October 29, 2020
Revelation 9:20-21
The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.  Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
New International Version (NIV)
            What if the challenges of 2020 represent the greatest spiritual opportunity in our lifetime for us to turn back to God?  Will we get back to God?  Or will we say to God in view of the disruptions of our lives, “I’ll get back to you on that, God”?
            I read that they vacuumed up a nest of “murder hornets” in the state of Washington earlier this week.  If we ever get Covid behind us, the last thing we would seem to need is a new kind of insect with a stinger.  Then I read Revelation 9.  Just when you think you are finished with the locusts, a new variety comes along.  In my sermon on Joel at Tallowood last Sunday, I mentioned that I never really feared grasshoppers.  But John paints a vivid portrait of a new kind of locust in this chapter.  These grasshoppers sting like scorpions.
No, thank you!   I was stung by a scorpion once.  Melanie and I were newly married, living in the parsonage outside of Axtell and Mart when I felt fire on the back of my calf.  By the time I stood to my feet I had broken out in a cold sweat.  As I pinned the tenacious scorpion against my leg, he continued to play “connect the dots” on the back of my leg.  When we finally shook him out and saw him, sweet Melanie said, “Oh, he’s just a little one.”  Thankfully scorpions don’t fly . . . until the new locusts arrive with the ability to sting like scorpions.  Not good!
One of my favorite Bible verses is, “It came to pass.”  In John’s vision, the locust-scorpions eventually pass.  But then come the plagues.  These latter day nightmares wipe out a large portion of the earth’s population.  So what did the survivors do?  Did they turn to God and repent of their sins out of gratitude that they were still alive.  Nope.  They kept on worshipping demons and idols.  They didn’t stop their sorcery, killing, immorality or stealing. 
Say we survive the current pandemic:  how will we live?  What kind of people will we be?  More humble and circumspect or filled with bravado and hubris?  Will we be selfless or selfish?  More concerned about others or centered in ourselves?  John reminds us that the appeal of sin remains strong.  The challenges of life affect different people in different ways.  Some run to God as our refuge, and some remain fugitives running away from God.  Who will we be in the weeks and months to come?  A sister church posted, “The best is yet to come.”  It is.  If we get back to God.
Pray with me:         
Father, how we thank you for your mercies to us today.  We awake this morning with a new chance to live for you.  Yesterday is irretrievable.  We can’t relive it.  So take our lives into your keeping today, we pray.  Let our gratitude for your gracious gift of life drive us to our knees in worship.  Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.    
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:11-12
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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