BE ENCOURAGED

MARK SHELDRAKE NATIONAL DIRECTOR, PRECEPT MINISTRIES CANADA

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In Your Word I trust, in your Word I praise, Your vows are binding upon me.” Psalm 56:3-4

How are you doing? It has been just over 6 weeks since we have been forced into isolation by the Covid-19 virus. In the matter of a few months we have witnessed the world go on pause. This has been a very interesting time for all of us. Our culture is used to the question “How are you doing?” and your usual response is “I’m good…you?” I had a mentor once who told me to be careful when asking that question because you never really know the response you are going to get. He would say “If you are in a hurry don’t ask people how they are doing as it could take a while for you to hear the full response to that question.” When I think through the answer “I’m good” the question that comes to mind is “Am I really good?” No this is not a rant that leads to Romans 3:23 and that no one is ever good because we are all sinners. This is about embracing the moment we are in right now. Is it ok to respond in another way that indicates that maybe we are not good right now? Stick with me on this for a moment and understand that it is ok to embrace how we feel in the midst of Covid-19. Our economy is in trouble, people are out of work, we are gripped by the fear of “what if” and there are days when we wonder if we will ever return to normal. It’s easy to be fearful, the media is feeding it and I for one would love to hit the reset button on 2020, but we can’t do that.

As I write this article, I am hunkered down in my basement sitting at a broken craft table listening to my favourite worship team with my Bible cracked open to Isaiah 45 and reading these verses;

“There is no one besides Me, I am the Lord and there is no other. The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these things.”

God clearly shows us that He is the one who is behind all of life’s experiences. Remember Job? In the midst of great calamity and distress he said to his wife,

“You speak as one of the foolish women speak. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity.”

In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed God at work through Precept in Canada. We launched multiple online studies and as soon as they went online people began to register for the classes. I have watched as classes are filled within a couple of days; people are hungry for God’s Word because they are embracing the times we are in. If I were to ask you how you are doing today, I am sure your response would not be “I am good.” Currently I’m teaching the 40 Minute study called “Breaking Free from Fear” twice a week, and within our group, we are confronting our feelings of worry and renewing our minds with the promises God. Week by week we are unpacking how to counteract fear.

Last week we looked at Psalm 56:1-4, 8-13 and I would challenge you to look up these verses and see how David is responding to adversity. He isn’t “good”. He is being trampled all day long, he’s oppressed, he’s crying and afraid, but he resets his mind.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In Your Word I trust, in Your Word I praise, Your vows are binding upon me.”

What I love about David’s response is that he remembers God’s promises for Him. We can learn from David’s example and run to God’s Word to be reminded that nothing in this world happens without God’s permission. He creates light and darkness, causes well-being and creates calamity. God is working in the midst of Covid-19 and all we have to do is reset our minds and look at what He is doing.

Precept is running multiple online classes and training each week. Sandra, our local trainer in Ottawa, is running a weekly “Revive and Renew” online drop-in using our lightning studies and is encouraged to see new people engaged in the ministry.

Karen in Edmonton emailed this week to tell me their class continues to meet on Zoom and how using this platform has added new students as well as an unbeliever who is attending.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with 50 leaders on a Zoom call to encourage them and see how they were coping with this new normal and I was overwhelmed at how creative they were to get God’s Word into the hands of their students.

Be encouraged brothers and sisters, God is working in ways that we could never imagine. Believers across the globe have had to pivot the way they do ministry to engage the church and there is fruit being born.

In the Plumbline you will hear from leaders who are engaging their students in God’s word through online platforms. You will see pictures of these classes and many more.

In the midst of this pandemic it is hard to see all the good that is happening. Take a moment and step back, take a bird’s eye view and let’s thank God for this season of our lives. He is in control; He is building His church and we get to be a part of that.

Blessings,

Mark

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