Pastor Mark’s Devotions, June 25

“Infection”

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

 

Yesterday, it was reported that currently, there are over 120 vaccines in different developmental stages to combat the coronavirus. 13 human trials have already begun. 5 trials in China, 3 in the U.S., 2 in the U.K., and 1 in each of Australia, Germany and Russia. The report acknowledged that there would need to be vaccinations made available for more than 7 billion people. They are preparing for the need to inoculate every person on the planet. It finally hit me. This virus is just like Sin. The coronavirus infection rate has the potential to have a universal effect. One way or another, every single person is going to have to deal with the reality of this contamination. The spread will occur by human to human contact or by inoculation methods, but at the end of the day, everyone will carry the virus with them.

It’s been amazing how all the world’s major powers are working to combat this virus. Every nation understands the implications of this disease. Death and destruction could reach every corner of the globe. Never in human history has there been such a worldwide concerted effort to solve an infectious disease crisis like this. Simultaneously, nations are working on multiple vaccines, knowing that there will need to be a multi-level attack to fight the virus.

In my mind, it’s raised the question; “Why has it been so difficult for nations to work together to fight other crises?” Climate change, pollution, drought, and famine, just to name a few, are also issues that arguably are stretching out across the globe. Yet the world does not earnestly unify against these threats. Why? Because nations, as a whole, do not feel the universal effect, at least not yet. And if an individual person or nation is not influenced or affected by a particular threat, the innate, natural response is to brush it aside. Self-interest and self-preservation take over. And the reason for this self-interest and self-preservation can be traced back through human history and discover its beginning in a Garden. From two human beings, who were created to be in complete communion with God, a universal spiritual infection entered into the world. Through disobedience and self-centeredness, the virus has spread across every continent and touched every corner. The name for this novel virus is called, Sin.

No one really likes to talk about this infectious disease. All the world suffers from a wide array of its symptoms, yet this virus flies under the radar. This Sin full contagious infection causes people to act and operate out of a purely selfish pursuit without regard to another individual or consequence. Sin keeps the world from working with one another and/or trusting each other. Sin, when fully infectious, will cause the complete destruction to anyone or anything that lies in its path. And in its diabolical way, in the end, will be the cause for the self-destruction of its host. But often this wiley virus appears asymptomatic. It hides under the breath of unknowing and unsuspecting carriers, waiting to express its vile effects later on.   

What would happen if the world acknowledged the universal infection of Sin across the human race? What if the nations recognized the recycled symptoms and signs of this virus throughout history and unilaterally declared war against this destroyer? Can you imagine a world that has conquered Sin? Literally, it would be heaven on earth! No more death, or mourning or crying or pain. The old order of things would pass away and EVERYTHING would be new. We would understand stewardship, dominion and rule in a completely new way. We would no longer be contaminated with solely selfish pursuits but our souls would pursue selfless Godly priorities. Unity, wholeness, community and shalom would be the common denominator and common experience in every household. Love, hope, peace and joy would be the strongholds in every single heart.

What if the world’s major powers concentrated every ounce of effort and focused every resource available, as they are with the coronavirus, to discover a vaccine for Sin? The unfortunate reality is that they will never do this. Sin has completely corrupted the human heart and mind. And Satan is working hard to distract the world from recognizing this true culprit. To the world, this effort would be absolute foolishness. Yet, in reality, a vaccine has already been provided. Even though the world will not receive it, the blood of Jesus Christ contains the antibodies that will inoculate the entire world. Sin has so corrupted the human heart that no one, in and of themselves, will call out for this vaccine. But still the vaccine remains available. And to all who receive him, who receive his blood and believe in his name, all are given the power, authority and right to be healed and given new life. If you have faith in Jesus Christ, consider yourself to be one of the fortunate ones. You did not come to this faith on your own. Your faith in Jesus Christ, means that by the grace of God, you have been inoculated and this is through no effort of your own. Faith is the result of being injected with the Holy Spirit. By God’s grace you have been injected and have been given the ability to receive and believe in the blood.

Even though nations will not join together. Let us continue to come together in earnest and confess our sickness to Sin. Let us confront Satan and acknowledge our helplessness in overcoming this virus. But with the same breath, let us also boldly confess that we are not looking to heal ourselves. Our healing is based upon another One’s blood that contains the ultimate antibodies. Jesus Christ has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil by his blood.  And what the world considers foolishness, we know to be our life, hope and salvation.

Now is the time for us to share the Good News of this vaccine that has already been provided. His name is Jesus. And He can save every sinner from Sin.

God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” 1 Peter 1:2

God Bless You All!

Pastor Mark  



Pastor Mark’s Devotions, June 1

“Wheat and Weeds”

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this’,” he replied. Matthew 13:27-28

Jesus teaches his followers about the Kingdom of God with many parables. Matthew 13:24-30, records Jesus’, “Parable of the Weeds.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

_________________________________________________________________________________

As I watch the new reports covering the protests surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd’s, there are definitely two groups of protesters. One group of people are trying to sow good seed. This one group is trying to bring greater attention and conversation to the issues of inequity and racial injustice, through non-violent action. They are trying to plant seeds that will result in greater understanding, respect and peace.  

There is another group of people who are sowing weeds among the wheat. These people have been organized to wreak havoc. They show up at night, seeking to create chaos and cause destruction. Their motives are not to generate conversation. Their actions are clear; looting, graffiti, and causing mayhem. This latter group is being led by an enemy.

In Jesus’ parable, the weeds are allowed to grow together with the wheat until harvest time. In relationship to God’s Kingdom, Jesus says that the weeds must not be pulled out because in doing so, you may uproot the wheat.

Wheat and weeds will always grow together. But it is critical that we are able to recognize and discern the difference between the wheat and the weeds. The wheat seeks to bring in a harvest of love, compassion, understanding, respect, unity and forgiveness. The weeds seek to grow dissension, destruction, and division out of selfish ambition.

As we watch and pray, may we be good seed among the weeds. Let us sow conversations and action that will reap greater understanding. Let us work to cultivate a harvest of righteousness that will glorify God and build His Kingdom of peace.

God Bless You All!

Pastor Mark