Tag Archives: Covid-19

Whose Report Do you Believe?!

Whose report will you believe

But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”

These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

John 12: 37-41(Isaiah 53:1 ) NKJV

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10: 16-17 NKJV

Faith is such a simply thing that it can easily be overlooked. We set an alarm before we go to sleep never doubting it will wake us. We say good night to loved ones without a worry that we (or they) will rise tomorrow to see them again. We turn on a faucet and expect the water to flow. So many things in our life we take for granted yet we have faith (assurance, trust, no doubt) that they will be there just as before. Even if we have no clear understanding as to how they work – microwaves, computers, plumbing or electrical infastructures, we believe that will be just the way they have always been when we need them.

Salvation is based on a very simply concept as well.

But what does it (the righteousness that is by faith) say?

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:6-10 NIV

So, it is all about what we believe in our hearts. Whose Report will You Believe?? CNN? The CDC? The Word of God? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself? It is a very simple question you see because our beliefs shape our thoughts and our thoughts shape our actions and our actions have consequences.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;

Proverbs 3:5 & 1 Cor 3:19 NKJV

People who know me know that I am an emotional, passionate and maybe dramatic personality. I am an open book as the saying goes. I also can be trusting to the point of gullibility. Therefore the sensational and dramatic can catch my eye. With the pandemic upon us I have seen and read many websites promoting the theory that we are in the end times. Honestly, I can’t help but agree that these unprecedented events we see each day playing out are a cause to reflect, pray and appreciate what is truly important – but with a clear head.

To those of us who already believe in Jesus and have placed our lives into His Hands these events should act as a call to action. Now more than ever we believers must be the light He called us to be. A beacon of stability in a world being blown around by fear and sensationalism and uncertainty. Like Jesus Who slept in the boat (Matt 8:23-26) while the storm tossed it about we should be calm and undeterred by the events unfolding around us. As we stand strong during this crisis others will want to know why we aren’t worried as they are. This will be the opportunity for us to share the faith in and love of God with them.

In this uncertain time, as always, we must remember that God is on His throne. Jesus told us this is how it would be so we should not be surprised. the Bible talks about “great signs and wonders” as the end draws near.

I heard a great analogy of this scripture I’d like to share. When a traveler is in a foreign land and comes to a cross street. They look around and can not understand what they are reading because it’s in a language different from their own. But to the locals who live there it is a sign which gives directions that they clearly understand.

Likewise, these signs we see today (pandemic, hoards of locusts, earthquakes, cyclones, famine, sickness, volcanic eruptions, etc) tell us clearly that the end is near. They are a sign to us who believe because Jesus told us they would come and they they would be the birth pangs of the end. To those who do not believe these events are a wonderland a cause for concern and fear.

Having said all of that –

Whose Report Shall You Believe???

Good Morning

Good morning!

Today is Tuesday. Just another day during this new normal called the covid-19 shut down. I can look out my window and see the sun shining on the flowers in the yard. A breeze blows the branches on the trees and the flag waves in the sunlight. For all intents and purposes it is a good morning.

But that is the problem with superficialities. Things don’t always appear as they are. A duck floats along on a pond looking calm and at peace but below the surface its feet are franticly paddling! Likewise, outside my window the sun shines, birds sing, flowers grow and all appears to be well on my street.

But.

But within the walls of the brightly lit homes on my block are people who are locked down. Locked down, sheltered in place, quarantined, staying safe, flattening the curve, whatever you want to call it, they are not going about living life as usual. It is obviously the same almost everywhere around the world and maybe we can take solace in the fact that we are not the only ones suppressed by this.

And.

“And how are you holding up?”

“Well. We are doing well thanks, considering. It is an inconvenience but we will get through it. Together, of course.”

“Well, be safe and stay well. Please tell everyone at home I said hey!”

Platitudes. The things that we have come to learn are appropriate to say in ever circumstance. We know what to say when someone gets a promotion. What to say when someone looses a loved one. We know what to say to encourage each other when we face an unusual and stressful time such as this.

Why?

Why be superficial and just keep up appearances? Why speak in empty platitudes? Would being real really be so bad? Would it really be so bad if we said how we feel?

Fearful

Frustrated

Broke

Angry

Stressed

Worried

Tired

Hungry

Hot

Cold

Dirty

Defeated

Rejected

Lonely

Overwhelmed

Unemployed

What if we showed ourselves as we are? Drop the facade. Allowed ourselves to be real.

Yell. Cry. Rest. Take five. Take a nap. Call a friend. Hug someone. Ask for help.

