Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hello all! Happy day!

I pray you are well. OK, so, don’t tell me this is too heavy or too long. You have all the time in the world now so READ IT! Think with me, we know for a fact that because of sin God cursed all creation and allowed the enemy to influence the world, right? Now, because much of the world still mocks HIM today, this curse continues, (1 COR. 4:4) “The god, (little g), of this world, (Satan), has blinded the minds of the disobedient, (unbelievers), to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel” Got it? OK, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”….we sing it all the time. DO you recall the third stanza? ….“For still our ancient FOE, doth seek to work us woe, his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” Listen, as with every other attack on mankind throughout history, this Coronavirus is the same old thing with a new name. Satan means this stuff for evil and to get people to curse GOD, but GOD has a long history of using these “trials” of life for HIS purposes and OUR benefit. I am just a man and I would never claim to know or to think I’ve figured out what God is up to, HOWEVER, I do have a pretty good idea of HIS heart. He loves you!

So do I. And I grieve for those who have lost their lives from this disease. I also care for those who are traumatized by fear over this and its effect on our lives, but I believe GOD will use this to turn MANY souls to HIMSELF who may not have otherwise ever done so!

Think about this, we have hourly updates on this virus, but when the Spanish Flu killed 100 million people in 1918, very few people had any idea what was going on. (I got these stats on website) The CDC estimates that 30+ million Americans had the flu this past year and 40 to 50,000 died, and that’s a typical season? Are you kidding me?

But this is why the Coronavirus is so scary. It’s scary because it makes us realize our own mortality. If you know Jesus, you have no reason to fear that.

The Bible has a lot to say about “pestilences” “plagues” or “disasters” and our response to it!  GOD is not going to let this go to waste, God is using it to call folks to Himself.

Jesus often described the End Times as being “birth pangs.” Just as labor pains grow stronger and closer together, God will allow trials of all kinds to bring people to Christ. In fact, the purpose of the Tribulation itself is to bring pressure for those who are left after the RAPTURE, to surrender to Jesus and find salvation.

You need to read Matthew chapter 24.

Bottom line…the world is broken. We are sinful. This world is sinful and for the most part, refuses to acknowledge HIM as GOD. Because Adam sinned, GOD took paradise away and our bodies became mortal, subject to aging, disease and death. Death is inevitable. But we need not fear. There is GOOD NEWS! Read 1 Corinthians 15:21 we live in a fallen world, BUT, if we know Christ, we can have hope and joy.  “For since [it was] by a man (Adam) that death came [into the world], it is also by a Man (Jesus the Christ) that the resurrection of the dead will come.” I believe that GOD is absolutely in control, but you have to realize, HE has to overcome block-headed, sinful human beings without affecting a person’s volition and free will.

So God used plagues to deliver the Jews from the Egyptians to show HIS power and compassion for people who refused to believe in HIM, WHAAAT?

But, because it is not HIS will that any should perish, God will also pour out plagues during the Tribulation to bring God haters to faith in Christ.

The way coronavirus spreads quickly from person to person is a foreshadowing of the way God will pronounce judgment in Revelation 9, which we will be studying. 

“By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent.” (Can you believe that?)

Later, God called King David “the man after God’s own heart.” But the consequences of David’s sins didn’t only impact his family. David proudly counted on his army, defying God’s strict warning to humbly trust Him. So, David had three punishments from which to choose to pay for his pride: three years of famine, three months of defeat from enemies, three days of plague. (2 Samuel 24)

But always, God changes HIS mind when we humble ourselves and repent. (James 4:10)

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you.”

Also, God hates idolatry. Idolatry in our day usually revolves around our money and our stuff. (which will all burn one day)

Jesus said “You cannot serve two masters: God and money. For you will hate one and love the other, or else the other way around.” God is our provider. We must trust Him and not rely on our own smarts or strength.

Time and time again, God always chose not to punish when people learned to put HIM first.

Those who worship with thankful hearts receive God’s blessing. (Psalm 103)

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of HIS benefits, WHO forgives all your sins and heals your diseases.”…….(see that!?)

The Philistines captured the Ark and sent it to Ashdod instead of returning it to Israel. God taught them a lesson by sending them rats and hemorrhoids!      (1 Samuel 5). (And they STILL didn’t learn)

But Jesus reconciled us to GOD by HIS death on the cross. HE has made us holy:  WOW!

God allowed Satan to inflict disease upon Job so that He could reveal His majesty and power to restore His faithful servant (Job 42)

So,   my point?  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything! Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for HIS answers.”

Turn off the news, Satan is using all that drama to distract you from FAITH. Avoid social media and its misinformation. Focus on Heaven. Pray specific, honest prayers and live with a thankful heart.

LISTEN! Solomon’s classic prayer for Israel is still effective today, FOR US.

HERE IT IS…..”If my people who are called by MY NAME 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.”

God loves you. He is watching. He is in control! Satan still works us woe, BUT GOD, works it all for GOOD!

LET’S PRAY….

GOD, we praise You this day, ever visible, yet also hidden.  Through Your goodness you watch over us.  You desire that we see clearly Your plan for our lives.  We often want healing according to our plans – right now! yet You remind us that it is often a process of being drawn closer to YOU.  Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, give us the patience and strength to trust only YOU.  May we always follow Your Son, Who has come as the Light of the World, the One Who enlightens us.  We praise You for giving us Spiritual eyes to see our own blindness and admit our need for You.  Throughout all ages past there have been plagues and diseases, and when people looked to You they received healing. LORD, heal us and our land, and when that happens, we will boast of YOUR amazing love and power. This we ask in and through Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, The Healer of the spiritually and physically blind, the Light of the world, who is living and reigning with You and the Holy Spirit, our one and only GOD, for ever and ever.  Amen

pastorron

Rev. Ronald Lee Salem