Coronavirus Update

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2)

Dear Brethren, 

As you know there is a deadly virus that has spread across the world to the point that we are now under a “stay at home” quarantine order for the entire state of Oregon. Other states have similar lock downs in place and many congregations are prohibited from gathering as assemblies by state order for fear of spreading the virus.

The reason quarantines are in place is because the world now recognizes that it stops the spread of a contagion from passing from one person to the next. This should be no surprise to us as Bible students because it was God who issued the first instructions of a quarantine in Leviticus chapters 13 and 14. The world is practicing the same principle of quarantine God instructed over 3,000 yrs ago –– simply because it works. 

Even those who were exposed were restricted from observing the passover feast until the following month (Numbers 9:6-11). Some have already been in self-quarantine due to susceptibility or possible exposure situations. The good news is that currently none of our congregation have been found to be infected.

The state of Oregon has issued a stay at home order restricting assemblies until it is safe, in order to save lives. The men of the congregation were unanimous in the decision to postpone worship services and classes at the building, in order for everyone to worship from home, until the order is lifted or circumstances improve to allow assembly. This is not a government oppression of faith because it is an order enforced on all citizens, not just churches. It is unfortunate but necessary since one person could infect the entire congregation, which would force everyone to stay home regardless, but under much worse circumstances. This is the very reason God gave instructions for quarantine to Israel in the Old Testament. 

This Sunday will not be the same because we are unable to assemble together to worship and praise God together. However, God knows the heart, and we will each be able to worship from home, separated by distance but together in spirit. I will post a new sermon for each Sunday at: jstchurchofchrist.com under the sermon section of the website. I will continue working at the church building to prepare Bible class lessons and sermons. 

We are all in this together. Get your directories out and remember to phone, text, email or write to encourage one another. Spread the word if anyone needs any help. Please pray for one another, for those infected, for families affected and for the nation and the Church the world over. 

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you, 
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill Turner

What Are Christians to Do in a Global Pandemic?

Text: Matthew 10:16

At the present time, everyone is talking about the Coronavirus. It originated in China and has been spreading throughout the world. The World Health Organization has classified it as a pandemic. The President of the United States has declared a national emergency. A lot of people are scared, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and people have a lot of questions. At a time like this, it is good to be reminded of some Bible principles that relate to this kind of issue.

First, Be Wise (Matthew 10:16)

  • Jesus was sending His disciples out to the world where they would face difficulties – they would face this for preaching, yet the principle applies to any difficult situation before us
  • We need to exercise wisdom in dealing with this difficult situation – exercise good judgment, wash hands, watch for symptoms, be prepared (food, supplies, etc.); if you’re immune system is weak or compromised, take extra precautions

Second, Be Harmless (Matthew 10:16)

  • Jesus told His disciples to be “innocent” or “harmless” (KJV) – don’t cause problems or bring harm to others
  • We should not bring harm to others if we can help it – if you’re sick, stay in; be especially careful with those who are vulnerable health-wise

Third, Be a Good Neighbor (Matthew 7:12)

  • We are to practice the golden rule – this is the essence of love; all that we do is to be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14)
  • Treat others as you would want to be treated – limit contact, avoid visits, offer help if needed, etc.

Fourth, Don’t Forget to Pray (Philippians 4:6-7)

  • What requests do we have of God in times like this? – health, safety, cure, calm, wisdom, etc.; make these requests known in prayer
  • Do this with thanksgiving – this is vital; this is what enables us to have the peace of God

Fifth, Don’t Be Naive (Proverbs 14:15)

  • People often act irrationally out of fear – true of individuals and of society as a whole
  • Don’t be taken advantage of by someone claiming to help – most are sincere; a few may not be
  • Don’t be so naive as to believe every conspiracy theory out there – skepticism is healthy, but not this extreme

Sixth, Don’t Worry about Tomorrow (Matthew 6:33-34)

  • This doesn’t mean be unconcerned – it just means don’t worry; take one day at a time
  • Focus on what’s essential (spiritual things) – plan and prepare, but don’t worry

