COVID-19 RAISING THE BIG ISSUES OF LIFE

Researchers have found Australians say they have been praying more during the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities in life.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle surveyed 1002 people between July 24 and 28 and found more than a third (35 per cent) said they were praying more and 41 per cent were thinking about God more. A quarter said they were reading the Bible more.

Nearly a half (47 per cent) said they had thought more about their mortality and the meaning of life.

“The research is showing that this COVID situation has rattled Australians and got them thinking about the big purpose of life,” Mr McCrindle said. “It’s got them re-prioritising their life.”

Charles Sturt University Associate Professor Ruth Powell, who studies Australian spirituality said she was not surprised by the survey results. Her own research as director of the National Church Life Survey has shown a third of Australians pray or meditate “in normal times”.

“In this context when a proportion say I think I am praying more …. it’s not surprising if it has been heightened at this time,” she said. “What we know from our own research is that Australians are already moderately religious or spiritual. “It’s often in times of crisis that you do go to the big spiritual questions.”

Macquarie University Professor Marion Maddox, an authority on the intersection of religion and politics, said it was not surprising many people would be thinking more about their spirituality and mortality during an existential crisis.

“The bushfires would have had similar effects of making people think about the meaning and purpose of life or …. questions about environmental concerns and our relationship to the human world,” she said.

“It’s at the same time that churches and places of collective worship are closing, so people aren’t able to gather and do their spiritual reflection as easily together. They can do it online, but it’s not quite the same.”

Anglican Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead said he has received anecdotal feedback that parishioners were reading the Bible and praying more.

“The enforced slow down and isolation of the COVID restrictions have meant that people have been forced to step off the treadmill and realise there is more to life than the endless grind of work and pursuit of material ends,” he said. “It has given people an opportunity to reflect more deeply on what is the ultimate meaning of life and hence to dig into spiritual resources to help answer those kind of questions.

“There is a degree where we are all thinking about our own mortality now and that is forcing a reconnection back to God.”

The Stringer family is no exception, their story is encouraging.

The Stringer family have been praying more during the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew, Lucy, William, Katie and EleanorCREDIT: STEVEN SIEWERT.
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Katie Stringer from Leichhardt in Sydney Australia, a teacher and mother of three children aged from 6 to 13, said she and her family had been praying more at home together during the pandemic. They read passages from the Bible during family meals and in the car during school drop-off.
Mrs Stringer said the closure of their local Anglican church forced them to “assess their spiritual connection”. “It reminded us our faith is also our responsibility and not just the responsibility of the minister in our church,” she said. “We needed to be proactive in talking to God.”

Catastrophes: Bring them on Lord; if it means people turn back to you.

GOD IS FORCING CHURCH TO CHANGE

How many Christians believe God is bringing this pestilence for His purposes much as He brought the ten plagues on Egypt to force Pharaohs hand?

God, being the sovereign judge over the nations, is the theme throughout the Bible. Christians should have no doubt God is working out His plans and purposes in His world. Much of the Bible is prophecy, almost two thirds fulfilled prophecy so we know that the rest of the prophecies, much about the “end times” before Jesus returns to rule and reign with a rod of iron, will come to pass.

In a short period, God has shut down the activity and economy of the developed nations of the world! Sadly, the world so deceived by an evolutionary world view no longer believes God exists let alone controls all events in the Cosmos. A recent Barna survey revealed most Christians now don’t hold a Biblical world view. They need to be reminded afresh that Yahweh alone is the true sovereign Lord. Let me remind you of what the Bible says is coming.

“For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up — and it shall be brought low — They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.” Isaiah 2:12, 19

The arrogance of humankind, seduced by its self-focused affluence, makes this generational visitation a necessity.

Due to the massive proliferation of this virulent outbreak God has hopefully caused every person to consider their fragility and mortality.

“Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:11

With schools cancelled and parents working from home, God has forced families to spend time together. Hopefully, mothers, fathers, siblings and spouses are connecting in a meaningful manner.

Now, more than ever, church will have to go to another level in faith and dependence upon God for their sustenance. Those who lack experiential faith and intimacy with God during these days will either pursue an encounter with the living God or experience deep despair and failure.

With less emphasis on the large crowd, many church initiatives have collapsed down to personal touch rather than programmatic persuasion. For too long, the term “church” was equated to what took place within the four walls of a building on Sunday mornings. The success of a congregation was primarily gauged by how many people were present for service. We even call the facilities that are being used for service, “church.” The coronavirus pandemic has proven that the church can no longer be defined by a single Sunday morning service. My prayer is; it will get back to holding a Biblical worldview knowing the Bible provides the only true history of God’s world. It tells us the end of the story. What we can expect to unfold in the years ahead before Jesus return. Watch this space and together we will see world events unfold exactly as prophesied.

IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

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The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

What a great explanation of the concept of GOD and us – this lovely parable is from Your Sacred Self by Dr. Wayne Dyer

INALIENABLE RIGHTS CAN ONLY COME FROM GOD

Humanism (man the measure of all things), the currently taught world view in our schools, colleges and universities, creates its own moral values depending upon who is in control at the time. How foolish and how devastating will be its eventual outcome. There is no meaning to life, therefore there is no problem for a mother take the human life that has grown in her womb, if she so desires, for whatever reason, nor for governments to terminate the life of the elderly and frail who can no longer contribute to society.

God tells us in His Word that this will be the chaotic state of the world just prior to Jesus return to earth to rule and reign. “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 2:27. Jesus said, at His return, it will be like in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah when God stepped in and judged the nations that existed in those days.

We are seeing the prophesied end times events unfold in our lifetime, the God given inalienable rights which once shaped the laws and values of the Western World are being thrown out one at a time. The courts which are not subject to the people are now shaping our society according to the humanist values of the lawyers making the laws.

Where are the Bible believing Christians that do not believe in evolution that undergirds humanism? Sadly, many have accepted billions of years that is needed for the evolutionary paradigm. Why can’t they see that Noah’s flood provides the evidence to explain the appearance of billions of years in the geologic record. If you need proof, then check out http://www.creation.com for evidence from PhD scientists. Truth that is being rejected by secular scientists only because they cannot countenance a Creator (to whom they would be responsible) and they would need to give up their hedonistic lifestyle.

Needed now more than ever, this explosive message by Francis Schaeffer shows why morality and freedom have crumbled in our society. In the 1980’s he called for a massive movement – in government, law, and all of life – to reestablish our Judaeo-Christian foundation and turn the tide of moral decadence and loss of freedom.
His book A Christian Manifesto (written in 1981 as a couterpoint to Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933) & 11 (1973)) was literally a call for Christians to change the course of history-by returning to biblical Truth and by allowing Christ to be Lord in all of life. Sadly, we failed to take up the call.
Check out Encounter Ministries: http://www.encountertoday.com if you want a copy or more Good News: