Displaying 30+ Stories
Allow Ads
CBNNews.com

CBN's Chris Mitchell Explains How to Biblically 'Prepare for the Days Ahead' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

03-24-2020
A woman wearing a mask stops to read coronavirus safety tips along an almost empty Tidal Basin lined with cherry blossoms that are about to peak, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A woman wearing a mask stops to read coronavirus safety tips along an almost empty Tidal Basin lined with cherry blossoms that are about to peak, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

COMMENTARY

EDITOR'S NOTE from CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell: Several years ago, the Middle East faced one of its most serious challenges in recent memory, the rise of ISIS.  ISIS posed a major threat to the nations of the region, Middle East stability and a threat to the West.  During that time, CBN News reported from the front lines of that threat and I wrote ISIS, Iran and Israel.  Because of the threat and the fear ISIS spread throughout the world at that time, I ended the book with ten ways to “Prepare for the Days Ahead.”  Today we are facing a new threat to our lives and way of life, the Coronavirus pandemic.  These ten ways to prepare for the threat of ISIS seem as appropriate today in 2020 as they did several years ago. 

FACING AND FIGHTING FEAR

Even in the best of times, we all face personal trials that shake our world. What do we do when the doctor says, “Cancer,” the boss says, “Laid off,” the checkbook says, “Broke” or the child says, “Drugs”? These personal trials rock the foundations of our lives. Yet Jesus said we’d all face storms and showed us what to do: “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:47–49).

FOR CBN NEWS CONTINUING COVERAGE ON COVID-19, CLICK HERE

PREPARING FOR THE DAYS AHEAD

How do we build our house on the rock? Thankfully, the Bible provides a number of ways to prepare, to be strong, to be ready. Here’s a list of ten exhortations from the Scriptures:

1. Watch and pray!

Jesus emphasized this many times:

“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:35–37).

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13).

Peter called prayer crucial for these times: “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).

2. Develop intimacy with the Lord!

If we are to weather the days ahead, we need to draw close to the Lord. The most intimate book in the Bible, the Song of Solomon, portrays His affection: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (6:3). “The voice of my beloved! Behold He comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold He stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice. My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away'” (2:8–10).

Do we know the voice of the Lord? Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice.” Do we spend time with Him?

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

3. Hide the Word in your heart.

Of all the books in your library, the Bible is the one that’s alive.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12–13).

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you many prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

“Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

4.  Look up!

"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28). 

"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2–3).

The anticipation of the coming of Jesus is one of the most powerful antidotes to the darkness of the current age. Cultivating this sense of expectancy is what author Joel Richardson, who has written extensively on the “end times,” believes our ultimate focus needs to be—the coming age. “It’s easy in the end times to think about the difficulties, to put all the emphasis on the difficulties; (but) our primary emphasis, our eyes of hope, our expectation, our longing needs to be on the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the return of Jesus, the age to come, the beauty and the glories of the age to come . . . that’s exactly what’s going to get us through the days ahead.”12

The Good News is that the Bible heralds a coming Kingdom and a King coming to Jerusalem, “the city of the Great King,” where “the government will be upon His shoulders.”

5. Join with believers.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

One of my favorite verses is Malachi 3:16. It says, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of Hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’”

It’s incredible to think that when believers get together, the Lord listens! Not only does He listen, He has a book of remembrance, a record of who we are and what was said. How about that for a Facebook page! The point is to get together with fellow believers. We’ll need the strength and support that comes from close fellowship.

6. Draw close to family and develop a small, trusted group with whom you can pray.

Have a family meeting. Talk about the future and what your plans are as a family. Over the years, I’ve prayed with one or two trusted prayer partners. They have been invaluable help as we navigate life’s trials, testing, and temptations.

Ecclesiastes says: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:9–12 niv).

7. Give and prepare for others.

When rough times come, the tendency and temptation is to hoard and make sure just you and your family have enough. Certainly we need to provide for our families—it’s our duty—but we also need to “prepare to share.” Many grassroots efforts underway already take this attitude.

