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By Pastor Jim Neal
First Southern Baptist Church, Shafter 

Pastor's Corner - May 21, 2020: Pandemic, politics and ping pong balls


Last updated 5/23/2020 at 1:55pm | View PDF

“Righteousness exalts a nation,

but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Solomon in all his wisdom hit the nail on the head with this nugget of truth, didn’t he? The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 33:12a, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” And one of America’s most beloved Presidents, Abraham Lincoln had a favorite scripture he oft quoted, “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25 NKJV)

Well, it does seem at this time that our country, our states and even our churches are being bantered about as ping pong balls from one opinion to another, one cure to another and from one expert to another. It seems as everyone wants his or her 15 minutes of fame in the spotlight of this Pandemic.

I am no expert, nor do I seek 15 minutes of fame. I am simply a fellow sojourner trying to navigate this landscape with some thoughts and questions rattling around in my heart and soul. Some are asking is this a “judgment of God” on America and the world at large? Others try to probe, push and pry its arrival into the lines of prophetic scripture as a sign of the soon return of Christ. Most though are simply “sheltering in place” trying to make the best of a tenuous situation while trying to decipher an answer amid the plethora of thoughts, attitudes and plans of our leadership.

Whether you believe it to be a judgment of God or whether it can be nestled into prophetic Scriptures does not really matter, does it? We are going to have to buck up and “weather the storm” whatever it is, aren’t we?

This one thing I know. For a nation, whose foundation was laid and hammered out from the principles found in Holy Scriptures we have drifted far from our moorings. As we continue to drift into the sea of oblivion of sacred truth like a ship without an anchor, we as a country seem to be “tossed about” by every wind and whim of the elected few as they wrestle for power and prestige.

Often, we as individuals feel as if “what is the use” or “does it really matter what I or my church body thinks”? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Allow me to call to your attention three passages of Scripture for meditation and prayer. The first is 2 Chronicles 7:14: “…we must humble ourselves, pray and seek His face.”[END ITAL] 2) James 1:5: “…ask for wisdom which God promises to supply liberally” and finally, 3) Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change… He is sovereign, powerful and loving; caring for His children at all times.]

Always remember the admonition of the Apostle Paul, "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)

Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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