PERMISSION TO BE CHEERFUL
Today is the time referred to by Jesus as the time of “these things.” Jesus so aptly said “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). Indeed these are extremely dark times but according to our commander–in-chief, these are also “looking – up times,” and “lifting-up-of your-heads times.” We see the darkness of the times, but we are also quickly reminded that the darkness of the times shall be completely superseded by the brightness of His triumphant return to planet earth. Our message is – He is coming back with power and great glory (Luke 21:27). Therefore we rejoice!
It is a fact that as the end-time progresses we will see more and more days of trouble and distress. Viruses like Covid-19 shall continue to break out among us and wreak havoc and mutate. Instead of things becoming better, in many instances they shall only become progressively worse, disintegrating into mass chaos and hopeless pandemonium, according to the word. Jesus described it this way “. . .distress of nations, with perplexity . . . Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25,26). What a graphically dark picture is painted for us concerning these times in which we live!
However, the church must never forget that Jesus never preached despair, without balancing it with the glorious message of hope and salvation. Unlike many, He was never solely a preacher of hell, fire, brimstone and condemnation. He always preached life, healing, resurrection, power, salvation and deliverance. Therefore in these Covid-19 times, let the church continue to rise up and preach life, healing, resurrection, power, salvation and deliverance! When they speak despair, we give hope! We speak life from every one of our pulpits here in the Northeast Region and beyond. We still preach the resurrection power of our Lord and Savior to transform lives and to cast out every demon! We still say rise and be healed in the name of Jesus! We preach there is power in the blood!
As I write something comes over me and I am taken back to the gospel of John, where Jesus in one of his final discourses with His chosen ones said “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He made it so plain. In the world you shall have tribulation – affliction, trouble, anguish, great agitation, disturbance, annoyance, outburst of fury, burdens! You shall meet it going and coming. However, Jesus said, “…but be of good cheer . . .” Today we pause right here and meditate on this and take this into our often troubled and disquieted spirits. Be of good cheer. Cheer up!
Tribulation yes - but instead of becoming frustrated, flustered and flummoxed, Jesus says, church take a deep breath – “. . . Be of good cheer. . .” (John 16:33). We meet tribulation with a sense of joy and encouragement, expecting not to be defeated but to triumph again and to overcome! We experience the peace of Jesus even in these troubled times. His peace abides. In spite of all, we remain focused and maintain cheerfulness.
Don’t ever lose hope! Don’t be like the world! He calmly said “… I have overcome the world (v33). Rest in this! Cheer up! There is no defeat in Him. He grants us the permission to be cheerful in spite of the overpowering darkness of the times. Please tell somebody today to cheer up. Be of good cheer! It’s okay to smile and even laugh! Enough of the doomsday message of fear and despair – Cheer up! The Redeemer lives and has overcome the world!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
May 01, 2021
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region