Tag : covid-19
Tag : covid-19
I was in the midst of my quiet time and I heard a loud thump like something hit the house. I yelled up to my husband working upstairs, “Did you hear that?” I did not find out what it was until later that morning when I saw a beautiful, yet lifeless Goldfinch on my back patio. That’s when I figured out what the loud noise was. This sweet bird had apparently flown at full speed into one of our windows and it was enough to do him in. It made me sad to see him lying there, but that’s when I felt like I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say, I knew when he fell to the ground.
I thought of the verse in Matthew 10:29 that says every time a single sparrow falls to the ground our heavenly Father is aware. And that passage goes on to say, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Matthew 10:30–31).
With all the isolation and fear still going on because of COVID, it’s easy to feel forgotten—like God doesn’t see us in the midst of this Pandemic, but that thought process is incorrect. He knows every intricate detail of our lives and when times get hard, it’s not because he’s abandoned us. He is with us and is still the provider of hope and encouragement.
This week I was reading in Acts 23. The Apostle Paul had gone to Jerusalem where he had been arrested, beaten and where many wanted him dead. Paul probably didn’t know for sure if he’d make it out of Jerusalem alive, but he never thought God was not with him. In fact, he received divine encouragement from the Lord who personally came to Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so must you testify in Rome.” God spoke a word of hope into Paul just when he needed it, saying Jerusalem is not your final stop. Later, as a prisoner on a boat headed to Rome, God reminded Paul that he would appear before the Emperor. God knew that the boat they were on would shipwreck the very next day, so he breathed hope into Paul in advance so he could encourage others in the midst of fear.
And he can do that for us.
This Pandemic is now hovering very close to home. I personally know many people who have been stricken with COVID-19 and have been extremely sick. One friend almost died. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend in Florida has had an intense struggle with COVID and is still fighting to turn the corner. But my guess is that God found a way to encourage each of them while they fought off a wicked virus. He does it through the prayers of friends. My sister-in-law, in quarantine, told us their friends have been there for them, delivering food daily. It could also come in the form of an encouraging note or text from others. He can provide the pick-me-up himself through a Bible passage or by speaking to you directly, as he did Paul,
Many times, in the thick of this Pandemic stretch, I have asked for encouragement because I am an intercessor and have prayed intensely for many who are ill with the disease. At times the weight of those prayers can feel heavy. Our quality of life has been dramatically changed—we don’t go and do like we used to—and I find the masks suffocating. But the LORD always provides someone or something to build me back up.
Are you struggling to keep your head above water?
Please know you are not forgotten. Your Abba Daddy just wants you to tap Him on the shoulder and ask Him for encouragement. He’s in the business of meeting needs and giving hope.
The whole world has been in pain. Unfortunately, that statement isn’t an exaggeration. The losses we have all experienced can’t be understated. Whether the loss has been personal, communal, economic, or physical this season, it feels like there isn’t an end. Yet, all is not lost, because so much can be gleaned from this season of hardship.
What is most important is to keep our foundation vitalized and Dr. Michelle Bengtson reminds us of six ways to do just that.
Each of use are dealing with something but we must remember that “pain is pain, and God promises to be close to the broken-hearted,” says Dr. Bengston.
So what can we do now as the holiday season begins? There is one more thing you can do—GIVE. ‘Tis the season of gratitude and giving. There are so many people who need you. Family members could use a word of encouragement, friends need prayer, and there are communities who can benefit from your generous heart. Call loved ones and ask how you can bless them. Reach out to friends and ask how you can bless them. Find a local food bank, shelter, or church and ask what needs they have so you can determine how to bless them. We are called to love one another and now is the time. Our beloved country, communities, friends, and family need your love.
This weekend my church opened its doors for the first time in five months since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. I wanted to be there. Sometimes we don’t know how much we appreciate something until its gone. So I said yes to volunteering on this momentous first day back.
I normally serve as an altar minister, praying with those who need intercession or healing but we can’t physically do that because of COVID. Instead, I was a greeter and wore a church logoed face mask. While I dislike the masks, I proudly wore this because it represented a return to some aspect of normalcy.
But after everyone arrived and I had fulfilled my duties, I was able to sneak into the service. Because of social distancing, all that was left were upper balcony seats so I slipped into the top row. I remember one service where I complained when we ended up in the last row, a far distance from the altar. The speaker was Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, and we had an overflow crowd. I was continuing to vocalize my disappointment when I heard, Who are you worshiping anyway? It was a reminder that God sees us wherever we are, and we can worship Him in any place.
But there is something special about corporate worship and a body of believers coming together. So this time I was elated to be on the last row, and as the presence of God infiltrated the sanctuary through the live worship, my hands were lifted high in praise to God who continues to bring us through this difficult season, both emotionally and physically.
Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” In Psalm 64:34, King David, who had a heart of worship said, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Prior to this verse David proclaimed, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory” (Psalm 63:2). On Sunday morning, I felt the Spirit of the Lord in the sanctuary—He is alive and well—and because of that I just wanted to show God how much I love Him through my praise. It was praise that flowed straight from my heart.
Our guest blogger today is Debra Moore. Debra is a loving Christian wife and mother of three wonderful adult children and one spoiled grand dog named DJ. She is a 25-year church volunteer in various ministries including the mental health ministry where she’s been an instructor and facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental Health training and family education is her passion and because of that, she has been interviewed about the subject on both television and radio.. Debra’s heart for the mentally ill comes from having had a mother with mental health difficulties. She serves her DFW Community in honor of her mother and those who suffer from mental health difficulties.
After praying many years for “perissos” blessings which are more than enough or more than anticipated, the Lord has brought us to this new perspective:
“Success is not about personal accomplishments or material possessions.”
We heard George Barna discuss success on the radio during the Covid-19 epidemic. Barna’s definition of success is as follows:
Working toward spiritual growth
Being absolutely committed to the Christian faith
Attending worship service
Allowing our faith to help us process international disasters
Being people of faith with the reality of having an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Surprisingly, there was no mention of intellectual, financial, educational, professional development or physical appearance factors in the article. According to Mr. Barna, my husband and I are successful! However, up until now we have felt like failures. Financial or professional success has often been temporal or elusive. For many years before we met, and after losing both our first spouses, relational failure seemed our norm.
With the destruction of the nation’s economies due to Covid-19, success cannot be defined as being financially wealthy anymore. God was clear when economies around the globe stopped producing instantaneously. Each of the markets that ran our pre-Covid economic successes crashed. The markets were left barely breathing, face down on the floor of global economic failure. Our barest existence as humanity came down to all the toilet paper, sanitizer, Lysol spray, face masks and gloves we could hoard.
Which leads us to the next definition of worldly success—our appearance. Did Covid-19 discriminate because of appearance? Both the gorgeous and the glum were affected. If our money and our good looks are not going to make us successfully impervious to disaster and pandemic, maybe it is time to reassess our own definitions of life success. As we peered out over our protective face masks and felt our warm breath fog up our lenses, we reached out our blue-gloved hands for our Bibles.
Let’s say that each morning we read verses or have a prayer time? What would happen if we got time in with God before the electronic hum of negativity took over? What if we asked God to forgive us of our sins and the sins of our nations? We could thank and praise God for who He is and what He has done for us. We could pray prayers of thanks for shelters in place, clothing, food, peace and security which are all promises of God to us. We could pray for our church and pastors, for our nation and national leaders. We could pray for our characters and hearts to be changed.
We could lean into this new perspective of spiritual accomplishment and share any material possessions we may have with others. All the while openly smiling at ourselves and the sweet spiritual success of Christ living in us. Here’s to having an infectious and true relationship with the living God where there is eternal success. It’s truly more than enough.
We hope you will join us for our next POP Chat, July 29th on ZOOM at 6:30 p.m.. Dr. Lynnette Simm will be teaching about “How to Have Your Peace” and Renee Rollins will lead our worship for this beautiful one-hour of fellowship. Here’s the link to sign up: https://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z
Do you remember playing the game of “tag” when you were a child? I remember it being stressful because you were chased by someone who was “it.” If they touched you, you were then “it.” But there was always home base. If you felt like you were about to be tagged, you could race back to home base and it was a safe zone. No one could tag you there.
This past week has been rougher than others. There’s the underlying tension of COVID-19. With cases on the rise, we’re now required by the state of Texas to wear masks everywhere with a few exceptions. I really dislike wearing a mask, but I do it. And this Pandemic is now tagging people I know. Two of my friends are concerned their children have COVID, so I am praying fervently for them.
Meanwhile, someone else I’m close to is experiencing marital issues, and it appears headed for divorce, so that is weighing me down.
And then I experienced a rejection myself this week as a result of a misinterpretation of an interview question. This was so shocking I spent Wednesday afternoon in tears. Through that experience, I realized how much I felt called to this new challenge, yet wondered if I had misinterpreted God’s direction. Thankfully, I’ve received a reprieve and will have a second interview this Monday.
With all of this trying to “tag” me, I had to run back to Home Base, the safe, loving arms of my Heavenly Father.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (NLT).
I am so thankful we have a home base to return to when things get rocky in our lives. In my devotion this morning, its focus was prayer and it said, “There is not an issue we are facing in our culture right now that prayer cannot address.”
God provides for all our needs. His Holy Spirit comforts us in the midst of hardship. He protects us when we are feeling fear. He counsels us when we are perplexed. This week, in regard to my rejection, I received this verse two different times and it’s for you as well: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
Believing is half the battle.
So what’s trying to tag you? Are you racing around in fear?
There’s no safer place than our heavenly Home Base, the presence of God.
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock” (Psalm 27:5).