Wow. This last week has been crazy, huh?. So much has happened since I flipped the Mavericks-Nuggets game to see Mark Cuban flabbergasted at the suspension of the season.
If you’re anything like me, your email inbox has been bombarded by companies near-and-far informing you of their COVID-19 policies. Combine that with the never-ending Twitter updates and we’ve all found ourselves feeling a bit afraid at some point.
Personally, I freaked out on Thursday. Once the NBA season was suspended, it was only a matter of time before the other leagues across the country followed suit.
I left Spring Training on Thursday knowing little. All I knew was that things would be pushed back a few weeks, at minimum.
Things have become more clear for me since then, and I’m grateful.
But I don’t know where you are in this situation. If you’ve come upon hard times, I’m sorry. I am lifting you up in daily prayer for health, wisdom, peace, love, and strength.
Whether your life has been drastically altered or just interrupted, everyone needs some real, Biblical hope. Today, I want to share some things that have injected hope in me the past 7 days. I hope they do the same for you.
From Vineyard Church in Grafton, Wisconsin
Following Jesus impacts all of our lives, including how we respond to pandemics. Here are some ways we can Love God and Love Others with our response to the “Coronavirus”/COVID-19.
Start With Good Information
Our first responsibility is to begin with good and trustworthy information and to stay up to date with the developments as they arise. Panic and misinformation must be combated.
The agencies and websites we are monitoring are The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO), The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department. We recommend these resources to you as a good source of information.
Yet, as followers of Jesus, we don’t just rely on human wisdom and information. We also look to God. We ask the Holy Spirit what he’s doing in the midst of this pandemic, look to our Bibles for guidance, and remember how God has always been faithful throughout human history. We encourage you to watch the news and stay informed, but please also take time to listen to what God has to say about the “Coronavirus”/COVID-19.
Our Response and Responsibility
Because we have Jesus and know things that are unknown to the rest of the world, followers of Jesus are going to respond differently to the “Coronavirus”/COVID-19.
Followers of Jesus must not succumb to xenophobia or racism.
Already we’re seeing discrimination of individuals because of their race and ethnicity, including racial violence against Chinese people and racially charged rhetoric about China and Chinese culture. We followers of Jesus must resist xenophobia and racism whenever it rears its ugly head.
Followers of Jesus must not succumb to fear.
The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Some of us may need to turn off the news, look away from the internet to spend some time with Jesus and look to the Bible.
Followers of Jesus are always called to pray.
As the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We pray for those around the world who have lost loved ones to the disease. We pray for God’s peace and comfort to be upon them. We pray for the medical, scientific, and public health officials who are working diligently on our behalf. We express gratitude to God for them and honor them in their work.
Followers of Jesus must be wise about our own health.
As the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
To stop the spread of germs and help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, we are encouraging everyone in our community to:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Followers of Jesus are called to minister to the sick and the dying.
As Jesus said in Matthew 25:36, “I was sick and you looked after me…” For the medical and other professionals in our community, we may be called to do that directly. Yet, there are lots of ways to indirectly help the sick and dying. Intercessory prayer is a way to help. Slowing the spread of the virus through social distancing is a sacrifice we can make to help others. We should all be asking Jesus what he wants us to do to help.
“Can believers positively affect climatic weather patterns, the economy, and the physical health of a nation? One well-known Bible verse gives us a clue. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7: 14).
What does this healing consist of? If we look at verse thirteen of the same chapter, we see three areas of life to be “healed.” God said, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain (weather problems), or command the locusts to devour the land (economic difficulties) or send pestilence (plagues and health problems)…” After he listed these three problems, He says, “If My people…”
These negative circumstances are “sent by God” only in the sense that He has set up spiritual laws that, if honored, will bring blessing (and, if ignored, will bring difficulties). He does not “choose” for these to happen, but people do by ignoring His principles. The amazing thing to understand though is that God’s people have the ability to impact three vital areas of life: climate, economy, and health. Yes, our belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection is the key to spiritual transformation, but let’s also press into the depths of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and help establish God’s protection in every area where we have influence.”
Three Areas to Advance in During This Time
- What will you do with your time to advance?
- Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities. Isaiah 52:2-3 NLT
- Above all, prepare yourself for the revival that is to come as people around the world ask questions that the Church has answers to.
- Social distancing does not mean separating yourself from others.
- “When physically separated, double-down on emotional connection.” -Pastor Preston Morrison
You can watch the entire service (with worship) here. If you’re looking for a church to worship with this upcoming Sunday, join us on YouTube at 10:00 PST AM. We do it really well.
Kris Vallotton’s Eight Eschatological Core Values
Eschatology: the branch of theology concerned with the endtimes
Read Kris’s Eschatological core values here: (emphasis mine)
- I will not embrace an end-time worldview that re-empowers a disempowered devil.
- I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy.
- I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heaven.
- I will not allow any interpretation of the Scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.
- I will not embrace an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.
- I refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus.
- I am opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time zone that can’t be obtained in my generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my lifetime.
- I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.
Situations like these cause our deepest beliefs and assumptions to rise to the surface. I analyzed my beliefs against these core endtimes values to see where I was believing lies and adjusted accordingly, asking Holy Spirit to forgive and guide me.
6 ways to keep your faith on:
1. Remember that fear is a liar. Think of the things that brought on fear in the past but never happened. Though it felt real, remind yourself that fear is fantastic at narrating fiction.
2. Get a new perspective. The Holy Spirit is ready and able to give you a new vantage point that will open your mind up to what’s true and what’s possible. This is a way to revive hope that fear has tried to rob you of.
3. Be intentional with where you place your faith. Make a conscious choice to trust your future to Jesus and remind yourself of the Spirit in which He’s given you. (2 Timothy 1:7)
4. Testify. Recall and share the testimonies of God’s work in your life.
5. Prophesy. Recall and speak aloud what God says about your future. This will silence any spirit that is speaking untruth over you.
6. Meditate on Psalms 91 in this season. Remember to rest under the shadow of God’s wings and meditate on the truth that He is your Protector!
And to finish, Psalm 91 (NLT):
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
The world is afriad, but we are not of this world (John 15:19). Now is the time to be with God. When you come to Him as shelter and refuge, you do not cower in fear there. When you come to Him, you are emboldened with love, power, and a sound mind.
Love, power, and a sound mind to you,