Bradley’s Blog
 

Giving God What He’s Given You

One of the most troubling concepts for new believers can be the concept of tithing. They experience the love of Christ and they’re filled with a fire to start their new life living for Him and then the church begins to hammer them with the concept of tithing. For those that are well off financially, this may be a non-issue, but for a young new believer that is drowning in bills and debt, tithing can seem like an impossible task and quickly damper that fire. They are left feeling like they will never meet the expectations of the church in this area and thus are a failure in their Christian life. Every time the offering plate passes them on Sunday morning, they feel the glares of the congregation as they once again cannot put anything in it.
 
In addition to this, many churches put a huge emphasis on tithing in order for the church to grow. We have huge campaigns to raise money and stress the importance of giving financially as if the state of the church depends on it. Those that give more to the church seem to have more say in how the church runs and receive more attention and care than others. Very quickly, the church becomes a place of power for the rich and a place of sadness for the poor. The concept that can easily come across is that the church will only grow and be successful if we give financially to it. Money becomes our focus, and all of our actions follow suit.
 
In saying this, tithing does have a very important place in the church as we should give back what we can financially to God, whom has blessed us. When the church has money, they are able to provide tangible needs for the community and a safe, clean environment for those to worship in. The church can also do more outreach events to seek to draw others into the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Leviticus 27:30 says, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord: it is holy to the Lord.” These gifts were a reminder that everything belonged to God and a portion was given back to God to thank him for what they had received.” Jesus then later says, “ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
 
What’s important to note is that Jesus doesn’t denounce tithing, but He does spin the concept on it’s head. He challenges and calls out the religious leaders for valuing tithing above the more important matters. Sure, giving to the church financially is helpful and appreciated, but you can have the biggest church in town and also be the most dead church in town spiritually. Jesus is saying He prefers the person that gives themselves to Him over the one that only gives their money to Him. God has given each person unique gifts and abilities. These are of far more value than anything financially. Jesus is calling us to give what He has given us for His glory. This is the greatest gift we can give Him, our life. We may not be able to give a check every week in the offering plate, but if we can give ourselves every day to Jesus, that’s what truly blesses Him and the church.
 
The church grows when the people are giving themselves not just their money to it and ultimately to Christ. Outsiders begin to see a Spirit in the Church that they don’t have and are drawn in. They see a body of people using their gifts, time, and talents for a purpose that is greater than words can describe and that is something they want to be a part of. Outreach events are worthless if people come to the church and leave after one Sunday because of the hypocrites and lack of love they experience when entering. Our focus as a church needs to be on glorifying Him and the best way we can do that is by using our gifts and abilities the best we can for His kingdom. This is what we should be focusing on when a new believer comes into the Church. How can we help them understand the gifts and abilities they have been given and how can we help them use those gifts for the Kingdom of God. When our focus is on glorifying Him, the impact the Church has on the community will grow and God will bless the Church in ways we never saw imaginable before.

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The God-given Potential in You

I remember being in high school, when my youth pastor at the time came up to me and asked me to preach to the students a night that he was going to be away. I was shocked that he would choose me to fill in. Thoughts like, I’m not the best speaker, I didn’t even regularly attend Wednesday night services, and I was only in high school went through my brain. Despite this, I felt a calling to do this and wanted to make him proud. Because of this, I studied and prepared hard before going in front of my classmates and youth family that night. As I was about to step up to the front, I felt sick with anxiety. However, once I started talking, I felt a peace flow over me, and a confidence start to dwell within me.

After the service, I was amazed at the positive feedback I received from my peers and the adults in the room. I later realized that my youth pastor saw the raw God-given potential in me, even if I didn’t notice it at the time. After that night, I went on to get a Master’s in Theology and have been the Next Generation Pastor at Laguardo Baptist for almost 3 years. Despite this, I often times still find myself feeling inadequate to do the job God has called me to. I’m reminded of all the times I have failed in the past; I look around and see others more gifted, and I question if everything I’m doing is really making a difference. However, in these moments, I remember the story of Moses.

