I want to share with you a series of Pastoral Letter’s from a friend to a small congregation during the month of April 2020:
It starts with…… Dear Friends,
What we are going through with this Covid19 plague and the consequent “lockdown” seems to me to be a bit unreal, and the consequences of displaced work, businesses, and present and future financial hardship as a consequence is unfathomable at this stage. Where will it all lead to, and what will the future hold? It’s all changed to what we have grown up to. Fear has gripped the world. We are fortunate here in Australia that the epidemic is fairly minimal compared to what we hear of happening overseas. And yet there have been real consequences for us as believing Christians. We cannot gather together to worship our God, nor to study the Bible, not even to socialise. How long this “social
distancing” will last of course is unknown and what it means on the other side for events
and gatherings of all kinds, including church, to become “normal” will be interesting to see.
But on this point, don’t be anxious, for our God will provide.
For all Christians now scattered by these government directions, we need to be constant in
our devotions, prayer, and Bible reading, despite that being for many, that means on your
own. Remember that Jesus said in Revelation 2:10, “the devil may cast some of you into
prison, that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation...: be thou faithful unto death,
and I will give you a crown of Life.” Well, for some of us, our present predicament feels like
being in prison. Is it a test of our faithfulness to Christ? The promise is worth fighting for.
Over the years, it has been noticeable to me, and I know others see the same thing, that
many church-going folk tend to leave their salvation in the hands of the minister, or their
children’s Christian upbringing to the Sunday School teacher, or Youth Group Leader,
rather than accepting the responsibility to work out their own salvation, or teaching their
children in the way they should go. We, are thrown into a situation now where we must
fend and tend for ourselves, and must individually be responsible for our walk with Christ,
in obedience to God. We are being “tried” as to our own faithfulness.
In John 8: 28-36, Jesus says “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples
indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Now is the time
to do a check on our own walk with God. Leviticus is a book of the laws that God gave to
the Israelites, in order to keep them healthy in body and in their walk with God. Many of
these laws have been surpassed by Christ’s work on the Cross. But the principles are just
as important. God is a jealous God. He demands our devotion completely. The one great
difference ‘to now’ is that ‘back then’ God demanded that the people sanctify themselves
before coming into his presence. Now, Jesus gives us his Spirit to sanctify us, enabling us
to do the work he requires of us. He sanctifies us. But it is not a light thing to be called to
be one of God’s children - we must take great care to walk circumspectly. In the
consecration of the tabernacle and all the things in it, and of Aaron and his sons as priests,
God specified how it was to be done. Any deviation met with God’s wrath. Read Leviticus
ch 7 and ch 10. The soul that touched any unclean thing... even that soul shall be cut off
from his people (i.e God’s people.) So we must not just be hearers of God’s word, but
doers of God’s word. But, thanks be to God, by his grace and mercy through Jesus Christ,
we have an advocate with our Father, that when we repent, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins. Moreover, we have the Holy Spirit as our guide and helper, enabling us in any
situation to overcome all things, that we might tread faithfully the pathway to our God. The
hymn written by Robert Lowry “ What can wash away my sin?” expresses this:-
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! Precious is the flow that makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace: nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness: nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Psalm 19 :- “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his
handywork”. Let us, also, declare the glory of God, and show forth his handiwork in our
lives. You in your small corner, and I in mine. Let our words and the meditations of our
hearts be acceptable in his sight; O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.
Their is so much comfort for us in the Scriptures applicable to the times that we go
through, whether they be good times or bad. I have found that at the times of greatest
distress, that the Psalms speak directly to my soul, bringing comfort and encouragement.
It’s amazing, (though it shouldn’t be) how God’s Word is so applicable to various situations
I find myself in. For instance, God provides for those that love him, time and time again.
