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WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON IN OUR WORLD??

      As I write this blog, the world has changed even more drastically since my last blog in April. Then, all we were dealing with was the Coronavirus.  Now we’ve added cities and lives being torn apart because of anger and mistrust—at times it feels like there is more division and hate than ever before.  The country that was founded on God now seems bent on living in direct opposition to Him.

      In the midst of it, we may find ourselves asking: Where is God in all of this? Are we beginning to see the ushering in of the end times? How do I keep myself from being caught up in those feelings of anger and hopelessness? How can my life make a difference in a world that so blatantly needs Jesus?

        First, while we need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us, we can’t let it consume us.  We have to stop focusing on all of the hate and negativity……turn the news off and open God’s Word.

 Philippians 4:8 – a verse most of us have read and know tells us how to quit focusing on all of the turmoil around us and instead focus on:

 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…..if anything is praiseworthyTHINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.

     This verse reminds us to focus on things rooted in God’s love and His mercy.  When I think of all the ways God has blessed me, protected me, loved me—how can I not trust Him with things today? And, when I further think about the plans God has for our eternity, how can I not have peace, joy, and hope?

 In Colossians 3: 1 – 3 God instructs us:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE – NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS.  For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

     Now more than ever, we need to begin filling our hearts and minds with God.  It is impossible to accurately represent something or someone that we know very little about. We need to live and breathe God’s character if we want to pattern our lives after His.  The only book we ever need to study to truly know the character of God is the only one written by His very own hand—the Bible. Bible studies and Christian books are wonderful supplements but should never take the place of spending time in His Word.

     Second, once we begin thinking on things that are true, right, holy, pure, encouraging, filled with hope and God’s love, we will begin reflecting Him to those around us. Wherever we go, people will begin to see Jesus in us. They will see His characteristics flowing out of our words and actions—words and actions that show His love, mercy, understanding, forgiveness, encouragement, concern and hope.

      Colossians 3: 12- 14; 17 states:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you……And over all these virtues……PUT ON LOVE which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

      Notice the word “clothe” yourself.  Just as we have to take time every morning to put our clothing on before we go out, God is instructing us that we need to “put on” all of those Godly characteristics found in that verse.  Oh what a difference we would make in the world around us if ALL of our words and actions reflected those characteristics of God that we had taken the time that morning to “put on” by being in His Word before we left our home to go out and mingle with the world.

        Third, we need to NEVER forget that no matter what we are seeing take place in the world around us, God is still and always will be on His throne.  He is not pacing back and forth wondering what His next plan is going to be. He is firmly and confidently on His throne and what we are seeing is His plan moving forward.  Have confidence and joy in knowing that.

       Psalm 29:10“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King FOREVER.” God had complete control when the great flood happened and He has complete control with COVID and any hate and division in the world today.

  Psalm 31:24“Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.” 

    DON’T LOSE HOPE!  We need to continually look up. Are the end times on the horizon? No one knows.  But of this we can be sure—we need to live every single day of our lives as though it is.  We don’t have time to waste in telling those around us who so desperately need to hear—Jesus loves them and is waiting for them to come to Him.

     A Pastor I knew once made this statement that has always stuck with me: “The reason our evangelism is not effective is because our lives do not reflect the Jesus we are proclaiming.” (Pastor J.D. Cook)

      As we face the coming days let us always remember as God’s people, we must always take a stand for what is right, while always remembering to act with love and mercy, and understanding of what those around us might be going through.  

THE BEST IS YET TO COME… LET’S LIVE TODAY LIKE WE BELIEVE IT!

 

Posted by Beth Sweeney with
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How long has it been since we have been able to turn on the television or radio and not hear about COVID-19 or protests over racial injustice?  While we agonize with news media overdose we cannot ignore the facts that today COVID-19 has no vaccine, and to date has taken more than 129,000 lives in the United States alone this year, compared to the seasonal flu, which does have a vaccine, and has taken between 24,000 – 62,000 lives, per the Centers for Disease Control.   At the same time, it has been highlighted that men of color are more subject to being stopped by police than their white counterparts simply because of the color of their skin.  This is wrong.  While disheartening, time and change will continue.  It will get better.  But there are other things happening in the world today that don’t make the news! 

For example, this year, within the Southern Baptist Convention, the International Mission Board (IMB), the organization which sends out missionaries, celebrates 175 years of sending and supporting our missionaries all around the world.   In May 1845, hundreds of Southern Baptist churches across the country realized that they could make more of an impact on the mission field collectively, than they could individually.  So the Foreign Mission Board (FMB) was formed as part of “one sacred effort, for the propagation of the gospel”.    Rebranded the IMB in 1997, it has sent out almost 25,000 missionaries to 185 countries since that first meeting 175 years ago.  Most recently, on June 9th, the IMB President, Dr. Paul Chitwood commissioned 61 missionaries by a virtual Sending Celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board has been connecting Southern Baptists together in sharing Christ and planting new churches around the world.   “Throughout our 175-year history, Southern Baptists have maintained an uninterrupted witness among the nations, in spite of famines, wars, civil unrest and even – as we are experiencing right now - a pandemic,” Chitwood noted.  To commemorate this occasion, the IMB developed and launched an online interactive timeline at https://www.imb.org/175 outlining this history.  In it, you will find compelling stories, interesting facts, beautiful pictures, and many short powerful video clips.  Look for it. 

We also want to celebrate by advancing the missionary task in prayer.  The IMB is mobilizing 175,000 people to pray for 175 days in a coordinated effort this year.  On May 11, 2020, the IMB began sharing specific God-stories and prayer points from all around the world.   Join to push the gospel forward in prayer! Go to this link: https://www.imb.org/175pray

 Ways to get involved

Finally, you support funding the work of the IMB through your church giving to the Cooperative Fund with thousands of other churches.  Last year FBC Wentzville gave $36,000 in Cooperative giving and at Christmas we gave $15,000 through the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.  Your giving makes a difference.  As Dr. Chitwood said, “We’re grateful God has continued to expand His kingdom and allowed us to join Him in His work.  And there is still work to do.  That is why the IMB is still sending Southern Baptist missionaries.” 

Posted by Glen Locklear with

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