A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE COVID-19 SEASON


Click play for a video recording of this article!

As I watched the global COVID-19 crisis unfold and evolve, like everyone else, I became anxious, upset, and wondered why it was happening. I listened to what various 5-Fold Ministry Offices said. Some said it was God’s judgement for sin while others said God was trying to get our attention. 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Psalm 91 were being quoted by clergy and laity alike. Rather than jump on those bandwagons, I inquired of God, “what meaneth this, why is this happening”? Matthew 4:17 was deposited in my spirit, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As the founder and leader of the What Did Jesus Say Movement, I searched and studied the scriptures to see what else Jesus was saying. I studied Matthew 24 and 25. Here Jesus gave parables on end-time events. End-time events are covered in Eschatology, the study of last things. It includes two doctrines–a study of heaven and hell where so much of last times will be spent and a study of prophecy, a detailed chronological sequence of events that will happen in the future.

With COVID-19, we are experiencing Matthew 24:6-8, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Jesus goes on to describe other things that will occur. In verse 30-31, He says. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other.” The COVID-19 global outbreak is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy of various last day events. It’s not the end but the beginning of end-time events.

The world is experiencing a “selah” moment. Dictionary.com defines this word “as an expression occurring frequently in the Psalms, thought to be a liturgical or musical direction…by the leader to raise the voice or perhaps an indication of a pause.” COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions worldwide. Most people are saying, “we are in our new normal.” From my perspective, this is not a “new normal” but we’re in an abnormal season. Don’t despair because every season is temporary and has a beginning and an end. This too shall pass!

At the end of 2019, many Christian leaders said 2020 is going to be the year of new visions, great change, clarity of vision, acceleration, fulfillment of former prophetic Words, preparation for spiritual battle, etc. With the way things are emerging due to the COVID-19 virus, you may be thinking they got it wrong. I conclude that they got it right.

When the dust settles, then we will have a “new normal” whereby life as we once knew it, will never be the same. That is good news and bad news. The aftermath of 9/11 also gave us a “new normal” as it affected security at airports, corporate headquarters, government buildings, banks, post offices, etc. Operations, too, in a good number of industries changed. Yet with God’s mercy and grace, America managed to adapt, go forward, and thrive.

The impact of COVID-19 will doubtless be greater than 9/11 because it’s an international dilemma. Many people have been infected, recovered, or died with COVID-19. Mental health has become a major issue due to gross uncertainty, social distancing, sorrow, and grief due to loss of life, health, jobs, income, homes, etc. Pervasive racial and economic disparities are exacerbated. Several things in our world will survive while others will vanish. Creativity will marry technology and new products and processes will be birthed. The prophesied 2020 vision will begin to manifest!

In 2019, Rev. Walter Bowers was commissioned by Ebenezer Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC to plant the Ebenezer Baptist Steele Creek Church, where I am now a member. He prayerfully and prophetically proclaimed the “Re” focus for the church’s core values—renew, revive, reset, restore, reveal, rebuild, reconnect, and recommit. His “Re” focus prophecy for the new church campus has become the reality for the entire planet.

In the spirit of Isshacar, it’s time for the world to “Re” focus. It will require us to desire, decide, determine, and depend on God to help us change.

It’s time to “Re” focus every sector of society. It’s time to reform governments, corporations, non-profits, educational institutions and so forth. It’s time to put God back into these entities!

It’s time to “Re” focus the Church, the Body of Christ. Prayerful examination of the Church’s mission, methods, and manner of operations is needed. It’s time to coin a new mantra: “get busy, get busy, get busier because the Kingdom of God is at hand”! This can be the Church’s finest hour as the stage is set for the end-times and Jesus’ return. I trust this crisis will produce a numberless harvest. People often turn to God when tragedy strikes and this one is of global, unprecedented, epic proportions. It’s time for a new vision of the urgency of the Church’s mission, the Great Commission, as found in Matthew 28:19-20. Let’s go! Let’s get the gospel out by every available means—in person, online, next door, in our families, in the marketplace, our neighborhoods, and everywhere we go.