The darkest times can often lead to the times of greatest refreshing through God’s
provision; for does not God’s Word say, “We know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). We
can take from this word that God has purposed this situation for a reason, for those who
believe for good, but for those who don’t, it’s a wake-up call. Again, in verse 27, it says,
“the Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” We see, way
back in the times of the Exodus 15: 26, the Lord God saying to Moses, “if you will diligently
hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and
will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these
diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals
Now to put this in context. the Israelites were in the desert three days without water, having
been miraculously delivered from Egypt where they were down-trodden slaves. When they
did come upon water, it was bitter and no good. So they complained. Moses cried to the
Lord, and he showed him a tree, which when it was cast into the waters made it sweet to
drink. Are we grumbling because of our present circumstances? The poor old Israelites
were always grumbling it seems, and as a result, none of the generation, save Joseph and
Caleb, get into the promised land. They forgot all the things God had done for them, so
easily. They would not humble themselves before God, and forgot the great promises
given to their forebears, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and hence to them; or did not believe
them, despite all God had already done for them, with great signs and wonders. Are we in
danger of this too, when we have a great promise given to us in the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ, by our all-powerful and mighty God, that we might have life, and that
We are encouraged to give thanks in all things. Look for the good in our current situation. It
is hard going at times, but, are we coming closer to Christ? Then give thanks. In Psalm 34,
David knew experientially the love, mercy, and grace of God. “I sought the Lord, and he
heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Read the Psalm through, meditating on it,
particularly verses 17-19,
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
And then in 22 - The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him
will be condemned.
Then turn to Psalm 46, v1 for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth shall change…”
....Be still, and know that I am God.”
For those that love God, that love his Son, Jesus Christ, nothing can shake our “sure
repose.” We have a peace, a certainty, that no matter what, our God is with us, and though
we may not see how, God will always bring us through. God dwells in our hearts, and
nothing at all can take that away. Read again in Romans Chapter 8, verses 31 - 39. I love
these verses. “Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus death was not in vain for those that will kneel before him in
utter humility. We have the promise of our God, who cannot lie, that all our sins, though
they be as scarlet, past, present, and future, are forgiven, and remembered no more. And
then the great resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, conquering death and Satan,
holds out for us the glory of being with him and God for ever more.
Jesus said to Martha, when Lazarus had died, “I am the resurrection and the life he that
believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” And whosever lives and believes in
me shall never die.” John 11: 21-27. What a wonderful statement. Jesus is speaking of
course of the time when we will be with him and God in heaven. The time when all things
will be made right. Do you love God …..and Jesus….. for themselves, ….and who and
what they are? Or do you love the thought of, and the benefits of heaven more? It’s a good
question to ask ourselves. For if we love the benefits more, then we are in danger of not
receiving them. Benefits like there being no more anger and hurt, no more disease or
hatred, a life therefore of ease, etc. No, we must love God and Jesus Christ more than any
thing. Then, all the benefits are included. “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”(Exodus
20:5,) says God. Therefore we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and minds,
soul, and strength. May this be your desire always.
Be encouraged and persevere, and God will bless you.
Some PRAYER POINTS:
*Lord, May my love for you increase each day, as I read your Word and see your grace in
all your leadings of me.
●Pray that Christians everywhere will be more forthright in standing up for Jesus. And
particularly that Ministers of the Word will declare God’s Word in truth and power.
●Pray for our local community, that this time will be one whereby they think of the meaning
of life, and their need to repent and turn wholeheartedly to God.
●Pray for our Prime Minister and those who advise him, that they will do the right thing for
us, and be strengthened and not grow weary.
●Pray for each other, that we will all come closer to God during this time, and weather the
time of “lockdown.”
●Pray for those that are uncertain about their jobs, and income, and for those running
businesses, particularly for those who have had to close down.
●Pray for those on the “front line” in hospitals and surgeries that they will be kept free of
the virus. and for those waiting for surgery.
●Pray for our ministers, that they, being faithful to God’s word ,will find ways to minister to
●Pray for an end to this pandemic, and that God would be glorified through it.