We Live In Interesting Times
The Pastor’s Ruminations during the Coronavirus, COVID19

April 25, 2020

I smiled to see the song we will be singing together for church tomorrow. Here are its lyrics:

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide, A shelter in the time of storm.

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land;
O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, A shelter in the time of storm;

A shade by day, defense by night, A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes affright, A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat, A shelter in the time of storm;
We’ll never leave our safe retreat, A shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear, A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our helper ever near, A shelter in the time of storm.

This song (without the refrain) was a favourite among fishermen on the northeastern coast of England and Scotland during the late 1800s. The authour was Vernon Charlesworth. Mr. Charlesworth was a teaching elder at Metropolitan Tabernacle in London where Charles Spurgeon was pastor. North Sea fishermen would sing this song as they approached their home harbours during storms. It is obvious why! As it was originally written it was something of a dirge. Ira Sankey, song leader for D.L. Moody, put it in a major key and added the refrain.

This song is rooted in Scripture. In fact, if you’ll take the time, every single phrase in it refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed as it says, our Rock and Shelter, and expands on that assurance in some way. Let me show you on just the first verse, and your assignment is to work through the rest of the song with your Bible concordance and see how, during COVID19 days, Jesus Christ is our Rock and Shelter.

Verse 1:

Isaiah 32 speaks of a King Who will rule in Righteousness. Note verse 2!

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
And princes will rule with justice.
2 A man will be as a hiding place from the wind,
And a cover from the tempest,
As rivers of water in a dry place,
As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
3 The eyes of those who see will not be dim,
And the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge,
And the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.

Psalm 17 – the Rock is our Hiding Place.

8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
9 From the wicked who oppress me,
From my deadly enemies who surround me.

Zophar was one of Job’s miserable comforters. His “friends” said much that was false, but also much that was true but unkind. Zophar was calling Job to a repentance that was unjust but in the process he spoke well of the fact that this Rock and Shelter protects us from “all ills.” Job 11:18, 19:

18 And you would be secure, because there is hope;
Yes, you would dig around you, and take your rest in safety.
19 You would also lie down, and no one would make you afraid;
Yes, many would court your favor.

You can do that with each phrase in this song and understand why frightened fishermen found solace their in the Lord Jesus Christ. It will help you to face our current storm with confidence in our Living Saviour.

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I get asked more and more, “When will be meet again?” I don’t know. I asked Pastor Faulk and Pastor Davis about just meeting in the plumbing section at Home Depot since they’re wide open for anyone. They didn’t think it was all that good an idea.

BUT, I will encourage you to do this. Serve one another outside the church building walls well. In fact, PLEASE call us if we can help you. We have people who are going to the store for people. We can help with food. We can help with some bills if you’re out of work and becoming financially burden.

Dear People, you and I are “the church.” It is not the building in which I sit at the moment. Be the Church and our ministry will not falter.

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I thank God for your good giving. Please continue to help us in this way. You should be aware about this in our finances. Most of our expenses are pretty well fixed. That means our financial needs continue “about the same” even during this time of duress. You have been so generous, and I appeal to you for that to continue. You can mail your gift, bring it by the church office, use the Tithe.ly app on your phone, or give at https://www.cmcracine.org/give.

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Thank you for allowing Susan and me to be away these next two Sundays. It is past time that I should see my Mama. Pray for us as we drive and pray that we will be an encouragement to Mama and my siblings. Also, this is likely the last time we will see Malachi and family before they leave to return to their field.

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May I draw your attention to our Mission Minute right now?! Here is word from our missionaries, the David Caucutts: