This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 4/28/20. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Dave Kistler: “For the past decade,” one magazine wrote, “Americans have watched helplessly as the purchasing power of their paychecks have been mercilessly eroded. Many of their jobs are in jeopardy and some have disappeared forever. The chairman of the Federal Reserve, as he reviewed the U.S. economic landscape, said he perceived a deep-seated concern out there, which ‘I have not seen in my lifetime.'” With job losses at an all time high, stock prices on a roller coaster, these statements seem to aptly describe the current economic situation in the United States of America, but ladies and gentlemen, here’s the fact, the comments I’d just read to you were written about an entirely different time. The statements I just read were taken from a Newsweek article published in September of 1980, and the Federal Reserve Chairman I quoted was Alan Greenspan, not the current Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell. And he was talking about the panic of 1991 as the country appeared headed for a double dip recession. And what’s particularly notable about both quotes is the fact that they describe periods at the beginning of historic U.S. Economic expansion.
Dave Kistler: Now, my point is simply this, we often do a very poor job of understanding the current economic situation, and even more importantly, sometimes we do a poor job of knowing what lies ahead. The serious troubles affecting today’s economy are real, but fear about these problems may be actually doing the most damage, right now. See, back in 1991, two-thirds of the American public were pessimistic about where the country was headed, and much of the anxiety, in 1991, proved to be totally unwarranted. And so likewise, the future could turn out to be much brighter than most people believe today. Clearly, there’s a lot of work to be done, economically, with our financial system, and, certainly, the broader economy, but falling prey to fear only makes that task more difficult.
Dave Kistler: Now, with all of that said, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Dave Kistler, joined today by Gary Dull and Sam Rohrer, and our topic is going to be this, Falling Prey to Fear, How to Keep From Doing That. And if you’ve ever looked up the word fear and a Webster dictionary, Webster defines the phrase falling prey as this, “Being overcome by a bad situation.” And I confess that over the last two months, I’ve seen people that I deeply respect and love dearly become the victims of this very thing. They become prey for and succumb to what I believe is totally unfounded fear. Now, that’s going to be our topic.
Dave Kistler: I want you to meet someone in our first segment, someone who has not fallen prey to fear. In fact, he is the polar opposite of that. He’s a pastor friend of mine. His name is Mark Smith. He’s the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Champaign, Illinois. And, on Easter Sunday, Brother Mark and his church conducted a drive-in church service at which he preached from the roof of the church. I’ve watched the entire message on video. It was amazing. Pastor Mark, I want to welcome you to Stand in the Gap Today, my friend. Thank you for being aboard.
Mark Smith: Thank you for having me.
Dave Kistler: Well, Mark, it’s a delight to have you on the program. And just for the sake of all the information being out there, you and I have been friends for well over 30 years, and on a regular basis, usually, annually, I’m honored to be able to minister in your church there in Champagne, but when I found out what you had planned to do, I was overwhelmed. Number one, with the courage that it took for you to make this enormous step, but also the way you prepared for the Sunday service, the message itself. The content was outstanding. All of the men in your church that helped you did a tremendous job, as well, but I want to ask you this. Where did you get the idea of doing the drive in format, especially the component of preaching on the flat roof of your church building where everybody could see you. How did that idea come about?
Mark Smith: Well, Brother Dave, I would like to say that the idea originated with me, but actually it did not. There were people in our church. There’s an elderly gentleman in our church who, I think, he had heard of a church doing it out West and he mentioned it to me in the office one day. He had come over to bring something. I can’t remember, but he mentioned it to me right when all of this started, and churches were starting to close. And I thought it was somewhat laughable. I mean, the idea of standing on a roof, preaching at cars, it just didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but he mentioned it and someone else in the church. A lady in the church, who’s been here a long time, she mentioned it, as well. And, at first, I didn’t really think much about it, but I started thinking about it in reference to Easter and I thought that that possibly could make our Easter service a service that would never be forgotten, at least by the people who attended the service, here. And I think that actually came to fruition. It was wonderful.
Gary Dull: Mark, it’s a delight to have you with us. And I saw a clip of that and I’ll tell you what, it looked great. You’re not only brave, but you’re bold and I’m thankful for the fact that you did what you did. What kind of response did you have that morning in the church and the community around the church?
