We can control how we think or meditate. Paul said to think on these, “whatsoever things are true…honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure…are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report…” (Philippians 4:8).
Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
We need to ask God to help us have the right attitude during this time. Scripture tells us there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, 675,000 people died in the United States. It was diagnosed in the U.S. in spring 1918 in the military. Government in various places handled it differently. St. Louis closed schools, theaters, bars, sporting events and public gatherings. Churches were told to suspend services. Officials in Philadelphia refused to cancel a parade which turned into a crowd of 200,000 people. Within 1½ week 12,000 people were dead. San Francisco passed a law that citizens without a mask in public would be arrested, charged with disturbing the peace and fined $5. Research today shows 20-50% of people have no symptoms. Wearing a mask will keep others from getting the virus. We also protect ourselves from the virus by wearing a mask. It’s important to keep washing our hands and to practice social distancing (6-8 feet away from others).
There’s a lot of loneliness and people getting depressed or feeling down because of the situation. We can control our thinking if we will. We need to limit what we listen to. If all we’re listening to is the news, we’ll be feeling down because of all the bad news. It won’t help our meditation if we hear it too much. We can choose to be thankful, to be happy, and choose things that will glorify God. We can think of all the benefits God has given us. Benefit: charitable act, anything contributing to improvement of our condition. What are we giving to the Lord for what he’s done? We can give thanks.
Psalm 116:12-14 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.
We sometimes have to sacrifice our opinions and feelings to give thanks to the Lord. We aren’t serving God by our feelings. We need courage to sacrifice our feelings and trust God. It’s a deliberate decision to trust God, regardless of how we feel.
Psalm 116:17-19 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the Lord’s house…Praise ye the Lord.
God asked us three times to be strong and of good courage. How we meditate is crucial to having good success. What are we meditating on? The good things or negative things – how we don’t want or what we don’t like the way it’s going? This is the day that God has made. He’s in charge and in control. He wants us to meditate on good things, to rejoice, to give thanks, and to praise him for all his benefits regardless of how situations are going.
Joshua 1:6-9 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware…to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law… turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written…then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and…have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee…
The choir sings “How Great The Lord Is.” Verse 3 says: Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. All honor and glory give to his holy name, Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, let the hills sing forth and let the seas roll back. Let the heavens praise him, let the earth praise him, let the sea praise him, let the wind, let the rain, let the sun, let the moon, let the young, let the old, let the church rejoice, let the church rejoice, let the church rejoice and be exceedingly glad, this is the day that the Lord hast made.
John the beloved apostle was Jesus’ cousin. Mary was the sister of John’s mother. John wrote the book of John, I John, II John, III John, and Revelations. Jesus spoke to John when he was on the cross, and asked him to take care of his mother. John was a faithful disciple and preached against idol worshipers. When he was about 70-80 years old, Roman emperor Domitian commanded that John be boiled to death in oil. He continued to preach in the pot and was banished to Patmos. It was a barren, volcanic island that only the worst prisons were sent to. He preached to them and history says that some were saved. He was in Patmos, “in the kingdom and patience of Jesus”…”for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus…” Why are we here? We need to be here for the same reason. God gave John the revelation of Jesus.
Revelations 1:6-9 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John saw Jesus on the throne in heaven and everyone was praising God. No doubt he was praising along with them, not sad and lonely. He was encouraged by what God showed him. God deserves praise and honor. When he daily loads us with blessing, we should give him all our praise, honor, and thanksgiving for what he’s done for us.
Revelation 5:8-14 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
King Ahaziah was the son of Ahab. He was with Ahab on the mountain when Elijah called fire from heaven. Now he was leader of Israel. He was sick and asked his servant to inquire of Baal if he was going to get well. Baal didn’t answer by fire years before, but he was asking Baal if he’d recover. God sent a message, trying to get to him and see why he wasn’t consulting the God of Israel. When the messenger described who said it, Ahaziah immediately knew it was Elijah.
II Kings 1:2-4 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said…Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die…
Ahaziah sent 50 men with a captain to kill Elijah. Elijah said if he was a man of God to let fire come down and it consumed the men. Ahaziah sent another 50 and the same thing happened. The third captain had a completely different attitude of humility. He knew God was in control. We need to know that God is in control, regardless of all the things going on around us. God is still in control and this is still the day that God has made. We have to be determined in our heart that we will rejoice and be exceedingly glad for all the benefits God has given us.
II Kings 1:13-15 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight. And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)