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God can bring blessings out of COVID-19 pandemic

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A message from Pastor Gene Whitehouse of Peachtree Baptist Church:

“Whenever we feel overwhelmed by the chaos and difficulty of life, we can turn to God in prayer for peace and serenity. In this time of uncertainty, fear, seclusion and separation from what we term ‘normal,’ our human solution is to ‘handle it ourselves.’ But that is not what our Bible and the Lord tell us. Turning to the Lord should be our first response, not our last resort.”

In Philippians 4:6, the Bible tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

“How we can pray for peace is simple. First, honestly declare your belief and trust in God as your Lord and Savior. Then make your request of peace known to God in whatever personal sense you need.

“When terrible things are happening to us or to people around us, we can wonder: Is God really good? Can God really be trusted? Scripture tells us to suspend judgment as to whether something will prove to be good or bad in the end.

“COVID-19 is a bad thing, but there are good gifts that God can bring even from this. As I think about my own life, and maybe this is true for you, through COVID-19, I have been reminded that I do not control my life. COVID-19 has shown me that I am utterly and completely dependent on the living God. If I think I am in control of things, that is merely a pleasant illusion.

“Jesus Christ, God’s Son, knew that he was utterly, completely and totally dependent on his Father. So to the extent that you and I realize our dependence on God in these days, we are being conformed a little bit more into the image of his son Jesus.”

SUNDAY SCHOOL

Jerry Hobgood’s devotional is “Coming Glory,” by Anne Graham Lotz, from “Fixing My Eyes On Jesus.”

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” — Romans: 8:18.

“The truth is — bad things happen to those Jesus loves. Audrey Wetherell Johnson was born in England and educated in Europe. She was an agnostic but transformed by God’s grace into a gifted Bible teacher. In the 1930s, she felt God calling her to be a missionary.

“After years of teaching in a seminary in a foreign country, Miss Johnson was captured with other missionaries and placed in a concentration camp for three years of unimaginable suffering. When Miss Johnson was finally released, she came to America and began Bible Study Fellowship — an international ministry influencing millions of people of faith to study God’s Word each week.

“When something bad happens to you — look forward to the glory that is coming.”

During this very difficult time, we are all going to suffer in one way or another. I pray that it is in a minor way. Lean on Jesus for your strength and keep your faith strong.

BIBLE STUDY

Lawrence Edwards and I, teachers of the Median Sunday school class ask that you continue your Bible study in, “Dealing With Messy Relationships.” This is the first installment in the six-session Lesson, “Love,” titled “Let love permeate every relationship,” a meditation on John 15:9-14.

“We were created to live in relationship with others. John Donne said, ‘No man is an island,’ pointing to the interconnectedness we have with each other. And while we have a need and desire for relationships, we have a way of messing them up. We are sinners with a bent toward self-centeredness.

“Nobody likes the ends of the bread loaf. Relationships are a little like those heels of bread. Over time, they tend to harden and become stale.

“We’ve probably all heard someone say, ‘I love him, but I don’t like him.’ With that attitude, we treat love as a concept we feel obligated to embrace — devoid of any concrete, day-to-day expression that comes from the heart.

“But marriages and friendships don’t have to follow this downward spiral. Fortunately, the Bible gives us a surefire method to keep our connections with others from going stale. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the power to produce incredible freshness in the lives of others. This method for growing great relationships is foolproof, but not free. This deep connection is love. The true starting point for any strong relationship is love — love that is expressed in one’s attitude and actions.

“Are you disappointed in the way your relationships are turning out? Are you tired of watching people walk out of your life? Do you long to go deeper with those around you?

“In these verses, Jesus models this kind of love for us. Jesus explains the dynamics of love and calls us to do the same.”

Scripture of the month: 1 John chapter 3.

COMMUNITY NEWS

• Erin Callahan, my cousin and a retired Navy nurse, has been called back to active duty to help with the COVID-19 outbreak. We just learned Erin was sent to Guam to help with the virus there.

• Lynn and David Griffin had a great treat this weekend at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

• Bob Bunn and I celebrated our 55th anniversary on Friday. We grilled steaks, baked potatoes and sliced fresh tomatoes and had turtle pie. We are planning a trip later.

• Susan and Lawrence Edwards celebrated their 11th anniversary with a trip to the beach. Congratulations. They have been planting their garden and cleaning at the crossroads.

• Bob and I were able to see and talk to my dad through the window at his nursing home. This was the first time we’ve seen him since the beginning of March. The nursing home in Chapel Hill has been closed to the public.

• Peachtree Baptist Church members would like to congratulate Tabitha and Scotty Edwards and welcome Baby Boy Edwards. Linda and Kenneth Edwards are the new grandparents to this new little boy.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, please check with all area churches and community groups to see if their events are still ongoing. A number of churches are livestreaming their Sunday services online. Some area churches are now holding drive-thru services.

PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS

• To all those sick and in need. Please keep them all in your prayers.

• To Norman Whitley, Maxine Whitley and Jean Bunn.

• Please keep all frontline heroes in your prayers.

• Please don’t forget the people in the nursing homes in your area. So many are suffering with COVID-19.

• Birthday blessings to Beverly Wilson and Barbara Privette.

If you have news, please call or email me. I can’t print it if I don’t know. I do prefer an email. My email address is mfpbun@aol.com. My phone number is 252-478-2846. You may leave a message.

Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.

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