Waiting

www.bible.com/1713/psa.130.5.csb

Have you ever waiting for something, something that you didn’t want to wait for, but had no choice but to wait? Earlier this year, my wife and I had planned a special trip to North Carolina to spend our 25th wedding anniversary. We had planned this back in November, when things were still “normal.” As the date for our trip moved closer, my anticipation was growing. I didn’t want to wait, but because of time and schedules, had no choice. And then the Corona Virus hit. From January to February, I was still hopeful, despite the fact that things began to close. I was still hopeful that at least we could stay in our rented accommodations. But by March, it all can to halt. Even our Governor forbade anyone from leaving the state. Our guest accommodations were canceled by the company, for the protection of their employees. We were stuck. I was angry. I had waited for so long, only to have everything cancelled. But that is 2020 for you.

As the quarantine is beginning to wind down, we have now rescheduled our trip for October, and surprisingly enough, this one promises to be even better than the one we missed. So now we wait, again. October can’t get here fast enough, but I will wait this time, cautiously. Because even though we make plans, it is God who sees them through. So I will wait with patience, knowing there is plenty of life to live between now and then.

I will wait upon the Lord, for as I continue to learn, His timing is the best. The Lord knows how to give good gifts to His children. He knows what you want, not just what you need. He also has a way of moving pieces behind the scenes so that when He does put you into play, you are in the right place at the right time to accomplish His purposes. Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will also find their hope assured by His word, for the Lord keeps His promises.

Heavenly Father, I know I don’t bring much to the table. My abilities are feeble and weak. But with You, little is much. Your power is made perfect in weakness. And in You I have nothing to fear. Thank You for teaching me patience, for the rewards far outweigh the wait. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

The Day of Christ Jesus

www.bible.com/1713/php.1.6.csb

God gave them over to their lusts, men for men and women after women. In this the wrath of the Lord is revealed. In this we know we are receiving judgment, and this virus is the warning from an Almighty to show us we are not nearly as powerful as we think we are. The evidence is all around us that we are ripe for judgment. We may not receive the fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah, but this one single, microscopic virus has managed to do more, both in its reality and in the perception of its danger than 9/11. Think about that. We have shut down more school, public events, conferences, and are afraid even to go outside our doors for fear of this, far more than we were of Islamic terrorism within our borders. And the death toll to this thing has only reach half of the loss of life of that day. Are we a nation under judgment?

We should be surprised if we are not. Romans 1 makes it very clear that God’s pours out His wrath on nations that exchange His truth for lies. That worship the earth instead of its Creator, and finally turn to same-sex relationships as normal and even preferred. It feels like we’ve already checked these boxes as a nation. Shouldn’t God upend our lives at this point? President has wisely called for a National Day of Prayer tomorrow. I don’t know who he is listening to, but wisdom is among them. Anyone with eyes to see knows that there is more going on here than just a virus. The whole world is under this judgment. I am not saying this is the end the world, but it is certainly a wake-up call.

What amazes me is that this came from something as innocuous as some wild animal in a jungle somewhere. Good Lord! What else has He got stashed out there? This came from nowhere, a minor town in a country on the other side of the world. And here I am huddled in my home for fear of it. If God could do this in a few short months, what else could He do?

Am I adding to the hysteria, I am self-aware enough to realize this can be interpreted as such. I am not as afraid as all that if this particular coronavirus. But I see the effect it has on my neighbors and my country. I don’t expect to be immune from this thing because of my faith. I live in this world too. My contrition and complicity with these going on around me make me just as much as subject to judgment. My silence when I should have spoken speaks volumes all by itself. I repent of that. And I pray I do better in the future.

For this verse gives me hope. I am still on this earth. I still have purpose. I am still a work that God is working on. He’s not finished with me and there is still more for me to do. How do I know this? Because I am still here. Every morning I wake up and an invitation to do the work He has called me to do, even if it’s just writing this blog. As long as He has some purpose for me, He will keep me here. Thank You Lord for giving that purpose today.

May I extend that same hope to you today? God raised you this morning for this purpose, that you may be His witness wherever you go. You have great responsibility today. Don’t waste it. We are still salt and light in this world. We still matter. We can still preserve and offer hope to this world. If the virus is a warning, let us then be warned and take that message to heart. God is still active in this world. Sometimes He has to get our attention in ways we actually pay attention. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Now go forth and let your light shine!

A Plague of Purpose

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Exodus 9:14

“For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on our servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.”God’s purposes for plagues, natural disasters and war are to warn us.When you get sick, or you just don’t feel well, you may not consider God’s role in your illness, nor even consider yourself serious enough to add to the prayer list. More serious illnesses and health problems interrupt our lives long enough to realign our perspectives, and force us to consider God’s role and power to heal. That’s when we ask the “why” questions. But what about epidemics or plagues where many people are sick? Some time ago, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa came to our shores. This disease crossed national borders and exists as a threat in this country. The first, limited supplies of Z-mapp, an experimental drug developed by an Owensboro company, quickly ran out, and the disease threatened our doorstep. The Herald-Leader website published an article October 2nd about two patients that had “Ebola-like” symptoms, but thankfully did not have Ebola. They had, however, been to Liberia in West Africa recently.

Why doesn’t God stop this plague? We can know positively that if God wished He could. Thus the opposite here may be true. He does not wish to stop it yet. It has not fulfilled its purpose. God’s purposes for plagues, natural disasters and war are to warn us. They are reminders that we can’t keep living as if there is no God. Despite all the nuclear warheads in our arsenal, soldiers in our ranks, or bullets in their guns, not one is effective in stopping a plague. No Air Force in the world can stop a hurricane, nor Army a famine. God demonstrates His power over our world by reminding us of just how powerless we are.

Yet, He demonstrates His love toward us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. Even when we were His enemies, dying in our sins, He loves us and Jesus died for us to save us from the eternal penalty of sin, death in Hell. As Christians, we shouldn’t need to be reminded of either God’s love or power, but now is a good time to remind someone else. This plague is cruel; it respects no one and will strike anyone who is not prepared for it, good or bad. However, God doesn’t have the same agenda we do. We look at the disease for its cruelty and apply that cruelty back to God. But for God, the disease is a means. He is after the heart of a man to turn him back to God. Disease reminds us of what is really important: not wealth, personal power, or social status, but family, friends, and faith. Many ask, “Why do we suffer before a good God?” Rather, we need to ask, “Since God is just, why don’t we suffer more since we have often offended Him?” God’s goal isn’t a healthy, vigorous body, but a soul that is spiritually sound and saved. When we sin against the Lord, we deserve to die, but He is gracious, and gives us time to consider and repent. Disease is a direct and unmistakable warning to repent; a plague even more so. Will our nation listen this time?