Change nations by praying with us monthly about global events and pressing concerns for World MAP’s ministry – Emailed once a month
Editor’s Note: During this time of international crisis, we are praying for you! Please read World MAP’s April PRAYER CORPS below for news and encouragement. God bless you and keep you!
If you are anything like us, you like to stay informed. But with the recent COVID-19 outbreak impacting the entire planet, there is a relentless amount of information being pumped across the airwaves. Some of this “news” is speculation, some is truth, and some is outright deception intentionally twisted to promote biased agendas.
Most of it is accompanied by a breathless, fearful “late-breaking news” tone meant to scare us into listening to the entire broadcast in order for stations to keep their ratings high. So we have to ask ourselves, “How much of this ‘news’ is needful or even helpful?”
Limiting the input and wisely considering our sources for news are both good ideas – especially if our footing begins to slip away from the firm foundation of God’s Word. When fear wants to creep in and drive us, we must not forget who we are and to Whom we belong: We are blood-washed and redeemed saints, called out from darkness and into His marvelous light, for His marvelous purposes. And no virus will ever alter that truth!
There Is Good News!
So, even in the midst of this very real pandemic, our God is still working all things together for good for those who love Him. Let us give you just a few facts by way of example:
- Chinese Christians continue to be persecuted and hounded by their brutal and despotic communist government. But their response? To step up their intercessory prayer not only for their own nation, but especially for the Western Church in this critical time.
- In Iraq, churches have come together to feed and care for each other and for their sick neighbors who are not Christians. While still facing imprisonment, torture, loss of jobs and worse for their faith, they continue to reach out to others with God’s love and practical service and are winning people to Christ.
- House churches in Afghanistan continue to grow and proliferate in spite of deadly persecution.
- In India, the Parliament was planning to meet and pass a nationwide “no conversion” law against Christians. But because of the coronavirus, they suspended their meeting and did not pass this hateful law. Also, more than 70% of India lives in rural locations. So, with work shutdowns, the rural churches are actively reaching out and many in India are hearing the Gospel for the first time!
These are just a few of many good reports of how our almighty, loving and merciful Redeemer is still reaching people with the best and eternal Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ!
A Clear Perspective
Martin Luther lived and ministered at a time when the bubonic plague was taking millions of lives in Europe. When the plague came to his hometown, he refused to leave. He and his pregnant wife even opened their home to the sick. Here is a wise and powerful perspective he penned at the time:
“You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree, the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely.’”
In many places, the first-responders are on the “frontlines” and we thank God for each one of them. But as Christ followers, we also have a profound opportunity and responsibility. Here are some things we can do:
- Pray, pray, pray! What better way to use some extra time than to pray. You will feel much better (Philippians 4:6-8) and you will do so much good (James 5:16).
- Be Proactive! Look for opportunities to lovingly encourage others and to share the Gospel. People are genuinely frightened and likely more open to the Truth about Jesus in times like these.
- Pray in Faith! Jesus is still our Great Physician and Healer – amen! This is a time when His power and love can be manifest in people’s lives. So never hesitate to pray for others to be healed. You are not responsible for the results – but you have the privilege to pray and watch and see what only God can do!
- Practice Godly Service! Find a need and meet it. Pick up groceries for a senior citizen; watch a child for a first responder; share any extra food or supplies you have with someone who has less; and more. It has been said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; and if absolutely necessary, use words.” St. Francis of Assisi put it this way: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
(continued on pg. 2)