Safety in insecure times
Dear Laconia Church Family,
Our world is changing so fast in so many ways. There are more and more challenges and dangers on every hand. But we became Seventh-day Adventists when studying the end time prophecies and looking forward to the Second Coming of Christ. We saw that ahead lie tumultuous times as the end comes closer. I was just thinking the other day, while reports of a world health crisis were gaining ground, that this is what I committed myself to in being one who wants to be alive when Jesus returns. I do not now shrink back from that commitment.
It is very interesting that the prophet for these last days, Ellen White, recommended that we memorize Psalm 91. In response to this counsel, I did so when about age 16, some 51 years ago. Today I look at those words in a new sense of awe regarding the ability of God to know the future and prepare His people for it. Notice how relevant they are today--
Psalm 91New Living Translation
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
We can shine for Jesus in a special way as we hold onto these promises and to many others in His Word. God's promises provide us a special peace that others will notice and yearn for. All the glory goes to Him.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a soundmind.
While we cling to the promises of God with a sure faith, we do not act presumptuously by exposing ourselves and others to unnecessary dangers. We also cooperate with the government as the Bible teaches.
Our conference leaders have taken seriously the recommendations of the CDC regarding the coronavirus, Covid19, and given careful thought to how our churches can best apply those recommendations to our situations and needs. Their suggestions follow:
1. Since “seniors” (people 60+) and people with pre-existing health conditions have been identified as a “high-risk” population by the CDC, and since they also suggest that high-risk groups avoid crowds, starting this Sabbath, an archived church service will be made available on NNEC’s Facebook page, and it will be preceded by a Sabbath School lesson taught on Facebook livestream by Bob Cundiff or Ted Huskins. Sermons are being selected from among those posted to YouTube or otherwise archived by our churches that record their sermons.
2. Church services will continue to the time being. Those attend services should practice social distancing (six feet separation is best) which means: no hand-shaking, no hugging, no fist-bumps, etc., etc. This includes pastors, who are not to shake hands with their people before for after the service. Practice hand washing or use of hand sanitizers as you get to church and before you leave.
3. Fellowship Lunches are to be suspended for the next several weeks. It is OK to invite guests to you home.
4. Communion services are to be suspended for a few months.
5. Free conference-calling service providers allow us to have the option of using such a service to continue prayer meetings while practicing social distancing. Information is being sent to the pastors.
6. While we show discernment is our gathering just now, we can phone one another for encouragement and prayer. Especially it would be good to call the elderly and anyone ill to see if they could use some help, like picking up groceries.
7. Further measures may be suggested if the situation becomes more significant in our area.
The current world situation cannot help but cause us concern. But we take that concern to Jesus and know that He will guide us through it for His glory. He will not fail us. He is faithful, the Rock of our Salvation. Let is press on together under His good guidance.