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A believer’s wake up call in 2020!

Revelation 3:15–22 (NLT) “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.””

The COVID-19 crisis is the biggest, most costly, most restrictive GLOBAL crisis ever faced in my generation. It has come at the of cost many lives, many jobs, and robbed many minds of the peace they once enjoyed. Fear, anxiety, and terror have become the overwhelming emotions in many communities, homes, and lives. Because of that, I’ve been asked many times, both personally and on our radio program this question, “Is COVID-19 Coronavirus God’s Judgment on the United States of America”?

The short and long answer is “NO”, not in the way it’s asked. Of course the pains of this pandemic are directly related to the consequences of sin.  We are living under the consequences of many sinful decisions, many sinful leaders, many sinful rebellious actions.  I’m sure there will be little to no debate on that.

However, what is most important during this time? We must personally, individually, and corporately humble ourselves before God, confessing our sin, seeking His forgiveness and mercy, and live our lives in light of His soon return!  We must be men and women of action, living out our abiding relationship with Jesus in obedience and good works. We must be men and women of the Word and prayer, submissive to the Father, living in our first love relationship with Him!

I understand that the simple answer may not satisfy many who are looking to squeeze a specific, obvious purpose in the pain but as we survey the Scriptures we learn that God uses diseases, pandemics, and plagues for His Sovereign purposes aside of judgment, and that even in judgment there is mercy and grace.  It seems that these days, short, pithy answers are offered in place of a panoramic view of God’s Sovereign ways, which by the way, God often reminds us that we don’t totally understand them!

Isaiah 55:8 (NLT) ““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

This is NOT the time for Christians to offer their quick “Christianese” answers but rather a time for our faith to come alive!  We simply don’t know all the reasons behind God’s purposes and plans. But we know God! We know of His faithfulness, His care, His concern, His ever present help in time of need.

I admit, reading through the Bible, we find God allowing terrible diseases to execute divine judgment on people and nations, to warn others of judgment, and to wake up a person or nation to the reality of just how far they have wandered away from God. (Ref: Ezekiel 38-39, Jeremiah 49-50, Zechariah 14, Revelation)

Yet, remember when God spoke through Amos to the nation of Israel:

Amos 9:9 (NLT) ““For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost.”

We know the Bible predicts that pestilences and diseases will be one of the signs that will be clearly seen proving to the generation alive at the time that the “last days” are upon them.

Matthew 24:2–9 (NLT) “But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.”

Even though God has used, and will use pandemics and diseases to judge a person or nation, He has also used them in times past to shake a nation, to wake them up, to warn them, to stir up an awareness of their need to repent of their sins and return to Him.   Remember this key insight given to us by Peter, living under the banner of the New Covenant:

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

God is calling you to turn to Him. That’s a definite purpose of our current times.

2 Chronicles 7:12–14 (NLT) “Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

1 Timothy 2:1–7 (NLT) “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.”

I know many are looking for meaning, purpose, and help during this unprecedented time. But friend, be careful not to misrepresent God and His love for His creation!  It’s a scary and frightening time indeed.  Jesus taught us that would happen.

Luke 21:26 (NLT) People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”

As the coming of Jesus, the glorious rapture of the Church draws nearer and nearer, let’s keep our eyes, our minds, and our lives firmly focused upon Him!

Luke 21:28 (NLT) “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

What is most important during this time? We must personally, individually, and corporately humble ourselves before God, confessing our sin, seeking His forgiveness and mercy, and live our lives in light of His soon return!  We must be men and women of action, living out our abiding relationship with Jesus in obedience and good works. We must be men and women of the Word and prayer, submissive to the Father, living in our first love relationship with Him!

John 3:16–17 (NLT) ““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

A special thank you to Joel Rosenburg for his white paper on biblical plagues & pestilences. 



    Thank you Pastor Ed for this tool to share with others! I was uncertain about this topic and the scripture has cleared it up with truth. God bless you.

    • John Headley says:

      Thank you Pastor Ed! I listen to you on Hope Fm in New Jersey. Grateful for your down to earth teaching and how you make the Bible relatable. I agree GOD is knocking on the door telling us to wake up. Keep up the great work preparing us for HIS return! I hope to high five you in the rapture if possible! Looking forward to more biblically sound teaching!

  • Lori Bower says:

    Ty… I really needed this at this time

  • Michael Williams says:

    I shared this as today’s devotion. Blessings brother.

  • Michael Beckman says:

    Thank you Pastor Ed, my wife and I were talking just this morning about starting a new devotional…this is it! I love it! We miss you a bunch, but God is so awesome, we get too hear his word Sunday mornings with coffee and dressed in PJ’s at home!! We love you Pastor..take care, be safe.

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