A Word for Women—Interview with Jean McClure, Part 1
This article was taken from an interview with Jean McClure in September 2020 with Calvary Chapel Magazine writer Christmas Beeler. Jean and her husband Don McClure, a longtime Calvary Chapel pastor, now run Calvary Way Ministries, a teaching ministry reaching around the world. They have been married since 1968, and Jean has served in full-time ministry for nearly five decades. You can find more information about Calvary Way Ministries at calvaryway.com. In Part 1, she discusses how not to be shaken and how to keep a godly perspective during our difficult times.
Christmas Beeler: How have things been during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jean: It’s been really different. Everyone I talk to, they kind of have that deer-in-the-headlights [look]. And we live in California, so our governor changes things quite regularly. It leaves everyone quite at a loss, especially those who don’t really know the Lord. They’re frightened. I can see the fear in their eyes, over their masks. That has given us great opportunity to witness.
Christmas: How can we keep a godly perspective during these times of stress?
Jean: I pray that what we talk about will be a blessing to people, that it would really lift them up because people are discouraged. Divorce and suicide are at all-time highs. We just need to be encouragers, especially if we know the Lord. We’re going to talk about how you do that, how you get there, about how you can not be discouraged.
A Scripture that pops into my mind lately is Philippians 3:13b-14: Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul is comparing our lives to running a race. Our middle son was a cross-country runner, and he would strip down to his tennis shoes, T-shirt, and thinnest silky shorts he could find that didn’t weigh anything. That’s what we have to do. I think that’s what that Scripture is saying: Get rid of the baggage, the things in your life that are weighing you down.
As we go into this whole COVID [situation], all of the rules, laws, and changes can press down on us like weights. And they affect our minds. I was thinking about the fact that our minds so often weigh us down. We can have all kinds of external problems and issues, but often it’s in our minds when we wake up in the middle of the night, in the dark, when the enemy comes in like a flood. He just tortures us with all kinds of things.
Christmas: What are the weights and unnecessary “baggage” that hold us down?
Jean: Some of the baggage we carry with us mentally includes the unfair things that happen to us in life and the wrongs people have done to us. For example, a bad childhood, divorced parents, abusive adults in your life. Those things can weigh you down, and you get stuck in that. Don’t park in those issues. Move on.
Guilt is a huge one. Satan goes after us like a roaring lion, but also the Scripture says that he’s like a poacher and a fowler who will go after you and trap you. Often, he [says], “You’re not such a great Christian. Look what you did in your past.” That’s just totally a trap from the enemy—you have to be aware of it.
Another thing that brings people down is bitterness, hatred of someone. You can’t move on when you’re there. The Scripture talks a lot about forgiving. If you can’t do it, God will help you. He doesn’t expect you to do all these things and be perfect. That’s why Jesus said He would leave us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit; He’s going to help you, explain the Scripture [to you] (John 15).
Another thing that is weighing everyone down these days is fear, especially if you don’t know the Lord. You can go to that place where you’re just really fearful; that’s what I see on people’s faces. It’s so important not to go there—and to give that to the Lord because He tells us that He’ll take away fear.
Another thing that I think is hard, is all those thoughts that we worry about. We get stressed and anxious about so many things. I just want to say, “What do you think about in your spare time when it’s quiet? What is pressing down on you?” Maybe those are the things you need to cast off and give to the Lord—things that waste your time and make you anxious and depressed.
What wastes your time that makes you depressed and anxious? One thing is technology. I can get on a phone in the morning and go on Facebook or to the news, get locked into that, and then my day’s gone. It can also make you mad and frustrated. I found that what weighed me down was the news. In the beginning [of the pandemic], I started watching the news maybe three hours a day. I found that after a while, especially after the riots and seeing all of these people suffering, that I had to turn off the news.
My oldest son and his wife told me they had decided to take a weekend break from technology. So on Monday, I asked them, “How’d it go?” He answered, “I feel great, so much better!” We do have to be aware of what’s going on and to be praying for our country, for those in leadership. But it’s really important, according to the Scripture, that you’re to think about what is good, pure, lovely, just, admirable, excellent, those things that are praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). You need to put your mind in a healthier place. Those are burdens you don’t need to carry. Ask God to deliver you, and He’ll do it. He’ll help you with those things. But you have to make the choice. Simplify your life.
The Scripture says in Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I think everybody’s anxious today. Be anxious for nothing. Not even COVID, not even what’s going on in the country, but by prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. Then [verse 7] gives us a promise. I see people come in with these burdens—they’re stressed and going through so many things, losing jobs. I just say, “Take it to the Lord in prayer. It will be amazing how He will lift that burden.” Then [verse 7] says that the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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