After receiving an email from a disciple with some questions, I responded with an important truth I’m believing many of us need to hear and or be reminded of during this difficult season. While it is a likely reason the world is experiencing the coronavirus as a result of sin, please also understand that sometimes God allows unfortunate events to affect the righteous, the obedient, those not engaging in sin. Recall the character Job, a righteous man of God, who experienced much tragedy due to Satan challenging God stating Job only loved God for what He could do for Job versus Job simply loving God for who He is. But God, being the ultimate discerner of hearts, knew Job better so God allowed Satan to torment Job. We know in the end, Job unknowingly proved Satan wrong and God right. Consequently, God richly rewarded Job for his overcoming, committed love Job had for God.
Should you or a loved one succumb to COVID-19 and or be seriously financially impacted by this pandemic, if you have asked our Abba Father God to examine your heart and His Spirit reveals no sin, then ponder the possibility He may be providing you the choice to love God simply for who He is and not for what He can do for you. Perhaps He is believing in you even more than you believe in Him…Perhaps He is believing you, like Job, will prove Satan wrong.
No matter where we are at in our spiritual growth, in the coming days, perhaps our faith, our hope, our love will bloom where we can pray to God like we have no bills and we have no ills – simply because we love Him for who He is and not for what He can do for us. Maybe we can develop a depth and maturity in our faith that shifts our relationship to be centered on solely Him and stop fashioning a god centered and purposed to serve us. Perhaps that is the sin that ails us the most or perhaps not, perhaps we unknowingly or intentionally will prove Satan wrong like Job did in his response to tragedy. Regardless, through it all, may we be reminded to love God for who He is and not for what He can do for us. When THAT manifests in our hearts, the atmosphere will change. Authentic love, worship, for God is the contagious cure we desperately need. Selah and Shalom.
I have seen churches and Messianic Jewish places of worship remaining open holding services larger than 10 despite both federal and local orders not to do so during this coronavirus pandemic.
I cannot say this enough: The Holy Spirit will never tell you to do something contradictory to what God’s Spirit already said conveniently documented in the Bible for our benefit. God gets the final word – it’s called “His word” for a reason.
Romans 13:1-7 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities….whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves…”
Enough with rebellious pride under the guise of being “Spirit-led”, church! All you are doing is proving you are not led by the Holy Spirit, but you are being led by an unholy spirit.
“Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20
For many of us Christians we have been taught that the law of God is some icky, evil virus we should avoid. Well-meaning preachers, teachers, and others have sifted a verse or so to foster a stigma against obeying God. Consequently, we have nurtured generations of “believers” who believe grace is a license to live lawlessly while having the perspective God’s laws are nothing but a burdensome checklist of do’s and don’ts. Just like our current medical experts are discerning all of the data (of COVID-19) before implementing federal and state policies, we too need to discern all the Biblical data before implementing doctrines. Failure to do so invites preventable disaster, death, and eternal doom!
The Apostle Peter even warned his readers that many would twist the Apostle Paul’s difficult and confusing letters explaining “the law of sin and death” compared to the “law of God” and rather twist it to lead people to believe lawlessness is what Paul promoted (2 Peter 3:14-18). For example, some of the common passages people use to justify rebellion to God’s commands is found in select verses or chapters in the Book of Acts, Romans, and Galatians. If we only referenced the negative connotations while failing to realize Paul often goes back and forth revealing the pros of “the law of God” compared to the “law of sin and death”, which is the consequence of operating in the flesh breaking God’s law (Romans 7:21-8:8), we can easily confuse his message. When we compare all of Paul’s writings we get a clear message he, like Jesus, was against sin, which the Apostle John defined as being without God’s laws or breaking God’s laws (1 John 3:4).
Likewise, both Paul and Jesus were ardently against misusing or twisting God’s law for man’s own purposes or even worse, teaching people to obey their laws or their doctrines verses God’s law (see Mark 7 as an example). Rather, Paul takes significant amount of time throughout his writings imploring people to take advantage of the Holy Spirit in the sense of now being able with His Spirit of Holiness’ help to obey God’s eternal, holy laws producing eternal, holy fruit (Romans 8; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 11:19-21; 36:27; Matthew 7). He also chides those who are obeying God’s laws with impure motives such as:
1) Striving to obey God’s laws in order to be saved thinking they can save themselves dismissing the point of the cross (Acts 15:1; Romans 4:14; Galatians 3:6, 5:4)
2) Elevating (pagan or their own) traditions, customs, and doctrines above God’s law is wrong (Gal.4:8-20; Colossians 2; Mark 7);
3) Obeying God’s law as motive to simply fit in or to be accepted in certain circles is also wrong (Gal.2:11-14; 6:11-15) verses obeying them out of a grateful circumcised heart being apart of God’s family, while elaborating the once pagan, lawless Gentiles, but now believers in Jesus/Yeshua, are no longer considered unclean or being without God’s law/lawless for in God’s eyes both believing Jew and Gentile are one in the same upon believing in Jesus as God’s natural and adopted children and both are expected to learn and adopt the household’s instructions of Abba Father found in His Torah/law little by little as the Holy Spirit leads and having different classes of people needs to cease (Acts 10; Acts 15; Romans 2:28-29; 10:12-13; Romans 11; Galatians 3:28-29; Ephesians 2:11-19; 4:17-24; Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14). Note: Did you know the Torah is known as the “tree of life”?
