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Four words to keep in mind over the COVID-19 pandemic

As of this posting, it is being reported that there are over 3700 recorded cases of people contracting the corona virus in the U.S. On March 15th's Fox News Sunday with anchor Chris Wallace, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the following about this particular virus as opposed to the flu:

"One, it's brand new so we don't have any prior experience about what it's gonna

do, what it's dynamic's gonna be. Number 2, it spreads very easily, there's no

doubt about that. It isn't like some of the other outbreaks that we had that just didn't

adapt itself to spread among humans. And number 3, it's very serious in the sense

of morbidity and mortality, particularly among -- and very heavily weighted -- towards individuals who are more susceptible -- the elderly and those with underlying conditions."

There is no doubt a lot of chatter on this subject from the television to the internet to social media and wherever people may personally congregate. This is uncharted territory in our lifetime as we have witnessed major league sports suspend seasons, schools suspend classes and now just a few moments ago all restaurants and bars within the state of New York must shut down. How are we to respond in these times? What ought we to consider as believers in days like this? May I suggest four words that should govern our actions and thinking as we forge ahead?

Caution: I believe this particular virus has helped remind everyone of precautionary measures we ought to take at this time as well as during times such as flu season. The washing of hands, avoidance of touching one's nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, and the keeping of personal distance are all great reminders that should be implemented as a regular routine. I believe that many churches have been proactive in helping educate their people as well as doing what they can to mitigate this issue. All of us can and should use some common sense. As the Bible says in Prov. 22:3 "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished."

Composure: It is almost an understatement to say that there has been much hype and hysteria over this. Now, by no means am I minimizing those who have died as a result of contracting this virus and neither am I saying that we shouldn't discuss this at all. But in all seriousness and as with any other major problem we face in life, let's take a step back, take a deep breath and evaluate this with a clear and level head. First of all, fear has gripped so many people. Paul told his young disciple, Timothy, in times of great distress in his own life that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Think about it. We should not have that spirit of fear but instead have a sound mind which refers to prudent behavior in a given situation. Second of all, false information has been spread like wild fire. I have been shocked at some of the things I have read in the last few days. It probably would be a great idea to lay off of the news channels and social media. If you absolutely need updates on the virus, consider going to the website where information is updated often.

Consideration: Because we have been in uncharted territory, many individuals and churches have made decisions for their own well being. This past weekend some churches decided to continue with services at their place of worship while others did not. Some individuals made choices to stay home while others did not. I believe that one of the Baptist distinctives of Individual soul liberty would be a great thing to practice right now no matter if you are Baptist or not. It is possible that your church was not strong enough, in your view, in how they have handled the situation. Address it privately with them, pray for them and then support, as best you can, the decision that is made. It is possible that some person made a decision to stay home from church. Support them, pray for them and then let's all be reminded that this epidemic, Lord willing, will soon pass. But through every part of this, let "nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

Consecration: In this time of closures and possibly more people staying home, let's consider our lives before God. Every problem, trial and awful situation that we face in life is always a time to evaluate our life as it stands before our Savior. Take time to reflect upon your life. Take time to evaluate your relationships. And I believe if you do that, it may have a great awakening in three vital relationships. First, your relationship with God. Have you gotten so busy in life to read His Word and pray? Well, take some time now to communicate to Him and look through His Word for the the sustenance you need in this life. Second, your relationship with family. Again, business seems to be the hallmark of so many in America. Family members within the same household often seem to be ships passing in the night. Take time to eat together, pray together, play together and simply talk together. Third, your relationship with the unsaved. I have been greatly distressed at watching the reaction of people over this virus. It has seized the attention of people globally and literally sent shock waves throughout the nations. Imagine for a minute what some of the judgments of end times tribulation will do. Well, if Jesus were to come back today and your unsaved friend, co-worker, neighbor or family member went off into the tribulation days, the corona virus would be a small epidemic compared to what we read in the book or Revelation. Begin now by emailing, texting and calling your loved ones. This actually may be a time when their heart is softened to the things of God.

I pray that our lives and testimonies would be pure and a shining example in these times we live. Let's be reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

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