CHURCH AND THE CORONA VIRUS

The sociologist Rodney Stark has written (in The Rise of Christianity) that one reason the church overcame hostility and grew so rapidly within the Roman empire traces back to how Christians responded to pandemics of the day, which probably included smallpox and bubonic plague. When infection spread, Romans fled their cities and towns; Christians stayed behind to nurse and feed not only their relatives but their pagan neighbours’. Their proffered comfort drew others to the God of all comfort.

You can follow the trail of Christian missionaries by the hospitals, clinics, and orphanages they founded. Virtually every advance in the understanding and treatment of leprosy came from Christian missionaries—not because they were the best physicians and scientists, but because they were the only ones willing to treat that misunderstood and dreaded disease. Following Jesus’ example, they risked exposure by reaching out to the leprosy-afflicted.

Jesus knew suffering up close, as a willing victim of our planet’s brokenness. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent his followers into the world “as the Father has sent me,” to be God’s agents of comfort and healing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

This is the mission of the church in a world full of pain and suffering. Church are you being obedient to God’s command?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6

A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW ESSENTIAL TO A VIBRANT FAITH

Americans who identify as Christian but do not profess to know Christ personally as Savior — now comprise 54 percent of the U.S. population.

 Sadly, a Biblical world view is held by a declining number in denominational churches:

20% of those who attend evangelical Protestant churches.

16% of those who attend charismatic or Pentecostal churches .

8% of those who attend Protestant churches.

1% of those that attend Catholic churches

George Barna, research director at the Cultural Research Center based at Arizona Christian University, went on to explain that the dominant values in the United States today are acceptance, comfort, control, entertainment, entitlement, experiences, expression, freedom, and happiness. Those contemporary values highlight the profound contrast from previous eras in which a more widely accepted biblical worldview yielded civic duty, hard work, humility, faith, family, moderation and the rule of law.

Education at government schools and universities has been hostile to a biblical worldview ever since Darwinian evolution replaced biblical creation as the explanation for the existence of the Cosmos and more specifically Earth.

The age of the earth is a momentous issue. The Bible clearly teaches a young earth and fortunately the evidence supporting the Biblical view is now strong. Ministries such as Creation Ministries, Creation Research Institute, Answers in Genesis, all with a strong team of PhD scientists with distinguished careers are doing a great job. I am most familiar with CMI http://www.creation.com and can strongly recommend it as a source of information and resources.

Why is the age of the earth such a critical issue? You can’t have death and suffering before mankind which is the case with evolution.

God’s Word tells us there was no death prior to THE FALL. Adam and Eve’s SIN (rebellion against God – disobeyed His commandment not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. The consequences of doing so was death (spiritual then physical).

Two important creation issues you need to make yourself familiar with are:

1. The role Noah’s Flood in determining the age of the earth. It was a devastating worldwide flood that totally changed the geomorphology of this planet. It also buried billions of dead things quickly all over the world. What do we find? Billions of dead things in the fossil record, many intact demonstrating rapid burial, along with fossil fuel (oil) in abundance.

2. Genetic Entropy demonstrates that the human genome is deteriorating due to the accumulation of mutations. It has been irreversibly deteriorating since THE FALL and the rate of deterioration is such that human race is headed for extinction. The work of distinguished geneticist Dr John Sanford (invented the gene gun) and author of the book Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome has shown that the rate of deterioration is such that man could not have been on this earth longer than 6,000 years. Evolution cannot explain how complex information was formed in the genome in the first place and it has no answers on how to keep it there. Life is not going up, up up. It is going down, down, down.

TIME TO REPENT TO STAY JUDGEMENT

Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the Lord….Now therefore, says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’  So rend your hearts and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind HimThen the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.Joel 1:14, 2:12-14, 18-19

More good advice from Pastor Jeff Daly of http://www.repentday.com

“Do you want to be an overcomer?  Today is the day to decide and begin to follow God’s instructions.   If we repent, we have hope that He may relent from the judgement we deserve as a nation—continuing to murder children in the womb, sanctifying same sex marriage, taking the Word away from our children, replacing it with lies about their gender.  (That is  just the beginning of a long list you and I could add to). It’s time to repent, personally and corporately— as a local church, a community, a state, a nation.  Our forefathers knew how to do this.  Where is the call for this spiritual solution for a pandemic that has spiritual roots?  Even as we wait for national leaders in the church and government to call for repentance, join me in using this time to continue to repent, to pursue His purity. 
He calls us to be ZEALOUS to repent. (Revelation 3:19).

As you dine with Him, His Holy Spirit will support you to examine old sin patterns.  Just ask Him where to begin. At any point you can exercise your free will to discard that pattern, that false filter, that stronghold, change your thinking, replace it with  His Word. As you submit to His love and authority He will lead you as the Good Shepherd beside still waters, restoring your soul, leading you in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He calls you and me to be holy just as He is holy.”