Yes, ask for help! How many times have you been willing to help someone? Friend or stranger, have you been ready to help out without a seconds thought? Many people in our world can be so caring and giving. Yet, so many people will not ask for help. They hold it in. They “man-up” or “push through” or “press on” or whatever ridiculous thing they tell themselves just so they don’t have to swallow their pride and be real.

Jesus told us to ask. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 Take note of the words Jesus used – Ask, Seek, Knock – “A” “S” “K”!

The Word of God tells us the we have not because we do not ask. James 4:2

We are also commanded many times to help each other.

Love our neighbors as ourselves. Carry each others burdens. Look after the widows and the sick. Just to name a few. Mathew 22:39, Galatians 6:2, 1 Tim 5:3

But the point I wish to make here today is to be real! Superficialities and platitudes help no-one. Be Real! Be You. Let someone in during these difficult times and let yourself be refreshed by their love and support. After all wouldn’t you be loving and supportive of them if they needed it?

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.        John 4:23-24 NIV

If this scripture isn’t calling for us to let down our superficial ways of approaching God (and each other) then I know nothing and should stop writing. Don’t be locked into platitudes in life and especially not in your prayer life. Be real and be transparent. Love and encourage everyone but also allow yourself to be loved, encouraged, lifted up or even carried if that’s what you need.

I’ll stop now. I’ve obviously gotten carried away with this thought for today. Just be encouraged today and if you need help ask. Ask God. Ask a loved one. But ask. Because pretending you are ok when you are not will not help.

 

Be Blessed A&B

The End Is Near!!

The end is near! 

Haven’t we all heard that before? Maybe even seen a street evangelist touting a sign and shouting “Repent! The end is near.” Jesus Himself told His disciples that although He was leaving “in a little while He would be back.” John 16:16-20 NKJV 

The End Is Near!

But just how near? Will Jesus return in our lifetime? This decade perhaps? Maybe this year? How about this month? Could He come back tomorrow?  Or will He wait much longer before bringing this age to a close? 

The End Is Near!

Look around. Look at your community. How does it compare with the recent past? Compare the world around you today to the world your parents grew up in. Has the overall condition of the neighborhood improved or deteriorated over time? 

The Word of God tells us that in the end days it will be perilous times. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Tim 3:1-5 KNJV

Does this paint a picture of the world we live in or must society move further away from God and civility to fit this description? 

The End Is Near!

Look around. Broaden your vision and look at the world as it is today. Consider world history both recent and past. Compare the world today to the world your parents grew up in. Has the overall condition of the society, or for that matter our planet itself, improved or deteriorated over time? Are you witnessing the continuing evolution of mankind as the world would have you believe? Or are you clearly seeing what I like to call the de-evolution of this world.  

Paul puts it this way in discussing the state of the world – consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hopethat the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.                  Romans 8:18-21 NIV

The bondage of decay – This world is in bondage (helpless to stop or prevent) to a condition of decay. This is not a description of something evolving into a better condition than its previous state but rather a slow downward descent into a state of destruction.

Paul goes one to say that “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” and “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:22 &23 KNJV

Jesus told us what the world would look like before His return. He said these things would be the beginnings f sorrows.

Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:4-14 NKJV

He told us that when we see things to look up because our redemption draws near.

Yes!! That’s right even Jesus said the end is near some 2000 years ago. Sooner or later it will be here! 

The End Is Near!!

Covid-19 has and will continue to change the world around us into a new norm. Social distancing, telecommuting, food shortages, schools closed, city streets turned into ghost towns. The world as we knew it just a short time ago may never be again. If you use any of your quarantine time searching the Internet you’ll find theories about this pandemic,  how it came to be what does it mean and when will it end. You’ll find conspiracy theories about the heralding in of a cashless society or the Mark of The Beast,  New World Order and the implementation of an authoritarian government. 

It’s a rabbit hole that’s not easy to get out of so avoid it and concentrate on a real and personnel relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is all you need. He is all anyone needs. 

The End Is Near! 

Frankly, whether Jesus returns to take His children home today, tomorrow or some distant day we need to be ready. Whether this pandemic or some other event, large scale or personally, takes our health away and brings the end we need to be ready.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.  For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36 NKJV

 

Personal note – not that it matters but for the sake of full disclosure we do believe that the Lord’s return, as evident by the Rapture of the Church is closer than most may believe. Clearly our opinion isn’t of importance here. The only thing that’s important is establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ or strengthening that relationship  if you already know Him.

 The End Is Near!!

HE’S ALIVE!

