It’s hard to believe that COVID-19 has been with us now for 11 months. Things have changed in every aspect of our daily lives in those months. But Jesus has truly been my constant and unchanging source of hope. So, over the past 330 days, I have continued to share His hope with others through my daily Facebook posts. Here is another installment of those Pandemic Rx posts. I hope they also offer you a source of Christ-centered encouragement.
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
It is hard to believe it has been 330 days since the people in my home state of Mississippi first encountered COVID. I don’t really know what we thought would be the outcome or how long this pandemic would last, but I doubt we saw ourselves HERE 330 days later. I know I didn’t. And to be honest, we are all probably wondering if this strange time will ever end. I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know the One who knows the answer. So every day, I will keep offering His words. They are clearly and “plainly” filled with hope, truth, life, and joy in the midst of this COVID storm. “Plainly,” He has all the answers to the questions that trouble our hearts and minds right now. And I will continue to offer one piece of advice, day after day: Look to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. Open your Bible and find life!
Ephesians 5:2 (The Passion Translation)
And continue to walk to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance.
Do you know how many times the word “surrender” is mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible? None! Not one single time. But we see pictures of surrendering “self” to God throughout the Old and New Testaments. Today, think back through the Bible on some of those “surrender” stories. Or better yet, think about your own story of surrender! And if you do not have such a story, surrender your heart to Jesus right now. Truly, His love is the most extravagant gift ever given. Receive it now. He has been waiting a lifetime – your lifetime. Give Jesus your heart, and see just what extravagance you will receive in return.
2 Peter 1:16
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Whenever people say Christianity is a fairy tale, I laugh. This verse is one of the reasons I can laugh at such a statement. It reminds me that the disciples were witnesses of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. And they were willing to die hideous deaths for their Savior. They knew the Truth by name. Do you?
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Straightway! Immediately, they followed Jesus. Are we that quick to drop everything and follow when He calls?
1 Samuel 7:3
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
God’s “prescription” for delivering us from our enemies has never changed. In the midst of our darkest battles, all we have to do is turn and focus on Him. Whatever holds our eyes and our hearts is probably the one thing that is standing in the way of total victory. It’s not by power or even by might and strength. He is our only hope for deliverance. Turn to Him and watch the tide turn.
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Do you know what’s most profound in this passage? Not the fact that a man who loves God has the audacity to question His will. Not even the fact that this man expects the God of the universe to actually answer. What amazes me is the fact that Habakkuk waits on and welcomes God’s correction and reproof in the forthcoming answer. He is ready to hear and learn. The prophet knows his thinking is askew; he realizes he does not understand God’s ways. But he has such an intimate relationship with His Father that he knows there will be an answer, and it will be corrective in nature.
Habakkuk welcomes and waits for holy correction. Wow! We can’t even accept criticism or opposite opinions – much less godly correction. We get attitudes when our fast food order is off or any time things do not go our way. Stop and think: Do we ever actually ask God to correct us? Do we welcome His loving rebuke? (Keep in mind that iron sharpens iron, so sometimes correction comes from those around us too.) So, if we do not expect and accept correction, we may have to go ‘round the same ol’ mountains many times in life. Start looking for correction. Watch and wait. And like Habakkuk, accept it with a grateful, eager, and willing heart.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty.
Do you ever feel empty? Do you feel like you have nothing left to give? Like maybe your words are worthless even? Have no fear! Just speak His Words. They are life; they produce life, and they return full of life to the Maker of life. Speak His words!
But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
I know! It’s a crazy verse. But it reminds us of a powerful lesson. Anything that stands between God and us is garbage. Nothing is more important than our relationship with Him. And as in Old Testament times when people took their garbage out of this particular gate to the continually burning pit, we also need to carry all our sins, our junk, outside this symbolic gate and dump it. We need to ask Christ to cleanse us and wash away our sins. In essence, Jesus is the only thing that stands between us and the continually burning pit of Hell. So thank God for the dung gate. It reminds us that we have another hope. We have Christ Jesus!
And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
The same Jesus lives in you (right now) that went through those ancient marketplaces back then, healing and making people whole. And the Word of God, the Holy Bible, declares that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So wherever He leads you today, let His anointing flow. Remember – Jesus in you; hope of glory. People are still desperate for His loving hope. Spread His message everywhere.
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
Amazingly, this verse was first written by Isaiah as a promise of help to come, encouraging God’s people to not lose hope. And many years later, Matthew quoted the prophet Isaiah to remind readers that God had indeed been faithful. In fact, God’s Son Jesus had come and won the final victory. Today, it reminds us once more to not lose hope, to remember that Jesus already won this victory on Calvary. His Words were true when Isaiah penned them, when Matthew quoted them, and they are still true when you and I declare them today. So, take heart and hold fast! The victory over everything, including COVID, belongs to Our God through the blood of Jesus!