I send you Calvary greetings as we celebrate this year’s Easter in the Mighty Name of our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ. My prayer is that we will all encounter the risen Saviour in a profound and life-changing manner as we reflect on the events of this season! Easter is the reason for Christmas and without Easter there would be no Christmas. Jesus was born to die on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. It is therefore necessary for true believers to deliberately contemplate the events and purpose for Jesus’ death on the Cross and especially in view of the myriads of challenges confronting us in the world today.
Jesus died on the Cross to save us from our sins and to give us abundant life (John 10:10). This life in abundance overcomes all the challenges we encounter in life, including injustice, violence in the form of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen, corruption, banditry, arm robbery, kidnapping, COVID-19, etc.
But that is only half of the story. Jesus rose again from the dead guaranteeing His triumph over the devil and his cohorts. The resurrection of Jesus signifies the triumph of good over evil and shows that Satan is defeated. The victory of Jesus on the Cross is total, permanent and irreversible, and it was a victory for us. With reference to this victory Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Earlier Jesus had spoken encouragingly to His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me…” (John 14:1).
How then do we appropriate this victory that Jesus wrought for us by His death and resurrection? The answer is to soberly reflect on the excruciating pain and agony Jesus endured in our place and, secondly, to hand over the control of our lives to Him. We must renounce our sinful lifestyles characterized by greed, idolatry, immorality, wickedness, injustice, etc, and submit to His Lordship. We must commit ourselves to a life of faithfully serving Him. This, however, is not possible until we learn to focus on eternity by setting our minds on the things above not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-3).
Admonition on COVID-19
Let me exhort/encourage you all as we battle with the current realities of our time. COVID-19 is a global pandemic that is causing so much pain, panic, fear and anxiety to humanity right now. Nearly a million and a half people have been affected by this pandemic with well over 80 thousands deaths globally and rising. Almost all countries of the world are inflicted by this dreaded plague. In Nigeria the current statistics is 254 cases in total, and rising, with 6 deaths and 44 recoveries? Governments all over the world have reacted to this with either partial or total lockdown. The effect is that the world is at a standstill. Economy has been paralyzed, and people are suffering untold hardships. Because the church is not immune to this lockdown due to the emphasis on social distancing, church services/activities have been affected. The church has had to respond by restructuring her mode of congregating. This is because it would have been more devastating to pursue a collusion cause against the government, and at the same time violate the scriptural injunction to submit to the authorities that be.
Nevertheless, as Christians, we face this challenge from a vantage position because of the deeper insight that Scripture and the indwelling Spirit of God give us. First, we know that COVID-19 did not take God by surprise. Our God knew about it all along, and had actually warned us about it, both in Scripture and in more recent prophetic declarations. For instance, David Wilkerson predicted this in 1986 when he said,
I see a plague coming on the world, and the bars, churches, and government will shut down. The plague will hit New York City and shake it like it has never been shaken. The plague is going to force prayer less believers into radical prayer and into their Bibles, and repentance will be the cry from the man of God in the pulpit. And out of it will come a third Great Awakening that will sweep America and the world.
Second, God is on the Throne and in control. We know that whatever happens, we are on the side of victory. Our God can extinguish COVID-19 in a twinkling of an eye. Ultimately His purposes will prevail. We know also that He is a God who answers prayer, and actually commands us to pray for all our circumstances, including this one. Furthermore, we know that COVID-19 will pass because everything that is visible is temporary. We all have had problems in the past that are now only history because we outlasted them. This one also shall pass.
In connection with this is the much talk about the 5G internet connectivity with its attendant high radiation and high frequency that are dangerous to health and a possible connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, we have the warning of Scripture against the anti-Christ. Right now there are debates as to a link between the anti-Christ and the digital ID and the 666 referred to in Scripture, as well as in connection with receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. There are indications that architects of the New World Order and the One World Government are behind all this. We are still watching and reading the times as well as trusting God for discernment. I am sure that things will be clearer soon.
What should be our response? I believe our response should tow the path that will lead us to:
Repentance. We need to use the period of this lockdown to seek the face of God. We need to return to God in true repentance as we turn from our evil ways and surrender our all to Jesus. Enough of the hypocrisy, sexual immorality, greed, wickedness, idolatry, etc.
Prayer. God commands us to pray regarding COVID-19. Pray that God will crush this pandemic and establish His purpose on earth, and that the devil’s purpose might fail. Pray for the healing of those already infected and for the protection of those yet to be infected. Pray that God will expose the evil agenda in this pandemic.
Obedience. Obey God as we submit the authorities that be. Follow medical instructions on hygiene (hand washing, use of sanitizer, social distancing, etc). Obey government instructions and stay at home.
Watchfulness. In a time like this, false prophets and teachers and preachers tend to thrive, and charlatans also abound. You must not listen to people who will ask you to look for hair in your Bibles and drink the solution or anything like that. You must not be hasty to receive any vaccine, and you must be careful about the masks you buy as some are already infected.
Intimacy with God. Challenges and problems and difficulties including persecution should never take us away from God. Rather, they should draw us into closer intimacy with God. Joseph of old survived in the pit, in Potiphar’s house, and in prison because God was with him. Be sure God is with you in your present predicament, because that is the guarantee for your success, victory and triumph.
In view of the prevailing circumstances therefore, I admonish strongly that we adhere to the above guidelines very strictly. This is clearly a time to distance ourselves from worldliness and to commit ourselves to the things of God. We are in the end times and the rapture may come any time from now. I pray that we all may be rapture-able.
Beloved, we are overcomers. Paul says we are more than conquerors through Christ. I expect to see you on the side of victory. I expect to see you after COVID-19 is passed. I expect to see you after the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen terror is gone, if the Lord tarries. And if Jesus comes back, I expect to see you in the company of the saints in glory.
Finally, brethren, let us seek the admonition of Scripture.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
Isaiah 55:6-7 NIV
God bless you. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Dachollom Chumang Datiri