Weekly news + what God may be doing through the current pandemic
IT’S NEWS TO ME
Baltimore Pastor Rips Up Cease-And-Desist Letter During Sermon: God Tells Us How To Worship Him, Nobody Else Can Do That!
Florida Teacher Begs Judge To Have Him Castrated After Being Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting Students
SETTING OUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE
Coronavirus – A Colossal Reset?
Therefore, tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Having spent seven weeks looking at the Church’s performance during the Church Age, we now return to our current situation in an attempt to make sense of it. If God is, indeed, shaking the world with the Coronavirus, I can’t help wondering if He is preparing us for a world-wide reset as He deals with the nations, Israel, and the Church. Perhaps He is reminding the nations and their leaders that they aren’t as powerful as they think they are. No amount of money or power can change their situation. While they won’t admit it, they are at the mercy of their creator.
Perhaps He is offering Israel one last opportunity to return to Him. Perhaps He is pleading with the Church to forsake its self-sufficiency and to purify herself. Perhaps Jesus intends to do whatever is necessary to restore His Church to His original plan as represented in the early Church, free from all the trappings that come with “progress,” where there are no artificial “ministries,” only the genuine love of God being spread through believers as they go about their day. Perhaps this is part of what must happen for Him to be able to present His Church to Himself “without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27).
I wonder if God is answering the prayers of many Christians, but not in the way they (we) hoped or expected. We have been praying for an awakening in our nation, but national awakenings must be preceded by personal awakenings including intense conviction, and conviction is never pretty and is always painful. Perhaps God is doing what must first be done in order to perform a reset to a time
§ when Christ’s followers wanted Him more than His gifts.
§ when they wanted to be identified with His death more than they wanted His power.
§ when they valued relationships more important than being right.
§ when their lives depended on their relationship with Him.
§ when Jesus was a believers’ life, not an add-on.
§ when the Holy Spirit was required for everything, not just special spiritual moments.
§ when Church members were as close as any family, looking out for the needs of one another.
§ when spiritual discussions were all about understanding Jesus better, not just grasping a theological concept.
§ when the topic of conversation after the Church had met was how the message could be lived out instead of where to go for lunch.
§ when persecution revealed the reality of their faith, and drove the faithful into the lives and arms of one another.
§ when parents taught the Bible to their children.
§ when the Church was characterized by a healthy fear of God.
Regarding the last point above, when was the last time you even thought about fearing God, not the way pagans feared their stern and demanding gods, but with a reverential fear of displeasing your Heavenly Father? Here’s a timely word regarding fear:
Fear the Lord you His saints, for to those who fear Him
there is no want.
Perhaps a purging of Christ’s Church is required because it no longer fears God. The account of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5 shows just how serious God takes those things that we see as no big deal. This couple sold their land, the proceeds of which were to be given to the local assembly to be shared by those in need. When they brought the money, they had kept some for themselves. God struck them both dead on the spot. While God’s response seems unreasonably harsh, what is the message for us?
Verse 4 tells us that both Ananias and his wife lied to God. That pretty well explains it. God considered their promise to their assembly of believers as a promise to Him. If we still think the response was harsh, it shows what we really think of God, and that we know little of His righteousness. If we have convinced ourselves that we can lie to Him, steal His glory for ourselves, or dishonor Him with our speech and He’ll forgive us, we clearly don’t fear Him, and that’s really dangerous. Many in Jesus’ Church have focused on God’s love to the degree that His justice has been forgotten. Because we’ve gotten away with our “little” sins for so long, we assume that God has forgotten about them, not noticed them, or doesn’t really care about them.
Is it possible that we have become so attached to our favorite sins that we no longer see them as sins? Have our consciences become so seared that we no longer feel the Holy Spirit’s grieving within us? My point is that we all need to come to a decision about the sin that remains in us. Are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit to purify us so that we hate this sin and sin itself as much as God hates it?
Whatever the case, we can be certain that God is going to use the current crisis for His purposes. Whatever He is doing, each one of us would do well to see what needs to change in our own lives so we can be part of the solution and not the problem.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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