Are There Positives in the Plague?
By R. Anderson Williams
“Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses…. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch when I strike Egypt.” -Exodus 12:7, 3
Gathered together within homes, not daring to venture out. An air of stillness, uncomfortable silence and impending danger. An awareness that there is an invisible, silent presence moving through the streets, neighborhoods, and cities bringing with it the possibility of death. This is what the Children of Israel were experiencing that fateful night before God finally broke the spirit of Pharaoh and Israel finally gained its liberation from bondage in Egypt.
At this current point in time, with the outbreak of COVID-19, we can certainly draw parallels with this episode in Israel’s history.
We can better understand what they may have been feeling as “the destroyer” moved silently through the cities and towns of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13 NIV) As the coronavirus moves invisibly amidst our communities the same eerie sense of real and impending danger rests upon us all. However, unlike that plague that brought Egypt to its knees so many millennia ago, it is not just a single nation that is being affected, but rather the entire global community of humanity.
I’ve read articles lately of people in various places putting red ribbons on the doors of their homes as a symbol to ward off the coronavirus – echoing what the Children of Israel were commanded to through Moses to apply the blood of lambs to the door frames of their homes to protect their families from the plague. The truth is, we could actually do as the ancient Israelites did and paint the entrances of our homes with actual lamb’s blood but would this really ward off the coronavirus?
The real issue is not whether we have an external symbol tacked to or smeared on the outside of homes for protection. The sacrificial blood of Jesus that was shed on the Cross has negated the need for the sacrificial blood of lambs. The real question today is has the blood of Christ been applied to our hearts? No amount of external symbols, whether it be 1000 red ribbons or 1000 gallons of blood splattered all over the front of our home is going to make a difference. This will not and can not protect us from this or any other “destroyer” that rises up against us. The only thing that causes death to turn from us is when it sees that the saving blood of Christ has been applied to the doorposts of our hearts.
When we have accepted the payment Christ made with His blood on Calvary and it has been applied to our lives, we need not fear. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we are repeatedly told to “fear not” – 365 times to be exact. That’s one reminder for each day of the year. So, here’s the thing, fear and faith can’t both be “king” in our lives. If we allow fear to rule, then how does this show we are trusting God? If we truly live by faith, then it casts out all fear because we know that God is in control and is taking care of us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
So, what are some positives, some blessings that can be discerned in this worldwide pandemic? There are quite a few when you really look. –
–We are having to be at home with our families praying and trusting in God together. In our busy modern lives, how much quality time do most of us take to spend together as a family anymore? This is forcing us to slow down and not rush through life so much – to be quiet and still.
–It is causing people, and not just Christians, to really look deeply at their lives and beliefs in God.
–We have become more conscientious of our health and are trying to take better care of ourselves.
–We are being stretched to find creative ways to get things done and are having to learn how to do things that we may not have known how to do before, like using technological communication tools.
In the midst of this environment of uncertainty, an unprecedented opportunity has opened for the Body of Christ. Just as the Children of Israel waited in anticipation for God to do something amazing, we look for Him to be moving powerfully in this situation. He is showing the world that the idols of our modern age have no power to protect and provide, just as He proved the false gods of the ancient Egyptians to be ineffective. People who don’t know Christ are seeking hope, comfort, and help with physical needs. Christ is stirring up His Church to step up and step out in a mighty way to show our unbelieving neighbors the hope we have in Christ and the love of a God who desires relationship. A Father who promises to “Meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Amen!
By Terry Barlow
One of the things that the blood of Jesus Christ does for us is that it brings us near. We overcome by our testimony of what the word of God says that the blood of Jesus Christ does for us. I would like to unpack a little of what it means to be brought near by his blood. Ephesians 2:13 It means to be brought into the intimacy of the fellowship that exists between Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit that they have always shared . It is ready made and cultivated and waiting for me to experience . It is like a house already built. I get to enter and enjoy it. I don’t have to build the house of intimacy with God. Even the furnishings are already present. I only need to occupy and enjoy the house and it’s furnishings and live in them and make them mine as they shape themselves to me and conform and personalize to my God-given personality. We have this daunting notion that we have to build intimacy with God from scratch, but, no that’s been done for us by Christ’s blood sacrifice for the remission of our sins which has made us eligible and qualifies us to be co-heirs, and intimate with him and the Father and the Holy Spirit. It’s an ever deepening intimacy ready made and waiting for us to claim and explore. No one has ever quite had the relationship with God that you could have, and nobody but you ever will.