As we begin to repent,  JOY will surface. This JOY will be a great witness to bring others into the Kingdom, those currently afraid and lost given the pandemic. . The joyful light in our eyes and in our voice will be a beacon: 
Proverbs 17: 22: ” A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
Proverbs 12: 25 ” Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”  Proverbs 15: 13: ” A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

CORONA VIRUS AND WHAT TO DO

Great advice from Creation Ministries on the corona virus and viruses in general. I certainly learnt ‘stuff’ about viruses that I did not know, such as, how important they are to maintaining the ecosystem, most are good for our planet. They maintain order. Like bacteria there are those that have mutated and become dangerous to humans and animals. They are part of the curse, what Adam and Eve brought on us at The Fall, when they disobeyed God. For those that know God, the end of the curse is in sight. Believers understand, Jesus has already broken the curse on The Cross, but the Gospel’s fulfilment only occurs at His second coming. Then we receive our new bodies. Do you have that blessed hope? If not take the advice given by Don and Gary at the end of this video.

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PANGS?

Maybe so, if it is, then it is exciting, because that means Jesus’s return may even be in my lifetime! But it is also sober because much of the church is utterly unprepared, ignorant, and distracted. Two relevant scriptures are:

“He said, ‘Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once. Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues [loimoi]* in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.’” (Luke 21:8–11)

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6–8)

The following thoughts from Dr Alan Kurshner of Eschatos Ministries are worth considering:

“The recent locust storm causing some famine in Africa may meet Jesus prediction but it may suggest a broader geographical famine. If the recent global virus is identified with “plagues” (loimoi), it might qualify, but I think the biblical statement indicates an exponentially more devastating plague. There certainly is a spike of earthquakes but not frequent “great earthquakes.” If these are all part of the beginning of “the beginning of the birth pangs,” then we should expect two more events: a spate of wars and a spate of false christs emerging.

Until then, I don’t believe we are experiencing “the beginning of birth pangs”. Keep in mind that the beginning of birth-pang events will not unfold piecemeal but rather will be a cluster of these events that will occur at the same time, which only makes sense of Jesus’s admonition: “Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come.” In addition, I am inclined to believe the beginning of birth pangs (which I identify as the first three seals) will occur during the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel after the Beast will confirm a covenant for seven years (Dan 9:27). However, I have never been dogmatic on this, since the beginning of birth pangs may begin before the seven year period.”

In the meantime, as saints of the Most High, we live with holy expectation of our Lord’s return. This should inspire us to make sure that we daily seek God’s will and wisdom in all things. To be about our Father’s business to warn the lost that they need to repent of their sins. To recognise they have rejected their Creator, our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, so they may have eternal life.

“Remember, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt 24:25).

GOOD NEWS ON THE CORONA VIRUS

Here’s a list of 13 good news stories relating to the coronavirus: this does not negate the fact God is using this Pandemic for His purposes to wake up His church and shake up unbelievers.

It is important for believers to know God does stay His hand of judgement as result of prayers of His saints. This may be one of those times. However, know the prophesied “birth pangs” and tribulation spoken of in Revelation are coming. Two thirds of all Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, proof the remaining one third will unfold exactly as predicted.

I should stress, the impact of the corona virus on the last to be reached underdeveloped countries will be huge. They are already facing famine from locusts plagues, are already poverty stricken and have poor health facilities. Also, we can’t discount the disastrous economic effects caused by the corona virus on the developed nations. International air travel has almost come to a standstill.

Image result for locusts plague in Africa pictures
Locust plague in East Africa prompts UN to call for international aid

1. Wuhan, which was the epicentre of the COVID-19 epidemic, has closed the last of its 16 temporary coronavirus hospitals because there aren’t enough patients to keep them open.

2. Dutch researchers have discovered a human antibody they believe “offers potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.” The lead researcher, Berend-Jan Bosch, made clear, though, it is “still too soon” to know when it might be workable on people.

3. A 103-year-old woman in Wuhan has become the oldest person to beat the novel coronavirus. She recovered only six days after being admitted to the hospital.

4. All the Apple stores in China have reopened after being closed for one month amid the height of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

5. The Cleveland Clinic has developed a drive-through coronavirus test that can give patients results in one day.

6. South Korea is finally seeing a decline in the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus, though it should be noted they have seen an emerging cluster in Seoul.

7. Experts observing the heartbreaking situation in Italy are surmising that the catastrophic number of critical cases is due, at least in part, to the country’s aging population.

8. Israeli researchers are close to announcing the development of a coronavirus vaccine. However, a lengthy process of pre-clinical and clinical trials will have to come before it’s available to the public.

9. Over the weekend, the governor of Maryland announced the first three people in the state to have confirmed cases of coronavirus have recovered.

10. A group of scientists in Canada have successfully isolated and grown copies of the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolating the virus, researchers said, will help in developing vaccines and treatment regimens.

