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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Death Is Coming, but There Is Hope

People are dying.
I've seen reminders of that by just opening up and looking at social media today.
Not only are people dying of COVID-19, they die of lots of other causes that are unrelated.
Those are in addition to the thousands of children in the womb who die every day due to mothers and fathers and grandparents not wanting to care for them.  Their lives are snuffed intentionally with no effort to save them.
It's good to try to rescue older people.  They are valuable and loved.  If they are unsaved, there is still hope while they live that they may yet be saved by the Lord.
Death will come to each one of us, and none of us wants to suffer misery or loss.
There is no eternal hope for those who have not turned to the Lord and been forgiven of their sins.
For those who belong to the Lord, there is the expectant hope that we can have.
Though our faith may not always be strong, yet we can look to the Lord and remind ourselves of His love for His children.  He died for our sins, and our eternity is sure despite our wavering feelings.
Are you one of His children?
The Gospel is given in various languages on the following site/link:
The Gospel in Various Languages

It Is Well With My Soul (Twitter Version)

Here is another hymn that people on Twitter sang during this time of restrictions due to COVID-19.
It is wonderful to see the positive side of social media, and this song is a great reminder in this troubled time.

 

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:53-56 ESV

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Twitter Hymn Sing During Quarantine

Some people on Twitter decided to do some hymn singing during this time of quarantine.
Different people contributed different lines of the hymn "How Great Thou Art" recently.
There were some people who didn't realize that certain lines had been done already, so this thread is slightly different from a version put on YouTube by someone else.

Click HERE for the First Segment of the Twitter Hymn Sing Thread.
Click "Show this thread" under the first video.

To see the end of the song, please click on the two last parts below.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Gospel Message for These Times, Comforting Music, & Calming Waves

We are not strong.  We are weak.  
Here is a Gospel video to share as people face the threat of COVID-19.


Here is an encouraging song for this season.


Sometimes you need to relax and take a break from the news and social media.
Looking at videos of God's creation (even if looped) can be very enjoyable!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 - Trusting God in Times of Trouble

Aisles are emptied of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Fears are high.
People are reacting to the news of the pandemic of COVID-19, and the U.S. President has declared a state of emergency.

Churches are having to make decisions (or have been given mandates by governing authorities) not to meet when they have more than a certain amount of people involved.  It isn't as though they are only targeting churches, because the same is true for any gathering.  This isn't a matter of taking the freedom of worship away, and even larger churches can have smaller Bible studies in homes (besides live-streams).
Lots of events have been cancelled.  Some schools are closing, and some are going to online classes.

We have been told that it is older people who are at highest risk as well, as those who have other health issues (heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders, etc.).
Meanwhile, this week I have had a virus...coughing and low-grade fever.
Sure, it makes me nervous.
It's likely some other virus that's been spreading locally (as I have not been out of the country and had little contact with people).  I'm not going out anywhere anyway.
Someone else in the house seems to be getting it as well.
I'll admit I don't like being sick or the extra difficulties it brings.
You can be a germ freak (like me) and still get sick.

It's good to follow precautions, but whether we get sick or when we get sick is ultimately in the hands of God despite our best efforts.
God is good, and He always does what is right.  We can trust Him for that....no matter what.
These things might seem like platitudes, but it is true and can be wrongfully discarded for having heard these things so often.
I must keep reminding myself of what is true about God and what he has done.
I do tend to be fearful even though I don't want to be that way.
Reading Scripture and remembering verses is always a good idea.
I read in Psalm 77 today, and that Psalm is a prime example of how I should be.
That psalmist cried to God though he was discouraged, but he brought things to mind about God and what He had done.
This is very helpful.
Praying is also something I need to continue to do when I am afraid.
When I pray, I can also remember others.
It is so easy to be self-focused.

Those who are able-bodied can also take things to people's doors (if they know they are in need).
I read of a church offering to order groceries for older people to be delivered to their doors.
One thing I can do is try to be an encouragement...even from a distance (though my hands and wrist are aggravated from overuse).
My mind is not always sharp, so I am thankful I can look things up that I've shared with people in the past!

Here are some verses that I hope will encourage you today:

The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him.
Nahum 1:7

Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” 
In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 
Part of Job 2:10 

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?
Luke 12:25

Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.
Psalm 54:4

Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
And do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. 
Psalm 42:5

Why are you in despair, O my soul?  
And why have you become disturbed within me?  
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, 
The help of my countenance and my God. 
Psalm 42:11

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18 
(All verses NASB)

I've seen some videos of Italians singing during their quarantine.  
Wouldn't it be neat if Christians were singing?
It would be really great to be reminding others of our hope in the Lord and that we can still worship Him and trust Him.

