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17)

WHO IS THE LAMB?
Jesus is the Lamb of God “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)

WHO IS THE SHEPHERD?
Jesus is the good Shepherd: “I AM the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays His life down for His sheep…” (John 10:11-16)

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE FALSE SHEPHERDS?
The false shepherds are more concerned about their own safety than caring for the sheep.
They will not provide protection for the sheep
In churches today, they no longer hold to the Truth of God’s Word and permit plenty of wolves to enter the fold and scatter and confuse the sheep.

SO WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF KNOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD?
We will be absolutely safe under the protection of Jesus, our Saviour.
He will bring us safely Home into His presence.
No longer will we have to be hounded by howling mobs and wolves who oppose those who follow Jesus and His teaching.
No longer will we have to put up with political and religious leaders who are determined to stamp out Christianity as they are striving to do even as I write this devotional.
No longer will there be forces of darkness to hinder us, dangerous situations or deliberate and intentional evil plans and schemes which can reach us and harm us.

Yes, in this world we will have tribulation and trouble as John tells us in John 16:33: Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I (Jesus) have overcome the world.

This precious LAMB who takes away the sins of the world is the One in Whom we must put our trust.
This LAMB is the One who has conquered and transformed all history through His suffering and death on the cross of Calvary, and His resurrection from the dead.

You can look forward to what is ahead for those whose sins have been forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Saviour, you need to look to Jesus and be saved

Hold on to Jesus,the Way, the Truth and the Life!

If you want to find out how to get to know Jesus, please click here for further information.

Locked down for a purpose?

I am very sure you’ve heard this statement ….”life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.”

Well let’s face it, we are all living through an unprecedented global experience right now.   The operative word over the last number of weeks appears to be fear …

  • Fear of acquiring the corona virus
  • Fear of not recovering from it, if acquired
  • Fear of the future – people losing jobs, businesses, income and general economic disasters
  • Fear of the things never returning to normal again
  • Fear of being “locked up” in an abusive family home with all that it brings with it!
  • Fear of not being able to see loved ones again
  • Fear of what the powers that be – many of whom are working “behind” the scenes, are planning for our future – one world government, one world financial system and a one world religion

There is so much more – the list is endless

But if 90% of what happens to us, is the reaction we have to what happens, how should we try to set about dealing with this that has happened?

Whether you believe in God or not will not make one iota of difference – please read on …

  • Nothing takes Him by surprise and therefore we can be fully assured that
  • God is still in control.
  • He knows what is going on.
  • He is allowing His perfect plan to work out.
  • He is also giving an opportunity for people to realize their need of Him and to repent, turn to Him and find peace and hope in Him!


Do you realize that in His mercy, He has permitted us to be “locked down” so that we can be still for a change and not rushing about? 
  It is a time for ….

 

 

  • Getting to know our parents or children better than ever before.
  • Time to be quiet and try new ways of doing things or learning new skills
  • Time to “declutter”
  • Time to phone, email or write a letter to someone you have not made contact with for a long time!
  • To encourage others
  • But most of all, time to draw closer to the Lord Jesus or getting to know Him for the very first time!

As those of us who have put our trust in Him, this is a time to take full advantage of reading God’s Word, studying it, spending more time in prayer (talking to God), drawing much closer to the Lord AND to share the Good News with others!   We have access to so many resources to achieve all these things, so really there is no excuse.   God has blessed us with that opportunity.  Don’t waste it!

For those of us who are trying to make sense of what is happening and have questions about it, here is an opportunity to find the answers.   Online, via blogs, phoning friends whom you know to be true Christians, read the Bible – good place to start is the Gospel of John in the New Testament.  If you don’t have a Bible, there are great online Bibles with free access.

Here are some links to help you:

Bible Hub – https://biblehub.com/
Bible Gateway – https://www.biblegateway.com/
Blue Letter Bible – https://www.blueletterbible.org/


If you do not have anyone to contact, contact us confidentially for more information.

Two Scriptures for you to think about: 
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Saviour] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Saviour and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Saviour and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].”
(John 3:16-18)

Both passages are from the Amplified Bible

Keep safe.  Keep well.

God bless and keep you in His care

 

 

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…”
(2 Timothy 3:1)

 

Do you have a deep love for the Bible?

During the 2nd half of 2019 I decided to take part in a Discipleship Course.   I made that decision because of my deep love for the Word of God and the opportunity to dig still deeper into it.

It was during the course that the Lord challenged me to devote even more time in His Word AND in an even more disciplined way.

Part of the course involved committing Scripture to memory.   I’m not brilliant at memorizing anything generally!
Most of the Scriptures I do know off by heart are from the King James Version of the Bible.  Now, the course was challenging me to learn a different and slightly newer version, like the New King James Version.  But, despite my age …. I’ll leave you guessing ….. the LORD has helped me to hide a good few more new verses in my head!   If I can do it, so can you!