Moses was up in age and had a hard time speaking. One day, God called him to be the next leader of the Israelites. When God told Moses this, he refused. He looked at all the things he could not do well and thought God was making a huge mistake by choosing him over someone else. However, God insisted that Moses be this leader and that he would equip him along the way. Moses finally trusted in what God could see that he could not. Moses became one of the greatest leaders in history and lead the Israelites out of slavery in the land of Egypt and toward the Promised Land.

What this reminds me of is that we all have raw God-given potential inside us to do something great for the Kingdom of God. The devil will always remind us of our past failures and our shortcomings because he doesn’t want us to see that potential God has embedded within us. In these moments of doubt, we need to look to God for direction on what He wants us to do and trust that He will equip us along the way. God knows us better than we know ourselves and can see the potential He has gifted within us that we can be blinded from by the world. Sometimes, God uses those around us to show us this potential and push us out of our comfort zones to reach it. Just like my youth pastor did to me when I was in high school, if someone is pushing you to lead or do something that you feel inadequate to do, stop and think about the fact that may be seeing the God-given potential in you that you haven’t seen yet. Trust that God knows the greatness that lies within you and may be using those around you to bring it out and step out in faith. When you do this, you’ll be amazed at how God will use you and equip you along the way.


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Trusting Your Coach

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

 – Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV

              It’s a tied game in the fourth quarter as time ticks away. The quarterback looks out at the defense as both teams line up for what will be the most important play of the game. At first glance, the quarterback sees the defense backed off and assumes they will play coverage, so he calls a run play up the middle with a smile on his face, thinking about how their team is about to win the game. However, right before he snaps the ball, the coach on the sidelines gets word in his headset from the coach in he pressbox to change the play, Frantically, he yells out at the quarterback to do a play action play instead and throw the ball down the field.

              The quarterback ignores this command as he believes his coach must not have seen what he is seeing. He snaps the ball, and suddenly realizes the linebacker he assumed was going to play coverage is now blitzing full speed right towards him. Seeing there is no one in the backfield to protect him, he tries to scramble but ends up with a facemask full of turf. Ultimately, the drive that looked so promising ends with defeat and regret.

              What the quarterback did not realize was that the coach in the pressbox, sitting high above the stadium, saw the opposing coach call out a blitz to the linebacker. The quarterback could not see this because he was looking straight ahead and had very limited vision of the field. The coach in the pressbox, however, could see the whole picture.

              This same concept is true in our every day lives. When faced with decisions, we can only see how that choice will affect us right now. We don’t know how our decisions will affect us in two months and much less two years from now. We see that attractive girl or guy that is funny and easy to talk to and decide in our minds they would be excellent to date. We see that party or event as a great night to have fun and something all our friends are doing. We see that getting high will give us a rush right now and we want that feeling. Meanwhile, our coach is yelling at us to call an audible and to get out of that relationship or avoid that situation all together.

              In our limited vision, we think we know best, and God is just trying to hold us back from having fun and enjoying life. We ignore His commands and date who we want and do whatever feels good to us in the moment. What we fail to see is that the “perfect” guy or girl will end up cheating on us in a month and leave us heartbroken and full of regret from the mistakes we made with them. At that party, we we’ll have a great time, until we get drunk and do some things that we can’t take back. After getting high, we’ll decided to grab something to eat and while driving to the diner will hit another student walking across the street. We will then face jail time and that person will be on a long road to recovery.

              See, God could see the whole picture. He is sitting in the “pressbox” over the field of our lives. He know what the devil will call up next and when the blitzing linebacker will be sent. He warns us to avoid certain people and actions, not to hold us back, but to protects us and give us great success in the game of life. God can see the whole picture and knows how every action we do will affect us long term. So, next time when we think we know best, we need to stop and look up at our coach. Whatever He tells us do, even if it doesn’t make sense to us, we need to follow Him full-heartedly, knowing His call will always be for our good and His glory.