Mark Smith: Well, had no idea how many people would be here. It was heavily publicized and I’m sure that that helped us, and I didn’t seek any of that publicity. It all came to me. I think it’s because we were the only ones in the area that did the rooftop preaching drive-in service. I actually preached on top of the youth building back behind the church, but as far as the response, as I’m up there preaching, I’m not really knowing how well things are going, how well it’s being received.
Mark Smith: But I will say that, after the service, it was overwhelmingly positive. It was just an incredible experience, an outpouring of positivity from the people who attended. There were people here who had never attended our church, but they came because they heard of the service. I received numerous phone calls, numerous letters, numerous cards, and contributions from people who do not come to our church. So, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. And just to be frank with you, it turned out a whole lot better than I anticipated.
Sam Rohrer: Brother, and one thought, because some have been doing the drive-in, I think you told us early before the program, you did that only once, but sometimes there have been interactions with local police officials and others. How did that work out for you there?
Mark Smith: Well, I was telling Brother Dave, yesterday, I spoke with him on the phone, the publicity that we received was, for the most part, positive, except for one news report that aired on Friday night before the service, and that news report, you learn some things in the process. I’m not much of a media person and I wish when they interviewed me in front of the sign out in front of the church that I would have mentioned then that we had checked with the local Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to make sure that the service was acceptable. I failed to do that in the interview. That was not really asked of me and I did not mention that. So, I caught wind, so to speak, that the news report that night was going to have somewhat of a negative slant, almost as if we were in defiance of the local health officials.
Mark Smith: So, I contacted the producer, and said, “Hey, wait a minute, I’ve got a letter of approval.” And she allowed me to send that over to her, and they softened the language a little bit. But in that report they stated that the police would be here and health officials monitoring, and that if we were not in compliance that they would shut the service now.
Dave Kistler: Well, Mark, I’m going to jump in. I apologize for having to do that. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have Mark on, again, because I want you to hear more of this story, but it was an amazing thing, and the response after the fact was even better.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. This is Dave Kistler, joined today by Sam Rohrer and Gary Dull. And our theme is this, Falling Prey to Fear, How to Keep From Doing That. And in the first segment, we had Pastor Mark Smith of the Bible Baptist Church of Champagne, Illinois on with us, talking about what he did on Easter Sunday, which was absolutely amazing. Mark is a friend of mine, has been for, as I said in the first segment, about 30 years plus. But when I watched him pacing back and forth across the flat roof of the church building, preaching on Easter Sunday, it was absolutely amazing, and the number of people that came.
Dave Kistler: I preach in that church every year and I’ve never seen the parking lot that full. All three sides, all aspects of the parking lot on three sides of the building were completely packed with automobiles. That’s why he had to pace back and forth across the top of the building, addressing each of those groupings of cars. But he did it in encourage, not in fear. And I want to talk about that today with Sam and with Gary. We want to be a help to you, today, because it’s easy, in the midst of this pandemic, if we’re not careful, to fall prey to unfounded fear, and the program, today, is to help us avoid doing that.
Dave Kistler: Well, men, you’ve seen them, you’ve heard them as have I, texts, emails, YouTube posts. In fact, we may have actually said or sent some of them ourselves, posts that predict that America is going to be under martial law by Monday. That was one that stands out, substantively, in my mind. By the way, that Monday was five weeks ago. We’ve not gone under martial law, yet. Or what about this one? The shelves of all, or at least, the majority of the supermarkets of America going to be completely devoid of food items. Did you hear that one? I’m not saying that some stores did not go through a slow down and maybe not have certain things, especially, the proverbial toilet paper. I’m not sure what all that’s about. Maybe we’ll figure it out one day. But the fact of the matters this, most of the stores, right now, the shelves are fully stocked. I’m not saying that depleted shelves cannot come at some point down the road. I’m just saying, right now, this prediction that we saw has not really proven to be true.
Dave Kistler: And then, there’s this one. Here, in North Carolina, the highway patroller stopping people on the interstate, arresting them if they try to go from one county to another one. All of this, these and others like them are precipitated by the coronavirus situation. And ladies and gentlemen, I’ve heard an old preacher say this years ago, he said, “I’ve been young and now I’m old and I’ve had many troubles, most of which never occurred.” In other words, I’ve allowed fear at various places in my life to overtake me and cause me difficulty that I didn’t need to endure.
