Tag Archives: pray

COVID-19, What Do We Do?

As I write this, COVID-19 or coronavirus has now spread to 164 countries with 8,727 dead worldwide and more than 200,000 infected. It is a global crisis and has been declared a pandemic. Most governments have declared an emergency asking all to take precautionary measures.

I had to cancel and change my ministry travel plans within India and return earlier than planned. We had to cancel all scheduled large gatherings. We postponed the special 90-year anniversary celebrations at India Bible College & Seminary and the outdoor graduation service where we were expecting 4,000 guests and held the graduation with just the students, faculty and staff inside the chapel. Similar things took place at other training centers as well.

Now is the time we do things differently yet strategically to fulfill the Great Commission. We use the tools that God has given us and yet remember the most powerful ones are the personal connection and communication we maintain to share the Gospel.

How do we communicate the Good News while maintaining social distance? What do we do?

Let me suggest five things that we all must do:

1) PRAY: The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT)

Prayer is essential and it shows we are dependent on His Grace. We communicate with Him day and night and express our confidence and trust in Him in the midst of this crisis. Pray that He will use this crisis for His glory and all people will turn to Him and receive His Grace and experience His peace and eternal life.

Prayer will help you to trust and not panic as those who have no hope. Pray for opportunities to instruct people to humble themselves and seek the help of God for His supernatural intervention and the healing of our land and nations. This should be a time of self-examination, reflection on the Word and timely action. This should be a time of intense and fervent intercession.

2) BELIEVE: God is in control of every situation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us faith to trust Him in uncertain times. Remind yourself that He came to this world, died for our sins, rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven and He will come again to rule this world. Jesus who is Sovereign and Ruler is with you and He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Jesus has power over any situation and will grant you His peace and assurance.

Jesus said “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Think of it, nothing will crush, defeat, conquer or eliminate the church. Nothing, even plagues or viruses. The church will remain, even into eternity. The church is you and I, who have been cleansed and redeemed by Jesus Christ, a body of believers. We as believers in Jesus Christ unite, live, face challenges and love together. Our hope and connection are both found in Jesus Christ. He holds us together.

3) CONNECT: This is a great time to connect with your non-Christian friends and neighbors via phone, Skype, FaceTime, email, etc., and share the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He can do when we place our trust in Him.

4) MODEL: You have a role to play in stopping this virus—by faith, through prayer, as a church—we want to be obedient citizens, responsible believers as we practice good hygiene, social distancing, and even exercising restraint as we avoid panic in the hoarding of food and goods.

5) SUPPORT: We are called to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim who Jesus Christ is and share what He has offered when people place their trust in Him. He will liberate people from their fears and anxieties and He alone can give hope and assurance of eternal life.

We are to send and support those who proclaim the Good News. This is what IGO evangelists do all the time. They need your help and regular support.

Pray for all needs to be met for every IGO evangelist and his family who are engaged in sharing the Gospel and establishing communities of faith where they have never heard about Jesus Christ.

Let’s proclaim the good news of hope that we have in Jesus Christ “in season and out of season.”

May the power of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with hope, joy and peace.

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Made for More

silhouette-of-person-walking-1046896God made us for more than we imagine!

We glimpse this in Psalm 8 where David writes, “…you [God] crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…” This repeats God’s mandate in Genesis 1.

This dominion mandate has never been fulfilled because sin and death entered into the world—death to our physical bodies and also death to our spirits. Our spirits are the part of us designed for fellowship with God and to fulfill His grand design.

Sin destroyed our ability to fellowship with God. We became indifferent to God. We became hostile to God. We underestimated God. We ignored and disbelieved God. We suppressed the truth about God. We did not take God into account. We did not fulfill our mandate, and the whole universe has suffered. We are no longer in harmony with God, our purpose for being, the world around us, our own bodies, or other people.

