In the midst of the coronavirus disaster, we are hearing many voices. The fact that the virus at the center of the crisis has many unknowns increases the cacophony. We hear experts contradicting each other, politicians leveraging the situation and the world’s top medical professionals doing their best to inform the public. All of this is natural as nations struggle to come to terms with something they were unprepared for and are uncertain as to how to respond.
What are we to believe? Conspiracy theories abound while evil minds devise ways to scam worried and stressed minds. The whole situation could, and does, raise the level of fear in the communities.
We need to stand back from the emotion and with a clear mind determine to hear one voice. We need to fear but not the emotional fear we see around us. We need to have godly fear. That reverence and godly fear will clarify the voice we listen to. That voice will provide calm confidence in the face of adversity.
Let’s consider the instruction given to us in the 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews. This instruction clarifies the voice we need to hear. The chapter begins by pointing us to the real purpose of our lives by using the analogy of a race (verse 1). Our calling and our acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice sets us on a course not dictated by worldly conditions. We look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. This course will require endurance because God will work with His people to mold and shape us into His image (verse 2). That is put in the context of correction (verses 6-8). There are times we will need to endure by faith. Now is such a time.
There is nothing you or I can do to stop a pandemic. We must have faith in God’s deliverance – as we do with Christ’s sacrifice delivering us from the bondage of sin. The author of Hebrews goes on to eloquently picture the heavenly realm as our focus (verses 22-23). Mt. Zion, representing God’s dwelling place, heavenly Jerusalem and the Church are all brought together as a projection of the godly realm into our physical reality. We are bound to this realm by the new covenant (verse 24).
The new covenant allows us to hear. “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).
God promises to shake up the earth “yet once more” (verse 26). All the signs that we may be in the beginning stages of this shaking are around us. In Zechariah chapter 7 we see this example. God speaks, “Thus says the lord…” and the response of His people was, “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so they could not hear” (Zechariah 7:9, 11). For this they did not escape, but went into captivity.
We, through the new covenant, have ears which can hear the voice of Him who speaks from heaven. That is the voice to which we must be attuned.
There will be earth-shaking activities as God works His plan into an end time scenario. But this is not our kingdom. We belong to the spiritual realm by Christ living His life within us. That cannot be shaken. God’s instruction to us is clear, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).
We must not “turn away from Him who speaks from heaven”. In this we will have faith and confidence in God’s handling of the affairs of this earth. We are to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”. God is building something that cannot be shaken. And we are a part of that building program.
Have faith, do your part and be calm, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Passover, NTBMO and Holy Day Update.
In anticipation of restrictions remaining in place for the foreseeable future, we are not planning any organized gatherings for the Passover service, NTBMO or services for the first Holy Day. We will continue to offer services online as usual.
There is a Passover service online which can be accessed at any time to fit the time zone in which you will be taking Passover. A Passover in home instruction letter is available upon request. You will need to plan ahead to prepare or purchase some unleavened bread and dry red wine. The service should begin as the sun sets on Tuesday April 7.
Similarly, there will be a short meaning of the night available online for the NTBMO if needed.
The service for the first Holy Day will be prerecorded and will contain reference to an offering as that is commanded in conjunction with the H/D. But since we cannot meet as local congregations members should mail their offerings to the P.O. Box in Pasadena (address below). Please make a notation to indicate what is H/D offering and the day. (e.g. HDO FDUB or HDO LDUB).
Members can use their green HDO envelopes but should place them in a regular white envelope for mailing to avoid drawing attention to the contents.
Chruch of God
P.O. Box 5490
Pasadena CA 91117
If there is any way we can be of service to you over this important time, please let us know.