Pastor Carroll's notes from Wednesday Night Prayer and Bible Study
Lamentations 3: 20-25
Many people woke up this week to a world they never imagined. It happened because of the coronavirus outbreak. Along the way we learned a new word: pandemic. We know the word epidemic, which refers to widespread disease, but what is a pandemic? It means "a disease has spread to many parts of the world." What started in China spread quickly to South Korea and Japan. Travelers took it to Iran, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, and soon it spread across the entire globe. As of this service Italy and Spain are in lockdown, borders are closed including the United States. Almost every country in the world has issued travel restrictions to keep out anyone infected with the coronavirus.
We live in strange times.
Schools are closed, restaurants are closing, sporting events have been canceled, large assemblies are forbidden, and we’ve all learned about "social distancing," which means you stay away from me, and I’ll stay away from you. Some counties, and the City of San Francisco are under a "shelter in place" order, which means you stay home round the clock, with only a few specific exceptions. All because of a tiny microbe that is incredibly contagious and extremely dangerous, especially to those over 60 and those with compromised immune systems. This is life for all of us right now. No one knows when things will get better. This may last a few weeks, or it may last a few months. It could last longer. We are living with a level of anxiety we haven’t seen since 9/11. People worry about their health and the health of their loved ones. We’re worried about losing our jobs and our income. Our 401K's have become 20.5K's. Most of us feel trapped by events that we can’t control. No wonder people are hoarding toilet paper. No wonder we can’t sleep. No wonder we feel shaky.
How should Christians respond to all that the Coronavirus has brought on?
A. Be Calm
Christians ought to be the calmest people on earth because we know the Lord, and he
holds the future in his hands. There is no panic in heaven over this pandemic. If you spend all your time perusing the latest news, you will doubtless lose your perspective. Focus on the Lord, remember his promises, and everything will be well with your soul.
B. Be Prepared
Since no one can say what tomorrow will bring. It would be good to stock up on the essentials we will need. Some of those items might include: food, medicine, other essentials (toilet paper), and perhaps a little cash. Who knows, we might be asked to "shelter in place" or "self-quarantine" ourselves to one degree or another. At the very least, we’ll all spend more time at home than usual. So be prepared, but have an optimistic outlook.
Take wise precautions. Wash your hands! (with soap as we tell the Day School kids). Practice "social distancing" (6 feet apart), but most of all don’t despair and don’t give in to fear.
God has equipped us for times like these.
Notice the following passage in the book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 6: 6-11 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:  Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,  Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
C. Be Ready To Share
Keep your eyes open for those in need. This includes senior citizens, the sick, and those who are otherwise overlooked by society. We will all find plenty of opportunities to minister in the days ahead.
We don't need to give in to fear.
1 John 3:17 "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
D. Pray Fervently
1 Timothy 2:1-2 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
E. Be An Encourager
Even though many business establishments have temporarily closed and social contact is limited. There are still opportunities to reach out and love others. How can we accomplish this?
- Through phone calls, text messages, emails, video calls, and social media.
- You can check in to see how loved ones are doing and encourage others with prayer, a kind word, or sharing a passage of God’s Word.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
F. Stay Informed
In times like these, it’s easy for misinformation to spread. Check with your local health services, or your family Doctor to stay up to date about what’s happening in your community. The website Hampton.gov has a great deal about the virus on its website. Another resource is the (CDC) or the Center for Disease Control Website.
Proverbs 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:"
G. Be A Witness (to a needy world)
Pray and ask God to give you opportunities to witness in these unperilled times. Seek or look for the opportunities you have prayed for. Follow through and wittiness to them.
1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
CONCLUSION: While there is a number of things we should do and a number of things we could do. The most important things is for us to overcome our fear with faith in Christ.
Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
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Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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