It’s time to”Re” focus our individual lives because we all fall short of the glory of God. Thus, I implore each of us to take the time to do three things to have a “Re” focus. They are: 1) reflect 2) repent and 3) recalibrate. Let’s examine each of these!

First, to reflect means to seriously consider, ponder, or think about something. Prayerfully reflect on these questions. What can I do to prepare for life’s uncertainties? What things have I procrastinated doing that I should now make a priority? Do I need to get my spiritual, financial, and personal houses in order? What changes should I make as a result of this crisis season?

Second, to repent according to dictionary.com means to “remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition…to feel sorry for; regret. As we spend time in reflection, God will show us the things we need to repent to Him for. It may be about our relationship with Him or others, our work ethics, mores, personal habits, and the like. As we humble ourselves and repent, God will forgive and cleanse us, and heal the land!

Third, to recalibrate means to amend, revise, alter, make corrections, improve, redo, or update. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to help us devise a new plan for ourselves and our family in light of our reflections and repentance. Let’s implement it with alacrity! According to my sister in Christ, Von Kinchlon, let’s not develop “crisis amnesia”!

As we “Re” focus by doing these things, we will have a “new vision” for 2020 and beyond!

SCROLL DOWN TO HEAR A TEACHING ON GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION!

Love Has Everything to Do With It!

Today is February 14. America is celebrating Valentine’s Day, a day of love. It was named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine. On this day, eros, romantic love is expressed in many ways and some couples get engaged or married. In recent times on this day, people also express their love to their children, parents, and friends.

What is love? Love is an action word, not a feeling. When you love someone, you want to help meet their needs—tangible and intangible. God is love and met mankind’s greatest need–salvation by sending His son Jesus to die for our sins.

One of my former pastors asked everyone at church the question “Who you love”? He wanted you to say you loved him. Who are we to love? In addition to loving God, we are to love…
• family members
• neighbors
• friends
• strangers
• enemies
• all people

Our love for one another must be real, without conditions, kind, tolerant, and sacrificial. Love can be hard work. Let’s give mercy and grace because no one but God is perfect. Let’s be good listeners when people talk so we can hear what they need and provide it even when it requires a sacrifice of our time, talent, and treasures. I heard someone say, “Love does not hurt.” Let’s not hurt those we love but instead be forgiving, compassionate, and kindhearted to them.

Walking in love creates a win-win situation. Our giving of love produces a harvest of met needs, blessings, happiness, relief, comfort, thanksgiving, and rejoicing for the recipient. As the giver of love, we feel blessed to be a blessing.

May our Lord Jesus Christ increase and flourish our love for one another!

Express Your Thanks

In the past few years, I’ve noticed many children and some adults have a spirit of entitlement. This causes them to fail to express thanks. My Mom taught her children the significance of giving thanks. She said “be thankful for anything someone does for you—big or small—because people don’t have to do anything for you. “

Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God and to people for what they have done. We express our thanks to God and to people because God is the source of all our rewards and often works through people. God and people expect and are blessed when we do.

When we thank and praise God, He blesses us with His presence, power, and provision, resulting in joy and strength. People respond to our giving them thanks with thanksgiving, happiness, and gladness.

Someone I know always responds “I’m thankful” when you ask “how are you”. Her response blesses and motivates me to reflect on my reasons to be thankful. Now my response to the question how are you has also become “I’m thankful”.

As Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, he encountered ten lepers. They asked asked Him to have mercy on them. He instructed them to go show themselves to the priests. En route to the priests, they were cleansed of leprosy. I’m sure they all were grateful but only one of the ten returned and gave thanks to Jesus.

A church hymn’s refrain says:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Unlike the nine lepers, let us count our blessings and express our thanks for them.