             


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Your Story is Enough

Learning how your story is enough to bring people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

Recently, I was working a typical day, doing paperwork and answering phone calls. As I was just getting back from lunch my phone rang again. I was annoyed at first because I had so much paperwork to do that day, and I did not feel like having a long conversation with someone at that moment. Despite this, I answered the phone. The man on the other end asked me if I could send him a Bible.

The organization I serve gives out Bibles regularly so this was not an uncommon occurrence. I would typically respond with a yes and then ask the man what his address was so we could send someone in his area to give him a Bible. I started off by following the typical procedure, but I felt the Holy Spirit push me to ask this man if he wanted to know more about Christianity or if he just wanted a Bible. To my surprise, he said, “Yeah, I guess I want to know more about Christianity, too.”

Be Attentive to The Voice of God

One of my first responses was to say, “Great, let me send you some resources on what it means to be a Christian and what happens next.” Although we have plenty of resources on what it means to be a Christian that would be helpful to someone searching for answers, the Holy Spirit pushed me again telling me, “You are the resource.”

This really struck me. So I sat back, calmed my mind down from all the things I needed to do that afternoon and I asked the man, “Can I tell you what it means?” He agreed. For the next 20 minutes I had a wonderful conversation with this man about what it truly meant to follow Jesus, what He did for us on the cross, and what He promises those who follow Him for all eternity. As the call was concluding, I found myself leading this man through a prayer to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Many times, in my life, I get so caught up in all that I have to do that I miss the most important thing God is calling me to do that day. God opened an incredible door for me when that man called, and I would have potentially slammed it shut if I just gave him some resources and sent him on his way. Often times, my days are extremely busy, but that day I learned that I have to make sure my day is never too busy for what God wants me to do. That task is the one that no matter what happens, I cannot miss.

Insecurity Inhibits Your Witness

Many times, I believed the best thing to do for people asking about Jesus was to give them a resource because I felt I was not prepared to share with them. I felt like my knowledge and experience was not enough. I felt like someone else was much more qualified to share Jesus with them. Better yet, the resources I would give them would explain things much better than I ever could.

That day God challenged me by reminding me that I am a follower of Jesus and have received His Holy Spirit. He reminded me that I know exactly what it means to follow Him because I am living it. I realized that my story has power because the power of Jesus has been breathed into it. Jesus reminded me that I am enough, not because I have incredible knowledge and experience, but because He who lives in me is greater than he who lives in the world. The God of the universe was on my side, helping me every step of the way. I am worthy in His eyes.

I began to understand that Jesus is calling me to share my story with those around me. Wow, the Savior of the world desires to use my story to bring others to Himself. How awesome is that! What is even more incredible is that our Savior desires that same thing for each and every person! He has given each of us a unique story for a reason and He cannot wait for us to open it up for the world to read. Why? Because people can see the love and grace of Jesus Christ throughout the pages of our life. The question is, are you willing to be God’s open book?

Becoming God’s Open Book

God has taught me that that my story is the most powerful testimony I have. My story has power, whether I think it does or not, because Jesus is the climax of my story. He gave me that story for a reason, and His desire is for me to share it with the world around me. Many Christians never do this because they do not feel like they are a good speaker or somehow will “mess it up”. This is why many Christians like myself, instead, give people a resource or a Bible to read.

The truth is that God does not call the equipped, but He equips the called. God wants us to give our weaknesses to Him so His strength and power can shine through. When we come to Him in complete faith and ask Him to guide us and lead us His spirit brings a peace that surpasses all understanding giving us the wisdom and confidence to say what God is laying upon our hearts.

Moses had a speech impediment and tried to run away from what God was calling him to do. He, like many of us, did not believe he was equipped to speak and lead others. But God desired for him to do so. When he fully surrendered to God, he began to see God use him in ways he never imagined. Ultimately, Moses became one of the greatest leaders in history and lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt with God’s hand upon him.

