Oh No!! It might be Covid19!!!

As serious or even seriously misunderstood as Covid19 may be, it does not have to stop you from being you and it certainly doesn’t stop God from being God. God is good, all the time, and His mercy endures forever. You’ve likely recently experienced a conversation where the person you’re talking to jumps to a conclusion of Covid19 when you told them about a sniffle. That’s what the devil does too. If you have a simple symptom, he suggests the thought of something major. He turns a cyst into Cancer and a cough into Covid. The dreaded “C” words. (Dun, Dun, Dunnnn.) The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what it is. Christ is more powerful than any other “C” word or any other name. Phillipians 2:9 “…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…”

So, if you have been diagnosed with Covid19 or any other thing, here are some things I think you should know…

  1. Your God is greater! 1 John 4:4 declares, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Simply put and to quote VeggieTales, “God is bigger than the Boogie Man.” In Mark 4:39, Jesus got up and rebuked the storm. If you are faced with the storm of Covid19 stand up and rebuke it. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The storms of life face all of us. Who you are and what you do is far more valuable and powerful than what comes against you.Psalm 34:3 says, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Have you ever wondered why there is so much talk in every media outlet about Covid19 and its negative statistics? Why not talk about the overwhelming number of recoveries? They are attempting to get people into agreement and magnify the problem together. Otherwise, it just won’t seem big. Don’t do it! Don’t agree with the advisories. Agree with God. Keep Him before your own eyes as greater than anything that can come against you.
  2. Your Faith works! Galatians 5:6 “…but faith which worketh by love.” Listen to this commentary note: But faith availeth–the faith in Christ; the faith which uses love as its medium and method of working. There is first faith in Christ; then the love of Christ.  Matthew 9:29 says, “…according to your faith be it unto you.”  You must function at your level of believing. You can only truly have confidence or trust in doing what you know in your own heart.Many people will advise you as to what to do; “Go to the doctor!” “Take this or that medicine.” “Don’t trust the doctor!” “Don’t take this or that medicine.” It can get confusing. So, what do you do? You hear from God and obey. In John 2:4, at the wedding in Cana, Jesus’ mother, Mary, said to his servants, “Whatever he tells you to do, Do It!”  John 14:21 “The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” Take confidence in obeying the instruction of the Lord. Follow His leading. “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” That’s what Jesus said in Mark 5:34. Why? Because fear is paralyzing. 1 John4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Don’t be in fear; be in love. Your faith works by love and love obeys. Love on Jesus during this time and let him love on you and you will see your faith work.
  3. Have no shame! Psalm 43:5 says, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” And  Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
    Shame and condemnation will cause you to hang your head down instead of lifting up your eyes (Psalm 121:1). It is a tactic of the enemy to cause you to look at sin, sickness, and self rather than Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We must keep our gaze fixed on Him who is our salvation (preservation, healing, deliverance, safety, soundness). In Numbers 21:8-9 we see the typology of Jesus in the serpent on the pole; “And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the standard: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived.” Those that locked their eyes on the serpent on the pole lived. Keep your head up.In John 9 Jesus heals a blind man. (I highly recommend you read this amazing chapter.) Jesus’ disciples were looking at sin and whose fault it was rather than looking at the solution. Jesus basically said (vs 3, 4), “No one is at fault, but God’s glory will be seen.

I have been made aware of people within the church family that have been diagnosed with Covid19 or that are experiencing symptoms. What you may not have been aware of is that throughout the past 18 months there has nearly always been someone within our circles having Covid19. Some went through great lengths of protection, staying away from people, wearing masks, and even stayed away from church yet they still got it. And then there are those that have lived their life with no extra precautions: some have gotten Covid19, and some have not. The greater reality is that everyone has recovered.

The church remains open. We continue to do what we have done from the beginning; listen and obey. If you are sick, then you should stay home and recover. Let us know so we can minister to you. If you are well then you should come and assemble with the saints. The building is regularly sanitized, and the power of God is present to heal.

Looking forward to being with all of you,

Pastor Jonathan Friedt

Updated Service Safety Rules

Believers’ Fellowship is regularly sanitizing the facility and complying as much as possible with government recommendations and requirements so long as they do not impede our ability to assemble.  If you feel it best to not attend in person for any reason, please join us online. You are under no obligation to attend in person or online.

If you decide to attend in-person, please abide by these rules.

  1. If sick or in recent contact with sick persons – stay home. (Let us know so we can minister to you.)
  2. Avoid physical contact. (Sweaty hands are gross anyway.)
  3. Practice physical distancing. (No one likes smelly breath.)
  4. Keep your hands clean. (You should do that anyway. It’s scriptural. lol Ps 24:3-4)
  5. Wear a mask. (It’s a City of Lakeland mandate.)

The City of Lakeland has mandated that masks be worn indoors when not being able to be 6 feet from others. Each person is responsible to follow this ordinance for themselves. The ordinance can be read here. In efforts to make services more comfortable to everyone, we will be moving to multiple Sunday services beginning July 12. More information to come. As for Sunday, July 5, 2020 masks are expected to be worn according to the ordinance.