Seventh, Don’t Live in Fear (2 Timothy 1:7)

  • We don’t know what will happen, how bad it will get, whether we will contract the virus, etc. – for someone in the world without God and without hope, this can be frightening; for Christians, the worst that can happen is “momentary, light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
  • We have God’s promise (Hebrews 13:5-6) – trust in Him; do not fear (Matthew 10:28)

Eighth, Live Every Day with a View to Eternity (Colossians 3:1-2)

  • This world is not our home – this doesn’t mean we want to hasten death or are unconcerned about potential dangers; instead, it means we should never lose sight of what’s truly important (Matthew 6:33)
  • No matter how long or short our lives are, no matter how difficult our time on earth is, all that matters in the end is reaching our eternal home in heaven

Conclusion

  • Regardless of what might happen, be wise and keep your trust in God
  • Be mindful of others and continue doing what God wants you to do
  • If you’re not a Christian or have fallen away, this is a reminder of the need to get right with the Lord  
                          

–ANDY SOCHOR, Eastside church of Christ, Morgantown, KY
from plainbibleteaching.com

Just One More Day

Dear Lord, please give me one more day to experience the joys of life: The beauties of the trees, rivers, and sky; The pleasures of friendships, recreation, and children; The joy of laughter, being with those I love, and resting after a long day’s work. Each day is a gift from you that brings beauties beyond measure.

I ask for just one more day, Lord, to grow in my relationships with others. An opportunity to learn about and practice your unselfish love, give me one more day to help those I love to grow closer to you, to teach my children and show them what it means to serve you, to help them grow in their dedication to you. A day to tell my closest friends about what really matters in life.

My request, Father, is just one more day to fight. To wield the sword, to take up your armor and destroy the work of Satan. Just one more day to achieve the peace that comes from your victory in my life. Just one more day to show the world your love and grace in my life. Another day to do my small part in this colossal spiritual battle.

Give me, Father, just one more day to make an impression on others about my values, my interests, my goals. One more day to show them that you are real and that you are everything to me. Give me a day so they might see you in the life I live, that they too might want to serve you.

Just one more day to reflect… to remember the good and the bad that has occurred in my life… to remember and learn from my achievements and failures… to gain wisdom from what you have taught me in my life.

One more day to overcome my sin, to take the steps necessary to be more like you. To see sin for what it really is. To develop a hatred for it, a disgust. One more day to make right the damage my sin has caused and to forgive the sins of others.

Father, if it is your will, I ask for one more day to encourage the good work in your kingdom. To edify my brothers and sisters in the work they do. One more day to show patience and to lend a helping hand to those who are struggling in their battle with Satan. Father, just one more day so I can offer the love you have shown to me.

Just one more day in honor of you. If today does not bring joy or what I desire, if it does not bring my gain or my advancement. If, instead, it brings sorrow, pain, suffering, or loss… help me to love you even more. Just one more day where I can prove to you that I serve you not because of what I get out of the day but because I love you.

Father, if you grant me one more day, help me not to get lost in it. Help me to remember what is most important. Help me to see eternity.

Dear Lord, most of all, help me to know that I may not have just one more day. If I am not able to enjoy the pleasures of this life for another day, or my family, or to work another day, or influence others, or learn another lesson of life, help me to know that I need to be ready for that day of eternity: the day of victory, the day of judgment. Help me to live today with this realization. Thank you, Lord.

by Olin Hudson

Note: This article was written by Olin Hudson on March 3, 2019.  He preached in Salem, Market Street church of Christ and later in Abilene, Texas for the Wylie church of Christ.  

He was killed in an automobile accident on July 8, 2019 when his pickup hydroplaned and rolled down an embankment. Olin was fifty-four years old. He would have been fifty-five August 21, 2019.

Olin was a man who was quiet but effective. He was also one of three elders in the Wylie church of Christ.  He is survived by his wife Angela, two grown sons: Tyler and Trent, their wives and three grandchildren.

Article shared by Rickie Jenkins in Focus Magazine

focusmagazine.org