11. A biotech company in San Diego says it has identified a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Arcturus Therapeutics is working with Duke University and the National University of Singapore to develop the vaccination.

12. The health department in Oklahoma has said the first identified patient in Tulsa, a man who had traveled to Italy, has recovered from the coronavirus. The patient has had two negative tests, indicating a total recovery.

13. Scientists are finding it may be possible to use the plasma from recently recovered coronavirus patients to treat those who have become severely ill as a result of COVID-19 infections.

CORPORATE PRAYER CHANGING NATIONS

In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city.  This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvation’s on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34).  Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread.  Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.

We need to rise up in our corporate spiritual authority to displace the illegitimate authorities that are seeking total control of our nation. Intercessors can shift the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack.  The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place.  The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.

Image result for pictures of corporate prayer groups

This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation.  We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord.  Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land.  It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze.  We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear. If you are not already in a prayer group, prayerfully do so.

GOD AT WORK 2

More and more Christians are realising the need to warn the church of the coming increased persecution of Jews and Christians as we approach the prophesied “end times” tribulation and then great tribulation prior to Jesus return.

My brother in Christ, Futon Sheen in his recent Newsletter, Coronavirus Reality v Perception & World Markets said the following:

“These are all shakings which scripture has clearly articulated would happen as the time of Christ’s return draws near. As Christians grounded in scripture, we should understand and expect this and not be anxious or fearful.  That is not the case for unbelievers and governments which follow their own hearts and put their faith in themselves and the external world which surrounds them, they have much to fear. Hosea 4:6 says, My people are destroyed for lack of understanding, and people fear what they don’t understand. Over 350 times scripture says “do not fear,” as fear is the opposite of faith, but it is the automatic default of the flesh when something suddenly interrupts our expectations of what we think should be happening. This is why social media, news media, governments, markets and individuals tend to overreact to whatever is going on around them.

The times described in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, which Jesus said would come, are upon us and God is shaking everything that can be shaken. We need to do what these passages tell us, which is to be watchful and prepared, so that we won’t be caught off guard, fearful, confused, or manipulated by the circumstances and situations swirling around us. We need to pray for eyes that see, ears that hear and a mind that comprehends what’s going on in the spiritual realm, so we can wisely, peacefully and methodically walk out what Jesus tells us to do.

GOD AT WORK

God is always at work with believers and unbelievers, on this earth, in His Cosmos, and there is no doubt He uses catastrophes for His purposes both to refine His people and to awaken souls to their need of Him, their Creator.

Looking at the Corona Virus in this light, hopefully. one can see what God is doing and how we can get in step with Him in our prayers and action.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Image

Sadly, in most church circles we are hearing prayers asking God to “come against” the virus.  Yes…may God’s Mercy prevail, but it’s time to see this virus as God’s WAKE UP call. Jesus told us that in the “last days” God would use pestilences, famines, earthquakes as wake up calls to humanity before He pours out his wrath upon the earth prior to Jesus return.

Jeff Daly of http://www.repentday.org presents an insightful view of what God is achieving with the corona virus in the USA.
“Allow me to present a totally opposite (but more spiritually accurate) understanding of what is REALLY going on in the unseen world.
In just a few short weeks:
#1) Public schools and colleges (which are mostly secular and Marxist in nature) are being shut down en masse as students are now being “home schooled” in droves.  
#2) Governors are calling on all “elective procedures” to be cancelled and/or postponed. It is not too difficult to see abortion death camps being shut down as all medical professionals are engaged in battling the Coronavirus to save lives instead of causing more death.  
#3) Sexual perversions involving unclean practices (particularly anal sex) are being looked at again in revulsion and questioned in terms of how they add to pandemic diseases. People are being cautioned against any behaviour that opens them up to diseases.

One can’t help but compare the current plague of pandemic virus to the Exodus story in scripture and the plagues God used there against Egypt.  Egypt represents all sinful societies; really every nation on the planet today.  Today, God’s people find themselves in bondage labouring inside sinful cultures.  At all times, the Living God protected the Israelites against the many plagues He sent to let His people go, covering them by the blood of the lamb to exit Egypt. Now we have the Blood of the Ultimate Lamb without spot, Jesus the Messiah, covering us who have repented from the world, died to our own old thinking and now believe in following His Way.  He is allowing this plague to awaken souls for their need for Him.  You and I are to be His salt and light with out neighbours and in the workplace, bringing them into the Kingdom at this hour of His timing. 

END TIMES: GREAT FALLING AWAY IN THE CHURCH

Can we tell in advance who is going to be part of the Great Falling Away, The Apostasy? Can we anticipate apostasy in our church by observing the actions and beliefs of churchgoers? Based on what the Bible tells us, the answer is YES. Churchgoers may act like they believe, but remember Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22

Watch this Nelson Walters YouTube Video to find the answers.