It is God Working in You

When we are weak, scared, and lack confidence, we can rest assured that our heavenly Father is watching over us waiting to lend a helping hand. I ran across a verse recently that really spoke to me about this. The verse is found in Acts 4:13 and it says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (ESV) What I find so inspiring in this verse is that Peter and John were uneducated, common men, yet the people were astonished because they knew they were with Jesus. In that moment what spoke to these people was not how educated, talented, or popular Peter and John were, but Who lived and breathed through Peter and John. This surpassed anything else. This is what the people took away from this encounter.

The next time Jesus opens a door in in my life to witness to someone, I am going to be confident in who He has called me to be and rest assured knowing that He will guide me through. God has assured me that I am enough. Not because there is any good or power in me. But because Jesus Christ is working in me both to will and to do according to the good pleasure of our Father in Heaven.

I now know that we do not have to be afraid when someone asks us to share Jesus with them. Instead, we can rejoice because God is about to use us in a powerful way for His kingdom. In fact, the person I am witnessing to will see and feel the Spirit of God within me and they will be astonished by the One who lives in me. No matter how educated or well-spoken I may come across, if I allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me, the only thing they will take away from that encounter is who Jesus is. This is more than enough. I may not feel equipped, but God will equip me and His Spirit will guide me through.

I am worthy in His eyes, and my story is enough.

 


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There’s No Snowblowing Your Issues Away

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Living in Tennessee, we usually do not expect to have a lot of snow in the winter. Sure, temperatures will get below freezing for a few days, but a big snowfall is, most times, out of the picture. This year, unexpectedly, a large winter storm covered multiple southern states. In just a few days, we now have snow everywhere. Walking outside, you cannot tell what was the street from the sidewalk or yard. Everything in sight seems to be turned to white. While this is a beautiful sight, it is pretty funny to see everyone going out to their cars to try and get the snow off before it piles up too high.

The reason this is so funny is because people have tried all kinds of tactics to get the snow off the windshields of their cars, but to many of their surprises, no matter how hard they tried to blow the show off or push it off, their windshields were still covered. See, what most people likely did not realize was that under all the snow was a thick sheet of ice. They could snow blow the snow off their cars all day long, but that ice underneath was not going to budge. This meant that their windshields would still be covered. It was only when people started attacking the ice first with the scrapper that visions of the windshields would start to come into focus. Because the ice was so thick, it would take quite some effort to scrap that ice off the windshield and it took some dedication.

Thinking back on this, the Lord taught me a valuable lesson. Many times, in our lives today, when we are struggling with something, we want a quick fix solution. We try and snow blow off our issues by taking some medication, reading some books, or just getting some extra sleep. Although these things are effective at helping the side effects of what we are struggling with, the root problem is still there. The ice will not budge.

The only way to break the ice and truly be set free from our sins and issues is to give them to Jesus and to ask Him to break the ice in our life.

This is not always a quick fix and may involve a good deal of scrapping. Jesus will dig down into root of our issue/sin which may be scary and take time to understand and handle. He will convict us of what we truly need to change in our lives and then lead us to the truth. This process of scrapping out the ice in our lives is not always fun or easy, but in the end, we are set free from our sins and our issues. Jesus restores our vision and guides us on the path to victory. We are able to move on from the ice holding us down and walk into the warm light of His grace and truth. Allow Jesus to scrap the ice out of your life today and be set free once and for all from the sins and issues you are struggling with.


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God’s Beauty All Around Us

“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”

Psalm 50:2

As I was driving into work, I noticed these beautiful white trees on my way. I stopped for a minute and marveled at God’s goodness and beauty. What struck me, however, is that I have been working at this place for almost 2 years and have never noticed these trees. Most days I am focused on getting to work, the many tasks I have to complete that day, and all the craziness happening in my life that I ignored all of God’s beauty and goodness around me.

