COVID-19 information

God is faithful and can be trusted, no matter what happens.

Please pray for the situation – especially for God’s Wisdom and direction for the leaders of our nation and around the world.

1.    Keep your focus on God: We each have a key role to play in encouraging, informing and looking after those around us.

2.   Be wise. We each must take steps to protect ourselves and those around us. It is the simple things like properly washing our hands, and practicing social distancing that will make a huge difference.

3. Stay up to date.  The latest news from our Government is available here

John 14:27 (Jesus speaking) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid“

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is something that most people only really turn to seriously, when the chips are down. You and I can be sure that there are a lot more people praying now, than there were before the Corona virus breakout.

And yet this whole prayer thing was never meant to be merely a last resort.

The startling thing is that when you open God’s Word, you discover that the only sort of prayer the Bible teaches about, is the sort that has powerful results.

So just in case you’re tempted to pray with a whimper, I want to encourage you again with this truth. Listen carefully: the only sort of prayer that the Bible teaches about, is the sort that has powerful results.

In fact, we’re told to come boldly – boldly – before the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.

So can I encourage you today, take heart, pray boldly, and let God’s peace rule your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Has it Covered

How strong is your faith in these troubling times? Come on, with this whole Corona virus thing unfolding – hey, people are dying … will you catch it too? How strong is your faith?

I read this recently on Facebook: The way we deal with uncertainty lets us know whether Jesus is ahead of us leading, or behind us just carrying our stuff.

It’s pretty confronting. Look I know the Corona pandemic is serious. And yes we should be taking sensible precautions.

Still, some people will lose their livelihood. Some people will get sick and yes, some people will die. That’s the reality.

And yet, God wrote down every one of your days before any of them ever existed. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month.

None of this is any surprise to Him. And He has it all covered. From this day, through to your very last day on this earth.

He has it covered. So yes, be sensible but don’t be afraid.

It’s Time to Shine

I guess we’re all at the point of adjusting to a new normal. A normal of social isolation. A normal where many people are withdrawing into their shells amidst this COVID-19 pandemic.

Yep, people are doing it tough – from a health and safety perspective and financially as well. Life as usual has been profoundly disrupted and it’s not very pleasant, wherever you live, whatever your circumstances.

And yet in Christ, we have hope. Now, you and I might say, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” But that has no absolutely no impact whatsoever on whether indeed it’ll rain tomorrow or not.

But when God uses that word “hope” in the Bible, He means “certain hope” – a rock-solid, done deal kind of hope.

Writing to a bunch of Christians who at the time were suffering horrendous trials … Peter writes this:

1 Peter 3:15,16 Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.

As you and I draw close to Jesus during these difficult times, He blesses us with a certain hope in Him; with a peace, with a joy in the face of adversity that to many of those around us simply doesn’t make sense.

It’s time to let that hope shine out of you. Let others see it. And when they ask you why you have this warm and peaceful countenance about you, tell them. Tell them about Jesus.

Your Mind Matters

With social distancing and isolation, people seem to have a lot more time on their hands to think. But not all of that thinking is all that helpful.

Yes, these are worrying times. There’s a risk of catching the COVID-19 virus. There’s an increased risk of dying. There’s the risk of losing your job or your business. Now sure, we can self-isolate and governments are trying to help. But still, many people spend a lot of time worrying.

And here’s how it goes … we imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong and then we let them weigh us down as though they’re all going to happen at once. It’s pretty depressing stuff.

But it takes exactly the same amount of time and energy to worry, as it does to look ahead with a sense of trust and hope. Paul the Apostle, sitting on a dungeon floor in chains, on death row put it this way:

Philippians 4:8,9 Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

When those dark thoughts come knocking just refuse delivery and think about the good things that God has done for you.

Bottom line? Mind your thoughts because your mind matters.

The Opportunity of Social Distancing

This whole social distancing thing takes some getting used to doesn’t it? Whether you live somewhere where you’re in lockdown, or you just have to maintain a safe distance, it really is quite jarring to be so separated from other people. But I wonder whether God isn’t, in the middle of all of this, handing you and me an opportunity.

We all like hanging around with people who encourage us. I have a friend called Keith. Now Keith is often late for meetings, in fact sometimes he forgets completely. And when he does show up a cup of coffee seems to take twice as long with him as with anyone else. But let me tell you, I always walk away from time with him feeling so encouraged. He just has this way about him of lifting you up with kind words.