Dave Kistler: And so, ladies and gentlemen, if we’re not careful, in the midst of all that’s going on in our world around us, under normal circumstances, much less the unique circumstances in which we currently find ourselves, we can fall prey to fear. And we don’t need to do that. Well, how do we keep from doing that? Well, we’re going to get into that, momentarily, but before we do, Gary, you’ve been a pastor and led congregations for over four decades. You shepherded congregants through real, but oftentimes, maybe unnecessary and unfounded, fears. And so, I’m just wondering, over 40 years plus, what are some of the main fears that people have brought to you that you’ve had to address?
Gary Dull: Well, Dave, down through the years, there’ve been many of them. I suppose that if I were to qualify them, I would say that they’ve been financial fears, not being able to meet their budgets, or there’s been family fears, simply because of the fact that maybe a mom and a dad were concerned about the way their children were going, or even fears between a husband and wife and their relationship. I think physical fears have been there. Of course, I stood with a lot of people who’ve gone through a lot of physical problems down through the years as they fought cancer and heart problems and issues like that. As I was thinking of this question though, one of the thoughts that came to my mind is I wonder why people don’t have a spiritual fear, so much. Every now and then I’ll run into somebody that has a fear of displeasing God, but I don’t find that as often as I think that we should find it.
Gary Dull: But I’ll tell you one thing that’s true. As the Psalmist said, “I’ve been young and I’m old and yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” So, whatever it is we fear, we can always take it to the Lord, and know that he’s there for us. I think of Isaiah 41:10. It says, “Fear thou not.” This is God speaking. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” The fears are many, but God is greater than our fears.
Dave Kistler: Gary, outstanding. You mentioned three fears. You said financial fears. You said physical fears, health-related. And then, you said family fears, concerns over the future of children and the direction of children. And Gary, really, all three of those have been elevated to the forefront in the midst of this current pandemic that we’re in. And the passages you quoted are beyond powerful and appropriate, because we don’t need to fear unnecessarily. We don’t need to fall prey to financial fear or family fear, physical fear, any kind of fear.
Dave Kistler: Sam, let me ask you this. Several years ago, I spoke at length with a North Carolina highway patrolman, and we were talking about what was going on in our community at the time. There had been a couple of teen suicides and we were discussing that. And this law enforcement officer asked me if I knew what the top 10 things were that teenagers fear most. And he had conducted a survey, because he speaks in a lot of public schools, and over the time that he had done that, he had developed this survey and he’d come up with the top 10 fears teenagers face.
Dave Kistler: And so, my response was, “Well, it has to be death. Young people have to fear dying more than anything else.” And he looked at me, Sam, and he said this. He said, “No, that’s number five on my survey list.” And my thought was, “What can teenagers possibly fear more? What four things could possibly be more strategic and more vital and more critical in their thinking that would cause them to fear those things more than dying itself. And here’s what he said to me. He said, “No, Dave.” He said, “The number one fear of all the places I’ve spoken and conducted the survey, the number one fear is the fear that young people have of speaking in public, in front of their peers. That’s the number one fear, having to address their peers in public. They fear that more than death itself.” In essence, he was saying peer pressure is the greatest fear among teens.
Dave Kistler: Now, we’re probably not surprised by that, but it’s not just teens that fear peer pressure. Politicians also live under the fear of what their peers think, what their constituents think. Sam, you’ve been in politics, were involved in politics for just under two decades. I wonder if you could share what some of the greatest fears that you saw among those that serve in the realm of politics? And I’m doing this because I’m trying to lay a foundation for where we’re going to go in the next segment. What are the fears that most politicians face more than any other?
Sam Rohrer: Dave, that’s a great question. To me, it is what is said and then it’s what is not said. Now, what is said, in reality and action, would be for those who would be in office, it really comes down to acceptance. They fear being rejected at the time of an election, at the time of being an appointed position for a committee, standing up and making a speech and being ridiculed. Rejection is a big thing. Re-election would be another one, so rejection, re-election, for those in office. Those are big things, because their lives are linked to people patting them on the back, and so forth.