Do you know God?  Do you know what will happen when you die?
Please watch this video:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Shepherds' Conference 2020 Wrap-Up & Coronavirus Map

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Map
I've been reading some about COVID-19 recently (symptoms, who is most likely to die from it, looking at maps of those infected, etc.).
People can have a (dry) cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
It is a different strain than other coronaviruses, so it is relatively new to the medical world.
Here was an earlier article on the demographics of it:
Who is getting sick? ....

There have been no cases (so far) of COVID-19 reported too close to where I live (though there are 4 elsewhere in the state).
UPDATE: There is 1 confirmed case in the broader region of where I live...
7 total cases in the state now.  That will probably increase, but I won't be updating every time!
Some people have gone overboard about it when they may be less at risk, and some people are too dismissive in my opinon.
Our household is one of those who does have people at higher risk for complications with illness, so I can't be too dismissive.
A few years ago I think it was, we weren't sure one of my parents was going to make it with flu complications affecting the person in very serious ways.

As Christians, we know God is sovereign, so even our best efforts are not the ultimate determining factor in what happens to us.

The following map shows current cases of the coronavirus, recoveries, and death statistics.


Shepherds' Conference Wrap-Up
The Master's Seminary shared the main session notes for the 2020 Shepherds' Conference on their website.  So, if you want to check those out, you can find them HERE.

If you want to watch the videos while they are on Facebook, you can find them HERE.

They should have the audio and video uploaded at some point on their official site (for 2020), so keep checking HERE for that.

I enjoyed live-streaming the conference, and I especially liked the photos that were shared by the people who kindly participated in my game of giving points to people who met each other there!
The conference music was beautiful, and the teaching was excellent!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Shepherds' Conference 2020, Tennessee Tornado, & Presidential Election

The Shepherds' Conference starts today (Wednesday), and it goes through Friday.
I'm excited!
I'm hoping John MacArthur will be well enough to speak.
You can see the schedule and watch on the official site:
Shepherds' Conference

Tornado in Tennessee
A couple of people have wondered if we were okay after the recent storms.  The tornado devastation was in middle Tennessee (a lot of it in Putnam County) in the broader Nashville vicinity.
We are a few hours away in northeast Tennessee where it was still very stormy, and there was a flood advisory in the vicinity for awhile that expired.
Several years ago there were some tornadoes in this area (especially an area that often gets high wind).  We were fine then too, but we did have a tornado warning and sheltered in the area of the house that we thought would be safer.
That being said, I've seen reports from the recent tornado event in the greater Nashville area that there are 24 or 25 people dead and 38 missing.  There are buildings damaged and demolished.
A church that is in a county affected (which I visited a few years ago) is Midway Baptist Church.
If people want to help with relief efforts, here is some information I received:

Presidential Election
There is not going to be a fantastic option for President in the general election, but the following site will give some clues on where candidates stand on certain issues.  One of the issues is abortion.
If you care about the lives of babies in the womb, please consider their views carefully.
On the Issues
One party fully supports taking the lives of babies.
That is the Democrat party.
Abortion is no better than Pharoah or Herod having babies put to death outside the womb.  Make no mistake.
God creates the human life in the womb, and murder is just as serious today as it was at the beginning of the world.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.

“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Genesis 9:6 -7 NASB

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pastoral Authority Limitations, Critical Race Theory Explained, + Should Churches Use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

How Much Authority Does a Pastor Have?

Have you heard of or been to a church where the people seem to be micromanaged in a way that raises red flags?  
The following article is not exhaustive but helpful to explain the Scriptural pattern for pastors /elders.

What is Critical Race Theory, and why is it wrong?

If you are like me and struggle to remember and articulate things, having things available to review  in written form can be very beneficial.  
Not long ago someone asked me what CRT was, and I found myself fumbling to attempt to answer them (despite all I've heard before).
Eric Davis has a blog post which takes information from different sources and describes what Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality are (and their un-Biblical worldview).

Should Churches use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

I've watched a few newer videos in recent times which gave good reasons for avoiding using music from these sources. 
While an occasional song might have okay lyrics and your individual conscience might let you sing those privately, there are ramifications of churches singing their music. 
It can encourage people to look them up and get led to their false teaching, financially aid their dangerous teaching, etc.
Much of the lyrics also reflect the poor Theology and dangerous views of those places.



(I don't know the pastor here or what version or paraphrase he was using, but this was a thoughtful message to consider.)