 He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive and I am forgiven!

Here in lies our hope…..

  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.   1 Cor 15:17 NKJV

If Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave then He was not who he said He was. If He was not who He said he was then He was not the Lamb of God and did not die for our sins. If He did not die for our sins then we are still in our sins and doomed to be separated from God. For the Law and the shedding of the blood of lambs and goats can not wash away sin but only cover them up until something better (The Savior) came along. If He did not defeat sin and death then we are doomed…..

But He did rise and when He died the veil in the Temple was torn in half from top to bottom signifying that we can boldly go directly to God because of the life-changing work that Jesus did that day.

He is alive! No great mystery. No Doctrinal dissertation. No religious dogma. No rules and regulations. No fees to be paid or tolls to pass threw.

Just open up your heart and let Him Love You!

 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.  Rev 3:20 HSCB

 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28 KJV

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 1:23 NKJV

 As we all celebrate this Sunday in a new socially distanced safe way remember that our hope is in the Lord Jesus Who rose from the dead some two thousand years ago today – and if He be risen than we are free from our sins and will also rise again – and be with Him forever!!

Happy Resurrection Sunday

Take a moment to listen to Paul Harvey tell a story please. To those that never knew him Paul Harvey was a Radio personality and a wonderful story teller.

It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming

 

It’s Friday but Sunday is coming!

It’s Friday

Beat, bleeding, betrayed and berated Jesus is sentenced to death!

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

They nail Him to the cross and watch for Him to die as the sky turns black

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

The Son of God

Creator of All things

Takes the sin of the world

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

The punishment for my sins are laid on Him

God the Father turns away

The Son of God

Let’s out His last breath

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday and the mourners cry

The apostles flee

The world is dark

Hope is dead

But Sunday is coming!!

Sunday is the day of Promise

The Day of Fulfillment and Joy

The Day that Death lost it’s sting

And the Grave lost it’s hold

Jesus, The Lord of All arose

And left the burial cloth behind

Jesus, The Risen Lamb that was slain

Lives so that we may live with Him

To those of us who believe

To those who call Him Lord

There will be troubles and trials

These will be our Friday’s

But if we believe

But if we call Him Lord

There will be victory

There will be Sunday

God Bless You on this Resurrection Sunday

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Rev 1:4-8 nkjv

This is a reposting of something I wrote years ago but in light of the Cover-19 pandemic these words and the sentiment they convey are even more relevant now. Be encouraged. Trust in Jesus and Love one another.

Denial, Fear or Faith!!

Dear God help me please!!

If God had a social media presence His phone would be blowing up!!

Global Pandemic! The number of sick growing daily almost hourly! The dead being stored in refrigeration trailers because funeral homes can’t keep up!

Add to that the healthy people that are out of work. Businesses that can’t operate or operate in a limited fashion. Unemployment claims being placed by the millions in America alone. Families sheltering in place. The elderly isolated in nursing homes.

Where are you in this storm?

Whose side are you one? Are you trusting God or blaming Him?

What?! Whose side? What kind of question is that to ask at a time like this!?

Granted, it’s strange question. But the truth is that each of us are on a side. Maybe we have even changed sides a few times since this started. Maybe since you got up today.

What are the sides?

Team Denial! “Yea this is pretty bad but I’ll be ok and it’s gonna be over soon so why the fuss. Let’s play ball or have a party!”

That may sound like a crazy comment to imagine anyone saying given the current state of this situation. But, how many times since this began have you seen people ignoring the social distancing rule? How many times have you or someone you know ignored the stay at home order for something other than food/med shopping or going back and forth to work? Just how seriously are you taking this? Think about it? Either our appointed leaders are giving us the best possible advise concerning our health and well being or they are just playing a sick joke. I don’t think anyone is joking here.

Team Fear! “Oh my gosh! It’s the end of the world!! Hospitals and first responders won’t be able to keep up! The stores will run out of food and supplies! Rioting will break out as the infrastructure crumbles!”

This mentality is equally as destructive as the previous one. Blinded by fear is just that – Blinded! Fear never motivates a positive response just ask anyone that works saving lives of people drowning. They know that they are at risk of drownding by being climbed on by the very person they wish you save. The frantic fear filled person will never think rationally and their actions will reflect that irrational mindset. Going down a rabbit hole of fear and what if’s will drain your strength and destroy the spirit.

Team Faith! “God will provide! Don’t worry just pray and trust in the Lord. He will be glorified in this storm you wait and see!”

