prayer

I write this post from a desk in my bedroom at home. I’m at home because our family is in covid quarantine this week. 22 months after the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted all our lives, our family has its first positive case. We were away for a few days celebrating our oldest son’s birthday when our youngest began with a sore throat, fever, and other cold-like symptoms. We came back to town, got him to a doctor, and our youngest tested positive for Covid-19. At this point, we are all presumed covid positive even though the symptoms shown by the rest of us have been relatively mild. Nevertheless, your prayers for our family this week would be appreciated.

This quarantine is an interruption into our lives. Our celebration trip was interrupted. Our regular schedule was interrupted. Our family interactions and things we can do for the next several days have been interrupted.

Inconvenient.

That’s what I’ve been thinking. I don’t have time for this. There are sermons to preach, classes to teach, people to interact with. Our Associate Pastor, Tad Craig, preached a great message on Sunday January 9, about doubt and the need for community. And now I’ll be away from in person interactions with my church community for at least this week. And that’s just me. Our boys won’t be in school, and my wife has had her work week affected this week as well. This covid quarantine is quite inconvenient.

But even so, it might just be a divinely appointed interruption. I hold a high view of God. He is absolutely sovereign. He is great. He is good and full of mercy, grace, and love in his interactions with people. So this interruption in our lives is not isolated from God’s control. Rather, it is a part of his handiwork.

The Bible testifies of divine interruptions in people’s lives.

  • God interrupted Noah’s life to have him build the ark.
  • God interrupted Abraham’s life to send him to the Promised Land.
  • God interrupted Job’s life by allowing him to suffer immensely to show Job that God alone is sovereign.
  • God interrupted David’s life of shepherding to become a warrior and then a king.
  • God interrupted the disciples’ lives by calling them to follow Jesus.
  • God interrupted Saul’s life on the road to Damascus by calling him to be the apostle to the Gentiles.
  • God interrupted Peter’s prayer life to send him to a Gentile family whom he would have presumed unclean unless God intervened.

I don’t share this list to somehow conflate my family’s covid interruption with this list of biblical interruptions. In the examples above God moved forward his divine purposes in the world. While we are not these characters in the Bible, and our stories are not their stories, interruptions in our daily life can be opportunities for God to intervene in our spiritual lives.

A proper view of God’s sovereign glory and greatness in the lives of his people requires that we not perceive interruptions as anything less than an opportunity to see God more clearly and follow Jesus more closely.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30

I like to quote Romans 8:28 above, and I believe that this interruption in the life of my family is something that God will work for good. But keep reading. The good that God wants to do in my life (in our lives) is to conform us into the image of his Son. God is working out the daily events of my life (our lives) to make us more like Jesus.

Here ares some things I’m praying during this time of quarantine. I would be honored if you’d join me in these prayers.

  • Father, would you show me whatever needs to be removed from my life to make me more like you? Would you help me to be quick to confess and repent of any sins that are an encumbrance to my spiritual life?
  • Father, would you grant our family grace and patience with one another during this quarantine? I know for a fact that I’m at times very impatient. This is an opportunity for God to bear the fruit of his Spirit in my life. Particularly, God is working to form “patience” and “self-control” in my life.
  • Father, would you help and heal our family and the many others who are more sick than we are? One of the things that has caused so much fear with Covid-19 is the apparent randomness of how it has affected people. We all know that people with underlying conditions have been affected significantly. Some of you reading this have been very sick and some have lost loved ones due to Covid-19. But others have been very sick with no apparent underlying connection. As we are praying for healing and health, we’re also praying for others connected to our congregation who are more sick than we are.
  • Father, would you help this time of family quarantine to be more than inconvenient, but to be a time of divinely appointed interruption for your work in our lives? Regardless of what our circumstances in life bring, God wants to make us more like him. This could be a prayer that we all pray about any of the circumstances we face.

May we learn to see interruptions as opportunities for Divine intervention.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The past couple of weeks in the life of Wilkesboro Baptist Church have been amazing. I am thankful to our Lord for answered prayers and for souls saved.

In recent weeks, children, teenagers, and adults have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. Some of them will follow through with believer’s baptism on Sunday November 28.

Baptism on November 28 coincides with the final sermon in our current sermon series: LIFE, DEATH, HELL, HEAVEN. The final sermon in the series is on HEAVEN. We will celebrate the professions of faith through baptism and look at what the Bible teaches about HEAVEN in our services this week.

This series has reminded me of some specific things for which I am thankful:

  • I’m thankful that God answered the prayers of family and friends for the salvation of sinners. Many of those who have professed faith recently have been on my prayer list and/or on the prayer lists of parents, Sunday school classes, and discipleship groups.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to preach the gospel and to share the gospel personally. It is my calling and joy to preach the gospel, and I’m grateful when God brings sinners to salvation connected to our worship services. But it is also my calling to share the gospel personally. I’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel personally with some of those who have recently come to faith.
  • I’m thankful for parents who are faithful to share the gospel with their children, bring them to church, and pray for their children. The tears of joy in the eyes of parents when their children come to faith is an unforgettable privilege I am thankful for.
  • I’m thankful for our children and student ministries and our ministerial staff who lead them, Tad Craig and Danielle Hicks. Their gospel-centered teaching and leadership help saturate children and students with the good news of Jesus.
  • I’m thankful for baptism. Baptism is the public declaration of one’s personal decision to follow Jesus. It is a time for the church to celebrate with those who have trusted in Jesus Christ.
  • I’m thankful for our Trinitarian God who saves. Before the world began, God the Father planned our salvation (not just the events that occurred 2,000 years ago, but also the personal circumstances that have brought each of us to salvation). God the Son secured our salvation by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. God the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and makes us alive by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Remember this, as much as we want God to save our friends and family, our neighbors and the nations, God wants to save them more.

What things are you thankful for? Give this question some thought this week. Make time to thank God for what he’s done and for what he’s doing.

During this Thanksgiving week, let me encourage you to not only be thankful, but to celebrate with us at Wilkesboro Baptist.

  • Plan to attend either the 9:30 am service or the 11:00 am service on November 28. We’re baptizing in both services, and we will look at what the Bible says about HEAVEN in all our services this week.
  • Invite others to attend. The willingness of our church folks to invite friends and family to attend during this sermon series has been a blessing! Keep inviting. Sunday, November 28 will be a special day that you don’t want to miss.
  • Continue to pray. God is at work. Don’t lose heart in praying for sinners to come to faith in Jesus. God is answering your prayers and mine. Keep asking God to save. Ask God to open blinded eyes, to soften hard hearts, and to rescue sinners from death and hell.
  • Share the good news. The good news is meant to be shared. God rescued us, but he also commissioned us to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. Look for an opportunity this week to tell someone about the life that Christ has given you.

We ought to be thankful for the salvation we’ve received, and we ought to be faithful to share the good news with those who’ve yet to receive salvation. In this past week’s sermon I referenced a powerful appeal by Charles Spurgeon to his congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. Let this appeal both burden and bless us this week as we pray for, invite, and share with our neighbors and the nations.

Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Sermon XX: The Wailing of Risca.”[1]

[1] Quoted by Denny Burk,. Four Views on Hell (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (p. 43). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash