I would like to share some things that are so heavy on my heart when I hear people say they are afraid or fearful. I pray these reminders encourage you. We miss you and you are needed!
Remember the Good Shepherd. When we are following our Shepherd, how can we be afraid? Would He ever lead us astray?
I am more dismayed by the lies, the information that we heard about the coronavirus that never came to pass, and how the government can seemingly control our lives. We have to say enough is enough, we will gather as a church. I am so glad we have been gathering. I realize many may still be watching online, but it’s not the same! You are needed and you are missed! Just as we would not be happy to see our husband and children solely online, how much more we need to be together as the body of Christ!
I am certainly not downplaying the virus but the Scripture the Lord put on my heart so strongly is Joshua and Caleb, when they were sent out and came back with quite a different report than the other spies (Numbers 13). The others came back with dreadful news: the giants and enemies will surely do us in! But Joshua and Caleb, who the Bible says were of a different spirit, came back with the biggest bunch of grapes and the fruit of the land. They said of the enemies, “They will be bread and butter for us!”
So I just want to encourage you: how we need to follow our Shepherd, not be fearful, and encourage those around us that they are greatly needed at church. I am burdened for this, but I know God is using this time to stir us all up and draw us closer to Him. May He continue to speak comfort to us and tell us “be strong and of good courage, be not afraid neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Remember what happens when we gather as a church body. Church is essential. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
The church means “the gathered ones” or “the assembly.” God has called us to gather, and when we gather two things happen (actually what He accomplishes in and through His people cannot be numbered!): 1) You are fed, ministered to, encouraged, taught, built up, poured into, strengthened, get a hug, and so much more. Many seen and unseen things take place as we gather and the Spirit moves among us. 2) You are able to use your gifts, help others, serve, give encouragement, minister to people, teach others, set an example, and give a hug! You are so very needed. It only takes one spark or candle to light a dark place. I love the story about the pastor who said their electricity was out and everybody needed to come and bring their own candle. Of course everybody thought that everybody else would bring one, so very few brought their lit candles and they had very little light. They got the point! The next day they all came with their lit candles, and what a bright blaze it was!
I have heard from so many that they have become comfortable at home and watching online, but that they get distracted and are so very lonely. They can’t wait to return in person. I realize some still may not be able to return for health reasons, but I really think this thing is passed us for the most part. Have we had bad or misinformation? Absolutely. The numbers just don’t add up. Doctors and nurses are telling us that for people who have died of heart disease or diabetes, they are forced to write “Covid” on the death certificates! People who have missed their Covid test appointment still get an email saying that they have Covid. Many people have had Covid, have recovered, and now have the antibodies. I could go on about the corruption and some of the very informative messages that end up being pulled from the Internet. We have to be wise and not let fear rule our lives as we follow our Good Shepherd.
Remember that we are called to shine the light of Jesus. We are children of the light and not of the night. How we need to shine our light in this dark world! People are looking to us for direction and as an example. Knowing that we have the answer (Christ Himself!), may we continue to point to Him and His Word!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). What do you see: the grapes or the giants? Do we have the eyes of fear or the eyes of faith? Joshua and Caleb saw that God was with them while the other twelve were filled with fear and doubt. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1). “…and as they were gathered, the place was shaken” (Acts 4:31).
So let us see what the Lord will do. I look forward to seeing you and seeing how the Lord will use you! Please pray for the Lord to raise up servants for the children’s ministry, Pioneer Girls, and other ministries, and consider if you might be an answer to those prayers!
We would see Jesus,