First United Methodist Church
Monday, March 30, 2020
Wynne, Arkansas

Daily Encouragement

3-23-2020 Word of Encouragement....take heart!!

  I am sitting here checking my emails and I can only say one thing, I am disappointed. I am disappointed at the amount of pastors and ministries that I receive emails from and the topics of "God's Judgement on America," and "How To Be The Church in The End Times." While our current situation as a country and a world is definitely in crisis, such views as this show the reality of the desire of individuals to capitalize on the misfortune of another for their own personal attention, as well as a small world view of the reality of life.
     No doubt, lives have been affected beyond their normal, daily schedules, not only in America, but all over the world. We are not used to the idea of limited social interaction, or even the reality of something that happens across the pond actually having a tangible affect on us. It is difficult and a completely new thing to be limited in the activities we can do. However, what we are experiencing as far as becoming inconvenienced is the reality of what 80% or more of the world experiences for the entirety of their life-span. In reality, the heightened risk of sickness that we are experiencing during this pandemic is not a whole lot different than what many children on the continent of Africa will face their entire childhood. To even use the line that God is using this pandemic as a way of striking America for its insolence and as payback for turning their back on God is preposterous. If enduring such circumstances is God's form of punishment, then by that reasoning the the Apostle Paul was one of the most corrupt, God punished people on the face of the planet!! God simply does not work that way. Yes in Scripture there were times when God worked through plagues and such in order to reach His people but the reality today, for you and I and the church in America, and the rest of the world, is exactly this...we are in the world. 
    We are living in a world that is plagued by the effects of a fallen creation. These effects are sometime caused by our own choices, but sometimes they are the result of natural causes. If you look through the pages of history, humanity has ALWAYS experienced such types of calamity and crisis. There have always been tornadoes, there have always been earthquakes, there have always been wildfires, and there has always been epidemics, pandemics and crisis. Just because we have lived in relative safety and healthy living conditions in the United States does not mean that now in this season God is unleashing His wrath. That is not a Biblical statement, nor is it a message that would work for the rest of the world.
     God never, ever promised the easy life for His followers. Nor did He ever promise that those who accept Him as their God and live faithfully would be free from the effects of the world, human-made or nature-borne. What was said however, is that it will cost you EVERYTHING according to the world's reasoning. The life of a disciple was compared to the carrying of a cross, the most brutal form of punishment. BUT, He also promised this, "that I will never leave you nor forsake you," "that ALL things will work for good, for those who love Him and are called, according to His purposes." It was promised that if you bring the burdens that the world has placed on your shoulders and submit to Christ, that even though life is unbearable you will be able to endure it, because He offers you "rest for your souls, as you take His yoke upon you and learn of Him." Never once is the promise of deliverance from the trials, tribulations and crisis of the world offered, but an encouragement to, "take heart, for I have overcome the world!"
     This moment that we are living in here and today, is the time that the church was called for! You and I are called to be the light in this situation, when the world is in crisis, scared and hope is dwindling more and more every day. Its easy to be a Christian when the majority of what we encounter is agreeable, but faith is tested and proven in times such as these.
     Do not worry, this is not the end of the world, this is not a great time of God's outpouring of Judgment upon a disobedient church and people. This is just another day. For many in the world, its no different than any day they have ever known. Same threats, same struggles, but thankfully, the same God. A God who sent His son to save the world from an eternity apart from hope and God's love. A God who calls His people to be the light of Christ in the midst of the darkness, to speak hope and to lead other people through their words and actions to have faith in Jesus Christ.
     I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33