MORE THOUGHTS ON THE CORONA VIRUS!



“However terrible the times, we must not imagine they represent divineneglect.  We never know the whole story.....We are unwise to passjudgment as though we had the full story.  Living by faith does oftenmean simply trusting where one cannot see” (Dr. Donald English, THEMESSAGE OF MARK,  p. 207, IVP).

Easier English for those who need it:  “No matter how bad it is, weMUST NOT decide that God is just forgetting about us, not paying anyattention to us.  We NEVER know the whole story..... It is not verysmart to decide and make decisions like we knew the complete story.Living by faith in God often DOES mean simply that we must trust Godand commit everything to HIM when we cannot see the whole story.” - B.Hawkins--Dear ones,
about the teaching that God used as I traveled in India and Cambodia
just a month and a half ago.  Also I am sure I need to complete the
research and the writing about the end of the Hasmonean Dynasty and
the situation as the New Testament opens.  Some of my more advanced
students need to have this information re-written into easy English
and exams created so they can complete their final studies in my EASY
ENGLISH E-MAIL BIBLE SCHOOL.  Both things NEED to be done NOW!
Instead of doing either of those things, I find myself PULLED back
again to some thoughts about this COVID-19 crisis.  I suppose I have
to talk about THAT.  It seems to be what everyone is thinking about.
Hopefully, before I die I will be allowed to complete those other
things and send them on to you little by little.
A few days ago I read (for the second time) a statement from an old
man just a few years younger than me.  He said something like this:
“We have been through harder things than this Covid-19 crisis and
survived....”  Now he is old.  And he has probably had more experience
than me.  I think he was a soldier.  I was never a soldier.  God did
not allow me to have that experience.  I am sure the old man was
trying to encourage us and I thank him for that.  I may not be right
here.  But I keep asking myself exactly what does he mean, “We’ve been
through harder things than this?”
Have we??  There have been some very, very terrible things that have
happened in the world.  I think the main thing HE was talking about
was The Second World War and after that.  He may have been thinking
about the thousands of deaths of young soldiers each day.  He may have
been thinking about the horrors of The Korean War or the jungles and
tunnels of Vietnam.  Terrible things were done!  I know it.  And I
know of things not long ago, like the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
But has anything ever been so worldwide and so out of control as this
plague?  I think it depends on your understanding of “out of control”.
And a vaccine to begin to GET control of it is so hard to find!  Plus
the ONLY help we have found so far is to distance oneself from every
other human being as much as possible and pray.  For many people, that
is almost as bad as the disease itself.
Especially for those who follow Jesus!  Meeting together, sharing
space and prayers, touching each other to indicate our love and unity
in Christ, and MUCH more togetherness - these are part of what
followers of Jesus Christ are all about!  How can we live without
being near one another?  And I want you to know that I feel it very
strongly myself.  Quite often I have an idea of something that would
be so encouraging to my people, the people God has called me to work
with.  But almost always it means getting together to make it happen!
And it would not take much or many people to start the awful plague
all over again.  Someone might have just passed a little too close to
someone in the grocery store who had just passed a little too close to
someone else at the pharmacy.
Thank God, those people who have enough money or the proper
connections have set up online church services!  Oh, that is
wonderful!  If the one you know about does not have very good
teaching, I can tell you about some who have wonderful teaching.  The
music all depends on what you like.  We have worship music to suit all
tastes.  But that part of meeting together known as FELLOWSHIP
requires bodily presence and freedom.
I think of my visit to India and then Cambodia just as the crisis was
beginning.  The Holy Spirit seemed to have HAD TO BE the One
controlling those meetings.  I did not plan it the way it was given to
me in India.  There, many miles from cities, the theme changed without
a glitch from “studying the GIFTS in order to be better LEADERS for
the Lord“ TO ”studying the GIFTS  so that we can FUNCTION in our
appointed calling while recognizing that other brothers and sisters
can FUNCTION properly in their calling while looking so different from
us.  And we realize that those differences are NOT to be divisive but
inclusive!"  More important than any of it is the call to UNITY in
Christ, that the world “will know we are the followers of Christ by
our living out our love for one another” in spite of everything!
That is how we moved very beautifully and purposefully from teaching
to touching.  We hugged each other a lot.  We shared the bread and the
cup, touching them and even, in one case, using a common cup.  (I did
suggest, after that, that we had better use real wine or else NOT a
common cup for safety’s sake.  This was well and gratefully received
for future practice.)  We washed each other’s feet.  We hugged and
held each other, in many cases.  We wept while hugging.  We really did
not want to stop.  In one case, we were so happy that we began to
dance before the Lord, holding each other’s hands and making total
fools of ourselves in our worship!  Touching, loving, holding, hugging
- ALL forbidden in this crisis.  I even saw some of the women kissing
each other’s cheeks.  And I later learned that walls had been building
up between some of the believers - sometimes over doctrinal
differences, sometimes other things, I suppose.  Of course, the POINT
IS, the Holy Spirit drew us closer together and we expressed it
physically.  AND He broke down those walls instantly and made us ONE
in Christ.  He gave us great love for Himself and for each other!
Then came Covid-19 which said, “You canNOT be together!”  And now we
are wondering whether we will have to live like this for the rest of
our lives?!?!  Yes, it is depressing.   Believers in Jesus Christ CAN
deal with it, however, because we have HIS Promise that He WILL be
with us no matter what happens!  And He CAN teach us through this
experience if we will open up our hearts and minds and ASK Him to make
us understand WHAT He wants us to know and DO as a result of this
terrible experience!  WE are Royalty, children of the Most High King.
Nothing can touch us unless HE allows it!  If we are willing for God
to use us, He can use THIS experience to reach out to areas of the
world that we could not reach before!
Of course, there IS another side to this.  There are those who believe
this is all a big hoax - NOT really happening!  That also is very
alarming.  I will talk about that in the next letter.  If you actually
read THIS letter, please write to me and tell me whatever YOU want to
say.
THEN I will write about The Other Side of the problem.
If you need to help someone ask Jesus Christ to come into their heart,
maybe these words will work:      "Lord Jesus Christ, I have done so
many sins and I am ashamed of them.  I feel so guilty and so evil.
Please forgive me of my sins and show me how you can change me into a
Godly person.  I need YOU.  I want to ask You to come into my heart,
take away my sins, and begin to change me into the person You want me
to be.  I open my heart to You.  Please come in right now.  In Jesus'
name I pray!"  If you pray that prayer, I will be happy to know about
it.  Send me a note.  God bless you as you begin your new life in
Christ!
In GRATEFUL PRAISE that God has kept me another day to share with you,

I sit here by my computer knowing I need to prepare the next few pages

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