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in Him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17–18).

“Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

8. Invest in Eternity.

Another way to prepare is to invest in eternity, redeem these days, and heed the exhortation of Jesus who said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).

Many can offer expertise in financial planning for this life—it’s vital—but this kind of investing will pay dividends “out of this world” (an eternal perspective).

9. Holiness and humor.

One mighty weapon against fear is a well-developed sense of humor. It's been said, "He who laughs, lasts." The Bible says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16).

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Peter says, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of person ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:11–12).

10. Develop a Kingdom perspective.

One of my favorite Bible verses sums it up for me. I can just imagine the scene. Paul is leaving the believers in Ephesus after being with them for three years, “not ceasing to warn everyone day and night with tears.” He’s about to sail away. The sailors grunt as they bring the last of the supplies onboard. The captain checks the wind and shouts the order to unfurl the sails. The believers gather around Paul. He’s sad, but rises to the moment to exhort his beloved Ephesians one last time. Some softly weep. Others, clear-eyed, concentrate on these last words. Their mutual love fills the sea breeze. He tells them he will see them no more. Now he’s on his way back to Jerusalem, “not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Acts 20:22–23).

Yet, Paul’s sight is set on eternity and his finish line.

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

WHEN IT’S ALL BEEN SAID AND DONE

The lyrics to this song echo Paul’s thoughts:
Licensed by Capitol CMG Publishing:

When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When it’s all been said and done,
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I have done
For love’s reward
Will stand the test of time.

Lord, Your mercy is so great
That You look beyond our weakness.
And find purest gold in miry clay
Turning sinners into saints.

I will always sing Your praise
Here on earth and in heaven after,
For You’ve joined me at my true home.
When it’s all been said and done,
You’re my life when life is gone.

When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?
Lord, I’ll live my life for You.13

The ultimate goal for many is not a PhD, an Oscar, a World Series ring, or climb Mt. Everest. Their ultimate goal is to hear thirteen words: “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).

PREPARING THE WAY

Those thirteen words envision a time called the Great Day of the Lord, ad Day the prophet Daniel saw coming:

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13–14).

We do not know when His Kingdom will come, but it will come. The church has prayed “His Kingdom come” for two thousand years, ever since Jesus “taught us to pray” the Lord’s Prayer. So how do we prepare for His Kingdom? We can take “this Gospel of the Kingdom” to the whole world and help fulfill His Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

Whether we are preparing ourselves or preparing the way for others, we can take heart the Lord has saved the best for last. Jesus began His ministry at a wedding feast and turned the water into wine. John 2:9–10 records the result: “When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now.’”

I believe the Lord is saving the best “until now.”

Pastor and author Don Finto of Caleb Company echoed those thoughts in his new book Prepare!:  “The darkest time in all of history, as well as the most brilliant for the people of God, lie before us. It is the exciting possibilities of this next season that compelled me to write this book.”14

Isaiah depicted a similar theme: “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” (60:1–2).

Our age encompasses two voices. Radical Islam is like the wolf in the story of the three pigs. He bellowed, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!” Yet another sound comes from the roar of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! Finto says the hour demands a generation of Joshuas and Calebs, men who during their biblical history gave a good report and did not believe the bluster of the giants of their day. “The church is reliving the days of the giants. The circumstances around us are bewildering and foreboding. Two voices are dominant. One is the voice of fear that describes walled cities and giants. The other is the beckoning of God to a life of faith and victory over every enemy.”15

While bad news fills the world—the rise of radical Islam, unprecedented persecution and humanitarian crisis—the headlines of God’s Word can dispel the fog of the world’s headlines. The book of Revelation talks of a people who “overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Daniel says: “But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (11:32).

At a similar stage in recent history, England faced annihilation from Hitler’s Nazi Germany. With the dark clouds overshadowing his nation, Winston Churchill stirred his countrymen to valor…and victory:

“The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization; upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour.16

News Articles