Sam Rohrer: I remember one fellow who had been in office for 30 years, and actually, my predecessor. And the greatest fear, after he got out, he said, “It came into being.” He said, “Everybody needed me when I was in office. They called me. They wanted my opinion. As soon as I retired, nobody wanted me anymore. So, it was that idea. But Dave, I’m going to say this, at the heart, this is not spoken. I do think, as you guessed about the teens, at the end of the day, I do believe it is the fear of death and it’s the next step, the next part of a person’s life over which they have no control, and a politician, they think they can control everything. But when the time of death comes, they have no control. And I would submit that everybody who’s not a believer, Dave, ought to fear that.
Dave Kistler: Sam, let me ask you this, because I’ve had this thought running through my mind a lot over the last six weeks, and that is the focus has been health, safety, and it’s not that we’re not interested in that or should not be concerned about that, we should, but all of the focus, Sam, has been on health and safety to the exclusion of what long term may be other health and safety concerns, because of what we are doing to our economy. But, right now, it’s health, it’s safety.
Dave Kistler: And I’m just wondering if you think that the reason that is so important is because we have a culture, right now, that does not have a biblical worldview, and because they don’t have a biblical worldview? They don’t understand that there is a life after this life that we must prepare for. And for the Christian we can face death itself. Kind of stare it in the face, without fear, because if we know Christ, the Savior, we know, as Gary says all the time, “The best is yet to come.” But for those that don’t have that assurance of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ, the best life they have is going to be here on earth. And so they’re going to fight and scratch and claw to keep themselves physically alive as long as they can because this is it. So, the overemphasis on health and safety to the exclusion of everything else, maybe it’s motivated by that same fear of what’s to come after I pass through that portico death. You think that’s valid?
Sam Rohrer: Oh, I think it’s absolutely valid. Actually, today, Isaac Crockett, the cohost on the program, here, and I did a TV program, and we talked about seven truths that people need to keep in mind going through this time of crisis, because there’s going to be other times of crisis. And the first one is, remember that, it’s appointed unto man once to die. We’re all mortal. We’re all going to die. A second one is that, for a believer, this is not our permanent home. We’re moving through. We’re pilgrims. We don’t lay up treasure on earth. We lay up treasure in heaven. Those are just the top three.
Sam Rohrer: But for a person who does not know Jesus Christ, as Savior, death is a fearful thing. This is their permanent home, they think, and they are up laying treasures on earth, which, obviously, as we know, can disappear very quickly. So, it’s the worldview. Absolutely, Dave.
Dave Kistler: Well, I’m not trying to be cavalier or callous, but the thing about earth is you don’t get off this earth alive. You’re not going to get out of this thing, [inaudible 00:19:07], here, alive. We’re all going to face death. It’s what’s after death that’s most important.
Dave Kistler: Well, again, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today, and this is a Tuesday, which means this is one of our 52 Tuesday Prayer Initiative Tuesdays and one of our 52 Tuesday Prayer Initiative programs. And I want to encourage you to continue to be praying for our national leadership, praying for our nation, praying certainly for the crisis that we currently find ourselves in with respect to the coronavirus. But above and beyond all of that, be praying about a spiritual awakening in the United States of America. And I don’t mind telling you this, though you will not be able yourself to participate in it, but every Tuesday evening at 8:00, our ministry conducts a members-only prayer time with members of Congress, and tonight will be that time again. We already have a myriad of members of Congress signed up to be a part of that prayer time and we’re praying certainly about the coronavirus. We’re praying certainly about our economy, but I want you to know the primary focus of these prayer times have to do with a spiritual awakening in the United States of America.
Dave Kistler: And if you are watching the news and have come to the conclusion that there are no members of Congress that really care about that, that is not true. There are many on Capitol Hill that care deeply about seeing God send a revival to the United States of America. In fact, they understand that is the answer to America’s ills. And so, they’re seeking the face of God themselves and we need to be doing the same. We’re going to be praying in the final segment, in fact, giving the majority of that segment to concerted prayer, with respect to some of these things.
