Monday, March 30, 2020

God to the Rescue!


In Psalm 34:17, David writes, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.” In Matthew 8 and Mark 4, we read the story of how Jesus calmed the storm that the disciples were sure was about to take their lives.

The Bible is full of stories when God comes to the rescue. At times like this, it is good to remember that. We should take note; however, coming to the rescue, by definition, tells us that we will not always avoid disaster. Many people wonder why God did not stop the storm, like Covid-19, from forming in the first place. I cannot pretend to know the mind of God. He reminds us in Isaiah, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine’” (Isaiah 55:8). Trying to understand how God works is beyond human capability. Perhaps He did it that way so we would have to have faith in Him, trust His purpose, and plan whatever it may be.

We are left with a choice. We can choose to the glass as half-empty. “Why is this happening to me, Lord?” “Why did you not stop the storm from forming to begin with?” Or, we can look at the glass as half-full. “Whatever lies ahead for me and my family, Lord, I know You are with me. You are in my boat, ready, willing, and able, to calm the waters the threaten me at any moment. You always have, and You always will.”

I do not know how long this present crisis will last. It could be a while. The Israelites were in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. This quarantine will not last 400 years, although it may feel that way. It was just extended to April 30. As hard as that may be, try to remind yourself every day that, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.”

Storms are not new. We have faced them since we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. As we soldier on through this crisis, remember Moses’ words of encouragement in Deuteronomy 31:6 to, “…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic…For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” God will calm this storm too, and when it is finally in our rear view mirror, we may be surprised about what we have learned about ourselves and others, how we have grown, and what is truly important to us. Perhaps that’s something we needed to know. His way are higher than our ways.  

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We are taking prayer requests now. Email your requests to southchurchprayer@gmail.com . We will lift them up every weekday at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Aren’t We Amazing?


Aren’t we amazing? Really. I mean, the human body is just fascinating! To think that God designed us to convert food into the energy needed to power our brains, heart, and muscles. Water, minerals, carbohydrates. Food is the fuel that powers the human machine. As a general rule of thumb, we are subject to the rule of “three’s.” Meaning, the average person can only survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

But, I just find it crazy how it all works. Think about your cell phone. We need to plug our cell phones into an electrical source every so many hours in order to recharge the battery. Our cars need gasoline and oil for the motor to continue to run. We eat. Chicken, steak, seafood, bread, pasta, vegetables, candy, and corn chips are all converted into fuel for our bodies. A healthy diet surely helps the human machine run better and last longer, but one could live on doughnuts for quite a while.

I am simply amazed. I take a bite of broccoli casserole, and my digestive system knows exactly what to do with it in order to convert it into fuel for my body. And just like unused gasoline is expelled out of the tailpipe or your car, our bodies also have an internal treatment plant that gets rid of waste. Hey, everybody poops.

Perhaps, we don’t think about it much. I mean, as you eat your lunch today, you’re not giving a lot of consideration as to what happens next to the tuna fish sandwich you’re eating. You just eat it, and God’s amazing creation takes it from there.

David talks about this in Psalm 139. He says, “You [God] made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it” (Psalm 139:13-14).   

Maybe, we should add this to our prayers more often. “Thank you Lord, for creating my wonderfully complex body. It amazes me, as do You.” You know, if someone gave you a new car, wouldn’t you take good care of it? Change the oil. Regular tune-ups. Make sure there is good tread on the tires. You want it to last, right? Well, perhaps we should take better care of the incredible body God gave us. I mean, that seems to be the best way to honor His gift. Doesn’t it?

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We are taking prayer requests now. Email your requests to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We will lift them up everyday at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live. Don’t forget to visit our website scchartford.org for worship this Sunday.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Are You Ready?


During this coronavirus event I have been asked, “Is this it? Is this how it all ends?” Let me unequivocally say, “No!” There is nothing about a pandemic being the cause of the end of the world anywhere in Scripture. We will survive this virus, as we have the many pandemics that have come before. Yes, sadly, many will be infected, and there will be deaths, but we will survive.

However, let us entertain the hypothetical what if. What if this was the end? What if humanity was not going survive Covid-19? (We will, but pretend for a moment that we would not.) The most important question is, “Are you ready?” Are you certain of what comes next for you? The truth is, on average, we will only spend about eighty or so years here on this earth. Some are blessed with more time, others with less. Whichever it is, where we spend eternity seems vastly more important, does it not?

Ask yourself. If this was the end, have you recognized that you are a sinner, and have you confessed your sins to God? Do you truly believe what Jesus did on the cross for you? Have you repented and committed to living a life that honors and glorifies God to the best of your ability? If you answered, “Yes!” to all of those questions, you have no need to fear. Your future is assured. Even if this was the end (which it is not, but if it was), you will be okay. God will wipe every tear from your eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All those things are gone forever. You will be with the Lord. Forgiven. Healed. Restored. Glorified. Rejoicing. 

What about those you love? Family members. Friends. Co-workers. Schoolmates. You are okay. Will they be okay? You will be with the Lord. What will be next for them? Where will they spend eternity? Is Jesus their Lord and Savior? Jesus told us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Clearly that means Jesus is the only way to salvation. Have those you love made a decision about Christ? Do they even know about Christ? Will you tell them? If this were the end, would you say anything?

One good thing that has come from this crisis is seeing how people are reaching out to those they love. I have received more communication in the last two weeks from my three sons telling me they love me, than I have in the past two years. People are checking in on their elderly parents and grandparents. Children are telling their parents and parents are telling their children how much they love each other. It is awesome to hear. Still, the same people we are reaching out to during this challenging time. These same people to whom we are professing our love. Are they ready for eternity? Do we love them enough to ask them if they know about Jesus? Will we share the truth about Christ and salvation?     

This coronavirus may not the end, but the end could come next week. Next month. Next year. Tomorrow. Are you ready? Are those you love ready?

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We are taking prayer requests now. Email your requests to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every day at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.   

Colorful Words

Why is an orange called an orange but a lemon not called a “yellow,” or a lime called a “green?” Words convey information. We know what God means when He talks about someone having a heart of stone. When we proclaim to be a Christian, what does that mean? It means we are someone who believes Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and offered us eternal life. It also should mean the lives we live are different then the norm. In today’s culture, sexual immorality, deceit, greed, selfishness, are all so common they are almost to be expected. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Politicians? Oh, they all lie.” It’s as if, we are resigned to that being reality, and we should not expect anything more.

God expects more of those who proclaim to be His followers. He expects people will be able to identify His followers without having to be told who they are. Jesus says, “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad” (Matthew 12:23).

If we use the word Christian to describe ourselves, then others should be able to see our fruit, because our lives would reflect our professed faith. That’s why the Bible says,

“Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (Ephesians 5:3-5).
      
So, stay close to Christ. Talk to Him everyday. Ask Him to lead you and guide you and follow His lead. If we do Jesus promises,

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit” (John 15:5).

We are taking prayer requests now. Email your requests to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every day at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.