“Stand firm and you will win life.”- Luke 21:19
Have you ever read or received a Scripture from the Bible that speaks directly and unmistakably about the situation you face, the decision to make, and the season you are navigating through? Last week during my daily dive into God’s Word, these focused exhortations and encouragements from Jesus on the End Times, jumped off the page.
As the disciples are focused on the beauty of the temple, Jesus provides them with an unwanted itinerary of the unfolding dark days ahead. In Luke 21:11 He warns, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” In no way was He attempting to burst their bubble or play a sour note, rather Jesus proclaims that there are AMAZING OPPORTUNTIES to stand in the faith, shine with our faith, and see our faith win!
During this interruption to our routine which the “Stay at Home” order has created and confined us to, we have a decision as to whether we see it as a major inconvenience or an unforeseen opportunity. If we are not alert to the Holy Spirit, we can find ourselves missing these opportunities, as we frantically try to answer work emails from home, help our kids with the “new math”, or as we scroll Facebook pages, websites, and news feeds to see who we agree with and who makes a blood boil as it relates to COVID-19. In Luke 21:13 Jesus speaks of these opportunities despite the obstacles, "This will be your opportunity to bear witness.”
Here is some required (not recommended) watching for God’s people during these times that you will not find on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, or Disney Plus. The type of watching I am talking about is your OPPORTUNITY to shine for Jesus and share Him with others.
1) Watch out for what you SAY- Be very careful not to get caught up in a running commentary of complaints, arguments, and prideful/selfish positions. Many have heard or seen believers being “loud and proud” on Facebook posts and even in local protests. I am not here to judge them as being wrong, however my guess is that Jesus would say, like He did to Martha in response to her complaints, that there is a better way (Luke 10:42). Proverbs 21:23 tells us, “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”
2) Watch and PRAY- A much more productive use of our words should come in the form of prayer. This season is not the time to decrease our prayer times and needs. Begin building a prayer focuses that rivals any shopping list you have made the last seven weeks. This season should be a sobering reminder that it is always the right time for the saints to be praying for loved ones, national leaders, first responders, neighbors, the church, and all who need a God touch. In Matthew 26:41 Jesus tells Peter to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
3) Watch for WAYS to BLESS- There are certainly people around us struggling with areas such as loneliness, anxiety, finances, lack of resources, and even faith. Ask the Lord to bring people to your mind and place people in your path that you can stretch out your hand to bless. Whether it is a phone call, encouraging text, a gift card, making a meal or going shopping, your love expression can lift their spirit and show them Jesus. In Galatians 6:10 Paul says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”