These comments and actions are not intended to reflect or impose fear in any way. The Coronavirus stops at The Door, it dies under the hand of the believer, it bows to the name of Jesus. If you need ministry, please contacts us. Stay in faith and follow the leading of the Spirit of God within you.

I Don’t Like It! How do I do?

I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s right. I’m not gonna… I…I…I…

“Everything is a test.” Yes, even this. My patience is being tested. My resolve is being tested. My kindness, temperance, my self-control. It is all being tested. At the same time my faith, my joy, and my peace are all being tested. Will I pass the test? Can I actually do it? Can I actually yield my own rights, my own opinions, my own position? Can I endure all this and still be loving, patient, and kind?

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 AMP

My fellow citizens of the Lakeland, FL area have likely recognized that I am writing in response to the mask mandate that was issued on July 2, 2020. I do not like being told what to do anymore than anyone else. As a matter of fact, I do not really even like the fact that God tells me certain things to do, but I have learned to love it because I have learned to trust Him and obey. Being told what to or what not to do touches the center of human will and pride. It seems to be the biggest hurdle man faces over and over. Don’t touch. Don’t eat. Don’t do…. It ignites the desire to do the exact opposite until I learn to trust the one issuing the commandment.

I do not trust the governments of this world anymore than I trust the devil himself. However, I do not necessarily distrust the people that sit in the seats of power. I pray for them fervently and expect that God is able to guide them to make decisions that are the best for the whole of the people. I do not agree with every decision but what I do about my disagreement becomes the real issue. Is my agreement or disagreement based upon my fleshly likes and dislikes or as a Christian have I searched the scriptures and my heart which they are to be written on?

The god of this world has blinded the minds of so many. The odd thing is that we each tend to think that we are not the blinded ones. “No, not me. I see clearly what’s going on.” Certainly, each person has a point-of-view, a perspective, and an opinion accordingly. But what are we supposed to do with such? How do we respond, react, cope, deal with, or work with things that squeeze our flesh, our freedoms, and our free-will?

I encourage and exhort you. Let the Spirit of God teach and show you what you should do and how you should respond. Additionally, allow that same Spirit to govern your emotions and attitudes. Let the fruit of that same Spirit be evident in you. My concern and emphasis is not so much about for what you fight but rather how you fight.

Additional reading suggestions: Galatians 5; Romans 12; Romans 13

Risky Business?

 Luke 14:26-33
26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

Our current times of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world demand those same ideas displayed in this passage. Even President Trump has used the term “war” when addressing the Corona Virus, yet he may not fully understand the accuracy of his words. Folks, we are definitely in a war. Not only is the world in a war against an evil sickness but we are in a greater war with fear-lords of the media. We as believers in God’s Word concerning faith and healing are also in many ways at war with many others in the “Christian world.” They don’t all believe what you and I believe and sometimes we take on friendly fire. I do not say any of this to put you in fear in any way or to diminish the power of your faith but rather to stress the importance of obedience to God. This boils down to counting the cost of war and deciding if you can fight this good fight of faith and lay hold of eternal life. Let me assure you, YOU CAN! You can do whatever He tells you to do.

As this continues, it can be easy to grow weary in doing what is necessary, both in the natural and the spiritual, but it is important to “be sober and vigilant” and to not drop your guard. Remember Gideon’s Army? Those that were fearful and those that dropped their guard were sent home. Don’t be fearful and don’t drop your guard. Stay intent on following every word that the Lord speaks to you. He speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit, but know with certainty that He speaks. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust Him and not ourselves and to acknowledge Him in every way we go and He will direct our paths. He will direct you on how to take care of your family. He will direct you on how to stay safe from harm. He will direct you in every way but you must follow His leading. DO what He says to do and how He says to do it. Go where He says to go and when He says to go.  

Your faith will always work for you. The righteous live by their faith (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11) but they do not live by someone else’s faith. You must work out your own salvation (preservation, healing, deliverance, safety, and soundness) with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). You cannot live by someone else’s convictions. You must follow your faith and do so confidently – no shame. Die to ego and reputation and obey God. This is not about playing it safe to make the world happy or about impressing those around you in the church. Sometimes obeying God can seem like risky business but rest assured, anyone that fully trusts in Him shall never be put to shame (Rom 10:11).

Faith begins with knowing God’s will. Find out what His will is for you. 

Helpful Hint:

If you are asking your friends, “Should I go to church or stay home?” – Stay home… and smile about it!

Please embrace my sincerity when I say that there is no shame, no pressure, and no obligation to attend services in person or online, especially during this time. 

** New Restrictions at Church Services

*There will not be classes for children during this time. This includes Nursery, Little Lambs, and Children’s Church during all services including Sunday School. The corresponding rooms will remain locked and not accessible even for private use. Parents must keep responsibility for their children. Families will need to sit and stay together.