I wonder how often in our lives that we miss God’s goodness, beauty, and blessings around us because our focus is inward. We are so worried about what we “need” to do that we miss what God has done and is doing for us. We are more concerned about what is happening politically, economically, or on social media than what is going on in our own hearts. We begin to blame God for all the evil in the world and for abandoning us when in reality we are the ones that have left God in exchange for our inwardly focused lives.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
 
Isaiah 41:10

God’s presence is all around us.

God earnestly wants to help us and guide us. His plan is to prosper us and give us hope and a future even in the midst of a pandemic, but we have to look to Him. We have to fully surrender our busy lives to Him, stop trying to handle everything on our own, and rest in His presence. Take a moment today to see God’s goodness and beauty around you and surrender control of the things that were never in your control in the first place. We need to pray, “LORD, here I am, use me,” and ask the Holy Spirit to give us strength to walk in the way that the LORD commands us to even when that way is away from the way we were walking.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20


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Take Out Your Thought Trash

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalms 139:23-24, ESV

I struggle with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis. I could be walking outside of my home enjoying the fresh air when suddenly, BAM! Intrusive thought flies into my brain. Instantly, my mind is shaken from the peaceful state it was in and thrown into a full blown panic. I question if this thought is really true about me and/or if this thought means something about who I am as a person. So, for a while I just tried to not think about the thoughts that flooded my brain and I just let the questions I had about them float around in my brain. I thought that the more I tried to just not think about these thoughts and avoid the questions, they would naturally just go away.

 

This, however, was not the case. The more I tried to not think about them, the more I ended up thinking about them. The more I tried to push the questions away, the more I kept pondering about them. Then, God laid this thought upon my heart. This thought was that I need to stop putting these intrusive thoughts that flood my brain into a garbage can in my brain and take the trash completely out.

 

Here’s what I mean by that. When you have some garbage in your house that stinks, you can’t expect to throw it in your kitchen trashcan and never expect to smell it again. This may temporarily take care of the problem of having your smelling trash out in the open, but over time even though that garbage is in a garbage can, the smell will return and be even worse than what it was originally. The only way to completely get rid of that trash is to bag it up, walk it outside, and toss it in the dumpster far away from your home.

 

The same rule applies to our thought life. When we get that intrusive thought that says we are unworthy, incapable of doing something, especially like sharing our faith, or even that intrusive thought that seems totally contrary to what we actually believe, if we just push it aside and never actually deal with, it will come back even stronger in the future. It is only until we take time to deal with it, bag it up, and totally remove it that we find freedom from it. So, how do we do that?

 

The devil will always throw thoughts in our mind that are contrary to who we are and that seek to pull us away from God’s plan for our lives. When these thoughts come in, we need to stop and examine the thought. If that thought does not align with what God’s Word says about us and who God says we are, we need to bag it up. We have to assure ourselves that that is not an indicator of who I am or what I do. I am defined by who God says am I, which is fearfully and wonderfully made, and God sees my heart. He knows who I am truly am despite what the devil tries to flood my brain with. It doesn’t matter what flows into my brain, it matters what and most importantly who is in my heart.

 

Lastly, we need to spray some air freshener in our minds to rid it of any lingering smells by spending some time in prayer that God restores our confidence in who He says we are and that He would help us move forward and continue to experience His joy. We should spend time in God’s Word each day soaking up the truths He says about us to remind us of who we are in Him and to bring our thoughts and focus back on His truth. Then, the last thing to do to truly rid our minds of any lingering smells from those thoughts is to talk to someone else about them. Share your struggles with a trusted Christian friend, pastor, therapist, or mentor. When we have others who can listen, pour truth into us, and pray for us, that gives us the extra power and motivation to completely move on from those thoughts and start living the life God desires for us to live again.