Two of the memory verses that really meant a lot to me was from Colossians 1:19-20.  BUT, as I read, studied and meditated on the next few verses, the LORD spoke very powerfully to me and I share this with you  now.   First read all 4 verses from Colossians 1: 19-22:

Colossians 1:15-23 – Westminster Calvary ChapelFor God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.   He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.  This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.

Now, if we look closer at verse 22, I will personalize it (do the same for yourself if you are serious about your walk with the Lord and have got to know Him as your Lord and Saviour).

God reconciled EVERYTHING, including me, to Himself through the blood that He shed on the Cross of Calvary, and, AS A RESULT …   “He has brought ME into the very presence of God, and I am holy and blameless as I stand before Him without a single fault

This is what this time of year is all about.   As we remember what Jesus did for us that Passover just over 2000 years ago, have you considered Jesus?

“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”

Do YOU love His Word?  Do YOU love the Author….?

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the Author and His Word. It is my daily food, my strength and my stay. I absolutely adore His Word.   I cannot adequately express how deeply I feel about my Saviour and His precious infallible Word?

If you want to know more about the Lord Jesus Christ and / or want to know how to follow Him more closely, do not hesitate to make contact with me.

IS THERE HOPE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES?

The world has changed.  We are living in unprecedented times … perilous times, to say the least!

What is taking place globally due to the Corona Virus is no accident but rather a very well-orchestrated programme working towards the establishment of a One World Government, One World Money System and a One World Religion.   We only need to look what is happening in our own communities to see the impact this is having on individuals, businesses, the self-employed, stock markets, education, health, etc, etc.  And this is happening in country after country and following the exact same pattern.

What do we as believers need to do when we live in these troubled times?

Psalm 11 has an answer for us and in these difficult and troubled times when the very foundation pillars of life appear to be crumbling before our eyes and all around us, we need to take a look at His Word and get perspective.

  • We need to see where God is and be assured that He is still on the Throne (v4)
  • We need to see what God sees (v 4-5) – He sees everything that is happening in this world
  • We need to see what He shares with us and be assured that someday (sooner than we think) God is going to deal with all the evil in this world and make things right (v6)
  • We need to take a longer-term perspective and remember that God is still on the throne & He is in control and will remember His own!(v7)


Psalm 11 starts with the LORD and ends with the LORD.  We are secure in Him!
In the LORD I take my refuge for He is righteous; loves justice and we will see our Saviour’s face soon!

Trust Him and Him alone!

________________________________________

Further to what I shared above, here is a VERY informative video by Pastor Brandon Holthaus, from the Rock Harbour Church in California.   I have heard much of his teaching and he is VERY sound.

This enlightening video, “Never let a crisis go to waste” is in line with what so many Bible-believing pastors and teachers are saying and I am in agreement with this.

If you are feeling at wits end corner, without hope and alone, may I urge you to consider Jesus.  Believe me when I say, He is the ONLY hope for mankind.  We all need Jesus in our lives.  We may think we can live without Him, but if we are faced with death, you CANNOT die without Him.   The consequences are unthinkable.

For help in getting to know Jesus and experience His peace, love and forgiveness, please click this link AND/OR contact me for prayer and further spiritual help.

WHAT WE COULD LEARN BECAUSE OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC?

by Eric Barger, Take a Stand Ministries

THE GOOD NEWS

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“If God be for us, who can be against us?”
(Romans 8:28, 31)
 
THE WAKE UP
Last night I went to the store. That statement is not a Facebook post as, sadly, that’s about as deep as many posts on social media get these days. No, last evening’s trip, which included stops at three large stores, is worthy of note only because so many shelves were bare. Unusual and troubling, I was experiencing one of those moments that I had only imagined many times before.
We here in the United States and Canada take for granted our ability to go to the store 24/7/365. We expect to find the shelves fully stocked whenever we decide to shop for whatever our hearts desire. Seeing what I did just a few hours ago was indeed unnerving but not surprising. It was a harbinger of things to come and similar to what I remember about shopping in a third world country. However, I was not in some far away banana republic; it was right here, nearly walking distance from home. Just as what store shelves look like near the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf Coast when a hurricane is approaching from the sea, just three cases of water remained for sale in a huge Walmart superstore I visited. Residents from around the country are reporting the same barrenness on store shelves. Especially in demand (but out of stock) were items such as hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial wipes and soaps, surgical gloves, and masks. Now, for the first time in many years, we are watching as simple supply and demand spotlights a glaring weakness that is affecting many people. That is, that the 18-wheel transports that bring us supplies each day can’t deliver to the local stores what is actually not available.
One of the reasons for the current predicament is that until now most Americans have not heeded suggestions that we should prepare for possible disruptions in acquiring everyday items that we’d need. Generations before us thoughtfully prepared for various shortages as a normal part of living life. But slowly we’ve been lulled into believing that our supply of whatever we need or want would always be available. We’ve actually been duped by the “god” of convenience.

