The Beatitudes in Tagalog!

I recently stood on the “Mount of Beatitudes” with 45 other fellow pilgrims,  some of whom read the famous “blessed” statements of Jesus for me in Tagalog (as seen in the picture to the right).  This “mountain” is a  favorite for me in Israel because it’s the place where Jesus preached His famous “sermon on the mount.”  Some of His best known and most beloved statements were made in that sermon.  But given the present crisis we are facing and it’s subsequent economic fallout, I think it is important to focus on one part of the sermon in particular.  Take a moment to read the following excerpt from His sermon:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34

Let me make five simple observations from that paragraph that I pray will encourage you today:

  1. You are God’s greatest concern, so don’t be anxious about your life. That applies to the food and water you consume to the goods needed to keep your body protected.  The logic Jesus employed is simple.  If God can take care of the “birds of the air” don’t you know that He will take care of you.
  2. Anxiety is good for nothing. It doesn’t contribute one iota to your well-being.  Save your valuable energy for better things like trusting Him.
  3. Our Father in heaven knows what you need. The reasoning is simple.  If He knows (which implies He’s watching out for us) He cares and if He cares, then He will take care of you. 
  4. When you trust Him, “all these things will be added to you.”
  5. Trusting Him doesn’t remove the troubles of today but it gives us a resting place in the midst of the “sufficient anxieties” that are sure to come.


It’s a normal and common experience for us to respond to a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic with worry and anxiety. But the less common choice is the one offered to us by Jesus.  Believe that your heavenly Father knows what you need and will take care of you.  Trust Him with me. 
Agape and Shalom!
Pastor Deric
(on behalf of your staff and elders)

What a Year this Week has been…

Have you seen the Facebook post . . . what a year this week has been! That sums it up well! We’re all feeling disheveled and out of sorts. Maybe even “in over our heads.” So much has happened in the last 7 days that it’s hard for the average person to process. Every day brings a new announcement about another limit being imposed for the sake of halting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. What is harder to limit, of course, is fear, worry and anxiety. But for the Christian, the Bible is chock full of promises and prescriptions to keep us encouraged and focused. It’s not that we don’t have all the same questions and fears as the rest of the population, it’s that we have a strength and a source to keep us living as an overcomer. We are just as susceptible to this new strain of virus as anyone else. The Christian has the faith to embrace this new circumstance with anticipation and even joy. We must fight the virus by following the clear mandates of public health officials BUT WE FIGHT FEAR by faith in our God.
In a pre-emptive word to His disciples, on the verge of His crucifixion, Jesus urged his followers to remain calm by trusting Him just as they trusted God, His Father. Recall the opening line of His famous sermon in John’s gospel, chapter 14:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
That’s great counsel for us in the trouble that has come upon our world. Trusting Him is the antidote to fear. We have the strength in Jesus to keep our hearts from being “troubled.” Jesus told His disciples to keep their hearts from being shaken or disturbed by keeping faith in Him. After all He is the “prince of peace.” As Corrie Ten Boom use to say “there is no panic in heaven” because there is not disturbance in the presence of Jesus.
As many of you know, I was just in Israel for 10 days with 45 of our church family, including my oldest son Bryce. On the last day that we were there we planned a “free” day to roam the old city, shop and do whatever we wanted. One of the things that Bryce and I did was walk the northern and southern portion of the wall of old Jerusalem. It was very cool. Of the many thoughts and emotions that were racing through my heart was the power of a new view on the old city. When you walk the streets it’s crowded, chaotic, busy and exciting. Just a few steps up near the Jaffa Gate you are suddenly looking down on all the hustle and bustle. We walked the walls for nearly 2 hours and only met 5 people at the most. It was quite serene only a short distance up from the otherwise bustling city. You shouldn’t walk the “ramparts” of the old city without pondering Psalm 48:12-14.
“Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
Now is the exciting time for us to tell our generation that the Lord is our God forever and ever. He is guiding all who trust Him to the safe tower of His presence where there is “fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11).
Like everyone else we have questions and maybe even worries about the outcome of this unprecedented time, but unlike the rest of the world, we are not living in fear, panic or worry. We are living in peace through Him. Keep the faith perspective before you at all times and be amazed at the strength and peace the He will deposit in your heart and mind.
And remember that we love you and we are praying for you. We can’t wait till we are able to meet together again on a Sunday morning to worship Him and to hear His Word spoken to us.
Agape and Shalom!
Pastor Deric
(on behalf of your staff and elders)