3 R’s in God’s Kingdom

Do you remember that when you were a child in elementary school, your teacher taught you the 3 Rs? They were reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.

Well, did you know that God has 3 Rs He wants to teach you? They are realize, remember, and raise.

  • Realize that as God’s child, He will always be with you because He promised to never leave nor forsake you.
  • Remember that God has a good plan for your life that includes hope and a future.
  • Raise your faith level by hearing God’s Word, the Bible, on a daily basis by reading it out loud or listening to it audibly.

It is my prayer that God will give His people a revelation of His 3 Rs.

Let the Truth about the Celebration of Halloween Set You Free!

Celebrating Halloween is not innocent fun, is not of God but of the devil!

DID YOU KNOW?

The Druids hallowed out and carved a face on a large turnip representing the demonic spirit they depended upon for their power and knowledge.  Inside the turnip a lighted candle served as a lantern as they went from house to house. Pumpkins were substituted when this practice came to America in the 18th century and the name “Jock” which was the name of the spirit which inhabited the turnip was changed to “Jack” or “Jack-o-Lantern”.

DID YOU KNOW?

This practice entered the church when Constantine, a new zealous convert to Christianity became Emperor of Rome. He commanded that everyone had to become a Christian or face death. This resulted in the Church being flooded with pagans and their practices. The pagans demanded that the Festival of Samhains remain a part of their lives. To placate the people, the Pope declared a new celebration on November 1 called “All Saints Day” in honor of all martyred saints of the church and allowed the people to still have their festival on October 31 because November 1 was a holy day.

DID YOU KNOW?

In the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Western Europe a secret society of priests and pagans, the Druids, celebrated the eve of the Celtic new year in honor of their pagan god Samhain on 10/31. Traveling house to house, they demanded peculiar foods to offer to their “Lord Samhain” at the Festival of Death.  Refusal to give food incurred a spoken demonic curse over the home resulting in death within the year. Thus you have trick or treat!  This is still recognized today by all Satanists, occultists, and devil worshippers as the eve of the new year for witchcraft.

DID YOU KNOW?

The mass said on All Saints Day was “Allhallowmas” and through the years it’s name became Halloween. The Pope’s attempt to make “Allhallowmas” holy backfired and Halloween became recognized as a religious holiday.  Halloween is not a religious holiday as its origins are rooted in the occult, witchcraft, and Satanism.

DID YOU KNOW?

Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:11 reminds the Church at Ephesus “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”  Celebrating Halloween on 10/31 is celebrating the devil and all that is evil, dark, and dead–ghosts, witches, black cats, graveyard scenes, skeletons, monsters, bats, vandalism, and destruction of property.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Bible declares in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.  Is Halloween a celebration of God who represents light, goodness, and life or a celebration of Satan who represents darkness, evil and death? 

Jesus said in John 8:32 ” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

NOW THAT YOU KNOW THE TRUTH, OPEN yOUR MIND AND DECIDE TO GLORIFY GOD BY NOT CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN!

LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY SO!

Saying you are a Christian indicates the following:

1)  your spiritual relationship  – you established a relationship with God through His Son Jesus; you are saved; you are a Christian.

2) your spiritual position–you have been delivered from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.

Saying you are a Christian does not indicate your level of spiritual maturity.  You may be one of the following*:

1)   Baby Christian
2)  Carnal Christian
3)  Growing Christian
4)  Mature Christian

Let’s be intentional about growing spiritually by developing our relationship with God through daily praying and reading, studying, meditating, and applying the Bible, God’s Word, to our lives. 

*See my blog series “It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup” for further study.

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 7

The last diagnosis I want to teach you is being a mature Christian.  Just as a child desires to be a grownup; likewise, every Christian should have a goal of being a mature Christian.

A baby and a carnal Christian’s lives exemplify the Greek term “kata sarka” which means abnormal, out of harmony with their new identity.  As they grew spiritually, they put off the old man (practicing sin) and put on the new man (practicing righteousness).  In addition to Jesus being their Savior, He is now their Lord.  They are led by the Holy Spirit and have grown into a mature Christian. Now their lives exemplify the Greek term “kata pneuma”, normal and in harmony with their new identity. 

Mature Christians are “souled out” to God and have a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.  They pray without ceasing as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 and have become prayer warriors.  Hebrews 5:14 says, “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Because of a steady diet of the solid food of the Bible, they are able to operate in discernment.  In obedience to Joshua 1:8, they meditate and do God’s Word day and night resulting in a prosperous and successful life. 

Mature Christians are active church members.  They attend Christian Education classes, prayer meetings, and are cheerful givers and willing servants in the House of the Lord.  They know what God has anointed them to do and use their spiritual gifts to serve in God’s Kingdom.  They are “nevertheless Christians” and are working to fulfill God’s unique purpose for their life.  Mature Christians are living to hear God say to them one day “well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Mature Christians exude forgiveness and love for God and all people in their walk.  They exhibit an uncompromised lifestyle and are consistent faithful witnesses that glorify God.   Keep doing what you are doing so others will be inspired to continue to grow to spiritual maturity also. 

This concludes the It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup series!  Its purpose was to help you truthfully reflect and examine yourself.  If you self-diagnosed yourself as a baby, carnal, or a maturing Christian, follow the treatment plans and prescriptions given for each diagnosis. As people get older in the natural, people may say “you look like your father or mother.”  It is my prayer that all Christians will grow into a mature Christian that resembles God, our spiritual Father.  God is willing and able to help all Christians grow as they seek, discover, and fulfill His unique purpose for their lives!

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 6

Another possible diagnosis from a spiritual checkup is being a growing Christian. They have had a revelation of what it means to be a Christian. Developing their relationship with God is now important so they spend time with Him consistently in prayer and in His Word. As a result, their knowledge of who God is and who they are in Him is growing. Their belief and trust in God are also flourishing.

Because growing Christians have experienced some spiritual growth, a hunger and thirst for the Word and the things of God are being cultivated. They have established a daily time of devotion. Recurrent attendance at Christian Education classes has become their norm. Using their spiritual gifts and talents in willing service at church has caused them to seek God for their purpose.

Growing Christians have become a living epistle of 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV), “your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” It is evident to all that they have changed. Their concern for the salvation of their family members, friends, and others is ever-increasing. They are learning how to witness and share their faith with others and have begun to live a consecrated life unto the Lord.

If you are a growing Christian, it is my prayer that you will continue on your journey until you reach spiritual maturity!

stay tuned for part 7 of it’s time for your spiritual checkup for one more possible diagnosis!

It’s Time for your Spiritual Checkup – Part 5

Another possible diagnosis one may receive from a spiritual checkup is being a carnal Christian.  A carnal Christian has accepted Jesus as their Savior but does not consume the Word regularly.  As a result, their mind is not being renewed and their faith is weak.  They are not doers of God’s Word. On the contrary, they are ruled by the standards set up by the dictates of their flesh and trust in the flesh and people more than in God.

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 gives a clear description of a carnal Christian.  Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “For are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men”?   Because they were envious and jealous of one another’s spiritual gifts, they were argumentative and divisive. He rebuked them for their prideful behavior.

A carnal Christian is a willing prisoner of thoughts, desires, and values that are opposite to God’s Word. They are led by their emotions, their flesh (five physical senses), and by satan instead of being led by the Holy Spirit. Lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life impact their choices.

The treatment plan or prescription to cure carnality is to desire, decide, and be devoted to developing one’s relationship with God by spending more time in prayer and reading, meditating and studying God’s Word and depending on Him to help you do it.

If you are a carnal Christian, I pray you will be sold out to righteousness and not to sin!

 

STAY TUNED FOR IT’S TIME FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL CHECKUP – PART 5 TO LEARN ANOTHER POSSIBLE DIAGNOSIS!