 

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

 

– Psalms 139:13-18, ESV


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Fighting Our Rescue Swimmer

“Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of foreigners,”

Psalms 144:7

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Guardian. The whole movie follows a class of recruits on their journey into the United States Coast Guard. They met their instructor early on in the movie and are in for quite a treat. The instructor of the class was a famous rescue swimmer himself. His main role as a rescue swimmer was to dive into rough waters and save those drowning in the ocean or stuck on a sinking ship. This is an incredibly dangerous job, even life threatening. He would have to walk through fires, move barriers, and dive deep into the ocean to save people. One thing he told the recruits early on was that if you want to be in the United States Coast Guard you have to be willing to save people who do not want to be saved. Whether that person wants to be saved or not, their job was to do everything in their power to save them.

In real life, when rescue swimmers attempt to save people stranded in the ocean, many of those needing rescued fight with the rescuers, push them under the water, or refuse to move. We may think to ourselves how could this ever happen? Why would these people not want to be saved? I think there are several reasons for this. People are scared, they feel like no one can save them, they feel like they are better off not being saved, or they are too prideful to allow someone else to help them.

The sad reality is that people do not respond like this in only their physical lives, but they also respond this way in their spiritual lives. By ourselves, we are sinful, broken, and hopeless. People have tried for centuries to fix their own lives only to discover that they more they try to fix their lives, the more broken they become. We need someone to rescue us. We need a Savior.

The great news is that we have the perfect Savior. The God of the universe sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come into this world and save us from our sins. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for us, and rose again three days later. He is alive today, reaching out His hand for us to grab onto. All we have to do is let go of ours sins, fears, and pride. We turn to Him and ask Him to save us. When we do this, His mighty hand restores our brokenness, and one day He promises to bring us to eternal safety and peace in Heaven, away from the rough and dangerous waters of this world.

The sad news, however, is many people will never grab hold of His outstretched hand. No matter how deep the waters become around them, they will refuse to be saved. They may refuse this because of fear, pride, or doubt. They believe they are not worthy to be saved or they still believe the lie that that can fix all their problems on their own. When the storm ends for these people, instead of arriving in a perfect, peaceful place, a new storm in their lives will begin.

The truth, however, is that if you are still living, the Savior’s hand is still outstretched for you. No matter how many times you have pushed Him away, ignored Him, and tried to handle things on your own, He is still swimming after you. All you have to do is let go and let the Savior of the world rescue you and save you from all your sins. As soon as you give your life to Him, a new life in you will begin. The Savior has arrived, now it is your turn to allow yourself to be saved.

Are you willing to let the Savior rescue you? Why don’t you ask Him to come into your life today, thank Him for forgiving your sins and ask Him to direct your life from this day forward. The following is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

The rescue starts now!


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TACOS Prayer Guide
 
Tomato of Thankfulness 
 
Avocado of Adoration
 
Cheese of Confession
 
Onions of Others
 
Salsa of Self
 
Lettuce of Listening
A Biblical Response to an Epidemic
 
      With the world being flooded with the latest COVID-19 epidemic, many people are in a state of panic. Most places have completely shut down, sports have stopped for months, people are mass buying almost anything they think they may need, and the economy is heading down. It’s easy to look around at the things going on in the world today and feel hopeless. What’s really fascinating is when people are in a state of panic and hopelessness they are seeking someone or something to cling to that will give them hope in the midst of the chaos around them. This can be one of the greatest opportunities to share Jesus with people and the hope that He gives us all. As Christians how do we respond to this epidemic that’s striking our world
 

1. Should People Quarantine?

 

     The answer is yes. Leprosy was the major epidemic infecting the people in the Old Testament and God gave them regulations if they contracted it which included to quarantine for 14 days. Check out this passage in Leviticus.

