Francis Chan recorded a video from his new home in Hong Kong to remind the body of Christ to hold on to their joy, peace and trust in God during this unpredictable COVID-19 crisis. He says it’s amazing that he’s been preaching sermons about small-group church for years, and now that’s reality in many places around the world.
“This is one of the greatest opportunities we’ve ever had as a church where people are open to talking about serious things, life-and-death things, and suddenly we’re no longer in control,” Chan says. “I understand it is crazy, but don’t lose your love. …
“It’s kind of crazy that for seven years, we’ve been preaching, ‘Come on, you guys, we’ve got to get ready: There’s going to come a day when we can’t get in these big gatherings.’ … And then two weeks after I leave, you’re living, and the whole country is having to live, that. But I believe it’s God’s grace on us to show us, ‘Am I prepared? Have I lost my love, my joy, my peace?‘”
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.
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.
A new report from Bloomberg is enough to send chills up your spine! The World Health Organisation has been warning humanity for years that a mysterious “Disease X” could spark a global contagion. and this current coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender and it’s not helping any that many are fearing that this outbreak is playing out like a Hollywood thriller called “Contagion,” In the film patient zero is seen contracting the virus in Hong Kong — via a sick bat that infected a slaughtered pig handled by a chef who later comes into contact with the woman who spreads the virus.
In less than three months, the coronavirus has infected almost 78,000 people, predominately in China, and has killed more than 2,300 and has spread to more than two dozen countries and now South Korea, Iran and Italy have stoked further alarm. “Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category,”Marion Koopmans, the head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and a member of the WHO’s emergency committee, wrote Wednesday in the journal Cell.
The report is indicating that unlike SARS, the Covid-19 virus replicates at high concentrations in the nose and throat of the patient similar to the common cold, and appears capable of spreading from those who show no, or mild, symptoms. This was the case with a report of a Chinese woman who recently infected five relatives without ever showing any signs of an infection presenting solid evidence that the coronavirus can be spread asymptomatically. This makes it impossible to control using the fever-checking measures that helped stop SARS 17 years ago.
Veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara told Live Science, “If we want to protect people, it makes sense that we should detect these threats in animal populations before spillover to human populations.”The most disturbing thing about this coronavirus is the fact no one has yet to determine the source of the virus and “patient zero” has not been found.
Christians should not be surprised at what is unfolding in our day, Jesus said that in the “end times” just prior to His return to this earth: “there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:11–12
God tells us that He sends pestilence among us and locusts to devour the land. Moreover He also tells us what we should do to put things right.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
“Australia is entering uncharted territory this bush fire season. What’s evident from the experience in NSW and Queensland to date is that more of just about everything is needed to tackle the lethally dry conditions: more muscle power on the ground, more water-bombing aircraft overhead, more cash from the taxpayer.
“The risk is here, the risk is now, and we will have worsening conditions as we head into summer,” NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warns.
In Victoria, more than 80,000 households are without power, dust storms have struck and as fires worsen homes, lives and health are under threat. Melbourne is cloaked in dust and for some Victorians it’s too late to leave as fires circle. The bush fire threat continues across Australia, with Sydney shrouded in smoke.
Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland was razed back in September, something no visitor to that usually lush retreat backing on to World Heritage-listed Gondwana rain forest could have considered possible.
“If you had told me that Binna Burra was going to burn down and that was just the pipe opener to the fire season, I would have said you were nuts,” says David Bowman, the professor of pyrogeography and fire science at the University of Tasmania. “But now we are seeing all these other iconic places like Wauchope (and) Nightcap Range burning and it’s so unbelievable. These are wet, subtropical or warm-temperate rainforests … I am trying to remain on an even keel. It’s so serious.”
More than one million hectares have been blackened in NSW — 2½ times the area affected on Black Saturday 2009 in Victoria — and Queensland has had more homes destroyed in the past 12 months than the accumulated losses from all past bushfire seasons. If scientists are agog, imagine the shock for the local communities and emergency services, which have been stretched to breaking point this week, as the fire conditions in NSW touched catastrophic levels on Tuesday and continue to deteriorate north of the border.”
We know that the Bible says God is sovereign over everything. History also shows us that God does use catastrophes for His purposes. He also tells us that in the “end times”, droughts, famines, pestilences and earthquakes will increase. Sadly, Christians, even our Prime Minister, do not believe it is helpful for Israel Folau, nor anyone else for that matter, to suggest that God is involved in anyway in the current catastrophes, especially to suggest God is using them for His purposes.. I am not sure what they do with the following Scripture.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:13-14
Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz probably shouldn’t have survived the 2016 massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. But they did, and the deadly shooting sparked radical transformation for both of them.
After realising he had miraculously survived the June 16, 2016, killing, which left 49 people dead, Colon thanked God and promised to use his life to share the Gospel.
“I look around again and everybody that was around me was dead and I am alive,” he said. “And I just started thanking God: ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord. … The moment I get out of here, I’m testifying about you. I am worshipping you for the rest of my life.’”
Colon’s transformation wasn’t immediate, though. Weighed down by fears of how those around him might react to his decision to abandon the gay lifestyle and embrace Christianity, his conversion took time.
But after watching Ruiz step out, Colon had the courage to embrace the faith that saved him. Colon, when he finally spoke out, said he and Ruiz “became these men, these soldiers, these generals that aren’t scared anymore to share wherever they go the Gospel of God.”
One of the reasons Colon was so hesitant to walk away from the LGBTQ community and run toward the church was because of the backlash Ruiz faced for his conversion.
Ruiz, though, said it finally clicked for him when he realised that — despite his ongoing homosexual desires — “it’s not a gay to straight thing; it’s a lost to saved thing.”
For Ruiz, living a faithless life was no longer an option when he discovered not long after the shooting he was HIV positive. He is now using his platform to spread the Gospel, and his story is making a big difference in the lives of those around him.
“In all this, behind the scenes, God was working, because I had ex-lovers that were coming to Jesus because they saw a Facebook Live that they were making about me, and laughing about me. . . . This brought people to email me and say, ‘Hey, I want to know about this Jesus you’re so in love with.’”