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I can amen that Fletcher.
| 2020/7/25 17:24||Profile|
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Hi Greg and SI members
The problem brothers and sisters is that we are in a bind or a catch 22
Yes all the virus can do is kill our body which is to a certain degree ours but unfortunately it can also kill other people as well through us .So the virus has put other peoples lives in our hands .These lives are not ours to give or take and its only responsible to protect them by wearing a mask .
I dont think this is an issue of fear or boldness insomuch that if you wear a mask you are in fear and lack boldness or if you dont wear a mask you are fearing the Lord more than man and are being Bold.
Quite clearly the enemy has the Church in a lose bind and its up to the Lord and Saviour of the Church to break that bind .A challenge no doubt he has prepared for and will succeed at.
"We need to be bold in our day. What can a virus do but kill our body, but God can kill the soul in hell., So therefore we fear God and obey Him."
| 2020/7/25 18:01||Profile|
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Now for a few moments of Encouragement about 2020 For the USA
If you have time have a listen and I am sure you will be blessed especially if you are an American.
Sermon regarding 400TH Anniversary of the founding of America
2020 • The Year When We Will See Wonders | Carter Conlon
| 2020/7/25 18:31||Profile|
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Good words Staff.
| 2020/7/25 21:09||Profile|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Dear Friends on SI,
This is your brother Michael Liao. I pray during this pandemic season that you are all safe, well-fed, and in the state of peace. My prayer for all of us is that we remain in Christ Jesus, remaining present with Presence, and knowing Him as our all in all.
I write this to you all because I have noticed a lot of discussions lately on this forum with regards to masks and politics. But, I want to address us all as believers in the Lord because I am quite grieved over how we are communicating with each other on this forum. As a user on SermonIndex since 2011, I have been blessed by the sermons on this forum and some of the brethren here who post encouraging words for the saints. However, I am saddened to see that we are seemingly becoming more divisive over issues, some of which could be trivial, but some could also be serious and endanger the lives of people. We're debating about whether it's biblical or sinful to wear a mask during this pandemic, whether wearing a mask is muzzling our mouths to preach the Gospel, or it is a government conspiracy to shut churches down.
Brethren, if I may share a personal testimony of what the Lord has been doing in my life recently, I hope it may shed some light in how God can be glorified in the midst of this chaos we are living in. I'm 29 years old and I live with my family. My parents are in their late 60s. The reason I choose to wear a mask and gloves outside is that it is for the sake of my family. I don't want them to get sick. It is my way to honour my father and mother as Scripture says. I work as an Uber Driver and Uber has a policy where if I do not take a selfie of myself wearing a mask, I cannot drive. Also, there is a "No Mask, No Ride" policy for our customers. It keeps the drivers safe and it keeps the customers safe. I have to spray down my car with Lysol at the end of each shift. Why do I take these precautions? It's so that I can be careful and look out for the person next to me. It is to make sure that my neighbour, my parents, the people around me don't catch this virus. To look out for the OTHER. To look outside of ourselves, see the needs of others, and to meet them where they are.
Recently, by the Lord's grace I was able to share the Gospel with one of my customers on an Uber ride. He had said he's a Christian, but as I discerned more it seemed that he knew about Christianity, but not have Christ in him. I explained how the Gospel leads to the Resurrected Life of Christ to dwell in us and to live out His Life in us. The young man told me he had never heard of the Gospel that way before and seemed intrigued. I said it's the transformation of the Holy Spirit within a man's heart, not getting your bootstraps together to make yourself a Christian. I pray that the Lord saves this young man. But, the point is that we both wore a mask when this conversation happened. God is much bigger than our circumstances and we shouldn't be fretting so much about what the government is doing or not doing. We argue so often about how we will lose our freedoms and we seemingly put ourselves into a frenzy that is not really a frenzy. A mask does not muzzle my mouth to share the Gospel. It's just a piece of cloth meant to protect myself and others, but my voice is bigger than a mask. What saddens me is when we make blanket statements such as "Wearing a mask is being disobedient to God. It's unbiblical." Am I, your brother in the Lord, being disobedient for wearing a mask, even though the Lord had given me an opportunity to share His Son with a young man? It's awfully condemning to write someone off for....being careful. For looking out for my friends and family. For looking out for my customers. But, because I am wearing a mask, I'm automatically on the devil's team? Salvation is by grace, not by what you believe politically. What I am saying is that when we make these blanket statements, we could potentially hurt someone in the Body, and we'll have to answer to the Lord for every word that is spoken.