There’s a saying I heard many years ago (If you have been reading my posts you know that I have a bunch of these) that goes like this – Don’t be so heavenly-minded that you are no earthly good. I think this applies here. At face value the rallying cry of Team Faith is good. It’s scriptural. It’s a faith statement so to speak but it can be flippant and superficial if your level of Faith isn’t there. It can be alienating to others at a time when being supportive and compassionate is needed most.

The Gospels are full of examples of the level of faith people had and how it affected their lives. The woman with the issue of blood believed that she need only touch the hem of His garment to be healed. The Centurion beloved that Jesus could nearly speak the words and the servant would be healed. Juries believed that if Jesus touched his daughter she would live. In contrast, Jesus was unable to do many things in His home town because of their unbelief. See Luke 8:40-55,  Matthew 8:7-10, Matthew 9:26-29, Matthew 13:53-58

We should not expect anyone to have the level of faith that we have. Whether we have a small level or a huge level of faith in God it is ours and it is a reflection of the relationship we have with Him. Furthermore we should exercise our Faith in God responsibly. Ever see those people that play with snakes because the Word of God say that a believer shall be able to take up serpents? Their show of faith (I can’t judge) almost mocks the Word of God and creates a sideshow atmosphere.

Let’s not be blinded with naive denial or frantic with fear or superficially spiritual.

Let us, the Body of Christ, bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world around us by meeting them where they are. Paul said that he would be all things to all men for the sake of the Gospel. This does not mean that he was disingenuous. To the contrary. Paul was what we would call a “people person”. The kind of guy who could strike up a conversation in the line at the grocery store. Yea. That guy!

When Paul traveled to Greece to spread the Word of God there was a law in place that prohibited the preaching of new gods. Paul saw that there was an altar dedicated to “the unknown god”. Paul didn’t disregard the law of the land. He could have but he didn’t. Instead, he saw an opportunity to inform the people about this “Unknown god” they had but an altar for. He wasn’t disobedient to the law. He didn’t cower in fear and he wasn’t flippant or superficial. He seized a moment and shared the truth of just who this God was. He met them were they were.

With each passing day and ever news broadcast there are opportunities to be in denial or fear or faith. Be confident in the faith in God that lives within you. Share that Faith. Draw on your past experiences with God and tell people what God has done for you. They will get it if you tell it from the heart.

Be Blessed A&B

Hope vs No Hope!

“I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us or what laws are past or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. That’s where our hope is in this country and that’s where our hope is in life.”  Chuck Colson

During a time in my life years ago. Long before I was saved by the grace of God. I was searching for answers and looking for direction for my life. That search saw me go down many dead end roads. Alcohol, drugs, meaningless relationships and various self-help groups. One in particular comes to mind during these days of virus and stress.

Lifespring was one of the dead end roads this lost traveler went down. Without saying anything negative further about this organization I’ll simply say that I found those  involved to be sincere and caring. The trainings brought a short-lived revelation to my confused state. One particular thing that stands out after all these thirty-something years later is the concept put forth that there is “No Hope!” “There is no hope” is a fundamental tenet in the course.

There is no hope! or No hope, as illustrated by a facilitator  kneeling in front of a chair and pleading/begging for help. They taught that praying for help was futile and hopeless practice. In comparison, hope was illustrated as a standing up defiantly against the circumstances of life and proclaiming your victory. Through self-determination and pure grit one could defeat and enemy and overcome any obstacle. This exercise, as was characteristic of their teachings, was very emotionally charged, loud and almost intimidating in its delivery.

Thankfully God doesn’t work through our feelings. He doesn’t rely on our intellect. He doesn’t try to intimidate us or overpower us. He does, however, speak to us in a still small voice. We need only listen.

So, as we look around at this coronavirus pandemic and hear the voices of news broadcasts that calculate the numbers of sick and dead, we can have hope. We can look past the grim forecast by trusting in God and listen for His voice to speak to our hearts.

This is our Hope. The Hope we have is based on the reality of Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection are the foundation of our faith and the cornerstone of our hope. Without this foundation we are lost and truly without hope. Standing defiantly shaking our fist at the circumstance of life will not scare them away. Within our own limited ability we can do little but aligned with and trusting in Jesus means anything is possible.

Let’s review! Read this through. Let it sink in. This is our foundation. This is our Hope.

The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importancea]”>[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas,b]”>[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”c]”>[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 

1 Corinthians 15; 1-27 NIV

I am unapologetic for my opinion regarding the reality of Jesus Christ, God’s unending Love towards us and the infallibility of The word of God. My prayer is that you be encouraged by His Love now more than ever. Be Blessed A&B