Tag Archives: covid19

4,000,000 answers to prayer

I just want to say something about COVID 19. The virus is credited with taking about 152,000 lives here in the States. Most of those deaths were from underlying medical conditions complicated by the virus. But whether it’s one or 152,000, it is tragic when someone dies.

Many of us are praying that God will stop the spread of what we have come to regard as a deadly plague. We cry out that God would have mercy and heal us. Some question why God hasn’t put a stop to it already.

But yesterday as I was praying I felt God remind me that there are 4 MILLION people who have been healed of this virus. 4 MILLION answers to prayer. Where is our praise for that?

I’m not suggesting we stop praying about this disease. I pray not one more death will come as a result of the virus’ complications, and I am certainly not minimizing the loss of lives connected to COVID 19. But even as we pray for healing, let’s not neglect to praise our merciful God who has spared the lives of millions during the past few months.

When the “powers that be” try to throw fear into us, let’s rest in the merciful God we serve. Let’s praise God for 4,000,000 answers to prayer.

Valuing Life (2 Samuel 1-4)

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the blatant disregard for human life in the Old Testament. This was a dark time in the history of the Jews. I mean, they were killing each other for sport. We read about a relentless pursuit that ended in murder, a deadly trick, the murder of a man sleeping in his bed. All these people thought they were right in what they did. They had a “cause.” I truly believe they expected to be applauded for their efforts.

We need to remember God was not in this. He never wanted his children to have a king except Himself. He warned them what life would be like if they chose a human king, but they didn’t listen. The result was as brutal as God had said it would be. And human life was expendable.

We are all about saving lives these days. It’s been on the news 24/7 for weeks. People are up in arms right now because businesses are slowly opening again and they think someone might contract the virus if they do. I could chase a rabbit trail.

But are we really all about saving lives? I don’t see it. Christians are still being martyred around the world, Chinese people are still oppressed. Many people, like in Italy, are being denied medical treatment from government run health care (Please pay attention all you who think Socialism is the answer for America). And abortions are still happening every day. Where is the concern for those human lives? I don’t see it.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the blatant disregard for human life in our world today. We’ve tried to disguise it with masks and gloves, with closed businesses, churches, and schools. We take all the precautions we can to avoid getting sick. We have a “cause” and think we should be applauded for our efforts.

I wonder who determines which lives are worth saving? How do we know which lives we should value, and which lives are expendable? A Christian in Iran or China? An elderly person in Italy? A baby newly conceived? Who decides? Is it you? Is it me?

Or is it God who so loved the whole world that He gave His Son Jesus to die to save anyone who believes? I don’t believe God considers any life expendable!

So, dear one, let’s continue to make good choices for our health and that of others. But let’s not forget that all life is valuable to God, and all life is eternal. Let’s not get so focused on this disease that we forget about the disease of sin.

I wonder what it would be like if people would put as much effort in protecting their immortal souls as they do protecting their mortal bodies. I wonder what it would be like if the same people out there protesting the opening of hair salons would protest the killing of unborn babies. I wonder what it would be like if those people wearing masks at the grocery would protect their hearts and minds in the same intentional way.

I wonder what it would be like if we actually lived valuing life even after covid19 is behind us.

 

 

Afraid? (Psalm 56)

In God, whose word I praise – in the Lord, whose word I praise – in God I trust; I will not be afraid. (56:10-11a)

I hear a lot of fear in the voices of people these days. Fear about the virus. Fear about the future. Fear about the economy. Fear about the government. We are living in a time in our history marked by fear.

But fear need not be a part of the Christian experience. Why? Because our trust is in our God, our future is held by God, our present is blessed by God.

Dear Christian, please rest in the fact that you are God’s beloved child. Listen to what God would say to us today through the prophet Isaiah:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

People who do not know God have reason to be afraid. They can’t have the same assurance that we who know the Lord have. Our relationship with God through the blood of Jesus, can (and should) block out all fear. After all, God often tells us in Scripture to “fear not.”

Here’s a suggestion: when you begin to feel afraid, praise God like the psalmist said. Do you trust that God is true to His Word? Praise Him! Do you have the Spirit of God living in you? Praise Him! Do you believe that God works all things for the good of we who love Him? Praise Him!

Even during this virus outbreak, we need not be afraid.

 

 

 

Real Hope (Psalm 59)

I had a conversation with someone recently who doesn’t have a relationship with the Lord. The fear in her voice was strong as she talked about the covid19 virus. That fear paralyzed her. She had no hope.

The hope she expressed was merely wishful thinking. She said things like, “I hope my family doesn’t get it,” “I hope this ends soon,” “I hope the government does something about this.” But the more she spoke, the more evident it became that she had no real hope at all.

David knew what it was like to live in fear. He lived amid a plague of jealousy and hate. Spears and arrows were aimed at his heart. In fact, we’ll find out he self-quarantined in a cave to protect himself from coming in contact with those spears and arrows.

Today, instead of weapons of war pointing at us, we have a virus, germs, disease taking aim. And, like David, we are hunkered down, removing ourselves from the danger of contact. But not all of us are experiencing the same thing.

Some are isolated in their homes, wringing their hands, stuck to the TV news channels, hoarding toilet paper. And some are joyfully spending time with family, playing games, singing praise songs, even reaching out to help neighbors.

I know not everyone is living one extreme or the other. But I think how we approach this virus depends on where we place our confidence.

Do I look to the government or medical researchers for protection? Or do I look to God? Do I trust social distancing, or God? Do I look for answers in the media? Or do I go to the Word of God for answers?

