This Thursday (4/9) at 1 PM (EST) American Decency is presenting another Zoom conference for your edification and information. Join us this Thursday at 1 PM via your electronic device or your telephone to hear Bill Johnson and Curtis Bowers discuss several aspects of the coronavirus. There is a lot of information and MISinformation out there. Listen in for a well-balanced approach that gives warning about the virus and the way in which the government is handling things. Let us all be faithful and fear not!
Some things we will look at are:
*Where did this come from?
*Precautions we should take
*America’s CDC and little known facts
*How are the numbers being skewed?
*How are we being manipulated and used?
*What we don’t know?
*President’s handling of the COVID-19 Crisis
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you are interested and we will email a link for this Thursday’s (4/9) Zoom conference at 1 PM (EST). Let your friends and family members know about it too!
Stores emptied of everything from potatoes to toilet paper; millions suddenly out of work as restaurants, libraries, theaters, arenas, etc. are closed; retirement funds decimated as the stock market plunges. As Americans face a reality we’ve never experienced before, the reaction of many ranges from worry to fear to panic to depression.
As Keith Mathison of Ligonier Ministries writes: “The world is fearful and anxious, but it is fearful and anxious about the wrong things. The world is fearful about the economy. The world is fearful about retirement accounts. The world is fearful about natural disasters and man-made disasters. The world is fearful of terrorism, and the world is fearful of diseases like the coronavirus. The world, however, is not fearful of God.”
Jesus warns in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
As Christians, it’s easy to allow ourselves to be caught up in the same hysteria that surrounds us if we keep our focus on the 24/7, anxiety-filled news coverage and not on the God who rules over every tiny microbe – including the coronavirus. One of my favorite quotes from the late theologian, R.C. Sproul, is this: “If there is one maverick molecule in all the universe, then God is not sovereign. And if God is not sovereign, He is not God.”
God is in control and thus we can say with the psalmist: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1-3) As Christians we don’t have an antidote for the coronavirus, but we do have the antidote for fear.
Saint Augustine, living during a time of fear and panic as barbarians invaded Rome, wrote to encourage his fellow believers: “Among the daily chances of this life every man on earth is threatened in the same way by innumerable deaths, and it is uncertain which of them will come to him. And so the question is whether it is better to suffer one in dying or to fear them all in living.”
For those of us who “to die is gain,” the coronavirus is an opportunity to share with those consumed with fear “the reason for the hope that is within us” and demonstrate a “peace that passes understanding.” It’s an opportunity for the Church to reach out with the love of Christ. As 20th century theologian, A.W. Tozer, once stated: “A scared world needs a fearless church.”
Rather than cowering in fear as those without hope, Christians should be shining the Light of Christ. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) The Church has a great opportunity to minister to those around us. I was touched by three Christian teens in my community who took it upon themselves to start a free grocery delivery program for those who are housebound. A church in Alabama offered their parking lot to health officials for a drive-thru coronavirus testing site. As people waited in line, the church posted a number they could text to share prayer requests. Of the 400 who came through the line, 325 texted, asking for prayer. These are just a couple examples of ways we could and should be serving and witnessing as people are forced to face an unknown future.
When Martin Luther was dealing with The Black Death plague, he wrote these words: “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. … If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. …”
Throughout history – from the first recorded plague in Genesis 12:17 to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 – God has sent plagues to bring about His sovereign will. The plagues in the Bible were often sent as a form of judgment or a means to bring about repentance. While we don’t know God’s purpose in allowing the coronavirus, we do know this will be used for the good of those who love Him and may serve as a means to get the attention of those who don’t. As C.S. Lewis famously wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Speaking in 1866, amidst an outbreak of cholera, Charles Spurgeon gave this charge to pastors and all Christians: And now, again, is the minister’s time; and now is the time for all of you who love souls. You may see men more alarmed than they are already; and if they should be, mind that you avail yourselves of the opportunity of doing them good. You have the Balm of Gilead; when their wounds smart, pour it in. You know of Him who died to save; tell them of Him. Lift high the cross before their eyes. Tell them that God became man that man might be lifted to God. Tell them of Calvary, and its groans, and cries, and sweat of blood. Tell them of Jesus hanging on the cross to save sinners. Tell them that: “There is life for a look at the Crucified One.” Tell them that he is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him. Tell them that he is able to save even at the eleventh hour, and to say to the dying thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
As people are stripped of the pleasures and idols of sports and entertainment, as they face financial hardship through the loss of jobs and 401(k)s, may God’s people use this opportunity to share the hope found in Christ, as we fervently pray that the Lord will use this pandemic as an instrument to turn America around and draw many souls to Him.
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