God is Good: Thoughts While the COVID-19 Virus Rages

God is good even when the world falls apart. God is good when oceans rise and storms rage. God is good even when hospitals are overwhelmed. God is good when loved ones die. God is good when the economy grinds to a halt. God is good even when politicians fail us. God is good when our savings disappear and our debts overwhelm.

God is good even though we aren’t. He is good even when we don’t want Him or His goodness. He is good even when our sin looks better to us. He is good though our flesh, the devil, and the world stalk us. He is good when joy and peace flee us. He is good even when we sin against Him.

Everyone who recovers from COVID-19, recovers because of YHWH’s goodness. Every case with mild symptoms comes from His kindness. Every healthcare professional who stays healthy is his gift. Everyone who escapes, escapes because God helped him/her. Every single one of our days is numbered in His book and every day He gives us emanates from His goodness. God is the source of every good.

Sin and the Devil are the source of COVID-19. We must remember that God overcomes the darkness; He doesn’t create it. He is working to bring life, human flourishing, and salvation through it all. We cannot know why the Lord allows the evils of this world, but we can know that He will be glorified as He works to destroy them.

The Lord is neither weak nor slow to perform His promises. He is infinitely gracious, merciful, and loving. Christ Jesus is coming back. He is bringing His home, the best city ever, the New Jerusalem, with Him. God will fix everything, and sinners—like you and me—can dwell with him in the coming perfect world for eternity if we will but repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some day this Lenten season will be over; Come quickly Lord Jesus! What joy will overwhelm us when we see Him. If COVID-19 takes us home, what a blessed gift, we will get to see our Lord sooner than we had planned. If we remain, let us love and serve God and love and serve our neighbors with the time we have left. His kingdom come; His will be done.

-Erik Swanson Martin, March 28, 2020.

Bring Your Sinful Desire to the Gospel

“Bring your lust to the gospel—not for relief, but for further conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom you have pierced [Zech. 12:10; John 19:37], and be in bitterness. Say to your soul:

‘What have I done? What love, what mercy what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace?

Do I thus [repay] the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust?

What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation?

In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation—I have despised them all, and esteemed them as a thing of naught, that I might harbor a lust in my heart.

Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements?

Shall I endeavor to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?’

Entertain your conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.”

-John Owen

Happy Yom Kippur!

“YHWH said to Moses: ‘Now the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. You will have a declared holy day. You shall humble yourselves and offer an oblation to YHWH.’”
(Leviticus 23:26-27)

“But the Messiah has appeared… In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…” (Hebrew 9)

“Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which at the mercy-seat of God
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me–e’en for my soul–was shed.”
-Ludwig von Zinzendorf
(Jesus, Thy Blood And Righteousness)

(Yom Kippur starts at sundown tonight.)

Wonderful Counselor

The people who walked in the darkness
Have seen a great light come
The people who dwelled in the shadows
Have seen a new day dawn
For to us a son is given
And to us a child is born
And the kingdom of the heavens
Is on His shoulders

And His name shall be Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God, Prince of Peace
His name shall be Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God, Prince of Peace
Savior of the world

The gloom of the slave and the prisoner
Has lifted like a cloud
The ones who were crushed by their burdens
Rejoice and laugh out loud
And His kingdom will keep on increasing
His peace will have no end
He’ll bring mercy, truth, and justice
By His own power

-Mark Altrogge, 2006.

http://sovereigngracemusic.org/music/songs/wonderful-counselor/

 

Down to the River to Pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way!

O sisters let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
O sisters let’s go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the robe & crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O brothers let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
Come on brothers, let’s go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O fathers let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
O fathers let’s go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O mothers let’s go down
Come on down, don’t you wanna go down?
Come on mothers, let’s go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O sinners, let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
O sinners, let’s go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol’ way
And who shall wear the robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way

-Traditional Appalachian Spiritual

In Christ Alone

“In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

-Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, 2001.

Arise, My Soul, Arise (Version 6)

Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off your guilty fears:
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on his hands.

He ever lives above,
For me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds he bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

My God is reconciled;
His pard’ning voice I hear;
He owns me for his child,
I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

-Charles Wesley, 1742.

Arise, My Soul, Arise (Version 5)

Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off your guilty fears:
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on his hands.

He ever lives above,
For me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
His blood atoned for ev’ry race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds he bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

My God is reconciled;
His pard’ning voice I hear;
He owns me for his child,
I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

-Charles Wesley, 1742.

Arise My soul (Version 4)

Arise, my soul, arise,
shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice,
in my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Shake off your guilty fears and rise

He ever lives above,
for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears;
received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray,
His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away
the presence of His Son;
The Spirit answers to the blood,
The Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Words by Charles Wesley (1742), Music by Kevin Twit. ©1996 Kevin Twit Music (ASCAP).

http://hymnbook.igracemusic.com/hymns/arise-my-soul-arise