I have another list of six timely topics to share with you. I’m especially excited about topic number one.
Thanks for reading!
- Fast and pray on the 19th to end COVID-19
Earlier this month, during my quiet time, I was struggling over how much the COVID-19 virus has been such an interference in life all across the globe. Many have lost their lives. Others have lost their jobs or at least experienced financial struggles due to the pandemic. This virus has caused divisions and disruptions, resulting in much discouragement for everybody.
So what resulted from my quiet time was this idea. On Aug. 19, I will commit to fasting that day, and during the 19th hour on Aug. 19 (which would be 7 p.m.), I will commit that hour to pray and ask God to end this COVID-19 virus. Then I thought I would commit the 19th of every month to fast and pray until this virus is remedied.
I spoke with my pastor at my church, as well as some members of the church staff, and they support my idea. Some may even join me. In fact, I got a room reserved for my 19th hour prayer time on Aug. 19, as well as on the 19th of the following months until the end of the year.
Dear friend, if you are like me and are tired, even frustrated with everything this COVID-19 virus has caused this year, please consider joining me. Fast on the 19th of every month and pray during the 19th hour of that day until this virus has ended. If you are able and would like to physically join me starting Aug. 19, next Wednesday, at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can give you more details.
- Prayer, fasting and generosity
“Fasting might be the least done spiritual activity. We eat three meals and snack multiple times every day. It is easy to eat because our bodies crave it, and everyone else is doing it at the same times.”
Todd McMichen made this quote in his article “Unite Prayer, Fasting and Generosity.”
I agree with him that fasting is not a regular observance, at least among most Christians I know. But I do know that fasting can help us focus more on God and less on food or whatever resource of which we regularly depend.
I like how McMichen combined all three spiritual disciplines in his article. This helps see how prayer, fasting and giving generously challenge us and refocus our personal priorities.
“Praying, fasting and giving is spiritually powerful to the breaking down of many strongholds,” McMichen wrote.
- Praying for your pastor
Speaking of praying, have you lifted up your pastor to the Lord?
A good friend who is a pastor of a large church recently had to decide to return to having online services because of an outbreak in the area where this church is located. When I found out, I lifted my friend up and his church that God would give them mercy, grace and wisdom, that He would provide this body of Christ a spirit of unity during this difficult decision.
Check out Christian blogger par excellence Tim Challies’ article “Why You Really Need to be Praying for Your Pastor.”
Challies covers the gamut of what pastors have experienced, the decisions pastors have made and the responses to their decisions from church members and communities.
“It has been up to pastors,” Challies wrote, “to understand and implement the overlapping and often contradictory public health measures. It has been pastors who have risked having their names and faces in the papers if their churches become the site of an outbreak. It has been pastors who have felt the pressure from some members to move so much slower and from other members to move so much faster, from some to accept every health recommendation and from others to reject them all. It has been pastors who have had to lead their members through issues that fall into a hazy area somewhere between matters of personal conscience and matters of public health. When a prominent Christian leader called for civil disobedience while another called for churches to remain shut for the rest of the year, it was pastors whose phones began to buzz with questions about why their churches weren’t following suit.”
So yes, these are difficult times for church leaders. Are you catching my drift on why I want to do my fast and prayer time on the 19th?
- Israel and UAE decide to play nice
Did you hear about the biggest news this week that was not announced by the mainstream media?
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the nation of Israel “have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.” This comes from a joint article of Associated Press and Baptist Press.
This is a huge progression, and I commend President Trump and his cabinet for their efforts.
“Any day we can talk about inching closer to peace in the Middle East is a good day,” said Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford on Thursday, Aug. 13, when the peace deal was announced. “The UAE is the first Arab state to normalize relations with Israel since Israel’s treaty with Jordan in 1994, and today’s agreement is arguably the most significant peace development in the Middle East in a quarter century. Israel remains our friend and ally and a bastion of democracy in the Middle East. I am grateful for President Trump’s leadership with the Israeli government and with Israel’s neighbors to help the nations forge lasting bonds that will hopefully continue to yield peace and cooperation in the region.”
- Can’t have church even IN a Nevada casino
Now for one of the most frustrating reports of the week.
As you may have heard, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak will not allow churches in his state to have in-person meetings of more than 50 people, but casinos are allowed to have 50 percent of occupancy. Even the U.S. Supreme Court got involved with this and committed “malpractice” in its ruling, according to Albert Mohler, when the highest court favored Gov. Sisolak.
This week, Sisolak fined a casino $250 for hosting a worship service in the casino’s ballroom. The Nevada Governor tweeted that he was “deeply disheartened and dismayed to see the callous and dangerous behavior displayed” when describing those participating in the worship service.
Maybe there is more to this story, but what I am concluding is Sisolak believes gamblers practice more proper behavior than those who participate in a worship service.
- Thunder thoughts
With the Oklahoma City Thunder about to compete in this year’s NBA Playoffs as either a fourth or fifth seed, this rebuilding squad landed in a far better situation than what was predicted before the season started.
And the Thunder will face the Houston Rockets in the first round, which makes the story even more intriguing when you consider both of these teams were involved in a major trade last summer. Longtime Thunder favorite Russell Westbrook was traded to the Rockets for Chris Paul and at least two future first round draft picks.
Unfortunately, it appears Westbrook will not be able to play due to injury at least in the first few games of the series. Regardless, if the Thunder advance to the second round, this would be a remarkable accomplishment.
More than likely, if the Thunder do win the series against the Rockets, they will face the Lakers, which will be a near impossible feat to beat the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
However, while the Thunder are still alive and exceeding expectations, I will keep watching.