During the last few months, I have been able to fellowship with some brethren online. Though it seems less than ideal as gathering in a physical location seems better, we still benefit spiritually from each other. I have a brother in the Lord based out in California where every time we see each other on-screen, we're overjoyed to see each other and we simply pour Christ into each other. We both come out of those meetings being marked by the Presence of Christ. We're encouraged to seek Him more after our meetings. To behold His glory! That's what matters at the end of the day. To see Him who is our Head and Authority over all things and the Church.
My friends, if I may ask a pressing question, how much are we touching Christ daily? How much are we beholding Him? I believe the way we can check if we know Christ is by the way we communicate with each other in this Body. When we blast each other for our differences, we are not exercising the Words of Christ when He said, "They will know you are My disciples by the love you have for one another." (John 13:35) The greater the view of Christ, the greater our unity. The Centrality and the Supremacy of Christ does not ignore our differences, but rather transcends them. Meaning that though we may disagree, I see you not as a label to destroy, but a brother or sister worthy of love and respect because you and I are beholding the same Head. Perhaps what we are missing is the Centrality of Christ in our individual lives, which inevitably leads to "Christ in the Center" missing out of our corporate lives. It's easy to hide behind a computer screen and throw an insult at someone for disagreeing with you, which is why I don't post too often on this forum. I carefully pick my battles because I don't want my ego to get in the way and not benefit the saints. A heart that beholds Christ expresses Christ because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
I believe that we as a Church should return to the call of the Centrality of Christ. His Pre-eminence and Grace are what matters at this point. The Vision of Him who reigns is what cuts the earthly divide in our egos and brings us into a unity that no man can manufacture apart from His Holy Spirit. Many of us here have internet, we have good food to eat, we have fresh water to drink, we live in the Western World, freedoms to enjoy, and much to be thankful for. Perhaps the reason why we get into these petty arguments and are restless is that we're so focused on what we don't have. We're not thankful for the things we have now. We're constantly ruminating about a future that has yet to exist. We're not present with our King and therefore we are not present with each other. We're often focused on outside problems and our rights that we miss the riches that have already been deposited into us through the Holy Spirit - The Riches of Christ. We're constantly projecting enemies that are not really there and are living in constant fear because of a perceived lack within ourselves. We argue because we don't realize we already can be content with the Living Christ in us. We've forgotten our sense of belonging. The Vision of Christ gives us that sense of love, acceptance, and belonging that satisfies our hearts and there would be no need to argue. There's no need to prove yourself. In fact, it leads to the greater embrace of His Bride as a whole. The Spirit takes us away from our ego selves and enables us to see the Imago Dei within each and every one of us collectively. Again, this is not to say that there will be no disagreements. At the end of the day, we are human and will be in error in some ways. But, through the seeing of Christ, we can engage each other in the expression of His Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. As Paul says, "Against these things, there is no law...." Ask yourself, how does the Lord Jesus feel within you when you say a hurtful word to a brother or sister on this forum? You can mask it by saying, "Oh, but I'm just telling the truth as it is...", but what would the Lord say? Many times I could sense the Lord's grief on this forum because we divide over these petty things. He's grieved over us being mean-spirited.
