Prayer Update

Philippians 4:6–7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Even though we aren’t meeting collectively today, we have the opportunity and responsibility to bring our concerns, our thanks, and our requests before the Creator and sustainer of the entire universe. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the privilege and value of regularly meeting… being together… encouraging each other… being the Body of Christ!  Let’s not take that for granted.

At a time like this when you see the panic, hysteria, and paranoia of society in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), it is an incredible opportunity to show our neighbors and those we see in the store a sense of peace and calm that comes from putting our trust and confidence in Someone greater than ourselves.

Fear is of Satan… peace is of God.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Historically at times like this, it is Christians who step up and put their own lives at risk in order to help others. We saw this with the Ebola virus in Africa several years ago. Believers have the willingness and courage to help those in need because we have the assurance of our standing with God — forgiven and redeemed — and we are willing to sacrifice the comforts of this transient life to show others the love of God and His care for them. It is a daily dying to self — it is being willing to give up my life to help others, not just figuratively, but literally.

This is not a time to careless and flippant — however, it is a time to live and act with courage and confidence because our hope is not in this life — but in the life to come.

We live in a fallen and sinful world. Because of that, there will be disease, natural disasters, tragic accidents, and many other difficult situations we face. Let’s not become so consumed with and attached to the present world we no longer yearn for the better life to come in eternity.

Let’s intentionally use this time to draw closer to God… let’s allow God to purify our hearts and cleanse our hands. As we do so, God will inevitably identify areas of our lives that require surrender and change. Let’s submit to the Holy Spirit’s plea.

James 4:7–10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Let’s use today and this coming week as a time of focused prayer… the needs of our own hearts… the needs of our congregation… the needs of our community…. the needs of our nation… and also that this national emergency would be seen as an opportunity to show the life-changing love of Jesus to those we come in contact with.

Blessings to each of you today (and this week)!

Service Cancelled

The Coronavirus has become a focal point of discussion this week. Yesterday afternoon, there were two significant announcements – the Virginia governor closed all schools in the state for a minimum of two weeks, and President Trump declared a national emergency. Beyond that, sporting events, concerts, parades, and other events with large numbers of people are being cancelled around the country.

This virus is highly contagious and especially dangerous for people over 60 years old or with chronic health challenges.

Since last weekend when there was one confirmed case in Virginia, on Wednesday there were nine, by Thursday seventeen, and as of 6pm last evening there were 30 confirmed cases in the state. This is a rapidly developing and changing situation each day… and even, throughout the day.

In an attempt to be prudent without overreacting with irrational fear and panic, we have been discussing what adjustments we should be making to our Sunday morning service. In the end, we concluded we should cancel the worship service tomorrow morning in order to mitigate the possibility of the older high-risk members be exposed to this virus… and recognizing that there likely are other members who have been exposed and may be carrying the disease.

Shortly after President Trump’s press conference declaring the national emergency, he also declared tomorrow, March 15, a National Day of Prayer. Let’s take this opportunity tomorrow to specifically pray for each other as a church family but also our community and nation during this time of uncertainty. This is an opportunity to show we have faith and confidence in God… and we have hope beyond this life.

If you have specific prayer requests you would like our church family to be aware of, please call me or send a text message. I will try to send out an email with the requests tomorrow forenoon.

Here is a good reminder from Ivan’s sermon last week from Philippians 4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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.