The Pastor’s Piece – March 22, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
March 22, 2020
Today I’m going to continue on the theme of overcoming the Fear Factor. I think there is more fear and uncertainty out there now than there was even last week. People are genuinely scared.
We faced a brand new dilemma this week when the authorities limited us to group meetings of ten people or less. So instead of regular church, we are temporarily moving to online services, where we will stream live at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. I have recommended that our church family and friends gather in groups of ten people or less, and worship together along with us in their homes like they did in New Testament times. This will give all of us the opportunity for a small replica of the type of fellowship we are used to at church on Sunday morning. We are blessed to have made technological advances that give the church leadership the ability to shepherd the flock during this unprecedented time.
I’m praying for a world-wide revival of people turning to God in desperation and saying: “Lord we need you now!” And I’m praying for our country that we will have a country-wide revival where people will say: “Lord we need You now!” And I’m praying for our church and your church that when we come together again that there will be a great awakening in our communities, in the places where we live and work and our churches will be packed because the people we deal with in our lives will say: “I want to know the Lord like you know the Lord. He is so real to you!” That’s my prayer.
Instead of feeding the fear factor of our lives we are going to feed our souls on God’s word and find our comfort and hope in God’s direct communication to us. Psalm 91 is a good place to go for that.
Today’s column is about prayer. It’s sad to say, but for many who profess faith in Christ, prayer has become a meaningless ritual. And prayer should never become a meaningless ritual. And prayer should not simply be a fire escape where the only time we pray is when we’re in trouble. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good time to pray, but it should not be the only time. If it starts there, keep it going. If you are not normally a pray-er but you have become one in the last few days or weeks, good for you, in fact great for you. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There are a couple of Biblical truths to remember when it comes to prayer. First of all: The only way to pray is with a cleansed conscience. To have a clear conscience does not mean you haven’t sinned or aren’t guilty of breaking God’s law. It means you have acknowledged your sinful behavior and confessed it before God with a humble heart. It’s called repentance. Repentance is more than a simple prayer. It is a heart that turns away from sin and the things that grieve the Holy Spirit and you turn whole-heartedly to God. It is a changed life. Jesus said He is the way to peace with God – the only way. True repentance means committing your heart, soul, and mind to Jesus Christ. The Bible says: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Without a repentant heart, your prayers fall short of reaching God in heaven. Did you know that? Psalm 66:18 says: If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Isaiah 59:2 says: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. This is a very important detail that people seem to overlook. You cannot live however you want while ignoring God’s will and purpose for your life then expect God to bless you and rescue you when you suddenly call out to Him because things aren’t going the way you think they should. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it,’” (Jeremiah 6:16).
My prayer today is for you to ask God for the good way and walk in it and find rest for your soul.
It is wise to take pause, remind ourselves that God is in control. Be careful not to let faith give way to fear, and not allow ourselves to be consumed by the alarming reports coming out everyday. God has not been caught off guard. He knows how this pandemic is going to end and how it is going to affect each one of us individually.
Finally, I thought I’d share this: Reading – not canceled. Family – not canceled. Love – not canceled. Music – not canceled. Singing – not canceled. Laughing – not canceled. Sunsets – not canceled. Hope – not canceled.
In all God’s goodness, until next time – Kevin