We are living in precarious times, brethren. My prayer and hope for all of us is that we seek a greater unity among the saints through the Vision of Christ. Maybe it means for some of us to just simply take time away from this forum and to sit still. To be with Christ. To see Him in all His excellencies! "O God, you are my God! Earnestly, I seek You!" (Psalm 63:1). It is a call to return to our initial foundation: our sense of belonging which is our identity in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20). You are all loved and accepted beyond measure. When we touch the Lord through our spirit, when we commune with Him, when we learn to enjoy Christ, there's a beauty in Him that surpasses all the petty things we fret over in life. Seeing Him makes us realize that there are things that matter to us in the now that won't matter in light of eternity. Our late brothers, Theodore Austin-Sparks and Watchman Nee both saw the revelation of Christ so deeply that it caused them to lay down their lives in service to the Gospel. With Watchman Nee, it cost him his life in a Chinese Prison. With T. Austin-Sparks, he preached the Revelation of Christ with such depth that he wrote The School of Christ and the Centrality and Supremacy of Christ. To this day, Sparks' ministry gives out his books for free to those who order them on his website. Why? Because Sparks saw that Christ was worth it! He believed that as he freely received the revelation of Christ, he would freely give his teachings away to people. Christ was worth more to Sparks than the money he could've made with his books. And here we are arguing about masks and whether it is biblical...God forbid that as we do this we are trifling with human lives in the process. We just saw what happened with Herman Cain and how he died of COVID-19 because he pridefully did not care for masks and social distancing. Yes, the Lord calls us to trust Him. But, trusting Him does not mean being presumptuous about things. The Lord has given us a brain to reason.
Though I believe it is safe for me to wear a mask, I believe this is a matter of conscience. This is between all of us and the Lord. We all have to answer to the Lord in the end for our actions - whether we have benefitted someone or hurt someone (knowingly or unknowingly). We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions. What bothers me more is how we treat each other as brothers and sisters on this forum regardless of where we stand. My hope is that as we engage these issues, there will be a speech that is seasoned with salt and an understanding that dispels our divisions. I want Christ to be seen. I want Him to be proclaimed and enjoyed by us corporately. May God turn us back towards Him because as we behold Him who is Light, we become light ourselves. As we behold His Love, we become His expression of love. And as we behold His Life, we become the expression of the Tree of Life Himself whose river runs into the spiritual deserts of our dying world. Love, Light, and Life - These are the 3 Ls that our Father calls us to in His Son. As we behold the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face, we are transformed into the same image as Christ from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). Do we see Him? Do we know Him? And do we love Him? And if we love Him, do we love His people as the natural outflow?
I will end off by sharing these precious quotes:
"The longer we live, and the more we know, the more we shall be made aware of how little we do know, and how vast this Christ is!” -T. Austin-Sparks
"Christ is the Head and He is also the Body." -Watchman Nee
"I believe in church and I love the fellowship of the assembly. There is much we can learn when we come together on Sundays and sit among the saints. But there are certain things that you and I will never learn in the presence of other people. Unquestionably, part of our failure today is religious activity that is not preceded by aloneness, by inactivity. I mean getting alone with God and waiting in silence and quietness until we are charged with God’s Spirit." -A.W. Tozer
May Christ our Lord be glorified in us all! I love you all, brethren.
Your Servant in Jesus' Name,
- Michael Barnabas Hoy-Kuen Liao
| 2020/7/31 21:41||Profile|
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Masks protect the other person, not so much you.
This is a very good point.
A person (like makrothumia's dad) can take precautions and even wear a mask each and every time they walk out the door. Yet, they can still contract COVID-19 almost as easily as if they weren't wearing a mask.
A mask isn't really going to protect you. If someone coughs or sneezes in your direction and an invisible particle lands on sensitive areas of your fact (or in your eyes), you're still very much at risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Rather, as most people are aware, the mask is meant to protect those around you. People who aren't infected often are unaware. A significant number of people (especially people under the age of 50) are asymptomatic -- meaning that they show no known signs of associated symptoms (e.g., fever, sweats, fatigue, cough, etc.).
Thus, by wearing the mask, you're protecting people around you from being infected. Some of those people might be at greater risk of death. So, by wearing the mask, you prevent yourself from inadvertently infecting or even killing them.
I am NOT saying that people should or should not wear a mask in public or among other believers. However, I do think that it is wise to be cautious and even take precautions.
