Coronavirus, God and journalism

Hello, my dear friends and those who would be a friend if I knew you in person:

coronavirusI’m writing to you in my state of social distancing at home to avoid the coronavirus COVID-19. I am well, and I hope you are as well.

These are scary times we live in.

I want to share some words of hope from my faith as well as my observations as a reporter.

As a reporter, my 20-plus-years career has led me to this moment. I have struggled off and on wanting to be a reporter. I pursued a couple of other options, but nothing ever worked out — other than reporting and writing books. I now believe this is what God designed me to do. God gives everyone certain gifts as part of His plan for our lives.

Reporting is a tough job. You work long hours, nights and weekends sometimes, for little money and get hit with accusations of bias by many people. Jobs are harder to come by. I’m not complaining. That’s life. There are people with more challenging jobs, like police, military, service members, nurses and teachers. There are bad journalists out there, but there are many, many great journalists who also happen to be exceptional people.

I feel complete when I’m digging into the facts to craft a story to inform people, to empower them with the facts to respond to life’s challenges. Holding powerful public officials accountable for the way they conduct their jobs is a sacred trust that I don’t take lightly.

Regarding the coronavirus, I could speak of how America has always overcome adversity — much worse than we’re even facing now. The examples abound: the Revolution, slavery and Jim Crow laws, the Civil War, the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, both World Wars and 9/11. Americans roll up their sleeves and do the things that need to be done, and 9/10s of the time we do the right thing and love one another.

But the ultimate hope I want to share is Jesus.

I’ve felt for some time that a great revival is about to break loose, here in Middle Tennessee, in the U.S. and around the world. Indeed, the Church has been growing in some of the darkest places of the world: China, Iran, North Korea, parts of Africa.

I’d like to challenge atheists and agnostics to consider this. People. Are. Tortured. And dying. Because they profess faith in Jesus.

Despite pressure by ISIS and other radical terrorists, despite pressure by communist and socialist regimes and other tyrants, they do not denounce their faith. They choose torture and death instead of escape. Why?

Voice of the Persecuted is a good source to read about the attacks on Christians.

Why would people choose to be tortured and murdered rather than say some simple words: I take it back.

That makes no sense.

Unless there is a power greater than evil.

Jesus was God in the flesh of man. Fully God, fully man. He created the heavens, Earth and mankind with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He obeyed his father and came to Earth as a humble child. When He became an adult, he knew his mission was to evangelize, start up the Church, and then to give Himself up for torture and a humiliating death nailed to a cross like a common criminal.

His crucifixion and resurrection broke the bonds of sin and death. People who come to accept Jesus as their Lord after confessing their sins to Him come to realize Jesus is greater than any earthly power or any evil spirit, those the Bible calls princes and principalities of darkness.

The devil is real. Demons are real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But do not fear. Jesus is more powerful. He has already won the war, even though the battle still rages. The devil knows this but is trying to take you down with him when Jesus ends this spiritual battle.

I also believe this coronavirus outbreak is the devil’s way of distracting people from God. That is one of the enemy’s tricks. He wants you to think about anything other than having a close relationship with Jesus. The enemy is trying to stop the coming revival.

With that said, it is certainly prudent to take precautions to protect yourself and the people you come into contact with until this disease is conquered.

The Church in America and elsewhere needs to get its priorities in order. Love God, love people, serve. I denounce the heresy of prosperity theology that says God wants to make all His people rich. I’m not saying it’s bad to be rich; it’s not, necessarily. But the places where the Church is growing is not in places where Christians are becoming rich — they are rich in faith even as they die.

Matthew 16:19 says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (NIV)

Bible prophecy tells us there are many tribulations ahead. But here is a sneak peak at the end: God wins! Those who accept Jesus as their Lord will have eternal life in Heaven with God. Jesus is larger than any virus or earthly power.

Jeremiah 24:7: “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

 


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