Dave Kistler: But our theme, today, is this, Falling Prey to Fear, How to Keep From Doing That. And we’re going to be talking about that very specifically in this segment. It was Herman Melville of Moby Dick fame, who said, “Ignorance is the parent of fear.” And one of the things I think that incites fear most is the unknown, whether it be an unknown future or an unknown virus, and that’s the way this particular virus has been categorized and classified and described. It’s a novel virus. In other words, it’s new. We haven’t seen something exactly like this, and though the coronavirus family has been around, and will continue to be around, after this particular pandemic is over and done, because the common cold is a coronavirus, but this particular one has some unique things with respect to it. So, that can engender fear, unfounded fear. When we don’t know what to expect or what’s coming, we can be filled with unfounded fear.
Dave Kistler: In fact, movie makers use this component and this element masterfully. As a character in a film moves slowly toward a closed door, the tension music mounts to the point of almost being unbearable, before something on the other side of the door violently emerges wreaking havoc. It’s the component of the unknown that creates the apprehension, the dread, and sometimes, outright panic. So, Gary, I want to ask you this. It’s at least 365 times, at least, one for every day of the year, all right, that the Bible includes the phrase, “Fear not.” Okay? It is used at least 365 times. So, you’ve already quoted some verses in the prior segment, but I’d love for you to just comment, briefly, how biblically and practically does one resist, push back against this overwhelming tendency to fall prey to fear?
Gary Dull: Well, one of the things to take into consideration, Dave, is that, even though the Bible says, “Fear not,” 365 times, that’s one per day, we can apply all 365 of them each day, if we wish, if we want to be in the Word of God, because that’s how strong the promises of God are. But as we try to push back on falling prey to fear, just a couple of things to take into consideration. First of all, and I’m talking mainly to believers, those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. I know that we may have some who do not know Christ, and so, I would encourage everybody to take a look at their own lives. And if you’ve never trusted Jesus Christ, as Savior, you need to fear hell. You need to fear eternal separation from God in the lake of fire forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. And it was the fear of that that brought me to Christ. I will share my testimony, sometime.
Gary Dull: But if you don’t know Christ, you have a lot of fear ahead of you. So, I’d encourage you to come to the Lord and trust Christ, as Savior, and that fear will be taken away. But for the believer, as we face fear, several things to keep in mind. First of all, remember, it is a command not to fear. I read that scripture a little bit ago, Dave, in Isaiah 41:10, where God says, “Fear thou not.” That’s a command. And tied into that, the reason why we don’t fear, and the reason why we should resist falling prey to fear, is because we need to realize who God is that tells us that. And again, we see it there in verse 10, God says, “I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Gary Dull: So, God not only gives us this command not to fear, but He says, “When you fear, I am there with you.” And as we focus on that, let’s remember that God cares for us more than we care for ourselves. And I’ll just address this to our audience. I don’t know, folks, what it is you’re going through, today. Maybe the COVID-19 issue that’s bothering you, but whatever your care is, whatever your burden is, God cares for you. Again, if you’re a believer, God cares for you more than you care for yourself, and he will take care of you. As the song says, “Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you.”
Gary Dull: And then, a final thing, I think that we can use to resist falling prey to fear is, have faith in God to do what He’s going to do in your life to take care of you. We know Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.” And so, in reality, putting it down to one statement, the best way that I know to tell anybody to resist falling prey to fear is to look to the Lord. Psalm 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, we don’t need to fear when we walk with God.”
Dave Kistler: Gary, even as you quoted that verse of scripture directly across from the front door of our home is a little hill, a little knoll, it’s called the knob and it’s a mountain. And I haven’t seen that mountain skipping down to the coastline of North Carolina and cast into the midst of the sea, but if I did, Gary, that could be a disturbing thing. If something calls that mountain to do that, but even if I saw that happen, the passage you just read says, “Don’t be afraid,” even in the midst of that. And what we’re facing right now, though it can be disconcerting, should not cause us to be the subjects of abject fear, hysteria, panic. God’s got this. And I don’t just say that in a cavalier, casual way. No, he does. He’s got this and he’ll take care of it.
Dave Kistler: Sam, how can leaders, especially, ministry leaders, political leaders, balance the reality of that which is serious, and, potentially, deadly, and, at the same time, lessen or even prevent or, at least, try to prevent people from being overcome by fear and uncertainty? In other words, how do we walk the tight rope between admitting, “Hey, this is a potentially serious thing,” but we don’t need to be overcome by fear with respect to it?
