HOW CAN I RESPOND IN LIGHT OF THE COVID-19 CONCERNS?

There are a garden variety ways to react but God has given us ways to respond through His Word.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

God has not given us a spirit of fear. In the midst of COVID-19 concerns, Christ followers (the church) can shine as light and serve as a preservative of faith like salt. This is not a time to move in fear but to move in faith because of what God has given us.

1. POWER

There is power available to us and that is the power of prayer. The God we serve is ALL MIGHTY. He is omnipotent. That means, He has the ability to arrest this virus whether supernaturally or medically.

That being said, Jesus declared in Matthew 18:19, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” We can agree in prayer and trust God for the results.

2. LOVE

Jesus tells us to love as we have been loved by Him (John 13:34). By His death in Calvary, He demonstrated the full extent of His love for us for all of eternity. Our sins have been forgiven and our eternal life has been secured.

Because of this love that we have received, we are now empowered to love others. We need to move in love.

Thus, there’s no room for xenophobia, apathy, neglect, malevolence or even detestation.

The early church conquered Rome through love in the midst of famine, pestilence and plague. They had no power, influence or wealth and yet through love, Christianity spread all over Rome.

3. SOUND MIND

Faith without works is dead. While we will continue to trust God through all these, we will move in wisdom. We have been given preventive measures by the World Health Organization. It will be wise to follow them. Following preventive measures does not mean there’s no faith. We have been given a sound mind to exercise wisdom in these times.

May we continue to move in faith not fear, love not malevolence and wisdom not neglect.

HOW DO YOU LOVE THE UNLOVABLE?

It’s easy to love the people who think and act like you and those who are kind and good to you. But what about those who hurt and offend you?  

Loving others is seen in repaying evil with good and extending forgiveness to those who hurt us. This is only made possible when we experience the acceptance and unconditional love of God that while we were still His enemies, Jesus Christ died for us. We don’t deserve anything, but because of His grace and mercy, He is showering us with His love so that we can love others from all walks of life.

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HOW CAN I LOVE WHEN MY OWN LOVE TANK IS EMPTY?

 

Generally, there are three kinds of love that we see and maybe even experience every day – unidirectional, transactional and unconditional.

Unidirectional is the kind where I will stay in the relationship and keep the friendship as long as I am receiving from the person I am with.

Transactional is more like a 50/50 proposition. As s/he gives, I, too, will give. As long as s/he is giving something and I have something to give, then we’re fine. But when we’re all out, we bail from the relationship.

Then there’s the unconditional kind of love. I will keep giving even if there is no expectation of being reciprocated. That kind of love is sacrificial and selfless.

But how can I keep giving when my own love tank is already empty? Fair question.

In John 13:34, Jesus said, “…love one another just as I have loved you.”

He gives not only a new standard – to love people but also a new source – His love for us. Self-love is not a bad thing as long as we understand that it is totally insufficient. Sometimes, we don’t even know how to fully love ourselves.

But Jesus gave and demonstrated the full extent of His love for us in Calvary (see Romans 5:8). As a result, we can draw from that unconditional, unending and unlimited supply of His love for us.

How did He love us, then? And how can we love others with the kind of love He loved us with?

1. SERVE

Matthew 20:28 says that “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus loved us by serving. He served by giving His life as a ransom. A ransom is to pay off to purchase someone’s freedom. We were enslaved to sin and through His death and resurrection, by faith in Him, we have been set free.

Application question: Who has God called me to serve even if that person has offended me? Remember, our sin is an offense towards God and yet He still served us.

2. SACRIFICE

Part of sacrifice is suffering for the benefit of others. 1 Peter 3:17-18 says, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.”

Because Jesus sacrificed for us by not repaying our offense with punishment but with grace, we are called to do the same.

1 Peter 3:7 (NIV) says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Application question: Who has God called me to not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but instead go the opposite spirit by blessing and doing good to them?

3. SEEK THE GOOD

God had every right to bring punishment. But instead of justice, He showed mercy and grace. He sought to do good for us through Christ. His desire is not just for us to have life eternal but also life abundant (see John 10:10).

