I was taking a walk a couple nights ago around 10:30p.m., and I looked down 116th street for as far as I could see and the only car I saw was in a gas station. I then turned around and looked towards Carmel, and I saw the headlights of one single car way off in the distance. It was weird and eerie. I told Julia I feel like we are living an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
All that said, I am encouraged that our government leaders are doing everything they can to protect the people and get us through this crisis. Now, the church needs to do what we can do—and that is fix our eyes on Jesus, pray, stay in His Word, and encourage one another.
I have read three significant prophetic words that give me additional hope in the midst of this crisis. At the beginning of the year, Prophetic minister, Chuck Pierce, indicated that “there would be a massive plague-like invasion that would test us through Passover.” In interpreting the word, Chuck stated, “I would say: ‘God has put a PAUSE until He sees who is willing to cross over with Him through His Blood at Passover.’ This Passover will become a dividing line for our future!” Chuck did indicate he believes our nation will be facing a financial crisis throughout the year.
Prophetic voice, Shawn Boltz, stated back in February:
“The Lord showed me The end of the Coronavirus...the tide is turning now!
He is answering the prayers and cries of the nations and is putting an end in sight. The exaggerated fear based tactics of both the enemy and several media outlets for political reasons is coming to an end. The enemy has been trying to distract and steal from several equally important purposes and issues by dominating airwaves with conspiracy and fear.
Even now several vaccines are coming out as well as a natural dying out of the virus itself. The Lord is saying “I am removing the threat of this.”
Within a short amount of time the extreme threat will feel like it is in the way past.”
These words give me hope that an end is in sight.
As we watch the numbers COVID 19 cases and deaths in the United States rise, it is easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed. But, we serve the God who holds the world in His hand. That which seems impossible, is the very thing God can do.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The church needs to pray that God will cause good to come out of our present crisis, that hearts will be turned to Him, that people would be awakened to the reality of the brevity of life and the need for all of us to be prepared to meet God. The church needs to pray for safety, healing, restoration, protection, and the revelation of God’s love and power to be poured out on the nations.
As I considered our present crisis, I was reminded of an inspirational story from 2 Kings 7. The story takes place during a time of great famine that was impacting the people of Samaria in a major way. Listen:
2 Kings 7:
1 Then Elisha said, "Listen to the word of the LORD; thus says the LORD, 'Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.' " 2 The royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning answered the man of God and said, "Behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" Then he said, "Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat of it."
3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why do we sit here until we die? 4 "If we say, 'We will enter the city,' then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die." 5 They arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans; when they came to the outskirts of the camp of the Arameans, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, "Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us." 7 Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life. 8 When these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they entered one tent and ate and drank, and carried from there silver and gold and clothes, and went and hid them; and they returned and entered another tent and carried from there also, and went and hid them.
9 Then they said to one another, "We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king's household." 10 So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and they told them, saying, "We came to the camp of the Arameans, and behold, there was no one there, nor the voice of man, only * the horses tied and the donkeys tied, and the tents just as they were." 11 The gatekeepers called and told it within the king's household. 12 Then the king arose in the night and said to his servants, "I will now tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know that we are hungry; therefore they have gone from the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, 'When they come out of the city, we will capture them alive and get into the city.' " 13 One of his servants said, "Please, let some men take five of the horses which remain, which are left in the city. Behold, they will be in any case like all the multitude of Israel who are left in it; behold, they will be in any case like all the multitude of Israel who have already perished, so let us send and see." 14 They took therefore two chariots with horses, and the king sent after the army of the Arameans, saying, "Go and see."
15 They went after them to the Jordan, and behold, all the way was full of clothes and equipment which the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. Then the messengers returned and told the king.
16 So the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. Then a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. 17 Now the king appointed the royal officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate; but the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 18 It happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, "Two measures of barley for a shekel and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, will be sold tomorrow about this time at the gate of Samaria." 19 Then the royal officer answered the man of God and said, "Now behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?" And he said, "Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat of it." 20 And so it happened to him, for the people trampled on him at the gate and he died.
Notice that what looked like an impossibility became a reality because of the power of God. Elisha spoke a word of hope, a word that seemed like an impossibility, yet God fulfilled his word. I am reminded of a couple of Scriptures that are especially worthy of our meditation and belief:
Mark 9:23: 23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."
