SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

This Scripture tells us we need to let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and actions so that we can view the world through God’s eyes and live our life according to His principles. May this be true particularly in the area of our finances but may it be true in every area of our life.

Even the money we work hard to earn ultimately comes from God. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Knowing that it all belongs to God should convince us to welcome God into our financial lives! We have the opportunity to walk with God, even in this sector of life knowing that He will use it wisely and it will bear much fruit that will have eternal value.

We need not be concerned about provision for our family if we are truly seeking first the kingdom of God.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

God is the source of all good things—our provider. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalms 24:1).

How important it is during this time of testing that God has sent with Covid19 to hold to these truths of God. There is no doubt that if you have “all joy and peace in believing” people around you that are fearful will want what you have. Opportunities are opening up for me to talk about the scriptures particularly “end times” prophecies, as I have never had before, particularly with my non believing family members.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7

The persecution that Christians are experiencing now will escalate in the years ahead. Scripture reveals Christians will be refined during the time of tribulation that precedes the Rapture but will also be used mightily by the Holy Spirit at this time. It is time to start living with an eternal focus knowing Jesus prophesied return is near.

What role will Jesus assign to you during His Millennial reign?

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:4-6

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10

The Second Resurrection and Judgment Before the Great White Throne

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.Revelation 20:11

COVID-19 IS REFINING MY CHURCH

God has not stopped working in our midst. (report by Josh Daffern of Centreville Baptist Church USA). In fact, He’s used this COVID-19 crisis to refine our church, fulfilling 1 Peter 4:12, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you. I pray the same is happening in your church through this crisis.

1. This crisis has built resilience in our faith. I have been continually inspired as I’ve checked on our church family. Instead of “woe is me” and bitter complaining, I’ve seen a strength and resilience bloom in the hearts of our church. They want to spend less time talking about themselves and more time asking about how others are doing and inquiring where and how they can help and give back. Their faith has not weakened during this crisis, it has only strengthened.

2. This crisis has fueled new generosity. Like everyone else, the tentacles of this spreading crisis is having an economic impact above and beyond the health impact. But my church has continued to give faithfully, and they’re even going above and beyond to collect food and other items to give away to hundreds of families in our local community. Our church holds to outrageous generosity as a core value, and this crisis is allowing us the chance to truly live that value out.

3. This crisis has forced us to invest in our online presence. Like many other churches, our online presence was not what we wished it was. But it’s hard to invest and expand your online presence when you’re so focused on all the in-person events that happen on a weekly basis. When this crisis hit, we shifted our ministries to online. More than just a temporary placeholder, we’ve leveraged this opportunity to expand not just worship services but all of our ministries to have an online presence. There is still much more we can do, but we’ve jumped years ahead in just a few short months. When we resume our on-campus worship services, our online ministries will remain, because everyone we’re trying to reach lives online. This crisis has forced us to go where people are living, and I for one am grateful for that.

4. This crisis has refocused our attention on what’s important. Where I live (just outside of Washington, D.C.) can seem like one constantly spinning hamster wheel. There’s always someplace to go, there’s always something to do, traffic is always jammed. This crisis has refocused my attention (and the attention of my church) on what’s truly important: family and faith. I am grateful for that refocusing.

5. This crisis has opened up new opportunities to share the gospel. Like the early church in Acts 8, this trial has forced us out of our comfort zone, and we have taken the gospel with us. We’re interacting with our neighbors in ways we haven’t before. New people (and people who would never attend in person) are watching online and hearing the good news of Jesus.

CHRISTIANS MURDERED FOR FAITH ROSE 60% IN 2020

The watchdog organization Open Doors USA says levels of Christian persecution are at a record high around the world, revealing that the number of Christians murdered for their faith rose 60 percent in 2020. Biblical prophecy of the end times prior to Jesus return predicts increased persecution of this magnitude along with pestilences, famine and increased earthquakes in “divers” places. All of which are taking place in our time.

Open Doors announced the 2021 World Watch List this week, ranking the top 50 countries where it is the most dangerous to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Their latest data indicates one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. 

In a broadcast carried on CBN News YouTube, Open Doors USA’s CEO David Curry said, “A shocking number this year is that 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination.” The top 10 countries on the World Watch List include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and India. “The big surprise on the World Watch List 2021 is that extremists and governments are using COVID-19 as a justification to increase persecution against Christians and we see this in several places,” Curry told CBN News. 

“In India, where local governments are using pressure on Christians to withhold food and medical care – over 115,000 incidents of this that we can document,” explained Curry.  “It’s also extremists like in northern Nigeria.  Boko Haram which is attacking Christian villages, knowing that there is nowhere for them to go and they’re taking food and medical supplies. We’ve documented this.  This is happening more and more and that’s on top of the other incidents of persecution. So, there’s this level of intensity that’s been added to because of COVID.”

