The Christian Response to the Coronavirus
by Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, Pastor
Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
March 30, 2020
"The Promise of Answered Prayer!"
Jesus is a praying savior; Jesus knows how to pray; Jesus has mastered the power of prayer; Jesus promises to answer our prayers.
What are you praying about and why are you praying? I think it is important in this day to take your “prayer temperature.“ Romans 8: 26 states “Likewise the spirit also helped our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.“ Thank God for His Holy Spirit. Thank God that when we are missing the mark in our prayer life, Jesus is saying we don’t even know what we need and desire. It is at that time that Jesus makes intercession for us. Jesus can fix it! So never cease to pray, even when you don’t know what to pray about.
There is no perfect person and there is no perfect prayer. Jesus answers humble, earnest and sincere prayers. However, we have a perfect savior who simply loves to hear our voice. Henceforth, let me encourage you to never cease to pray; never be ashamed to pray, and never doubt your prayers. Matthew 21:22 assures us: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." I don’t know how you feel about prayer and praying. My God promises to answer prayer. As a matter of fact, I am turning off the television and having a conversation with Jesus. The exhortation of Hebrews 4: 16 guides us: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need." God will answer prayer. Won’t he do it? Amen.
March 31, 2020
Praise God! Today is the last day in March, 2020. The impact of COVIC-19 on our daily lives has truly been in the spiritual realm. “March Madness!” The outbreak of the coronavirus has and is testing our faith, our strength and our trust in the living Lord. Praise God, we are still here! This week, I am writing about the “The Promises of God.” Yesterday, I shared with you “The Promise of Answered Prayer.” Today, God is urging me to talk about “The Promise of God’s Presence!” Listen! The Bible is a book about the living God who keeps His word, who keeps His promises, and a God you can trust at all times.
We can find the promises of God from Genesis to Revelation. A life-changing verse about God’s promises was recorded about Jesus’ birth. St. Matthew 1:23 tells us, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” God with us! God with us! God with us! Can you name one day, one time, one season, one situation or one struggle, in which God was not with you? If you can’t, then we need to stop right now and tell God “Thank you!”
Just in case the troubles of this life, the burdens of this life and the vicissitudes of this life have stolen your joy and your hope, you must remember right about now, that the promise remains “God with us!” Yes, because of the assurance of the promise of “God with us,” we can journey on; we can thrive; we can overcome; and we must press on. Why? Because sweet Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:20B, “…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ” Look around. Is the world over yet?
April 1, 2020
"The Promise of Peace”
God has promised to give us peace: peace in a storm...peace in sickness...peace in stressful and struggling times. This is not an April fool; this is not a hoax; this is not a canard; and this is truly not a rumor! The Prince of Peace can give us “perfect peace." Isaiah 26:3 gives us hope: "Thou will give him perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
This coronavirus is causing so much fear and anxiety. I am praying that we will trust the word of God; He promises us perfect peace. Perfect peace is inner strength in the midst of satanic sabotage. That means Satan is ripping your nerves apart. Perfect peace is inner calmness in the time of external chaos. That means that whatever happens, I am going to hold to God’s unchanging hand. The promise is if we trust the Lord, if we keep our mind stayed on the Lord, He promises to give us “perfect peace." This promise is conditional.
Let me give a few more assurances that Jesus is the “author of peace, and not confusion." The enemy wants to get into your head and mind thoughts of hysteria, dejection, depression, apathy, anxiety and mental confusion. Jesus gives us this bold affirmation and assurance that he has come to give us peace. Saint John 14: 27 declares, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” Jesus gives us a peace of mind, a peace of soul; He gives us the peace of God.
Philippians 4: 6-7 tells us, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made unto God and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus." Amen. Ain’t He alright? Our parents are correct; the old preacher is correct. “God is a heart fixer and a mind regulator!"
Start this month of April firmly believing that you can experience the “gift of peace.“ It’s a promise! Shalom!
April 2, 2020
"The Promise of Protection!”
As we all try to do our utmost best to keep ourselves, family members and friends safe from the hurt of the coronavirus, we are praying to God that you come through. Jesus told His disciples in St. Mark 4:35 to get into the boat: “…Let us pass over unto the other side.” In route to going over to the “other side” they encountered a waiting storm. Jesus knew that the storm was out there; Jesus knew how horrific that storm was; He also knew that He was able to protect them. Jesus rose up and rebuked that storm: “And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, peace be still.” (St. Mark 4:39) The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. This same Jesus, in due season, can beat this coronavirus and say “Peace Be Still!” It is true that Jesus has promised to protect us from “dangers seen and unseen.” My faith tells me that Jesus knew this virus was coming; maybe the president didn’t know; the scientists didn’t know; the palm reader didn’t know; and you may not have known. Because Jesus promises to protect us, I think we ought to rest on the promises of God.