In fact, the Holy Spirit does a good job detailing God’s laws of love in the first half of Scriptures (Torah) while extracting the intent and sum of God’s laws in the New Testament.
Explaining the heart and nature of God’s laws is precisely what Jesus came to do (Matthew 5:14-19; 22:34-40) and will do again one fine day upon His rule and reign here on earth (Isaiah 2:3-4; Isaiah 51, 65-66; Micah 4; Zechariah 14) and He even raises the standard of God’s law revealing it is all about exposing the motives of one’s heart and encouraging true authentic love for God and one another (Matthew 7:21-32; 22:34-40; John 14-15).
Moreover, when we demonstrate love we are fulfilling God’s law of love. Likewise, when we fulfill the law, we are being love!
Moreover, when we demonstrate love we are fulfilling God’s law of love. Likewise, when we fulfill the law, we are being love! This is why Jesus didn’t come to do away with His Father’s laws of love, for if He did so He could not be the sinless Messiah, but rather He came to pay the debt for breaking God’s laws, to teach us God’s motive in establishing them, and how they are in fact what God deems as loving Him and loving others. God’s laws are cultivating a culture of true love. Jesus both taught and obeyed God’s laws – He fulfilled them as we also are called to do. Because He first loved us, by demonstrating obedience to God’s laws of love, we will be inspired to love God and others in return out of a grateful, circumcised heart (1 John 4:19; 5:3).
So instead of viewing God’s laws of love as a fatal, hated virus we strive to avoid like the coronavirus, while attacking those who cheerfully obey God out of a grateful grace-filled heart, participating in precisely what Jesus warned would happen in the end-times detailed in Matthew 24:7-14, may we instead obey God’s laws letting our love for Him and others be contagious!
Lawless = Loveless/cold whereas Lawful=Love/warmth (see Matthew 24:12)
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
This week I became ill with the symptoms of COVID-19. First, extra tired, then a dry cough, tickle/tightness in my chest, in addition to my usual nasal congestion from allergies, and by Wednesday, a fever of 99.5 manifested. My normal temp is around 97.7 approximately. Late Wednesday afternoon, I was on the phone with my doctor who assured me a fever won’t manifest with allergies (an ongoing dilemma of mine) so she referenced me to a local hospital here in my city (League City) to be tested. The hospital clinic pre-screened me over the phone to even get an appointment. Meanwhile, I cancelled my upcoming cleaning appointments for the next several days to be sure not to potentially expose any of my clients.
The next morning, I had to go to a somewhat secret entrance in a remote area in the hospital complex but separate from the actual hospital building. It wasn’t until going in to that office did I become scared seeing several people coming in all reporting the same or similar symptoms. I thought, “My God, either this town has a bad cold going around or COVID-19 is in full force here.” The nurses and doctors were professional and efficient with getting each patient in and out while disinfecting the lobby area often. We all had to wear masks, but I still worried about the healthcare workers. Most had on what we hear now in the news often “PPE’s”, personal protective equipment, commonly seen when someone is going into an Intensive Care Unit such as yellow gowns, simple masks, surgical hair cap, footies, and gloves, but still I worried for them. I also worried for the 20 somethings receptionist gals who wore no protection but were behind a plexiglass partition of some sort. I recall the young ladies taking people’s information and looking grieved, but trying not to show it, as if in their minds they were labeling us patients as the walking dead. I only had to wait maybe 15 minutes before being seen. First, the nurse took and recorded my vitals, then tested me for the flu through a swab up my nose in both nostrils. After getting tested for both strands of flu, my results came back 10 minutes later as negative. Then, I was ushered down to another room to be seen by a doctor. After filling out a clinical form regarding my symptoms, age, and any underlying medical conditions, I put the pen down and took the opportunity to thoroughly wash my hands after noticing a sink in the room. Never can be too careful these days! Next, a doctor came in and inquired about my symptoms and recorded them. She then listened to my heart and lungs, all of which she said sounded good. She informed me whatever I have is not a sinus infection or bronchitis, but it is something viral. She said they have seen numerous patients within recent days and something is certainly going around, but as to if it COVID-19 or not is to be determined. Next, she took a long q-tip looking swab and stuck it so far up my nostril it made me tear up. The doctor apologized but explained that is what it is supposed to do. While I would not want to do that everyday, it was only uncomfortable for about 10 seconds and certainly not as bad as a strep-throat test, in my opinion.
While waiting for my results though, trying to be positive about the situation, I pondered the potential blessings in contracting the disease early on. The best benefit I could think of was if it is true you become immune to it after having survived it (at least for a year or so they are saying), then I could potentially help others suffering without fearing for my own health. Still, no one can predict how this particular virus will respond in each individual person so I was hopeful, I would not have to find out. After quarantining myself for two days awaiting my results and taking it easy at home here on my boat, my results amazingly came in relatively fast just a bit over 48 hours rather than the 72 hours they said it would probably take. Today, while resting on Sabbath, I got an email stating my results came in and I just needed to log into my health portal online. After doing so, I am delighted to report the results are “Not Detected”, meaning they could not detect COVID-19 in me. YAY! Praise God!
Sadly, since being tested, more positive cases in my county have been made known. May we continue to intercede in prayer for one another and thank you to those that knew about my situation and prayed for me.
I share my experience with you so you will know how the testing process works in the event you become ill and to also let you know that other illnesses present similarly to COVID-19 symptoms so take it serious, but stay calm. It may just be an untimely cold. Blessings and Shalom!