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THE TIME IS NOW

Updated: Apr 11, 2020


 

April 7th, 2020


 

Well, here we are. It seems like an eternity already since we rang in and celebrated the onset of a new decade. I myself was feeling optimistic about 2020 and all the new opportunities this year was going to bring. By the end of January however, it was overwhelmingly clear that the world had a very serious problem on its hands. The Covid-19 virus was sweeping through Chinese provinces at an alarming rate as the world community closely watched. Meanwhile, here in the US, it was business as usual. We had all grown very accustomed and even numb to the overcharged and volatile political climate we've lived in over the past few years. Still hot embers leftover from the attempted Donald Trump impeachment process left smoke still billowing in the air. I really couldn't remember a time in my life that there was so much hatred, anger and social unrest between the political parties in this country. At any rate, there were quite a few astute or you might say observant ladies and gents in America that realized that there was a major tempest headed our way. Those people began sounding alarms and raised questions to local and state agencies about the probability of corona virus reaching our shores at any moment. Questions begun to arise; rumors spread rampant and panic in communities and social forums all over America spread like a wild brush fire. All I have to do is mention the term toilet paper and you know firsthand what I'm referring to. I just had an ominous feeling about whether our country was currently stable enough or unified enough to take on this storm. Would we put away our differences and fight this battle together as one unified people? I just knew that was going to be a strong determining factor in our ability to come out the other side of this with minimum wreckage.


And you know the rest. That was then and this is now. Overnight, grocery store checkout clerks officially became one of, if not the most stressful and hazardous jobs in America. Who would have thought? Please give them a raise! Fighting in store isles, panic, hoarding and all the rest of the worst human traits are pretty much commonplace at our grocers across the land. Don't get me wrong, there are still a great many folks out there helping and being solid citizens in the midst of all this. But man, I am totally floored by the number of totally self-absorbed people running around like the sky is falling having forgotten all sense of kindness, duty and love of neighbor. Again, I want to be careful here and not leave behind all of the large and small government agencies, first responders, hospital employees and corporations that have stepped up in grand ways to donate and help in any way possible. They truly are amazing and a great testament to our great American traditions and heart. In particular, I would like to throw a shout out to all the employees and corporate leadership at the grocery store chains for their unbelievable leadership during this outbreak. Our largest chain here in Texas is HEB and they have been absolutely amazing! They are at work maintaining order, smiling and working to the bone trying to hold together some semblance of great customer service. An immensely tall order for sure. I tip my hat to all of you, you're all rock stars!

 


 

So, let's get into our bible message for this I AM segment, shall we? Enough about what we already know. You'll forgive me, I had to set the stage. As I was at HEB recently witnessing this craziness myself, I had a question pop into my mind that immediately caught my attention. This was the same small voice that we all, as Christians, here from time to time. It was the unmistakable voice of God that sometimes comes to us at the most chaotic moments. The question was "Do you know why they panic?" I have been a Christian long enough to recognize that God was trying to show me something or get my attention, so I just watched and focused to try and see what I could see to formulate some sort of an answer. Looking back on the situation now, I think I was probably a bit more troubled inside than even I realized myself at that moment. I felt empty and hopeless for mankind at that moment. Just empty. I thought to myself "If this is how they are behaving for a virus, just think what would happen if there really was some sort of apocalyptic type event?" the answer was obvious right? Every human has wired into them an intense will to live and protect the ones they love. It seemed like I had just started in my attempt to find the answer to the question when I heard an answer come to me. What I heard was very different. "They lack faith and have no constitution." "They are not ready to pass from this earth and they know it." "They will do whatever it takes to buy more time if they possibly can." "They do not know the Lord."


I heard a pastor say recently, something I won't soon forget. He said when Noah built the Ark, many of the people around probably felt they had the best of both worlds. They laughed and mocked, some also must have thought that if the waters ever do come, all we'll have to do is jump on board and we can be saved as well. We will just stay close. Many of them must have panicked that day the floods started and ran toward the ship with all the speed the could muster. It was too late.


Genesis 7:16

The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.


Another example in Luke 13:25

Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, "Lord, open up to us!" then He will answer and say to you, "I do not know where you are from."


You see, I think that there are many of us that just want to stay close to a church. Most people generally believe in God, but they don't want to walk in the Christian faith every day because they are afraid of offending the world. Or they are just so plainly comfortable and don't want to ruin such a seemingly good thing. They just say to themselves, "I will just stay close to the church and if I see things going south or start to see signs of the end, I will just get on the boat and be swept away safely on board with the faithful." Well, it really doesn't work that way unfortunately. Let's read here in Matthew 24:36-39.


But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. for as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.


 


 

None of us will know. That's the point here. This panic isn't new to this world ladies and gentlemen. It is almost as old as the world itself. So, let's move forward here and see what we can do to have peace now and have certainty in our lives, so we don't have to run and prepare at the last moment when we perceive imminent danger. It has become my personal belief that most people shy away from Christ and the Christian walk not so much because they hate or dislike it. In my opinion, it's because they don't think the are worthy or that the work involved is going to be too much to handle. They are constantly walking with a sense of self-denial almost that they are too bad or not worthy or pretend they don't care. So, let's look here in John at what is truthfully required to become saved. It certainly isn't your good behavior or your accolades. Quite the contrary.


John 10:7-10


Then said Jesus unto them again, verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.


Matthew 11:28-30


Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


And lastly Romans 10:9-13


That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


That's it! How many people have missed the boat in the history of the world because of misconception or misinterpretation? Anyway, the Lord was showing me right there and then that I need not fear and that my faith was beginning to become affected by the chaos that ensued. I quickly realized how important it is to have faith and to take God's promises for just that. Promises! We all get flustered and afraid at times. That's OK, we can work with that.