When I was growing up in my grandparents’ home in the 1950’s, I remember that they regularly canned food to be stored and then used at some distant point far into the future. They prepared, regardless of any forecast of rough weather or tough times, because they had been brought up doing so. This was the normal matter of course for generations before us. I never remember, in the 17 years I lived in their home, either of my grandparents questioning the practice or having to defend or explain why it was important. They just did it every year, faithfully. Today, if you ask most young people if they know what a “dry cellar” is or what paraffin is used for, they would just stare blankly until Google could give them the answer. Few people, if any, “can” food these days and, unlike our not-so-distant relatives, we are virtually 100% dependent on every part of the supply chain functioning without fail. Maybe some will reconsider this now.

“FROM A LAB IN CHINA TO THE WORLD…”

While there are valid questions that we do not have answers for as of yet concerning this version of the coronavirus, we do know that those who are under 60 years of age and without other conditions that compromise their immune systems are at very low risk of catastrophic outcomes from it. However, from the bare shelves I witnessed in the local Walmart, Target, and Kroger brand stores yesterday near our home outside Tacoma, Washington, it would appear that some who previously had not prepared their homes and pantries have realized this week they need to make up for lost time. It is obvious that few are ready for this kind of event.

Though I completely agree with the experts who are advising the public to prepare with a stock of food, water, medications, and other staples as if they were expecting an unusually bad storm season, just locating any number of items is the concern. These shortages serve as a precursor of what is surely coming around the corner as we inch deeper into the biblical last days. What is happening now with the supply of toilet paper, paper towels and the like is just an abnormal inconvenience and I wouldn’t classify this as a panic, at least not yet, but we need to take note.

There is no question that COVID-19 is deadly. There is also no question that some in the media are manipulating this story dramatically as they report on it. Objective reporting is hard to find these days but instead of calling out some of the politicians on the left – who’ve chosen to politicize an epidemic – their allies in the media are choosing to just chime in! ….

When viewed in context, this virus is presently affecting far fewer people and is projected to take far fewer lives than common influenza does each year. That is a fact. However, that is not to say that it is not serious or that it couldn’t become far worse. COVID-19 is far more contagious and can be carried and spread for several days by individuals who are not exhibiting any symptoms nor even aware they are infected. What is at issue, besides the disease itself, is the public’s perception of and reaction to this crisis. I guarantee that those who want to take evil advantage – especially of our way of life – are carefully watching how this current scenario plays out. The Globalists love chaos, just as revolutionaries do. Let’s not forget what Obama’s then soon-to-be chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, stated back in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis go to waste. But what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” [1]

 

Thus far, we are hearing of cancellations and closures of sporting events, concerts, conferences, banquets, and church/religious services in attempts to slow the outbreak. Many schools and universities are moving their classes online and businesses are taking step after step to try stopping the spread of COVID-19. This morning, in what he presented as an attempt to curb a spike in new cases, the Governor of Washington State announced a ban on all gatherings of over 250 people. Imagine what would be occurring around us if we had just been informed about a virus that put everyone under 60 at mortal risk. Store and school closures en masse… highway and street closures… neighborhoods on lock down… travel halted… real panic in the streets… martial law? All of that sounds truly frightening, like the plot line of Hollywood’s worst horror fiction happening in real life. But the point here is that, as prepared with stockpiles of supplies as some might blissfully believe we are, handling an even more deadly pandemic followed by the reaction of our citizenry would reveal otherwise. To ignore taking personal responsibility to conduct some measured preparation under calm, normal circumstances only positions people to react fearfully should those conditions occur. All that would be needed to light such a destructive fuse is for broadcast media to announce that, in essence, it’s now time to panic.

THE PERIL OF THE NEWS CYCLE

The media is at least to some extent to blame for what is currently taking place in public. You’ve heard the expression, “it’s not what is being said, but the way in which it is being said where the problem lies.” With an issue such as COVID-19, we are now experiencing only a taste of the negative fallout that can occur culture-wide when the media reports on any frightening issue like this for such a large percentage of each hour. I shudder to think what the coverage will be like when something exponentially more devastating comes along.