Application Question: How can I seek the good of those I don’t necessarily agree with or even those that offended me?

We are told by Jesus, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Our love for people makes God visible to people. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

May God grant us grace this week to draw from His supply of unending, unlimited and unconditional love so that we can love others the way Jesus loved us.

MAKE ONE

“We bear fruit as we abide in His love.”

Abiding in the love of God is our response to the love that we don’t deserve, yet He has lavishly given us, when He sent His one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we may have a fruitful life. And this love that fills us everyday is made evident as it overflows to an extension of His love to the people around us.

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BE ONE

“There may be times when we need to return to our place of failure in order to restore our posture of faith.”

Often times, we feel disappointed and frustrated when we experience failures repeatedly. Our quick response is to quit or give up. But, there are times when God allows us to experience adversity so that we may be reminded to hope in Him again, to continue to believe for breakthroughs and to have a fresh encounter with the One who holds everything in the palm of His hands.

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INVITING GRACE

“We enter into God’s rest when we trust Him with our past sins, present circumstances, and future hope.”

Real rest can only be found in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father, when we fully rely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross; when we trust that He has given us the free gift of salvation and the opportunity to start anew; and when we believe that He continually carries us in whatever season we are facing and will be facing in the days, months, and years to come.

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ENRICHING GRACE

“Our grasp of the amazingness of grace is directly proportional to the desire we have to express and demonstrate our thankfulness for it.”

Realizing that we don’t deserve anything good, yet because of God’s amazing love and grace we have been forgiven of our sins, given the gift of eternal life and blessed with an abundant life; may we show our gratitude by extending the same generosity in the way we love and give of ourselves to others.

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SANCTIFYING GRACE

“A change of behaviour is only a result of a change of affection.”

God’s sanctifying grace transforms our heart from being passionate in satisfying our own desires to being passionate in seeking God and aligning our desires to His. This is only made possible by the grace of God as we receive a revelation of God’s immeasurable love for us. When He sacrificed His one and only son to die on the Cross, He gave us the chance to enjoy eternal life with Him.

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HOW TO DEAL WITH LIFE’S DISRUPTIONS

In one of our staff meetings at Victory Fort, Pastor Patrick shared a very helpful message during our devotions.

He talked about “how to deal with disruptions.”

A disruption is when a routine or a way of life gets halted for some particular reason. Disruptions are a way of life. Somehow God takes us out of our comfort zones so we can continue trust Him for the next steps.

So what do you do when you’re faced with disruptions?

1. Always be reminded that God is sovereign.

Psalm 135:6 says, “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.”

And Isaiah 46:10 declares, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”

In the midst of disruptions, God is in control. Moreover, His purpose will prevail, even in the midst of the most disconcerting disruptions.

2. Find your stability in God.

We desire for things to go back to its normal routine.

However, the myth is that when routines come back, we will finally have peace and comfort. While routines can give some level of peace, there are many things in life we are not in full control of. Only God can bring stability in the midst of disruptions.

Phil 4:6-7 says, “do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Only Christ can give peace that is far beyond human knowledge.

3. Disruptions allow us to check what’s important to us.

Ask this question, “if my house is on fire, what are the 3 things I will bring with me?” For sure, the answer will only reflect the most important items to us.

When we are pulled out of our comfort zones, our priority lists is reduced to the things that are most important to us.

Heavenly Father, if I can be honest, disruptions are not something I am excited about. I don’t welcome it neither do I appreciate it. But for some divine reason, you allow it because you have the ability to cause all things to work together for my good and ultimately for your glory. Help me to respond in a way that would be honoring to you and encouraging to the people around me. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

 

 


Photo credit: Dante Pamintuan @coffee_dante

JUSTIFYING GRACE

“Because we have been justified by grace, we have been forgiven. “

The Amazing Grace of God says that we have been justified and forgiven of all our sins. But not only has he erased our sins, He also clothed us with His righteousness – justified and given a new heart. What’s left for us to do in the face of this undeserving love and acceptance? Worship. Awe. Obedience

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