Over the next couple of days God continued to work with me on this matter. I felt this pressing feeling that I had reached a point in my life that I just need to trust God's promises here. I mean trust. All or nothing. All in! If I don't, I will continue to wax and wane and become flustered when life's storms come. Of epic proportion or small, It's the same for both. We have all read or heard all of the most famous bible verses most of our lives such as Psalm 23.


Psalm 23:1-6


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


I really think we all need to sit down and really ask ourselves a question. Seriously look inside and see and soul search. We need to ask ourselves, "Do I really trust God being there with me in the valley 100 percent? I mean totally and absolutely. The answer is probably yes and no. Yes, when times are good and maybe not so much when the darkest moments come. It behooves us to become absolutely clear in this matter I believe, and I am convinced it's the number one reason people act out of terror like they are in times like this. Subconsciously or not. The question needs to be "If I were to leave this planet today, am I sure that I am saved and that I am not going to find the door to be shut?" I am not certain about everything in my life, but I am certain about this. I'm certain that having faith to trust God's promise to save us, protect us, love us and forgive us are only effective when one wholly believes and submits their trust in Him. Not almost or maybe. Wholly. And that has been a subject matter that I have really had to battle for many years. Oh yeah, and there are lots of "tools" out there that would like you to believe that their faith is so much stronger than yours and that they are enjoying a much more elevated experience in life than you are. They don't necessarily come out and say that, but you probably already know who I'm referring to. We all know a few of these overly sugary types. Over the years. I have found that the people I've met that are walking the strongest in their faith are solid, humble, meek, quiet and just have an air that is very recognizable but almost impossible to explain. You just know it when you see it. Don't let the butterfly person get you down because they always seem overly happy or always seem to never have a bad day. Usually not a real projection in my onion. I used to walk by a fella every couple of days that when I would say "How are you"?, they answer was always the same "I'm too blessed to be stressed!" I didn't think much of it for the first year or so until one day I just realized that never once had they ever returned the question with a simple "Good, how are you doing today" ever! Just too blessed to ask how someone else is doing... Certainly not to put down that comment. We just need to be careful and understand that many people are just pretending. Bad days will come for sure. Remember, the goal is not to walk around like you just took a happy pill all the time. In my opinion, the goal is to become Christ like and to learn to use your faith and strengthen yourself inside through the Holy Spirit like the hardest steel. Solid as a rock because you are standing on the Rock.


William Shakespeare once wrote: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come. "


As we look around the world today, we see fear and anxiety EVERYWHERE! As I see the fear in the eyes of people during this Covid-19 pandemic, one thing is clear to me. I can see that no running out of food, falling seriously ill or even maybe death itself is as bad as the torment of living a lifespan ruled by spiritual emptiness, Godlessness, fear and uncertainty. Being torn and tossed by unseen forces that have been devouring lives, faith and peace inside of us and our world for ages. No wonder the store shelves are empty. They restock what can't really make them live. They try to restock what can't make them see and they restock what can't save their soul. Sadly, some have no Savior to lean on in this time of uncertainty, so they end up trying to carry the whole weight of this world on their shoulders with little or no help. Consider that!


At the end of the day, most of us will be succumbed to some type of low point in our faith or wonder where God is from time to time. I myself am no exception. However, I’ve learned to immediately go to prayer when I become heavy laden. The response from God isn’t always immediate, but the awesome sense of peace and gratitude that comes from prayer is always immediate. The answer might be tomorrow or the next month, but the peace inside is now. Psalm 91 tells “He is my refuge and my fortress” It’s a promise. Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong in the Lord with all your heart and he will make straight your paths” It’s a promise. Joshua 1:9 "Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord is with you wherever you go”. It’s a promise.


So, as we all watch these unfortunate circumstances unfold over the next days and possibly months, we really have a decision to make here. I think it has never been more important in my personal life for this decision to be absolute, resolute and final. In my opinion, we must trust God and the power of His son’s victory for us through His bloodshed. Let go and trust God. Not just on bright sunny Sundays only. I mean even to our last breath. I will not fear darkness, I will not fear virus, I will not fear uncertainty. I will fear only one thing. The Holy God above. There is only one like Him and He is

almighty.


Deuteronomy 10:12

And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.


Isaiah 31:4

For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.


Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 


 

As the world turns to preventive medicines and vaccines guys, lets make be sure that we don’t ignore the most powerful vaccine for the disease of mankind in this world. Sin and separation from God. A place of great torment and suffering for sure. Jesus already paid the price for us. Let that be the vaccine that we remember. Also, one quick note here. Any combat veteran you talk to would tell you that without their military training, they would have absolutely melted in place on their first combat tour. Please

remember that we cannot expect to know how to fight or have faith if we don’t pray, read scripture and train. We should do these things daily. Especially in our current state-of-affairs. We must pray now! A well-trained soldier or police officer uses there training to stay under control through hectic circumstances. He stands his ground and fights with authority always looking for position of strength. What would lead us to believe our Christianity is any different? None of this would be possible without their training and dedication to their job. We have our commander and our chief, what a great army to serve in. He will not forsake us and will strengthen our faith through the Holy Spirit. I don’t have any friends that can do that for me and I don’t know anyone or anything in the world that can do that for me other than God. Pretty awesome to say the least. No matter what happens, He will be there fighting with us. After all, If He is the Alpha and the Omega. He surely knows where we are in

between those two points. If He’s the beginning and the end, then He is everything in between too. Don’t forget that! Nothing can or ever will surprise Him. He makes no mistakes and knows where we are and what we need much better than we do ourselves. God has a much better view! America needs to lift its voice in prayer in these difficult days. I encourage you to not wait. Now is a good a time as any. God Bless!


Warm Regards,


Jeff Graz






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