God provides and meets our needs as a loving Father, but like a loving Father he will also chastise us for our sinful actions. ~ Lisa Blair
As a young child we observe our parents and those dear to us to guide our development. They instruct us and direct us, we listen and we learn, but learning tends to couple itself with making mistakes either intentionally choosing not to follow directions, or unintentionally, mistakenly omitting instruction.
Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Deuteronomy 8:5 ESV
As children of God we learn about the life of Jesus Christ through reading and studying the Bible. God instructs us through His Word. We learn about the characteristics of Christ through God’s Word. We learn how God forgave the Israelites over and over again. The Old Testament and the New Testament provide our guiding principles, and like our ancestors, when we do not meet the standards, they and we are often chastised.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Revelations 3:19 ESV
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 ESV
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
What does that mean to you? To me, it means that no matter the circumstances in my life, I am God’s child and I am rejoicing in the Lord. My conditions, good or bad, do not define my relationship with my Father. He’s ‘Got me’, ‘He’s Got the thing, whatever the thing is’, I turn all things over to Him. He will lead me to still waters. He will make a way of escape from impending danger. He will heal me. He will meet my daily needs. He will speak to me when I feel lonely. He guides me. He cares for me and keeps me in all of His ways.
I rejoice in our Lord and am glad in it. The world does not shackle me. The Lord frees me. The Lord frees us!
Circumstances outside of our control often undo expectations and plans. Life is outside of our control. The pandemic is changing our lives. Life, as we planned, no longer exists.
Dreams have been dashed. Jobs and career positions have been lost, and the unknown remains bleak. That is the world nonbelievers live in; they created their own destiny and have nothing to rely on but themselves. However, believers rest on God’s Word. We did not create our own destiny; God gave us life and a path. Scripture declares, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3. If we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not in our own understanding and submit to Him, He will make our paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
I am not saying that we will not experience hardship and loss; we will. The difference between nonbelievers and believers is that we find comfort in knowing that God provides. Loss is temporary. Paths can be forged, and we do not fear death because we possess eternal life.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand. Isaiah 41:10.
Our God sees us through the darkest moments, He directs our way, and carries us when we can no longer withstand the pressure. He told us He would never give us more than we can bear, though what we think we can carry and what He believes we can bear are two different things. It is during these moments He challenges us to be courageous, to have courage.
In times of great distress, we are challenged to grow. We are challenged to put His Word into practice. He tells us to depend on Him and not what we see. He tells us, all things work for the good for those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.
All believers are called according to His purpose. Knowing this assures us that the darkest days are numbered, and we will once again see the light of day. This assurance proves our faith is stronger than our circumstances. It is stronger than our losses. Faith determines our new path, and can sure up the old. We are victorious. We have victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about the things we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We are overcomers. As long as we trust God, we can live in peace amid the storms of life. Internal peace is spiritual peace. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 We can face the loss and setbacks through the struggle. We can see God operating in our lives as minute details become visible of the signs He presents. When we put the pieces together, we can begin to see the bigger picture, much like viewing a crossword puzzle. Will all of the pieces arrive numbered like a do-it-yourself piece of furniture, no. Will we experience setbacks, yes. Will we give up and give in to the circumstances that many would say are crippling and can not be overcome, no. Philippians 4:13 affirms we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
The author of 1 John 5:4 wrote For everyone born of God overcomes the world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Pandemics are outside of our control, but its outcomes are not outside of our Lord’s authority. This is the time we are called to stand, and as Ephesians 6:13 declares, having done all stand. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us, God’s grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness, and we should boast about our weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on us. Paul tells us when we are weak; we are strong.
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com; Images – Google Images
God tells us there will be dark times, but we do not have to allow the dark to absorb us; nor do we need to enter into a state of darkness and depression. Yes, these are dire times, how many thought we would live in a global pandemic, isolated due to sheltering-in-place, and uncertain of the future? Not many I would imagine, especially if we live in the United States, where we feel immune to all of the world’s woes.
Non-believers live in a state of darkness, but (the) believers who find themselves in a catatonic state caused by the pandemic, also find themselves in a state of darkness. Do you depend entirely upon God, or do you speak the words but rely on your wisdom? Those who live in the Light, live with God who is in the Light, and is Light. John writes in I John 1:7, ESV, “But if we are living in the Light, as God is in the Light, then we have fellowship with each other.”
The Light removes the sense of isolation that sheltering-in-place causes. Being in the Light means that God is with you in the Light. He is present in your life and in constant communication with you. He cleanses you from your sins. Sin is anything that is not of God, such as depression (not diagnosed), timidity, feelings of failure, uncertainty, and more. Satan likes nothing more than separating us from our Father and curtailing our fellowship with other believers.
