Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Letter from the Chairman: March 18, 2020

You are here

Letter from the Chairman

March 18, 2020

What do you say in times like these? What can I say that hasn’t been said to help us through the uncharted waters that lie ahead? I think the number one thing we must do is to keep our focus honed in on the hope that is set before us.

As the apostle Paul writes to the church at Rome, we are seeking glory and honor and immortality, eternal life in the kingdom of God (Romans 2:7 Romans 2:7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:
American King James Version×
). We must not be content with anything less. This means that we must focus on the greatest priority of all as defined by Jesus in Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (King James Version used throughout).

At a time like this the words of the apostle Peter are so very comforting. Peter writes: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 1 Peter 1:6-7 [6] Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
).

This is not the time to lose heart and draw back. It is a time for self-reflection and self-examination as we cope with the trials and sins that so easily beset us—especially as we prepare to take the Passover.

The Word of God is our spiritual mirror: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
American King James Version×
). And then we must be doers of the word and rid ourselves of the old leavening and partake of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
).

We sing the hymn, “Mine Eyes upon the Lord Continually are Set,” and that we must do, and hide the Word of God in our hearts (Psalms 119:11 Psalms 119:11Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
American King James Version×
). Our focus must be set on God and Christ and the Word of God. The psalmist in Psalm 77 describes a person who had lost focus as he continually goes over and over his problems. Note verse 6: “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.”

The Hebrew word “siyach” translated as commune means “to meditate, consider and complain.” The state of mind of the writer described in this Psalm is where we have all been at one time or another. This person went over and over his problems and his spirit was overwhelmed. He had lost his focus. His focus was on himself and his problems and not on God. But, in the succeeding verses he comes to himself and realizes that his problems are his problem. He then sets his focus on God and His presence in the sanctuary. We have God’s presence in us. We must stir up the spirit and never be overwhelmed or lose heart. God, who cannot lie, has promised us eternal life (Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
American King James Version×
).

I believe we are living in that time described by Jesus in His sermon on the mount called “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8 Matthew 24:8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×
). As the old saying goes, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” These “sorrows” are but a prelude to what the world will eventually be facing when the Great Tribulation smacks them in the face. Remember, the Great Tribulation begins after the abomination is set up in the holy place (Matthew 24:15-21 Matthew 24:15-21 [15] When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:) [16] Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: [17] Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: [18] Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. [19] And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! [20] But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: [21] For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
).

As frightful as COVID-19 is, it is not the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The Jews have not built an altar or temple for the reinstitution of temple worship—which includes animal sacrifices. So this trial will pass if we are patient and call upon God in faith.

Remember the words of the apostle Paul: “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36 Hebrews 10:36For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.
American King James Version×
).

The Church of God still has a lot of work to do. It is a time to sigh and cry. But it is also a time to shake off the malaise that might be gripping you and sapping your spiritual energy and will. The trial that is upon us now can be a wakeup call for each one of us to get our spiritual house in order and fill our lamps with oil. We must not be like the 10 foolish virgins. We must not fall prey to the attitude of the Laodiceans. Jesus the Christ is saying to each one of us right now, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20 Revelation 3:20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
American King James Version×
).

God and Christ are now knocking on our doors and tugging on our spiritual heart strings. Will we seek Him with our whole heart at this time and focus on the hope of glory, honor, immortality and eternal life in the Kingdom of God? Each one of us must personally give an account as to how we respond at this critical time in history. Hopefully, we will meet the challenge and respond to the challenge that Mordecai presented to Queen Esther: “And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 Esther 4:14For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
American King James Version×
).