In these strange days in which we find ourselves, many feeling isolated, many feeling worried or depressed, God is handing you and me the opportunity of being a great encourager.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.

I wonder, who could you be encouraging today? Let’s face it, we have so much technology at our fingertips that in these days of social distancing, we’re more than capable of picking up the phone and sharing an encouraging word with someone.

Encouragement. It’s a simple act of love that won’t soon be forgotten. How about it?

Will it Impact Me?

Let’s be honest – the big question that we all have with this whole Corona virus thing is: How will it impact me?

Obviously, it is going to cause some serious suffering. Already many have died, many have lost their jobs or their businesses.

And let’s be honest, there’s more to come which can strike even in the hearts of those who believe in Jesus.

Remember those twelve disciples in a small boat on the Sea of Galilee? The storm hit in the middle of the night, they were in fear for their lives … and then Jesus came walking out on the water, scaring them even more.

But Peter cried out, “Lord if it’s you, command me to come out on the water.” Jesus answered, “It is me, come.”

And right there in the middle of the storm, Peter stepped out of the boat while the other eleven, stayed back, cowering in fear.

So in the middle of this storm – what’s your plan? Step out in faith, or hang back in fear?

The Best and the Worst

It seems that in times of crisis, we see both the best and the worst of humanity. So, what are you showing the world? Your best, or your worst?

Different parts of the world have suffered vastly different infection and death rates from the COVID-19 virus. Italy, Spain, parts of the US like New York City … in places like that, it’s really serious with tens of thousands of deaths. But even in a country like India where to date the infection rates are very low, there’s huge upheaval and misery going on.

And under those circumstances, you do indeed see the best and the worst of humanity. My wife was at the supermarket the other day buying a single packet of toilet paper when a woman physically pushed her away and grabbed it out of her hands. Really?

Look, in times like these our survival instinct does cut in and by all means we should be doing what our governments tell us in terms of social distancing and isolation. Absolutely!

But for anyone who believes in Jesus, now is the time to shine His light. Now is the time to serve, to help that elderly neighbour, to keep in touch with family members, to sacrifice for others. Jesus put it like this:

Mark 10:43,44 Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

When we give others our best, the light of Christ shines into dark places.

Don’t Be Afraid

Let’s be honest. This whole Corona virus thing has a lot of people rattled. The world’s in panic mode. So, deep down inside, how are you handling it?

When all you hear in the news is how bad things are … stock markets crashing, retirement savings evaporating, businesses folding … it’s easy to go with the flow. It’s easy to let panic set in.

Yeah, we know that God is in control, well, at least in theory. We know that we should have more faith, but, well … you know …

King David faced more than his fair share of threats. But right when He was in fear for his life, this is what he discovered:

I sought the Lord, he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

With all my heart, I believe that that’s what God is saying to you today. Seek the Lord. He will answer you. He will deliver you from all your fears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Shut Down

By now, most churches have cancelled their usual Sunday services. People are retreating into their homes and other than the long lines at the supermarkets, the streets are quiet. How are you handling it all? Hmm?

Call me crazy, but while everyone else is retreating into a shell of self-interest and self-protection … I think that you and I have a huge opportunity.

What the world needs right now is for God’s people to stand up; to step out with a quiet, calm confidence and share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Because let me tell you, when the people you know see the confidence you have, the assurance you have, the peace you have in your heart … they’re going to want to know where that comes from.

So while the rest of the world is panicking, be Christ to them. Love them, encourage them, lead them, tell them … about this Jesus who died and rose again … for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praying for Our Leaders

Different countries have handled the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. Some because of a slow response, have suffered terribly. Others have gone for early and complete lockdowns. And yet others have gone for something of a middle ground, with progressive shutdowns. And no matter which approach they’ve adopted, there’s always someone to criticise and complain.

The easiest thing in the world is to be an armchair critic. I’ve seen post on Facebook calling my Prime Minister all sorts of names. That’s sad, that’s really sad because in these times of national and international emergency, I’m pretty sure that there’s not a single leader or government who aren’t trying to do their very best for their people.

These are unchartered waters so we can be pretty certain that our leaders won’t get it all right, all the time. But come on, they are doing their very best.

I wonder whether there isn’t something better, something positive that we can do for our leaders. Writes the Apostle Paul to his young protégé:

1 Timothy 2:2,3 You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him. This is good and pleases God our Saviour.

Prayer rather than criticism and complaining. Not only does your prayer have powerful results, not only is it good … but it’s pleasing to God. How about it?