Have you ever found yourself searching for real love and a place to belong? In a broken and hurting world, it’s hard to find a friend who’s loyal and true. Not everyone is willing to go through the good and bad times with you.

As cliche as this may sound, a real friend is hard to find. We’ve all had friends who either disappeared when we needed them the most, fell through the cracks, or perhaps befriended us with wrong intentions. Therefore, hurt was the end result.

After all the betrayals, broken trusts, and abandonments, many people end up a lot more friendless, and even worst—disconnected. If this has been your experience, I have good news for you. They may have left, but your best friend is still close by your side.

We have a friend who will never leave us, forsake us, or abandon us. While many seek to be a friend to the famous, Jesus chooses to be a friend to the friendless.

Scripture Focus: 

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)

God never promised that we would live in a trouble-free world. As a matter of fact, Jesus told us that in this world there would be tribulation, distress, and suffering. But He also told us that in Him we would have perfect peace because He has overcome the world and the problems in it.

Christ’s victory is not a matter of uncertainty during testing times. He has won the victory over whatever we face in life. Only through His victory can we overcome the uncertainties of this world. Even when facing our own tests and challenges, we can take courage knowing that Christ has already given us the victory.

Scripture Focus:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 

The most commonly repeated command in the Bible is “Fear not!” The fact that it’s repeated so often should surely tell us something about the powerful role that fear plays in our lives. With the recent news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, I read an article where a doctor said that fear is spreading faster than the virus.

The world around us is in fear and turmoil. And too often we allow that fear to fill our hearts. That’s why the most dangerous pandemic is panic and the most contagious disease is fear. Fear is a “dis” ease of the mind. It’s one of the devil’s most powerful weapons he uses against us!

How does one spread the virus of fear? By constantly speaking the evil report rather than God’s report. The only way, however, to stop spreading the virus of fear is to be injected with the truth of God’s Word. When the Word fills your heart, faith will fill your mouth. 

Scripture Focus:

”Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.” – Isaiah 41:13

When I committed my life to Christ at an early age, one of the first truths in scripture God revealed to me was who I am in Christ. These truths have allowed me to confront the inadequate feelings I would struggle with and grow in the confidence of my God-given identity.

What is inadequacy? Inadequacy is not feeling good enough. These feelings are accompanied with low self-worth, incompetence, powerlessness, and even shame. If not properly addressed, these feelings can interfere with your ability to maintain relationships, accomplish goals, or maintain peace and happiness.

Thank God the truth has set me free! The lies I once believed about myself are replaced with who God says I am and what He says I can do. This peace and confidence only comes through Christ (Philippians 4:13). Since Christ is enough, you are more than enough in Him. 

So don’t let your feelings define who you are. Let the Biblical truth of who you are in Christ define who you are. If you’re wrestling with feelings of inadequacy or struggling to believe God’s amazing love for you, let us pray with you today. 

Scripture Focus:

“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)

Dear Partners and Friends, 

I have no doubt that you are probably being bombarded by the breaking news and reports of the Coronavirus as it spreads across the globe.

Yes, you should use common sense to stay healthy and do your part to not actively spread the virus (particularly to the elderly), but there is something much bigger taking place.

How should we as the church respond to this international health crisis? What would God have us to do in the face of this demonic pandemic?

In times of crisis, the world needs the Church to rise up in power and authority. Living in fear and worry does nothing except weaken our witness. Fear and worry won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. Worrying about the Coronavirus (or anything for that matter) will only increase stress and anxiety.

Rather than worrying and being anxious, I want to call you to spiritual action. The Bible says that men ought to always pray and not faint (Luke 18:1). The reason why we do not have to yield to fear and worry is because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

Remind yourself daily, “I am a child of the Most High God and He has promised to watch over me and my family!” One thing is for certain! God is greater than the Coronavirus! All we have to do is abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91).

While it is okay to take appropriate measures (wash your hands, etc.), we need to replace our fear with faith and pray for our nation and our world. Let’s take some time this evening and intercede for any victims of this disease and also bind the spirit of fear that is trying to dominate the culture.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT) reminds us, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything!” Just like any disease or epidemic our world has seen before, this too shall pass! The Coronavirus will pass and the Word of God will endure! I pray that you are comforted and encouraged by this letter. Double Shalom in your home!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. John Barton

Are you the type of person that likes to go above and beyond the call of duty? Well today, God is wanting to go above and beyond what is currently happening in your life. 

Scripture tells us that God is able to excel our highest thoughts, hopes, or dreams. In other words, we can’t even begin to comprehend what God is capable of doing. But too many times we shortchange God and place a limit on His power. 

If you are asking God to do something that you can accomplish over time with your own resources, then you are shortchanging what He can do. If your dreams aren’t out of your reach, then they are too small.

Regardless of how big you think, dream, or imagine, rest assured that God can do greater! He can do more than you think is possible. 

Scripture Focus: 

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” – Ephesians‬ ‭3:20 (MSG)