Sam Rohrer: Dave, when I think of that, I go right to the Book of 1 John. In simple terms, not having fear is a reflection of our view of God. If I trust God in His Word, then I don’t have fear. Now, the Book of John talks about, in Chapter four, “Herein is our love made perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment,” difficulty, times, like we may be having. “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear because fear hath torment to it.” As a leader, I don’t believe that it’s possible for a leader to sort between that which is important and that which is not important. Even the aspect of priority, Dave, of what is and what’s not, is related to my understanding of what God says is important or not important.
Sam Rohrer: And if we have perfect love, meaning we know who Jesus Christ is, and we are living in obedience, because that’s what John talks about, love is really manifested by obedience, a life of biblical obedience. If that is the case, that results in boldness. And boldness means going forward. It doesn’t mean shrinking in retreat in fear, and literally, we know that God has given us the truth. The truth is to march forward, and with that comes confidence and boldness, but it really is linked to our relationship with the Lord, manifested in whether or not we are committed to living in obedience and doing what God says or looking at the circumstances and doing what we think at the moment might be right or what somebody down the road tells us we ought to do.
Dave Kistler: Sam, there’s a phrase that I have used repeatedly through the last six weeks, seven weeks, eight weeks, that we have been involved in this pandemic, and it’s a phrase taken from Mark Patterson’s book, Chase the Lion. He said that what we’re supposed to do is run toward the roar. We’re not supposed to run away from the roar. We’re supposed to run to the roar. And the goal of the Christian life is not to arrive safely at death. The goal of the Christian life is to glorify God and that’s really what you’re talking about. It’s a worldview perspective that allows the Christian to face even a pandemic and the uncertainty of it. What it may mean physically, what it may mean, as Gary said in the second segment, financially, or what it may mean to our family. We can face those things without being motivated by hysteria and panic, because, again, God’s got this.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the middle of what is being called a pandemic. In fact, you hear that word bandied about a lot, and have heard it for the last almost two months. Have you ever stopped to look up the word pandemic, to see what it literally means? I’m a little bit of a word nut of Scripture. I love to study the words of Scripture, but the word pandemic is a compound word. It comes from the Greek. The word pan means all. Demic comes from the Greek word demos, which means people. We get the English word demographic from that word. So, pandemic means all people. And so, the word is used to suggest that, in this particular situation with coronavirus, that it’s affecting all people. But ladies and gentlemen, the reality of the fact is it’s not really affecting all people, in so far as the disease itself is. We have a pandemic, though, affecting all people, a fear.
Dave Kistler: We have people that, literally, if they pass someone out on the street, they moved to the side, because they’re afraid that other person may be carrying something, from the standpoint of the virus that may affect them. And I have been in several establishments where I was walking down an aisle and people got right up to the products on the one side of the aisle to avoid being too close to me out of fear. So really, maybe the real pandemic, that which is affecting all people, is fear, or not so much the virus itself. Now, you say, “Why would you say that, Dave?” Well, the numbers are nowhere near what was initially predicted.
Dave Kistler: In fact, there’s numbers of articles coming out from numbers of physicians, numbers of medical experts that are now saying the infectious nature of the virus has been scaled back. You will remember that, initially, it was suggested that the coronavirus was 10 times more infectious than the annual or seasonal flu. And then, the head the CDC, I heard him say it with his own lips, “No, now we believe it’s only three times,” but he offered no justification for how he came to those conclusions. He offered no documentation of how he arrived at three times, but they know it’s not definitely 10 times. It’s not near as infectious as they thought.
Dave Kistler: And now, some are suggesting that, ultimately, the actual physical outcome of this may be somewhere like a bad influenza season. Hospitals, all over the nation, some places, yes, but all over the nation is what’s predicted, have not become overrun with COVID-19 patients. In fact, right here, in North Carolina, they’re laying off 40% of their hospital staff. Doctors that we know do not have work, because they cleared their hospitals out for this supposed influx of COVID-19 patients and it never materialized. I want to go back to what that pastor said, “I’ve been young and now I’m old, and I’ve had many problems, much of which never actually occurred.”