Curry explained, “There’s 100 million Christians right now in China, and they (the regime) are using their technology to surveil the church. They’re watching their every move. They’re seeing when they go into church. They’re using facial recognition. They’re looking at their searches online. They have a massive surveillance system which is monitoring religious practice in China and it is absolutely chilling, and I think it poses the greatest threat to human rights.” Also, according to the report, extremist attacks spread further throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria and Cameroon to Burkina Faso, Mali, and beyond. In Nigeria alone, 10 Christians a day are murdered on average due to their religious beliefs. 

WHAT TO DO NEXT AFTER COVID

In the video below Fulton Sheen believes the world and global economy have been forever altered by Covid-19.  Fear, lack of forethought and inaccurate statistics caused people, governments and businesses to overreact and make short sighted decisions with long-term consequences.  How will we move forward when the basic framework for predicting what will happen next, no longer exists?  Close on the heels of Covid and literally overnight, anarchy broke out and all of a sudden American citizens were declared to be racists and our police officers villains. All these things are sure signs that all things are being shaken.  Matthew 24, Luke 21 & Mark 13, all foretold of these events and warned us to be watchful, ready and prepared, we are also encouraged to be men and women who understand the times and know what to do.  The goal of this message is to define what happened, discuss where we are at the moment and what happens next.
(You can download a PDF with more of Fulton’s thoughts under the video)

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CHURCH AND LIFE CHANGED RADICALLY

In evangelist Nick Hall’s 10-hour Livestream session called “Leader Check In” this week, Francis Chan, former megachurch pastor, who recently left America to become a missionary in Asia, urged those watching to “repent” and self reflect because there’s a possibility we won’t go back to “church as usual, life as usual.

“What if God is taking us to a different place?” Chan shared from the balcony of his new home in Hong Kong. “Many of us are anxious to get back to normal. I hope your anxiety is not just so you can go back and get busy with so many things.”

What a powerful time to repent,” he said as he reflected on the fact that no one knows what will happen during and following the global pandemic.

“This could be the beginning of the end,” he stressed. He said he believes this occurrence is ushering in a new period for the church as a whole.

God is doing something now that I’ve never seen in my lifetime … It feels like we’re headed into a new season.”

The preacher hopes for this to be a time of “growth” for those watching. This is a time to remember that Scripture says “to live is Christ and to die is gain.

“Please get right with the Lord,” Chan implored, as he referenced James 4:10, which says, ”Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” “I’m begging you to think about humbling yourselves.

“This virus is showing us how unprepared we are,” he noted and then challenged people to be reliant on God alone. He said in a world where technology is also capable of failing us, God alone is omnipresent.

When speaking of the lockdown, Chan wondered, “Could [this] be a blessing in disguise for some of you?”

He admitted that the quarantine has helped him spend more time with God and his family as he is usually travelling every month.

“If you were truly isolated all by yourself, even without the Bible, would you be OK? We have the internet right now so we are not truly isolated, but if we were,” Chan asked those watching if they would be able to lead themselves in their walk with the Lord, or even lead others to Christ. “Perhaps we are not prepared for such a situation.”

He also told his pastor peers: “We no longer have the luxury of giving nice, lighthearted sermons that are softened with jokes on either side. My little self-help tips are not enough anymore,” he said.

Now is the time to rely solely on Scripture and the spirit of God, he emphasised.

END TIMES PESTILENCES AND FAMINE

Four plagues are marching across Asia simultaneously: Coronavirus, African Swine Fever, H5N1 Bird Flu And H1N1 Swine Flu and as well the locust plague sweeping Africa and the Middle East is not abating.  Weeks before the coronavirus spread through much of the world, parts of Africa were already threatened by another kind of plague, the biggest locust outbreak some countries had seen in 70 years. Now the second wave of the voracious insects, some 20 times the size of the first, is arriving.

Reports coming out of South Carolina are indicating that an infectious and fatal strain of bird flu has been confirmed in a commercial turkey flock. The report from News Channel 9 is stating that this is the first case of this serious of a strain of the in the United States since 2017 and a worrisome development for an industry that was devastated by previous outbreaks.

Deadly bird flu found in South Carolina commercial turkey flock

As well as the Coronavirus which has been getting all the news coverage, three other plagues have also been marching across Asia, and most people in the western world don’t even realise that this is happening. Long before we ever heard of this new coronavirus, African Swine Fever was devastating pork farms from one end of China to the other. There is no vaccine for “pig ebola”, there is no cure, and once it hits a farm the only thing that can be done is to kill every single pig so that it won’t spread anywhere else. But even though draconian measures have been implemented, it has just kept spreading, and at this point “about two-thirds of China’s swine herd has been lost.”

