Gather Together as We Sit Apart

Songdove Books - solitary cross

Cross over the World - Songdove BooksSunday, a day when most of us are used to the concept of being in church in the morning, in the evening, or in the afternoon taking church to a care home somewhere. But what do you do when you are in lockdown, self-isolation, flattening the curve, or self-quarantine?

Scripture says:

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Christ also said:

Matthew 24:3-8 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Later in the New Testament we read:

Hebrews 10:19-32 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

It is interesting that rumours are coming out of the UK and other places that some governments have now banned the gathering of more than 2 people at a time! Isn’t it comforting to know that even in such small numbers, God still chooses to show up? He is the empty place at your table, the unseen partaker of your conversations and if you let Him, He seriously DOES participate!

Songdove Books - network computerFor those sheltering in place alone with no one else in their physical space, we now have the wonders of technology to help with our socializing and gathering together. I encourage you to find churches and ministries doing online services. My church: Evangel Church Kelowna, is offering pre-recorded services online. Other churches are doing live streams. Singers and groups are hosting Facebook lives all over the place. Prayer groups such as The Cry -Toronto are holding interactive online prayer meetings. The Internet lets you join with others in heart and spirit to enter into God’s presence in song and hear the Word.

We are in an unprecedented time in history. We are literally writing a new history book as I type this! While many are dieing around us, many are recovering as well and still others aren’t even being touched by it, but as Psalm 91 says, they are watching with their eyes what is happening. Various plagues have come on the earth in centuries past, but most have not been global in nature. Now, in a world where air travel lets anyone from anywhere be anywhere in a matter of hours around the globe, this new pandemic has swiftly become global. This truly fits the description of a pestilence in that the corona family of viruses are viruses that generally only stick to their animal-type hosts and rarely if ever jump over to humans. This particular corona virus was genetically altered, causing countries and governments to scramble trying to find a way to stop it. Christ told us these days would come. We’ve had nation rising against nation for eons, and stepping up in intensity over the past 40 years. We’ve had earthquakes showing up in strange places that often don’t make scientific sense. We’ve had people claiming to be Christ in the flesh at various times in history and even now, a group known as Eastern Light coming from somewhere in Asia claims Christ has returned and God has brought Heaven down to earth.

Don’t be deceived!

Songdove Books - harddrive networkThe fact you can read these Scriptures and read the evening news at the same time is proof of what Christ was talking about. Stay in the Scriptures. Stay in prayer. Stay in godly Christian community even if it must be through your computer, laptop, tablet or phone for the foreseeable future. Isolation can lead to deception and strange doctrine, do not let that happen.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 4:18-27 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. 20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Songdove Books - Crown HeartGuard your heart and your mind in this time. Stay in community, digital if that’s your only option, but stay in community and stay focused on Christ in this time. This won’t last forever, and when it ends, we will discover a new normal. What that normal will be I can’t see just yet, but it will be different from what we know now and what we’ve known in times past. Be prepared to shift, to pivot, to see opportunities where others see only stress, doom and depression. Ask God what He wants you doing during this time and then get creative doing it. Ask God for creativity if you feel you lack it. Just as God gave Noah instructions to build the Ark before God sent the flood, He is giving us instructions now to make it through this time. Ask God what your role is and then wait for His answer. Keep doing the last thing He told you until you get your answer. Occupy till He comes.

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