 

     “The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous[a] disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean. But if the spot is white in the skin of his body and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days. And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the disease is checked and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall shut him up for another seven days. And the priest shall examine him again on the seventh day, and if the diseased area has faded and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only an eruption. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean. But if the eruption spreads in the skin, after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again before the priest. And the priest shall look, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a leprous disease.” (Leviticus 13:1-8, ESV)

 

     Leprosy was spread very easily by contact with another person, so if you had any symptom at all of possibly having this disease you were told to isolate yourself from people for 14 days so no one else has a chance of getting infected. If you were considered clean after 14 days you were free to engage in society again. If you had leprosy after 14 days you were still made to quarantine again until there was no sign of the leprosy on you. This ensured the best they could that the rest of the people in your area would not get leprosy and this had the greatest chance of ending the disease. Some that got leprosy were not in critical condition but others that got it died from it. The reason they made people isolate themselves from society is not because everyone in society would be impacted by it or end up in a critical state, but they knew if some people in their society got it, they would likely not survive and their lives were just as valuable to the society as the ones that were not badly affected. Because of this everyone took the precautions to ensure the whole society could be as healthy as possible. This is exactly what leadership in our country is asking of us right now. It’s not unbiblical and in fact it’s very biblical and it’s to ensure the best we can a healthy environment for all that live here. This is because each member of the body of Christ is just as valuable as the rest and if we have to sacrifice a little something to ensure the best we can one member is healthy and thriving that is worth it and needed.

 

2. Understand that God is still in control

 

     In the Book of Exodus, the people in Egypt experienced horrible plagues. Moses would plead with Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but every time he decided to keep them enslaved and ignore God’s message from Moses. Because of Pharaoh’s hard heart the Egyptians faced plague after plague. When the Israelites finally broke free from Egypt, Pharaoh sent his army after them to capture them and force them to return to slavery in Egypt. As the Israelites were crossing the Red Sea that Moses parted with God working through him, the Egyptians were hot on their tail. As the Israelites were coming up on the other side of the sea, the waters crashed back down and drowned all the Egyptians. This was great news for the Isrealites as God had delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians. This was not the end of the story, however. God told the Israelites that He would bring them into the Promised Land. What He didn’t tell them was that they would have to go through the wilderness to get there.

 

     As the Israelites were going through the wilderness they started complaining about not having enough food and the type of food that God was providing for them. Because of their sins against God, He told them they would have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. Throughout those 40 years many of the people died and a new generation was born. By the time God led the Israelites into the Promised Land through Joshua, a lot of the ones that started the journey were no longer there and there were many new people that joined along the way. After 40 years God did lead the Isralites into the Promised Land and it was a land flowing of milk and honey. It was everything they could have ever hoped for. God fulfilled His promise and blessed his children. Right now many of us in the wilderness and we can’t see the Promised Land. I want to encourage you to stay faithful to God and trust in Him because the Promised Land is coming. Whether we see it on earth r not, all of God’s children will one day enter into His kingdom which is the ultimate Promised Land. Put your hope in Jesus during this time because everything you see around you is temporary including the virus, but our relationship with Jesus is eternal and one day we will be in a Promised Land where there is no pain or suffering and we’ll have eternal joy.

 

3. Value Others Above Yourself

 
 

     All of this roots back to where your heart is. If your heart is all about yourself, you’ll go and hoard all the possible supplies you may need and only worry about your health and wellbeing. Life is not about us. As my fiance’ reminded me earlier this week, although the virus may not be effecting us, the way we act will affect other people. This means taking the appropriate measures to ensure the best we can we keep those the most at risk safe from the virus. This also means that we make sure that everyone can get the supplies they need. You don’t need 50 rolls of toilet paper for the next two weeks, but 5 families may and if you take all 50 then 4 families may go without any. Although this is bad with toilet paper, it’s a whole lot more serious with canned food, drinks, and produce. Think about others before yourself.

 

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3, ESV)

 
     
If you have a chance this week to help someone that is elderly or at a high risk or even someone that’s sick, let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. If someone is afraid or can’t go out and get groceries, take some time to go in there and get them what they need and then take it to them. Take time to call those that need a little encouragement. Ask people what you can do to help. In everything we do pray for our country, those countries around the world also dealing with this, and for those that are sick, scared, or hopeless right now. Spread Jesus to all those you talk to by your actions and words and show them the hope that is in you. God bless!