 

Over the past few days, anchors, reporters, and news producers, at a loss for fresh fodder to load into Teleprompters, have long since run out of adjectives. Their unspoken mission is to make certain that viewers perceive that their only smart choice is to stay tuned. Indeed, there are shortages and, yes, without question the worldwide outbreak of a deadly, highly contagious disease is newsworthy. But there’s a huge economy in play demanding that those in front of the cameras keep all eyes glued to every screen for as long as possible. This is a central tenet of the news business and is itself detrimental to our collective mindset. As we’ve also seen, media coverage can have a paralyzing effect on financial markets too. News that intimates we’ll be losing everything we’ve invested and probably catch a potentially deadly disease is a powerful double punch that only delivers hopelessness and deepens despair. No, I certainly do not want to be told deceptive “happy talk” but one has to learn where the “off” button is on the TV remote. And …. most importantly, we need to remind ourselves and anyone around us where the source or true peace and real inspiration can be found.

 

The media has become adept at feeding the frenzies created by dominant single stories. That is what takes place in the 24-hour news cycle. It’s not that they purposely deceive us, though that certainly happens too, but it is their job to look into cameras and drone on hour after hour, convincing us that the fear and the escalating panic we feel (something that’s being induced with each new twist on the story) is not just warranted but simply proper. While searching for an elusive expression to keep viewers riveted, the words “stay calm” and “don’t panic” are, in effect, rendered meaningless and buried by the sheer volume and intensity of the coverage.

It’s no secret that I’m a news junky, but hour after hour of bad news is just plain bad for us as humans. It’s not that we shouldn’t be aware and understand what is taking place and how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones. But at some point, with events such as the coronavirus, our quest to stay informed mutates into living in fear. Christians should know that fear is the opposite of faith and God’s Word declares that He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Frankly, ingesting news nonstop – especially now – gives fuel to mounting fear. Christians understand that our hope is not built on CNN, ABC, or Fox News (or any other news platform)!!

However, it would appear that some of us need to be reminded of that right now. The answer is surely not hours on end of self-bombarding our minds with facts and figures that lead to ghastly imaginations and serve only to drag us down while raising the ratings of your preferred network. The antidote is not grasping every new wrinkle in the story. Again, it is found only in God’s Word, and through prayer and praise!

 

WHAT TO DO?

If there is anything that people, particularly Christians, should glean on a practical level from the coronavirus crisis is to consider how to put ourselves in a position to be less impacted by chaos in the future. I’m not suggesting this with a view toward self-preservation alone, but consider that if we are caught in panic mode or lost in a fog of depression because mankind doesn’t seem to have the answers to the dilemmas facing us, our witness for the Lord is likely compromised and possibly even defeated. What good would we be to a lost and dying world if we allow ourselves to live only by what the news reports? How can we truly serve the Kingdom of God if our cues are coming from the secular press?

 

I encourage you to step back and formulate a plan as to how you can be a ministry and a blessing to others, regardless of what is happening in the world around us.

Wisdom comes from the Lord and nothing else will do. This is the time to seek the Lord without distraction.

Nothing we face any day of our lives has taken Him by surprise. He alone holds the keys.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
(Proverbs 9:10)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

[Please note: Bold & colour emphasis is mine. As are the images within the text]

GROWING IN SPIRITUAL MATURITY

At our Home Group meeting last night, we looked at Philippians 4:1-9.   Lively discussion took place, but the outline could be helpful for your own personal Bible Study.

In Summary …. There are 4 key areas that help us mature spiritually

 

Stand firm (in the Lord)
(Philippians 4:1 – “stay true to the Lord”
Stand firm for the Lordship of Christ in your life
and avoid
– denominationalism
– traditionalism
– legalism

In fact, we were reminded that in reality there are only 2 religions (yes, TWO!)

  • Trying – religions which rely on works fall into this category, eg. Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam
  • Trusting – Simple trust in the FINISHED work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary!  Being a follower of Christ!

We need to remember that Jesus did it ALL!
There is NOTHING more to be done!
We are COMPLETE in Him!
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin – there is nothing more to be done
Jesus, on the cross, said:  It is finished   He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and one day soon He will return for His own.

 

Deal with Conflict
(Philippians 4:2-3)
Confronting issues which cause discontent and conflict will lead to peace and joy in the Lord

Live in the Peace of God
(Philippians 4:4-7)
Learn to rejoice IN our circumstances, not FOR them.
We need to learn to
praise God in every situation
– put your life in the perspective of eternity
don’t be anxious about anything but …
pray about everything

Make Godly Choices
(Philippians 4:8-9)
Replace all undesirable thoughts and behaviours with those that glorify the Lord!
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, …” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV)

Remember, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” (1 Peter 2:2-3).  And, as the NKJV puts it: as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…”

 

To hear the message this study was based on, please follow this link to hear Jim Graham speak on this topic.
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