Mark 10:27: 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Philippians 4:13: 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Indeed, all things are possible through Christ. So, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, and cling to Him in faith, reminding ourselves that God is able, and God is love. The Covid 19 disease must yield to the command of Christ. I have great hope that indeed we will see a Passover and Easter miracle this year as healing begins to come to our land. Remember God’s promise: “I will never leave thee, nor* forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5)
And, 2 Chronicles 7:13-14: 13 "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and 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, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Blessings, peace, and protection for you all.
In Jesus’ Name,
"Do Not Worry: Trust In God!"
The title of today’s message, “Do Not Worry: Trust In God” may seem simplistic when it feels like the sky is falling. But, when we draw near to God, we begin to look at things through His perspective, and suddenly what looked very dark begins to shine with light, and we are reminded that God made the sky, and God sustains it. I have been studying the birds in our neighborhood, listening to their different tones and songs. In the last month, besides the Robins, I have seen owls, cardinals, Canadian geese (and the business they leave behind), and woodpeckers, just to name a few. When you get out and take a walk in your neighborhood, look at some of the beauty that God has created, and let the birds in your neighborhood remind you of the words of today’s text:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Those are the words of Jesus. Consider that prior to Jesus coming to earth, we can see the tender compassion and mercy of God expressed towards His people even under the Law.
The prophet Nehemiah wrote about the wilderness wonderings of the Israelites. Nehemiah 9:19-21:
19“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.
God has always watched over His people—He cared for them in the Old Testament times, in the New Testament times, and now He cares for us in the last times.
Norman Vincent Peale, in his book Positive Imaging, wrote the following about worry:
“The final and best antidote for worry is simply this: Image Jesus Christ as actually your personal friend. Don’t regard Him as some remote, historical, stained-glass kind of figure. Image Him as your constant companion throughout the day. Paint a portrait in your mind of what you think He looks like. Fill in the details: His compassionate eyes, those strong carpenter’s hands. How did His voice sound when He talked to people, when He told the story of the Prodigal Son, for example? He must have had a wonderful laugh; can you picture yourself sitting on a hillside in Galilee, hearing it? If you can picture that, why not picture Him sitting alongside of you right now?
The more vivid that image in your mind, the freer from worry you will be. Some years ago a professor of physics from a famous university came to see me. He was a very intelligent man, but haunted by irrational fears and worries that were interfering with his work and making his life miserable. After some discussion, it became evident that the trouble lay in certain immoralities he had committed years earlier. He had asked for forgiveness of those sins, and I was sure it had been granted. But, like many of us, he had not forgiven himself, and his worries and his sense of inferiority and inadequacy came from these deep guilt feelings.
I decided to suggest something that I had used successfully with people of less formidable education. I didn’t know how he would react, but my suggestion was that every night, upon going to bed, he place a chair beside his bed and tell himself that Jesus was sitting in that chair all night, watching over him and lifting the burden of worry from his shoulders.
As I expected, he looked uncomfortable. ‘But that sort of fantasy is for children,’ he protested.
‘The Bible tells us to become like little children, ‘ I reminded him. ‘Maybe that is because they are less likely to be doubters. All you need is a grain of faith—one about the size of a mustard seed will do.’
Finally he agreed to try it. At the end of two weeks he called me. ‘I was about ready to give up on that idea of yours,’ he said. ‘But two nights ago—well, I can’t exactly explain it, but suddenly I knew in some way much deeper than reason that the Lord actually was there beside me. I’m sure of it. And I believe the grip that guilt and fear and worry and all that depressing stuff had on me is broke. For the first time in years, I actually feel set free.’
And subsequently he found that he was, for a fact, free! That was why Christ came into the world, so we are told—to free captives like my physicist friend. And anyone, including you, can be free of worry if you will fill your mind with the factual idea that God is with you and is giving you a normal, steady, intelligent attitude toward the problems of life. When you image yourself as living close to God, you will have the ability to get your mind above the confusion and heat of worry into a place of clarity and calm. Many have found this practice the best way to outwit worry.
Imagining outwits worry. Try it. You’ll see” (PP. 151-152).
What do you see or imagine when you consider that Jesus is with you right now and every moment of every day? Right now, you can receive a fresh download, for free, of the “anti-coronavirus” software known as the Holy Spirit. As You draw near to God in prayer, worship, and the study of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will cause the truth and reality of Christ with you and in you to saturate your heart and your mind, and fill you with His beautiful perfect peace. Just receive it.
