- (Psalm 33:13–22 ESV) The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. 16 The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19 that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
To the Saints at Faith Fellowship Church of Tennessee, Illinois,
- (John 14:27 ESV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
At “such a time like this” we need to be the people of God. I think that you would agree that we are living in unprecedented times. Our world is “running scared” with the news of the coronavirus, aka Covid-19.
The world is afraid and irrational … but the people of God need to be the people of God, and we need to hear and believe and live these words of Jesus and not be troubled of heart and not be afraid. In fact we are exhorted in Scripture multiple times to be strong and courageous, which if you think about it is then the opposite of being weak and fearful.
- (Joshua 1:9 ESV) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
The people in our world—our families, neighbors, friends, co-workers, everyone—need to see strength and courage alive and well in our lives. They need to hear God and find in his people a strong, compelling witness to his wisdom and power and love … at such a time like this. This is strong witness to saving power of salvation through Jesus Christ.
I hope to see you at our Sunday services. At my last check earlier this afternoon, there were 32 cases of CV in Illinois and almost all were in the Chicago area. We are a small church in a small town in a relatively isolated, rural community, so the plan is now to hold all services this Sunday—March 15, 2020.
I think we all understand that being strong and courageous does not mean that we do not take precautions. So, if you are uncomfortable shaking hands, smile instead. And all of us can make good use of our wonderful bathrooms and the available hot water and soap. We also have hand sanitizer available if you did not bring your own. If you are not feeling well, then stay home and let our Lord give you rest and healing for your body and spirit.
One word of warning: Seating may be limited to the first 250 people who show up, so if you want to find a seat for Sunday school and morning worship, then you may want to come early.
I virtually never change my preaching schedule because of current events. This week will be an exception. We will step aside from our 1 Peter study and look at the many Scriptures exhorting us to not be afraid and to be strong and courageous. I am also teaching Sunday school this week and we will be looking at our “courage” verses in Sunday school.
My plan is to have study sheets for both services.
Thanks for listening.
In the Love of Jesus Son of God,
- (John 16:33 ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- (Psalm 27:1–5 ESV) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
- (Psalm 31:24 ESV) Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
- (Psalm 56:3–4 ESV) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
- (Psalm 56:10–11 ESV) In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
- (Proverbs 3:21–26 ESV) My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
- (Isaiah 44:6–8 ESV) Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. 7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. 8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”