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When You're Unwilling to Change

Julia Roberts starred in the 1991 film Sleeping with the Enemy. However, nearly two thousand years before Nancy Price published her novel, a Jewish carpenter allowed himself to be infiltrated by a spiritual enemy. Jesus saw the potential in Judas Iscariot as a disciple, giving him an opportunity to change. Yet, in the end, this was part of God’s plan as Judas was unwilling to change despite witnessing countless miracles.

Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (the message) of eternal life. 69 And we have learned to believe and trust, and [more] we have come to know [surely] that You are the Holy One of God, the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And [yet] one of you is a devil (of the evil one and a false accuser), John 6:68-70.

On December 12th, 2019, scientists discovered an unknown virus in Wuhan, China. As news of this spread across the country and throughout the world, the name Coronavirus was given. As the number of confirmed cases in the United States has surpassed 54,000, citizens are forced to make one of two choices. Practice social distancing by changing how you live your daily life or continue ignoring the new CDC guidelines? The first doesn’t guarantee staying healthy, but the latter risks spreading the Coronavirus to those whom you love.

When it was evening, He was reclining at table with the twelve disciples. 21 And as they were eating, He said, Solemnly I say to you, one of you will betray Me! 22 They were exceedingly pained and distressed and deeply hurt and sorrowful and began to say to Him one after another, Surely it cannot be I, Lord, can it? 23 He replied, He who has [just] dipped his hand in the same dish with Me will betray Me! – Matthew 26:20-23

As Jesus’ betrayal grew near, one event sped up this process. When a prostitute wasted an expensive jar of perfume to anoint Jesus’ body, this decision pushed Judas over the edge. In his role as treasurer, Judas saw this act as a waste of money, not an act of worship. When a seed of betrayal was sown in Judas’ heart and mind, the Last Supper sets the stage for Jesus’ final call out. When individuals aren’t unwilling to change, the consequences can be eternal. May the current Coronavirus pandemic persuade stubborn hearts to alter their lives now before it’s too late.

by Jay Mankus

A Biblical Response to the Coronavirus

At the end of 2019, an unknown virus began spreading throughout the city of Wuhan, China. As time has passed, the origin of what we now to be the Coronavirus came from one of two sources. Initial reports linked COVID-19 to bat and snake meat, a local Chinese delicacy. However, a newly censored Chinese news story claimed the Coronavirus began as at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control. Two Chinese scientists, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, insist that a worker who was bitten by a laboratory animal spread this virus to outside associates. Whatever the true origin, there is a lesson to be learned.

So Gad came to David and told him and said, Shall seven years of famine come to your land? Or will you flee three months before your pursuing enemies? Or do you prefer three days of pestilence in your land? Consider and see what answer I shall return to Him Who sent me. 14 And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many and great; but let me not fall into the hands of man, 2 Samuel 24:13-14.

If you don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, the probably to repeat these same sins increases in the future. In the Old Testament, Israel was struck by a pandemic which killed 70,000. This particular disease spread in less than 24 hours, similar to an advanced Ebola Outbreak. When news of this tragedy reached King David, he placed a sack cloth over his head. This ancient practice was an act of humbling yourself before the Lord. Instead of running out to the local grocery store to stock up on food and personal supplies, David began to fast and pray to the Lord. Feeling helpless, David turned to God to rescue his nation from this plague.

So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, and there fell of Israel 70,000 men. 15 God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and He regretted and relented of the evil and said to the destroying angel, It is enough; now stay your hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and the heavens, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces, 1 Chronicles 21:14-16.

When human beings find themselves in a dire situation, the desire to survive kicks in. This instinct often influences individuals to attempt to save themselves. Trying to stay in control when the world around you is falling apart often becomes a futile exercise. Jesus’ earthly brother doesn’t blame God for tribulations like the Coronavirus. Rather, God allows certain things to occur, James 1:2-13. I won’t speculate on why COVID-19 has spread across the world, but maybe it’s time to look up instead of within. Perhaps, this trial has arrived to set the stage for a revival unlike any other. As others panic in response to COVID-19, look to God for healing.

by Jay Mankus

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