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Written by Pastor Jim Lee for “The Domain for Truth” @ https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com
God is Working in 2020-2021
January 30, 2021 by SLIMJIM
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
2020 and 2021 seem to be back to back crazy years. It seems these days what news we read provoke readers to be angry, upset, sad, etc as see the world is getting all messed up. This isn’t just the media being negative and biased (there is that). Objectively we see in the US an increase of murder rates, violent crimes, etc. Other metrics I imagine tells us something similar. But I want to share a Good News for the Christian, that in the midst of everything, God is still working.
For starters there is an increase of sales of Bibles during the time of Covid. From an article titled ‘People draw hope from Scripture’: Bible sales increased amid COVID pandemic” the Christian Post reports:
Bible sales increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian books and educational material.
Carol Pipes of LifeWay told CBN News that Bible sales have “remained strong since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S.” in April and increased through June.
Fellow faith-based publisher Tyndale House Publishers previously told The Christian Post they also saw an increase in Bible sales amid the pandemic.
This includes their Life Application Study Bible sales going up 44% and sales of the Immerse Bible going up 60%, according to Jim Jewell, an executive at Tyndale.
Jewell said he believed concerns over the pandemic “has upended almost everyone’s lives in some way.”
In April, book sales data provider Nielsen Book Scan revealed that biblical and liturgical texts had been rapidly climbing the charts. The group said the increase in purchases was an “unusual pattern in comparison to the same period in recent years.”
Nielsen cited the closure of churches as a factor, adding that “perhaps people are turning to scripture for comfort in these abnormal and melancholy times … or perhaps people are curious as to whether the coronavirus is prophesied in Revelations.”
This is not just with Print Bibles. Online there seems to be a lot of Bible search activities as Christianity Today reports:
During the hardest moments of a particularly difficult year, Bible searches soared online, and a record number of people turned to Scripture for passages addressing fear, healing, and justice. The popular YouVersion Bible App saw searches increase by 80 percent in 2020, totaling nearly 600 million worldwide.
Bible searches spiked corresponding to major events, with “fear” becoming the app’s top search term in the first few months of the year, “justice” in the spring, and “healing” trending throughout the year.
The Bible Gateway site reported similar search trends. Pandemic-related verses about God taking away sickness got around 90 times more queries than average when US COVID-19 lockdowns began in March.
The site also saw queries related to racism, justice, and oppression spike to 100 times the average in the week following George Floyd’s death, and verses related to government authority up at least 50 times the average on Election Day.
Meanwhile the Pew Forum reports “More Americans Than People in Other Advanced Economies Say COVID-19 Has Strengthened Religious Faith” with these details:
Nearly three-in-ten Americans (28%) report stronger personal faith because of the pandemic, and the same share think the religious faith of Americans overall has strengthened, according to the survey of 14 economically developed countries.
In nearly every country surveyed, those who say religion is very important in their lives are more likely to say both their own faith and that of their compatriots has grown due to the pandemic. Americans’ greater proclivity to turn to religion amid the pandemic is largely driven by the relatively high share of religious Americans (In several countries, those who say religion is somewhat, not too or not at all important to them personally are less likely take a clear position either way on how their faith has been affected by the pandemic.)
One might ask “but which religion?” The study also noted something about American Evangelicals:
White evangelical Protestants in the U.S. – one of the most religious groups in the country, by a variety of standard measures – are among the most likely to see stronger faith due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly half (49%) say their own religious faith has grown, while 43% say the same about the faith of Americans as a whole.
I don’t want to paint a picture everything is not without concern. While there’s increase of Bible activity ironically studies by Barna Group and the American Bible Society reveal “Bible Reading Drops During Social Distancing:”
Between early 2019 and 2020, the percentage of US adults who say they use the Bible daily dropped from 14 percent to 9 percent, according to the State of the Bible 2020 report released today by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society (ABS).
A decrease of 5 percentage points in a single year was unprecedented in the annual survey’s 10-year history; between 2011 and 2019, daily Bible readers had basically held steady at an average of 13.7 percent of the population.
But the decline continued during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, and by June, the percentage of daily Bible users had dropped to 8.5 percent.
Amid the pandemic, a larger decline occurred among the Americans who say their choices and relationships are shaped by the Bible, a group ABS calls “Bible engaged.” In January, 27.8 percent of American adults were Bible engaged. By June, after months of quarantine and church closures, that figure was down to 22.6 percent.
“This study supports the idea that the church plays a significant role in benefitting people’s wellbeing and Scripture engagement,” said John Farquhar Plake, ABS director of ministry intelligence. “To increase Scripture engagement, we must increase relational connections with one another through the church. The pandemic—and now this survey—have shown that when relational church engagement goes up, so does Scripture engagement, but when it goes down, Scripture engagement drops with it.”
This shows the importance of the Church and learning in community; of course church attendance declined with COVID.
Synthesizing the data above I imagine people are looking at the Bible more and see its importance. But that doesn’t mean they are studying it daily more but looking up the Bible in droves for a specific topic, during certain big national and international event. The BibleGateway report for 2020 seems to confirm that, one should look at the correlation of their busiest time in the year 2020 with important news event here. Note what topics and subjects were important:
Pandemic. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic dominated global news. Key topics: disease, pestilence, plague. Key verses: “Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you” (Exodus 23:25) and “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security” (Jeremiah 33:6).
Political. Governmental response to the pandemic, as well as the US presidential election, increased interest in what the Bible says about politics. Key topics: praying for government, obeying government authority. Key verses: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1).
End Times. During troubled times, people often look for signs that Christ will return. Key topics: signs of the end times, end of the world. Key verses: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
Social. Killings in the United States triggered a wave of protests. Key topics: racism, justice, equality, oppression. Key verses: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers” (Proverbs 21:15) and “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17)
At a personal level 2020 and 2021 has been tremendously busy to the max. I’ve never in my life had it where other people initiated more about spiritual conversations and questions with me than I initiate with people. I’ve felt all those years spent in undergraduate and seminary and also personal reading of things that others before 2020 people often readily tell me are not important or obscure subject matters in the areas of Christian apologetics and a biblical view of history, philosophy, ethics, politics, economics and American Government has come to the fore. But it also taught me how much I need to grow and research in those areas and how much I also don’t know. The questions Christians asked have been edifying and it’s also amazing to see some Christians grow more solid both in orthodoxy and also a biblical worldview intellectually during this time. I’ve also seen more Christians say in December 2020 that they read more than any other years. While I finished less books in 2020 than other years I’ve read a lot more on a vast area of subjects and have read as much books that I didn’t finished as the numbers I did finished (first time as an adult).
In all things remember this verse in Isaiah 55:11… “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.” Let’s pray for people to be saved, discipled and also wrestled away from the Gates of Hades and also to be freed from being overtaken by dangerous false ideologies and isms.
P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !! If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ?? Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ… https://godsmanforever.com
To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…
You say you are a “born again” believer… BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ?? If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/
Picture credit: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ALeKk01eNebiWtNcLyplqrXUMSu_KDzkyA:1612097274034&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+God+is+always+working&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGtvKqmsbuAhUjuVkKHa8YBIoQjJkEegQIBRAB&biw=1375&bih=920#imgrc=frIpW0MiPpIrWM