Listen to what David said during this frightening time in his life:

O, my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. (Psalm 59:9)

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praises to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. (verses 16-17)

David repeatedly called God his fortress. To me a fortress is that sturdy, impenetrable place where no harm can come. David could rest in that fortress, and so can we.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I don’t believe that putting my hope in God will make me immune to this virus. But living in the fortress that is God gives me the assurance, the real hope, that if I stay healthy and don’t get this virus, I win. And if I get this virus and die, I win.

Am I worried about this virus? I can honestly say no. I’m following orders and staying in my home, washing my hands, etc. But I’m not losing sleep over the “what ifs.” I’ve given God those “what ifs,” and I pray you have, too.

I believe real hope isn’t a state of mind. I believe real hope is a constant relationship with the God of Creation, who does all things well. That’s not just wishful thinking.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness. It’s that solid rock, that fortress, that strength, that love.

My hope is real because God is real.

The Only Answer (I Samuel 1-3)

During this time in our lives, many people are asking God, “Why?” Why would He inflict the world with this virus? Why do so many people have to die? Why doesn’t He just either stop the virus from spreading, or give the cure to some researcher?

I’m not going to speak for God because the truth of the matter is, I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. No one does. I know some people feel the need to come up with answers, but there is only one thing I, or you, can know for sure:

God is good all the time.

God loves the world. God wants the world to be blessed. God doesn’t delight in our suffering. For some, that is hard to believe right now. But that doesn’t change the fact.

I can say with Eli, who had just received some very bad news about his sons:

He (God) is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes. (I Samuel 3:18)

So I will continue to pray for protection, healing, a cure for this virus. I will continue to social distance, and wash my hands. But at the end of the day, I will rest in the knowledge that God is God, and He will do what is good in His eyes, whether I understand it or approve of it. He is a good God.

May the good that God wants to do through this time in our lives be accomplished because His people trust Him, are obedient to Him, are reaching out to people who need Him. May families be healed, Bibles read, and may all of us slow down and draw closer to this good God of ours.

He is the answer. He is the only answer.

Quit Crying (Joshua 5-7)

The Jericho walls had just come tumbling down on Israel’s enemy. Why wouldn’t the Jews assume God would continue to give them the victory? But things didn’t turn out so well for them at Ai. Their defeat put the Jews in a deep depression.

“WHY?” they asked. “Why would God do this to us?” They tore their clothes and fell on their faces, crying out to the Lord. But God was not moved by their tears.

“Quit crying! You have sinned. You have violated my commands.” Then to cap it off, God said, “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” (7:12)

I’m on FaceBook, and read post after post of people calling us to prayer concerning this pandemic our world is facing. Many of the blogs I follow are asking people to fast and pray that God will move among us, stop the virus. I want you to know I am praying.

However, today I realize I can fall on my face and cry out all day for God to have mercy, for God to heal our world, only to hear Him say, “Quit crying! You, Connie, have sinned. You, Connie, have violated my commands. And I will not be with you until you get rid of the sin in YOUR life.”

It’s easy to pray for our world, to plead with God to stop the spread of this disease. But the disease that concerns God the most is the disease of sin in my heart- and yours.

I think God would have us search our hearts, to allow Him to break our hearts over our own disobedience, to get right with Him as we confess our own sin and accept His forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. More than the stop of this virus, God wants us to be healed of sin.

I hope you will continue to pray for our world and the stop of this virus. But hear God say you and I both need to deal with the sin in our own lives before He will be moved by our prayers for the world. Oh, there is a fatal disease out there spreading faster than covid19. And there is a cure. His name is Jesus.

Don’t Be Discouraged (Deuteronomy 30-31)

How are you fairing during this quarantine? I trust you are well, and making good choices for yourself and your family. Seriously, have your hands ever been this clean?

I know for most of you, this is not a vacation. Loss of wages is serious. Bills still need paid even if the money isn’t coming in. Your kids need you to guide their school work, AND to be creative about how they spend their days, after days, after days. It’s not exactly what you signed up for, is it?

Toilet paper? Yeah. There’s that.

For many, this virus epidemic is more than an inconvenience. Having the virus is serious, and some people are dying. Our entire world is feeling the effects of this thing, and it’s hard.

But as bad as it is right now, reading Deuteronomy 28 reminds me it’s not as bad as it could be. What God has recorded in this chapter is truly awful. He is warning His people what the consequences for disobedience looks like. And it’s ugly.

Some people are saying they don’t know why God would allow this virus to go unchecked. Personally, I don’t know why God didn’t remove His protection long ago. I mean, we haven’t been exactly obedient for quite some time, have we? Is this virus a judgment on sin? I don’t know. But I do know God said this:

Be strong and courageous…, The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (31:7-8)

Now Moses was talking to the Jews about entering the Promised Land. There would be trouble ahead, but in 30:15 God told them that His children had a choice. They could choose life and prosperity, or death and destruction. Then He commanded them to…

love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws.”  (verse 16)

Obedience to that would mean choosing life. Disobedience would mean choosing death.

Remember God is talking to His children. And, friend, I believe He’s talking to His children – His Church – today. Let’s each of us who know Jesus as our Savior reevaluate our relationship with Him while we are practicing social distancing. Let’s spend time in His Word and let Him lay a heavy finger on sin in our lies, to point out inconsistencies in our walk, to reveal Truth.

Then may we confess, draw close to Him, love Him like He deserves and determine to walk in His ways. May we keep His commands and decrees and laws, resting in the fact that if we do, He will go before us and be with us, He will never leave or forsake us, and we need not be afraid or discouraged, because He is true to His Word.

It’s easy to be fearful during this time in our lives. Those who don’t know God probably have reason to fear. But we who are His children through the blood of His precious Son need not be discouraged or fearful. Do you believe God means what He says? Then hear Him say, choose life today. Obey Him. Trust Him. He goes before us and will never forsake us.

Don’t be discouraged.