And, for a bonus spiritual boost of peace to combat worry, I recommend two songs for worship today (or pick some of your own). Links are below:
“I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary:
“Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus”
Blessings and peace to you, through Christ Jesus,
Pastor Jeff Conrad
The following is the message I shared with Destiny Church on March 15, 2020, via written message, due to the Coronavirus crisis making circumstances such that I could not meet with them personally. Our members who live at the Reserve at Hamilton Trace were able to gather:
Good morning Destiny Church. I wish I could be with you today for this service, but I am excited to know that you are meeting, and I am thankful for each one of you being present to encourage, serve, and minister to one another.
Mamma Mia! People in our world are in need of a sound mind in the present crisis we are in. Instead, people are acting like they are losing their minds—fighting over toilet paper and other supplies!
I had to laugh as I began to prepare this message, because when I went onto my Bible program to look up Psalm 91, I accidentally typed Psalm 911. And, I thought to myself, “How appropriate!” There is indeed a sense in which we need to turn to the Lord and His Word as our emergency 911 rescue worker in a time of crisis. For certainly, our nation and world is in a crisis (illustrated by the fact that I cannot be with you this morning) and it is not just a health crisis, but it is also a crisis of fear. The remedy for this crisis is laid out in a beautiful way in our text this morning. I have entitled today’s message: “Under God’s Protective Shelter.” Listen to our text (read meditatively a phrase at a time):
Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" 3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. 5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; 6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. 7 A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. 8 You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. 9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. 10 No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. 11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. 12 They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. 14 "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. 15 "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 "With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation."
Our text is a beautiful declaration of the faithfulness of our God to watch over and take care of those who love Him. This text is not a promise that we will never have a problem in life, but rather a promise of a life blessed with the Presence of God to shelter us as we go through this life. I can experience peace in a shelter during a storm, but I may still have to face the storm.
Norman Vincent Peale in his book, A Guide To Confident Living writes of a friend named Jerry Henderson.
“Henderson was in the Canadian Rockies at Lake Louise to climb and to ski with a party of friends. Shortly before, one of the most famous ski masters had been killed in a heavy avalanche and the suggestion of danger was potent.
Henderson’s party went with their guide to climb White Eagle peak. They climbed all morning, and by noontime had surmounted five thousand of the nine thousand feet they had set out to climb. At this point the guide told them that they had to cross a transverse valley lying before them. The sides shot down at an angel of forty-five to fifty degrees.
‘Do not call of whistle or raise your voices for it might start an avalanche,’ the guide warned. Since hearing of the death of the ski master all had been impressed by the danger of avalanches.
The guide took from his pack a big ball of red yarn. He cut off fifty-foot lengths and gave to each one.
‘Tie this around your waist, ‘ he said. ‘If an avalanche starts, shake off your skis, throw away your poles and start swimming just as if you were in the water. This will tend to bring you to the top. If the avalanche buries you, the end of this red yarn will protrude and we can find you.’
In the party was a girl in her twenties. She looked down at this steep declivity and thought of the possibility of an avalanche, and she became very frightened. She began to whimper and cry, and said to Jerry Henderson, ‘I can’t do it. I’m terrified. I simply can’t do it. ‘
He did not feel any too blithe about it himself, but Henderson believes in and practices the ten great words (“If God be for us, who can be against us?”). He takes the position that one need not fear if God is with him; that one can reasonably count on God to see him through whatever comes.
He turned to the trembling, hysterical girl and said quietly, ‘The Lord has watched over you throughout your life, hasn’t he? You believe that, do you not?’
‘Yes,’ she sobbed.
‘Well, then, can’t you trust Him to take care of you for the next twenty minutes?’ he asked.
A remarkable change came over the girl. She made the descent beautifully, taking her place in the long graceful line as each skier followed the other about forty yards apart. She made the descent with exultation. She had achieved a marvelous sense of victory over herself” (PP. 60-63).
The apostle Paul wrote to 2 Timothy 1:7: 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)
Friends, we are not alone! We have an invitation to dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, to find our refuge under His protective wings, to abide in His Presence. And, the Lord has promised to be with us always, to never leave us or forsake us. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He will bring us into His beautiful rest as we trust in Him.
So, I encourage you, look up, fix your eyes on Jesus, and remember that our Redeemer, our Savior, our Fortress and Protector, is mighty, powerful, and strong. We have nothing to fear!!!!!!!
I close with this blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: 24 The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.'
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.