As I spoke of this closeness of relationship with a friend of ours she frankly admitted that she had no idea what intimacy was. She had been hurt early on in relationships and threw up protective walls which are there to this day. “I don’t know how to be vulnerable in relationships. I put up a false front.” What she said reminded me of the prophet Isaiah when he had that powerful encounter with the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6. “Wow, is me, I am undone!” He exclaimed. His defenses had come down. He was totally vulnerable. He didn’t know how to act. His personality disintegrated and it was up to God to put him back together into a coherent whole person. Many of us like my friend have been taken apart by people who didn’t know us well enough to be able to put us back together. They didn’t know what they were doing. Only God knows us that well. Many of us also have played God in other people’s lives and done great damage to them making it nigh impossible apart from a work of God for them to ever open up to another person again, even if that Person happens to be God. Again, we didn’t know what we were doing. In some cases we are like the well meaning observer who took a penknife and tried to cut the struggling butterfly from its cocoon, not realizing that the butterfly needed that struggle to develop it’s wings. When it was extracted that way from its cocoon it perished. What I realized after talking with our friend was that her honest confession of not understanding intimacy was itself the beginning of intimacy in her relationship with God and with others too. If one knows one is in the dark, there is already some light. It’s when we claim or pretend that our darkness is light that the darkness is thickest and we are in the most trouble.
We Are All In This Together
Thoughts in the Midst of The Corona Virus
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
I do hope this writing finds all well as possible as we all are affected by this pandemic that has hit us worldwide. My condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one during this time and my prayers for those that
are ill. Never in modern times have we experienced anything like this.
Conspiracy theories abound as well as those preachers who seize opportunities like this to say it is the wrath of God. There are some churches that rebel against stay at home orders and claim their faith will protect them implying that anyone who follows the restrictions don’t have faith. There is also a lot of uncertainty and fear. There are those who are taking advantage of others at this time selling their snake oil and jacked up prices on surgical masks. There are politicians who shamefully are using this time to sneak in their agendas into laws that are meant to provide relief for this country. The media enhances this panic with their reports of death and new cases without reporting recoveries and hope. There is much negativity that abounds.
But there are also many positive things happening. Many people are caring more than they ever have. Many are praying more than they have in a long time. Businesses are sacrificially paying their employees though they are basically not allowed to operate. Some businesses have retooled to produce surgical masks and ventilators. Under the leadership of President Trump interest rates have dropped, unemployment benefits have been increased, a special task force under VP Mike Pence has been tirelessly tackling what needs to be done to defeat this pandemic, stimulus checks are being issued to every eligible American citizen and more to come.
What should be our response at a time like this as individuals? Be prepared with supplies set aside (If you need to learn how to be prepared I invite you to my website Way of the Raven.). Pray for one another. Back the leadership of this country and lay politics aside. Be there for one another. Follow the guidelines on staying at home and social distancing. Pray for those on the front lines in hospitals like our doctors and nurses. Try to remain calm. But most of all, this should be a time to search our hearts and ask God what it is he wants us to learn from this time of troubles. What does he want to teach you about yourself? Ask what he wants you to do to relieve the suffering of someone during this time. Support relief organizations by volunteering or with your money if you have the finances or the time available. Remain calm and trust that this shall pass and we will come out stronger not weaker because of it. What other ideas do you have?
I do not think this country will crash economically though it may take some time to come back. I believe it will be good for businesses and churches as they have had to learn more innovative ways for people to work and worship from home. I believe people will take their health more seriously and lose some weight, build up their immune systems and get fit. I believe the wicked will be exposed and hopefully prosecuted from federal, state and private sectors.
When a person is faced with hardship it is so easy to curse the darkness, so easy to blame the devil, God, government and anyone else they can think of. This is a victim mentality. We are better than this! We are in this together. Ask yourself what can I learn, how can I help, how can I stay positive? You can do this! Together we can get through this!
I highly recommend these books by Dani’el Garvin. He is a Miq’maq elder and has some unique perspectives as a Native American and spiritual teacher. You will be pleasantly surprised, I think! His books are all available as downloadable e-books through my e-book publishing company DESTIN-E BOOKS. Here is the link to the spiritual books. Just find his books as you page down on that page and you will see descriptions and you can click on the book image there to order.
WHAT ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH? These meditations and scripture readings can help! Just click and listen.
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in the other members’ private lives. Church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house… and left it there all night!