One of the strongest attributes about God is that “He can never lie.” He is the God of truth and miracles. David is right in Psalm 23:4 -“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
The promise of protection. We serve an almighty God who has a perfect record of keeping His holy word. In these days, we must draw nearer and closer to the everlasting arms of Jesus Christ. My God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” His hands are loving hands, guiding hands, healing hands and yes, protecting hands. Amen.
April 3, 2020
"The Promise of God to His People”
This week, the Holy Spirt led me to do the daily devotional around the “Promises of God.” We are to live on the promises of God and not the explanations of mankind.
The word says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” If we are going to survive this coronavirus pandemic, I think we must not lean on our understanding, but trust the promises of God. Proverbs 3: 5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding; in all thine ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy path.” The promise is that if we honor the power, the presence, the peace, the protection and the wisdom of God, “He shall direct our path. “ If we become too consumed with the troubles of this world, our faith will falter.
We can’t worry and worship the Lord at the same time. I hear somebody saying “for my worship is for real.” I am praying that our worship will remain strong in this crisis and that our patience will hold up. Hebrews 10:36 declares, “For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
A few years ago, many of believers sang “I went to the enemy‘s camp. “ The end of the song says “He’s under my feet; Satan is under my feet.” There was a three year old girl in a church named Gail. One day someone asked her, “Gail, where does Jesus live?” She replied, “In heaven.” The person thought it would be cute to ask her where Satan lived? Without missing a beat, Gail said “…under my feet.” The promise is “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
My friends, Satan needs to be under our feet and we need to believe the promises of God!
April 4, 2020
"The Promise of Purpose”
Today, April 4th is the day that Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered in 1968. If you were born during that dark day, where were you? I know where I was: a young teenager, very stunned and saddened. I was struggling with my sense of purpose and destiny. I knew God had a calling on my life. I was just beginning to organize my classmates, neighbors and friends from church. We organized an association back in the day called "C.R.I.B." This acronym stood for “Community Relations in Blackness." God gave me a purpose and a vision to work to bring my people together. God called me to get involved in lifting up my all black neighborhood, a neighborhood that had a father and mother in the household; a neighborhood where everybody owned their homes; a neighborhood where everybody went to church; and a neighborhood where we knew each other. It was a purpose-driven neighborhood called “Floradale.”
The Death of Dr. King ignited a purpose in my mind, in my spirit, in my soul and in my heart. A God-given purpose will keep you from having too many self-pity parties; it will lift your self esteem, and it will propel you to never say die. You know, that was the spirit that I learned from my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my pastors, my neighbors, my coaches, and yes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That spirit was to never give up on your purpose and your destiny. Never cease to dream, to go forward, and stay determined. God has given all of us a purpose. God promised us that we can live a purposeful life. Listen to what God said in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou cometh forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." The promise of purpose: Dr. King knew his purpose; he lived his purpose and he fulfilled his purpose. What about you?
Listen, don’t let anything or anybody destroy your purpose. It does not matter your color, your age, your race, your gender, your income, your neighborhood... you are a “destiny child;" you are a gift from God; you have a purpose. Jesus said in St. John 15: 16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, he may give it you." The promise of purpose! My friend, you have it! Yes, during this coronavirus crisis, stir it up! Amen.
April 5, 2020
"The Promise Provision”
Well, you may have gotten it by now. This week, I tried to share with you that you can trust the promises of God. Jesus said in Saint Matthew 4:4, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God." What comes out of the mouth of God? His holy promises. We can overcome any situation, any circumstance and any battles, if we stand on the promises of God. I want you to have the blessed assurance that God is a promise keeping savior.
Someone may be in doubt that the Lord will not provide for you in this present season. Jehovah-Jireh is God the provider. God will make a way for you. God will take care of you. God didn’t bring you this far and drop you. I know I may be sounding a little “preachy" about now but God is still on the throne. Come here King David. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies: thou anointed my head with oil, my cup runneth over." (Psalm 23: 5) You had better pull yourself up and get to the table! Joy is on the table; healing is on the table; peace is on the table; faith is on the table; forgiveness is on the table; hope is on the table; and don’t you forget, grace is on the table! Do you have enough? Not quite. Let me give you some more bread! Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.' The promise of provision!
Oh, I think you are still hungry. Lord, give us some more of your good word. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5: 6) God wants to feed you; God wants to nourish you; God wants to supply your every need. “But my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) It is going to be around, God says so! Amen.
(March 23-29, 2020)