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Shalom everyone.

I wanted to share some thoughts with you about the current crisis the entire world now finds itself in. When I consider just how quickly the world has changed in the last few weeks, I can’t help but consider a few verses of Scripture that seem to apply to our situation. The first thing I think of is what is written in Haggai 2 and then elaborated upon in Hebrews 12. The prophet Haggai wrote:

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land and I will shake all nations.” (Haggai 2:6-7)

The writer of Hebrews, quoting this, said:

“Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:27)

It seems obvious to me that God is shaking all nations; everything that men had been busy building has, to a large degree, come to a halt. Everything we have placed our confidence in is being tested to see whether or not it will be able to withstand the impact created by this invisible bug. It is as if the Creator has pushed the “Pause” button on everything and, as in Genesis 11 and the confusion of the languages, allowing the nations of this world to flail about in confusion. Might it be that, as is was in the building of Babylon’s tower, there are those in this world who were planning something so detrimental to mankind — above and beyond their normal wickedness — that the Creator decided to intervene? Something to think about.

Here is something else to think about — what is He saying to us at this time? I can’t help but think that He is sending a message to His people in the midst of this crisis. Consider the story of Noah and what befell the world that was. Most importantly, consider what those days meant to the remnant of righteous souls who heeded His warning.

“And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.”

I’ve always found it fascinating that “the LORD shut him in.” We’re not told how that was accomplished in a mechanical sense, but we are made to understand that God saw to it, personally, that the door was closed. It is thus inferred that once God closed the door, no one could open it.

In other words, time had run out for anyone who had heard and disregarded the warnings being preached by Noah. We know that our God is long suffering, not willing that any should perish but we also know that there is a time when He must act for the sake of His purpose and for the righteous. Once the door is shut, the opportunity that had been presented for restoration and blessing is closed.

In the parable of the ten virgins we see a similar theme. Remember all of them had lamps containing oil. The wise also had extra vessels containing oil; the foolish did not. All went to sleep waiting for the bridegroom’s call that was delayed. Upon hearing the call at midnight, all awoke, but the foolish discovered that they didn’t have enough oil to make the journey in the darkness. They were compelled to go purchase oil in the middle of the night from merchants who had long before closed their shops. While they were doing this, the bridegroom came.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ (Matthew 25:10-12)

Once again we see that, once the LORD has shut the door, it can’t be opened. That is a tragic thing to consider and so let us not be as those foolish virgins. Instead let us be like those in the congregation at Philadelphia. Because they had been faithful to keep God’s Word, Messiah told them:

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:8)

Just as no one can open what God has shut, no one can shut the door that God has opened for His people. Here is my point: with all of my heart I believe that He is about to open doors for His people that will precipitate another Great Awakening. To lead others out of darkness and into the Light is why we are here. So let us do, today, what we must, that we might be prepared to go through that open door while it is still available to us.

What I’m about to say, I don’t say claiming that I have heard from the LORD directly, but I say it because this is what I sense — so make of it what you will. Here goes: I don’t think that this pandemic is IT as in “the Big One.” I do believe it is another in a steadily growing number of birth pains that are going to be coming more frequently and impacting our lives more intensely as we move closer to the return of the Messiah. And so consider this:

“So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.”

When all was said and done, all that was left standing of the “world that then existed” (2 Peter 3:6) was Noah and his family. Why did God grant them such favor? I believe it is because they were, as Messiah put it, established upon the rock. The winds blew and the storm came but their “house” stood. Everyone else had chosen other things to build upon.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.vBut everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

The writer of Hebrews tells us that there is coming a day when God will shake heaven and earth in order to distinguish that which is built on things eternal — metaphorically, the rock — from those thing that are built upon the sand. He goes on to say that:

“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. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

If we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and willing participants in His purpose, then we have joined ourselves to that which cannot fail. Therefore, we are admonished to serve God in a way that pleases Him, knowing that He is a consuming fire — He is the One who will consume those man-made institutions and philosophies that are not worthy of remaining. But like the fire that inhabited the burning bush in the wilderness, that which serves His purpose can withstand the consuming fire that is our God. It may be uncomfortable and it will, most definitely, purge the dross from our lives, but it will purify in the process.

Finally, if we were to continue into Hebrews 13, we see that there is something that will remain after this consuming fire has done its work. That which remains is “brotherly love” which is translated from the Greek term, philadelphia. So then, those attributes that we see Messiah acknowledge as being present in the congregation of Philadelphia are attributes that you and I must emulate. These are things that will withstand the things that are coming upon the earth. Brothers and sisters, our purpose has not changed just because our world has. Therefore, stand fast; stay the course and, “Look up; lift up your heads for your redemption is at hand.”

Blessings and Shalom, 

Bill & Beth

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