Dave Kistler: So, Sam and Gary, I want to go to each of you, and I want to ask you to pray, but I want you to do this before you pray. All for one final piece of sound, sensible spiritual advice to those that are at their home or maybe listening on their car radio, right now. And they’re still fearful, after what we’ve talked about. They’re still dealing with fear, and tomorrow they’re going to have to face a media that just continues to bombard them with messages of fear. Give some sound, sensible, spiritual advice to them, very briefly. And then after you’ve done that, pray. And Sam, I’m going to let you go first, and then, Gary we’ll go directly to you.
Sam Rohrer: Dave, the verse that comes to me is the commitment from Joshua, about to go into a land, coming from trouble, and he made a statement to the people, which was exact right thing to say, as a father, as a man, and as a leader of a nation, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We will obey the commands of the Lord.” Dave, the decision to look to God, and say, “I will follow what you say, not what I hear, not what the experts even say. I will follow what you say to do.” Dave, that allows us to go forward. And, I think, in a confident position. So, I think I would start there.
Sam Rohrer: Heavenly Father, we are thankful to you, oh Lord, for making yourself, not only available to us, but loving us in the first place, when we did not deserve a thing. And I would pray, Lord, that as we come before you, here, on this program, and with many thousands across the country who are joining with us, that we would understand that you, alone, are able to answer the needs of the day. That you have provided the instruction for us in your Word. We have but to follow it. Lord, we admit our tendency and our sin of leaning on our own ideas and following that which is about us rather than you.
Sam Rohrer: We admit, Lord, and we repent of worshiping other things than you, and we ask that you would hear the call of your people and ourselves, even right now, in this regard. And we commit ourselves to you. Oh Lord, we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Dave Kistler: Gary.
Gary Dull: Well, I would encourage people to take some time and read through Isaiah 40-66. And I say that because, in those chapters, Isaiah 40-66, there are so many great encouraging words concerning who God is and what God is going to do in the lives of those who believe. Of course, we know it’s directed to Israel, but there are so many promises that we, ourselves, can derive from there, too. For we know that those things that were written before time were written for our learning, that we, through the patience and the comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. And so, I would encourage everybody to spend some time in those passages, particularly, if you are downtrodden, and if you are fearful, today. But remember these words, from Isaiah 41:13, where it says, “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” And folks, with God helping us, we’re on the victory side. We have nothing to worry about.
Gary Dull: And Father, I pray that you’ll take this verse of Scripture, and the other things that we’ve said throughout the course of this program, today, and through your Holy Spirit, apply them to the lives of those who hear. Again, Lord, though, I pray for any who does not know Christ. They have a lot of reasons to fear. They need to fear hell, eternal separation from you in the lake of fire. And I pray that they’ll come to know you, so that they might escape that hell and be able to spend eternity in heaven. And then, for every believer, who is under the sound of my voice, may they turn to you. You’re their helper. You’re their strength. You’re their provider. And may they derive all of that comfort from who you are and the way that you’ll work in their lives. In Jesus name. Amen.
Dave Kistler: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God. In Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, or for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and 10,000 at thy right hand. But it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Dave Kistler: By the way, ladies and gentlemen, my wife and I walked through the length and breadth of our home, right after this thing first got started, when we got back from France, which at that time France was a hot zone, and we didn’t know if we’d come in contact with the virus. We certainly had no symptoms, have not had any. But we walked through the length and breadth of our home, and literally prayed the entirety all 16 verses of Psalm 91, as we walked through our home, and claimed it for the glory of God and said, “Lord, make our home, I pray, off limits to this, or any other pestilence, that would want to harm us, and do so for our family, as well. And it doesn’t mean that’s a magic bullet. It just means we put our confidence where our confidence should be and that’s in the God of heaven.
Dave Kistler: Ladies and gentlemen, there’s an illegitimate fear. Fear of things in people is never condoned in the Scripture. Fear of God is. Matthew 10:28 says, “Don’t fear him that can kill the body. Here’s the one you should fear, him that’s able to kill both soul and body in hell.” Fear God. If you’re a Christian, put your trust in Him. He’s got this. If you don’t know the Lord, you need to come to Him. Falling Prey to Fear. That’s been our theme, today. Don’t have to do it. Hope this has been a help and a blessing. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow on our next installment of Stand in the Gap Today.