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Joined: 2002/12/11
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 “Fear Not!” – A Word of Encouragement From Paul Hattaway

Please feel free to share this message with anyone who may benefit from it.

Some of you are aware that we have been in Asia in an area increasingly impacted by Coronavirus infections. After remaining there for several weeks, the number of infected people was increasing daily and anxiety levels on the streets were growing with it. With many flights being cancelled, we are thankful that we were able to leave the area, feeling strong and healthy.

Many people have asked how the virus is affecting the Chinese churches in Wuhan and throughout China. Ironically, the brutal persecution launched by President Xi over the last few years has helped prepare the house churches for the current situation. Thousands of large congregations were broken down into small groups of 5 or 6 believers, who have been meeting together for prayer and Bible study in their homes.

Some Chinese churches set up online services since the virus began, but many of their websites and social media pages have been shut down by the government, who haven't relaxed their atheist ideology even amid the crisis. Cruelly, the paranoid Communist authorities have even taken the opportunity to let people know that their facial recognition technology works just as well when people are wearing masks!

As fear and trepidation spreads throughout the world along with the virus, we would like to encourage all believers to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, for "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7).

If you have placed your trust in Jesus, please don't lose heart at the darkness that is enveloping the world around you. God frequently exhorts His people to "fear not," or "Be of good courage" throughout the Bible.

Rather than worrying about what might go wrong, the Lord wants His children to look to Him in faith, because fear and faith cannot exist together, and the stronger of the two will always kill the other. Our job is to set our eyes on Jesus and His kingdom, for "without faith it's impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).

To counteract fear, great encouragement is given to followers of Jesus. Please pause for a moment and let these words of Jesus sink into your heart: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7).

We know many elderly Christians who are in the age group most at risk of infection. Let's all remember that the extent of our lives is not controlled by the devil, or evil men, or pestilences and plagues. It is our Heavenly Father who controls our lives! His Word declares: "A person's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed" (Job 14:5), and: "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16).

So, let's not fear! God is, and always will be in total control. Although our lives look set to be disrupted for some time because of the economic effects of the pandemic, God is not yet finished His work in you or through you. Let us keep serving Him while we have the opportunity. The Lord Jesus said: "As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).

All the projects of Asia Harvest are continuing throughout Asia, although a few adjustments have been made because of the virus and the lockdown of whole regions. We believe that in time this pandemic will pass, and the kingdom of God will have progressed according to His perfect timetable.

Let us give thanks to God with a grateful heart. Pray His purposes will be fulfilled in our communities and around the world, and if you will soon find yourself unable to meet in structured church services, the Chinese Church invites you to join them in meeting with God personally and directly in your homes!

Open your Bibles, worship Him, and may you find what tens of millions of Christians in China have discovered: "The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands" (Acts 7:48), and: "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).


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