* Editor's note - We will get back to blogs about music and such when this crisis abates.
I hope that this message finds you well. Now that we all have more time to ponder the direction of our lives, I like the phrase I heard from an online sermon recently: The season of the global monastery.
In many ways, what we're experiencing during this Coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented for most of us. We actually know of one person who lived through a pandemic like this, but she's 105!
Even my wife and I have face masks that our awesome friend Paula made for us.
It's been interesting talking with people (at the approved 6' distance), and listening to so many different viewpoints since this outbreak occurred.
Instead of minimizing fear they often enhance it.
I'm not saying that healthy fear is bad. The reason why we have masks is to protect others and ourselves in case there is a potential of being a carrier or meeting one.
I'd just like to reiterate to you who have faith in Christ that as I heard yesterday, faith and fear are mutually exclusive.
The pastor who was preaching, Rob Verdeyen, is from Calvary Chapel in Corvallis, Oregon if you'd like to listen to it yourself. Listen here: Adversity: Falling Back On What We Know, Multiple References- Rob Verdeyen, 03/29 (mp3)
He stated that when walking down the street, you can't walk on the left and right side at the same time. It's the same with faith and fear. You can't have faith and fear coexist. They just don't.
In fact, Jesus talked about this in the sermon on the mount: 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" - Matthew 5:25-27 NLT
Both Apostles Peter and John also gave great advice about letting go of fear. Peter stated in 1st Peter 5:7 NLT: 7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." And John says in 1st John 4:16-19 NLT: 16 "We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first."
There are numerous passages about letting go of fear, anxiety, and worry in the Bible. My understanding is that there are 365 passages stating 'Fear not' in scripture.
Now is the time for Christians to spend time in God's word, pray for healing for those who are suffering from this virus, and to learn what God is teaching through this crisis. Because to God, this isn't a crisis at all.
He suffers along with us during all of our trouble, but He is above all of this and can bring healing and comfort as well as restoration to all. His power is limitless.
I'd like to end with a word picture that you can use to relax with. You see, the apostle Paul knew that what we need to do when our circumstances are unpleasant is to redirect our thinking.
Philippians 4:8-9 NLT says: 8 "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
When I was a boy, sometimes things didn't go well in my life. To cope better with difficulties, I would spend some time outside on the summer grass with the breeze blowing through my hair. I would hear the gentle sound of hummingbirds, the sound of the breeze, and the smell of the ocean air as it would permeate my lungs. It was always comforting to go spend time outside and probably the place where I truly met with the Lord.
Find a safe place and explore what you can do to fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable today.
And replace fear with faith. You can do it!