Brett Stuart, president of the market research and analysis firm Global AgriTrends, estimates that about two-thirds of China’s swine herd has been lost to the disease and contrary to official government reports of recovery, more pigs are dying every day as ASF continues to spread.

Prior to this crisis, approximately half of all the pigs in the entire world lived in China, and they would usually slaughter about 700 million a year. But now pork production has absolutely plummeted, and this is driving pork prices in China through the roof.

Unfortunately, this insidious disease has also been devastating farms in many other nations all over the planet. In particular, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines have been hit particularly hard.

It has been estimated that one out of every four pigs in the entire world has already died and this crisis is far from over.

Meanwhile, there has been a very alarming resurgence of the H5N1 bird flu in China. According to the Daily Mail, more than 17,000 chickens have been culled in an effort to keep this new outbreak from spreading further…

China has reportedly seen an outbreak of a ‘highly pathogenic’ strain of H5N1 bird flu which has already killed 4,500 chickens. The outbreak was initially reported at a farm in Shaoyang city in the southern province of Hunan, south of the epicentre of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. According to the Reuters report, Chinese authorities have already culled 17,828 poultry in the wake of the outbreak.

Unlike African Swine Fever, humans can become infected by the H5N1 bird flu and according to the World Health Organisation, the mortality rate for human cases is approximately 60 percent.

Alarmingly, the H5N1 bird flu has also popped up at a facility in India

Authorities in an eastern Indian state will start culling chickens and destroying eggs from Tuesday to contain a bird flu virus of the H5N1 strain, a government statement said on Monday. The samples collected from a poultry breeding and research farm of a veterinary college in Odisha state tested positive, the statement said.

We haven’t heard much about the H5N1 bird flu in recent years, but this is an extremely deadly disease, and so we will want to monitor these developments very carefully.

On top of everything else, the H1N1 swine flu is starting to spread once again. In fact, more than 100,000 people in Taiwan “sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals across the country over the past week” and there have been 13 confirmed deaths

At a time when the world is panicking over the coronavirus outbreak, the H1N1 flu virus is actually posing a greater threat in Taiwan, claiming 13 lives in the country in just one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

At a weekly meeting Friday, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said 116,705 people sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals across the country over he past week, including 61 more confirmed flu cases.

Never before have we seen so many alarming outbreaks occur simultaneously. Could it be possible that we have entered a period of time when mass pandemics are going to become “the new normal”?

REASONS WHY JESUS IS COMING BACK SOON

ABORTION LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN 2019 AT 42 MILLION

Abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide last year, with termination procedures accounting for some 42 million losses of life.  The latest figure was highlighted by renowned stats website “Worldometers” which keeps a tally of many different world statistics in a live format.  The specific abortion number is based on the most recent figures published by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This abomination is just one of the reasons why God could decide it is time for His Son to return and rule with a rod of iron. His Word reveals that lawlessness will abound in the “last days”. Jesus said the “end times” will be just like the days of Noah when mankind was so wicked that God destroyed all but eight people with a worldwide flood. Many other prophetic “end times” signs are coming to pass, the big one was the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948. God has miraculously preserved it despite repeated attempts by its hostile neighbours to annihilate Israel from the map. Jesus also said pestilences, plagues, famines, and so called natural disasters will be more evident in the “end times” and it is hard not to see the evidence of those events unfolding across the world.

Are you living with an end times focus now? Are you preparing for the coming persecution of Christians that hold to the word of God and His values? Are you ready for Jesus return when He will rule and reign on this earth for 1000 years?

PROPHESIED PLAGUES, PESTILENCE AND FAMINE

Millions of locusts continue to wreak havoc across East Africa and the Middle East in scenes described as “apocalyptic” Reports indicate that Swarms of the insects have descended on Oman with footage showing what looks like the floor moving after millions of the locusts started crawling across the streets.

Billions of locusts have ravaged crops in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia in recent months – leading to food shortages in countries that already suffer severe poverty.

Warm weather conditions have reportedly contributed to one of the largest plagues in history and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has requested $120 million to help fight the threat.

It is reported the coronavirus pandemic is hindering the response with the delivery of pesticides and equipment being delayed.

Prior to going to The Cross, Jesus told His disciples what would unfold before the end of this age and His coming again to this earth to rule and reign for 1000 years.

And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:7-14

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.

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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.