Today brings March to a close. What a month it has been. As February came to an end, I looked forward to March with great anticipation. I was about to share my favorite book of scripture when we looked at the Gospel of Luke. Then panic spread throughout America as COVID exploded from sea-to-shining-sea. My focus with Luke moved to finding verses of hope, comfort, and strength in the face of the storm. And it was easy to do. The Bible is filled with scripture to help us derive our courage from an unwavering force. If this “stay-at-home” order across America lifts and you did not pick up the Bible any more than you normally do, what a waste this has been. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are clinging to the hope and promise of Jesus as they are diagnosed with COVID-19. The world is crippled with fear of an invisible enemy. Why do we allow the fear of the invisible hold us hostage, yet we refuse to believe in the hope of our invisible Savior? For every diagnosis of COVID there has been, there have been thousand upon thousands of people who have been infected by the Holy Spirit over the ages. God is about to move in this world like never before. I can not see God, but I can feel Him, and I know He’s greater than a little respiratory infection. Lift up His voice in praise and thanksgiving.
Today I am sharing a song that I just happened to discover this morning, most likely by design, just for this message. It pairs nicely with the sermon from Pastor Steven Furtick and for our Daily Devotion. I pray for you all. Do not be afraid. God will do whatever it takes to save this world. Will you do whatever it takes to share God’s love and grace?
1Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
This month I am closing on a different note than the previous two months. We’re going to look at one more parable that is specific to the Book of Luke which teaches an important message for the current crisis that exists around the world. As I prepared yesterday’s message with the help of my amazing wife, she challenged me about the last paragraph and the prayer for God to use Easter Sunday as the day to be the world’s return to normalcy and on the recovery from COVID. She questioned me about what would happen if we prayed this prayer for the next two weeks and COVID was still spreading and killing more people than it already has. So these verses were the perfect way to close the month of March.
To be honest, I tend to not be the best to offer insight on the power of prayer. Perhaps I think too much into the act of God listening to our prayers. I believe most people understand that prayer is not supposed to be thought of as approaching God with requests much like a genie in a bottle, where the simple act of falling to your knees and lifting up your hands in worship will motivate the creator of the universe to change something in your life. But when we pray, essentially, we are asking for something specific from God, whether it be to protect us from danger or keep our family healthy. Some of those requests are even foolish when you think about them. God’s always protecting His people and keeping them healthy and safe. That is easy to say, but sometimes hard to find absolute comfort in, especially in moments like now, when more and more people are being infected and dying from a respiratory infection. With prayer we have to believe that God works all things for our good and His glory. But we also have to let go of our constant need to have control in this life. God is in control of everything, we just need to live humble, obedient, lives of servitude for God and for others. So if God is in control of anything, our prayers should simply be prayers of thanksgiving and praise. However, as Jesus shows us here, persistent prayer, especially if there are millions of voices crying out to God to bring change in a drastic way, perhaps then, God will answer those prayers.
Since January 1, I asked those following this blog to pray for a specific miracle to happen in your life, and we have prayed for it everyday since. If you have not seen your miracle be brought to life, take a minute to really look at what it is you are praying for. Maybe God has already intervened in your life in some other fashion. That prayer ends today. From this moment on, we are focusing on praying for others. Pray for God to lift this pandemic off the face of the Earth. I put Maudy Thursday as the date God will wrap His heavenly protection over the Earth and halt the spread of COVID, but that day seems like an eternity away as thousands are being infected each day and hundreds are dying. Enough is enough, we need God to move now. We will come to Him in thanksgiving and petition and plead for His immediate intervention into this crisis.
Reading plan: Reflect and write about your experience reading the Gospel of Luke
Deeper reading plan: take the day off reading the OT as well. We’ve finished 10 books from the OT, next month we will be busy.
Prayer and meditation: we have prayed for something specific for the last three months, now let’s pray broader prayers for those in our lives, and continue to pray for God to lift Coronavirus off the face of this Earth.
Fitness challenge: sprint work! Do a ½ mile jog, stretch, and then we’re increasing our distance to 200 meter sprints. If you have access to a running track this is half a lap. Since we’ve doubled our sprinting distance, we’ll jump back down to just 4 x 200 meters.