Sin has taken a terrible toll on our minds. No longer in tune with God and our purpose for being, we are limited only to those things we perceive with our five senses, to our own limited reasoning capacities. A thing may seem right to us, but it leads to death. We may have high ideals and moral standards, and enjoy the arts, but we still fall pitifully short because we no longer have God’s perspective or power.

The Good News is that God has never revoked His dominion mandate. Through Jesus Christ, He entered the world in Bethlehem to set things right through His life, death and resurrection. Through Christ, He regenerates our dead spirits and sends His Holy Spirit. We become part of His heavenly family, for we are told He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. One day, His dominion mandate will be 100% fulfilled through us who trust Him.

In the meantime, we must renew our minds with these things. Once crippled by the limitations of sin, our minds, through the Holy Spirit, are now capable of perceiving something of what God has designed for us.

George Muller, the great man of prayer and faith, wrote in his autobiography, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished… Now what is the food for the inner man…but the Word of God.”

The Word of God leads us to the promises of God. As we regularly partake of His promises in trust, our minds are renewed. To the regenerate person, renewed by the Holy Spirit, the promises of God provide the impetus to pray more effectively and glorify Him. We begin to walk in the Spirit, live in power and bear fruit.

Every day, more of India’s unreached peoples are learning these vital truths. Let us join together to insure all of India hears this great news!

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Grace to the Graceless

2016-10-graceOur effective fulfilling the Great Commission sometimes depends upon how we honor the most dishonorable people of our lives with God’s grace. This may include parents who mistreated, neglected and abused us.

To a degree, we all experience dysfunction. All parents are sinners. Yet some of us have or had parents who gave us little more than misery and torment. Just the thought of them revolts us. God commands us to honor our parents, but how do we honor them?

You cannot truly obey this command until you first know God and the great work He has already done for you through Jesus Christ — deep in your heart, not just in your head. This requires a supernatural act, the earnest of the Holy Spirit, assuring you of deep gospel truths in deep ways, as they apply to your unique situation.

Those truths include God’s foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justifying and glorifying of you before creation (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-5). You may have terrifying or awful parents, but long before God created Adam and Eve, He chose to pull you from this muck and make you His own. Not even the cruelest parents can pluck you from His hand.

Vietnamese people have a proverb that well illustrates this fantastic truth: “The lotus grows in mud, but it doesn’t smell of mud.” You are that lotus. Discover who you really are in Him, and He will give you the grace to honor wretched parents even as He has chosen to honor you.

Remember that God is a “Father to the fatherless” (Psalm 65:8). He can use everything for the good of those who love Him and are called of Him (Romans 8:28). Take a small step of faith toward Him, see Him act, then take another step. Be honest with God about your feelings. As a man, He was “despised and rejected . . . a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” (Isaiah 53:3) so He understands your situation perfectly. He wants to help you do what you can’t do yourself.

Remember that honor is primarily an action, not a feeling. It is an offer of God’s grace to graceless people. It does not mean trusting them or tolerating further abuse or rewarding their evildoing. Thank God He is big enough he can even use such nasty people to bring you into the world and adopt you into His royal family!

Practically speaking, how can we honor dishonorable parents? Here are some suggestions:

  • Become willing to forgive them and release emotional baggage. Only the Holy Spirit can help you do this. With Him all things are possible (Mark 10:22). Read Lewis Smedes’ Forgive and Forget—a helpful book.
  • When possible, call and listen to them, and say nothing when they say hurtful things.
  • When possible, do acts of kindness for them.
  • Accept them where they are. Don’t expect them to match your expectations.
  • Note any good things they may have done and express gratitude for them.
  • Don’t criticize your parents before other family members.
  • Create safe boundaries to prevent manipulation.
  • Teach your children to love their grandparents.
  • Pray for parents who mistreated you.
  • Let your relationship with Christ shine through. Who knows? God’s grace in your life, shown to them, may eventually bring them to Christ. It happens.

Sometimes the hardest people to win for Christ come from under our own roof. Let God use this acid test to train you to reach around the world in His name.

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