We don't drink from a well that we know has bad water in it. We certainly wouldn't give that water to our spouse, children, family members or neighbors (especially if we know that water might potentially be deadly).
Doctors and researchers are still trying to figure out COVID-19. We know that the greatest risk is with people who are elderly or those who have preexisting health issues (particularly with their lungs or issues with clotting).
In our Silicon Valley county (Santa Clara County), we have roughly 2 Million residents. Our county has implemented extensive testing. As of the time of my writing, we have had a total of 9,913 cases. Of those, 191 have died. Most of those individuals who died were over the age of 70.
In fact, 45.6% of deaths were in people over the age of 80 -- and most of them had a comorbidity (a preexisting condition in addition to COVID-19). In fact, at least 82.1% (and possibly as high as 87%) of COVID-19 deaths in our county are the result of a comorbidity.
So, I would certainly suggest that those individuals take precautions. We should be wise about these things.
Most importantly, we should all PRAY. We should pray for our families, the family of God and, of course, ourselves. We should pray for unbelievers too.
With this in mind, I would only urge each of you to pray about your decisions when it comes to COVID-19. Obviously, we should pray for the health of those around us. However, we should pray about what we should do when it comes to a mask.
On a personal level, I am conscientious when it comes to those at greatest risk. I live in the Silicon Valley. I still go to certain grocery stores. While I am healthy and my age doesn't place me at risk of death from COVID-19 (even if I contract it), I still don't want to spread it inadvertently to someone at risk.
A few months ago, my wife and I had hoped to travel to visit her family. Yet, we opted against it out of care for her parents. They are both strong believers. However, they thanked us for it.
At the same time, I think that we should be so detached from this world that we are ready to depart it at any time. This is true whether our final breath will be due to COVID-19, some other disease, an accident or simply old age.
We will all die at sometime during our lives. Some will die as early as the womb. Others will die when they are exceptionally old. Everyone else dies somewhere in between. With this in mind, life is short. As ambassadors of Christ, we have a responsibility to be a good steward who takes responsibility for the time and talents that God has given us.
I think that it is important to fellowship with believers -- and all the more as we see that day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). The early church met daily in one another's homes. That church was not quite so "institutional" or even formulaic and ecclesiastical as churches became later.
We can still meet together with other believers. When we do, I don't think that the mask is a sign of unbelief.
More importantly, I think that the greater problem in the church is that invisible "mask" that believers sometimes wear. This "mask" is the one that we sometimes wear to hide who we are on the inside (both during fellowship with believers or when we are out and about in this world).
Family of God, we shouldn't allow something as superficial as a physical mask divide us. Perhaps this is one of those issues of which Romans 14 speaks:
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Romans 14:1-9 NASB
With heartfelt love, you are all in my prayers.
| 2020/8/1 2:07||Profile|
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I read most of the comments in this thread.
mak:I'm sorry to hear you lost your father !
MichaelLiao: thank you for your comments and concern. I understand what you are saying.
I quietly gave this topic the title "christianity today..."
Might explain a bit more in other threads what I mean.
| 2020/8/1 2:13||Profile|
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Thank you for your thoughtful post.
| 2020/8/1 10:57||Profile|
| Re: Some scriptural Reasons Christians should not wear masks in church services or st|
I seen a few quotes that seem timely in response to these posts.
"Was talking to a friend last night and he said, ' Where Im from (rural Kentucky) wearing a mask and social distancing is considered liberal'
Americans seem to be uniquely gifted at politicizing pretty much everything. May the church not follow the world in this way." - Taken from Shai Linne's twitter account.
Shai Linne also posted something that Martin Luther said during the bubonic plague.
"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I will fumigate, purify the air, administer medicine, and take medicine. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order to not become contaminated, and thus perchance inflict and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me. But, I have done what he has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely. This is a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy, and does not tempt God"
- Martin Luther
| 2020/8/1 17:57||Profile|
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MLK Sums up our prediciment perfectly and the best we can do at the moment,staff
| 2020/8/1 18:11||Profile|