If you watch the news, people are finding ways to communicate and find a sense of light, but are they really in the Light, or is it an imitation of Light manufactured by the carnality of needing to be with others. Pure Light comes from God, and despite our circumstances, we remain in the Light. His Light provides peace and a sense of calm amid the global pandemic we find ourselves in today. His Light is truth that He is always with us and will not forsake us in any situation that evolves.
When we allow ourselves to doubt God because we are overwhelmed by the darkness that pulls us in, we are in effect calling God a liar. The gospel truth is – God is truth and truth ensures our salvation. If we know we are saved and abide in the Word, we are abiding in His Light. We are not controlled by the desires of this world. “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness we lie and do not live according to the truth.” (John Piper) No pandemic can separate us from God.
Think of this pandemic as our testing ground. We proclaim to be Christians but does our behavior confirm our relationship with the Lord, or suggest that there is no relationship? We either have a relationship with Christ or we do not, it is black and white, no grey areas. Do we falter or do we stand? Do we allow the uncertainty of death and destruction to overpower us or do we rest in the truth that God is all power and all truth? Do we stand in the Light or do we watch the darkness slowly engulf us?
One certain way to remain in the Light is to maintain fellowship with other believers, who can support us when we doubt or fall from the truth joining those who live in fear and a state of desperation. Truth gives us hope not to despair, our faith ensures us that there is life after this one we are currently experiencing.
“If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior, we have done so by taking His Word into our hearts and accepting it as the agent of our salvation (James 1:21). We must be prepared on an ongoing basis to use it to make necessary ‘course corrections’ and keep us in His Light – or as the case may be, get us out of Satan’s darkness as quickly as possible.” (Hal Hammons)
The Light will give you peace in the darkness. Choose to walk in the Light.
Image – Google Images
Scripture – Biblegateway.com
Resources – Let Us Walk in the Light of God. John Piper. desiringgod.org. February 1985; God Is Light. Hal Hammons. Bible.com. February 2010
The COVID19 pandemic is both a natural occurrence and a spiritual attack.
~ Lisa Blair
Hello Brothers and Sisters,
God calls us to participate in corporate gatherings, but church, as usual, is not possible in many parts of the world, including the United States. The pandemic is changing the way we attend church. It is safe to say that the church is under attack, and the pandemic is a tool to diminish our walk and weaken our resolve as Christians. I am not saying the coronavirus does not have natural causation. I am saying that it is being used as a tool or weapon against believers.
Two things are simultaneously occurring:
1) churches, businesses, and other institutions are closing to slow the spread of the pandemic,
2) the virus is being used by the evil one to destroy its’ adversary, the church.
As Christians, we are well aware of the ongoing spiritual battle. Satan is using the pandemic to strip the church. The Lord is using it to strengthen us, make us wiser and more alert. Isaiah 54:17 says, no weapon formed against us shall prosper. The battle rages, but we are already victorious. The 91st Psalm says we must abide in the presence of the Lord, who gives us refuge and protects us from danger, specifically from plagues.
First Corinthians describes how God wants believers to live amid a corrupt culture and dark times. We not only live in a corrupt culture but are experiencing a pandemic, definitely dark times. Scripture instructs us to put our faith in Jesus. Our faith should not be in the wisdom of men but the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). If we do so, when times get hard, those who do not have a relationship with God can take courage from those of us who are believers, if we maintain and display our trust in the Lord (Charles Stanley).
God not only provides refuge but also gave us armor to protect ourselves as we enter the battle before us. Paul writes in Ephesians 6, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. He further instructs us to put on the armor to withstand the evil day, which is happening now, and having done all, to stand. Stand as our church’s close, stand as our livelihood may be affected, stand if our health is attacked, stand when the days feel dark, and stand until we see the light of day.
The scriptures inform us that 1) ‘this is the day the Lord has made’; and 2) ‘we were created for such a time as this.’ During this season of our lives, we should hold fast to our faith and trust that God will bring us through. We must continue to stay in prayer at all costs. Our lives depend upon it. Our faith gives us the strength to trust in God’s peace, regardless of what is going on around us, and helps us endure whatever is ahead.
Mark 13 emphasizes that God wants his people to wake up and not be deceived or unaware of what is going on around us. All that we see through the visible eye is not what is happening on the invisible plane. The war is raging and we are the church. As the church, we are on the front line and must stay in prayer to effectively turn the tide of this natural disaster.