Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A HARP AND A SWORD: Joy in the Midst of Battle!


"How can I sing the songs of the
Lord while in a foreign land?
(Psalm 137:1)
Sixty-two days ago I enrolled in what I facetiously called Coronavirus University!  This was my way of sharing with readers important life lessons I'm learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Well, I'm still here.   New classes are steadily being added to my study curriculum and I'm getting a REAL education!

First, let's not get distracted. There's a lot going on right now but this virus has not gone anywhere!  News of it just shifts in importance from time to time in our purview.  Right now it's hot  due to a worldwide resurgence!

What is NOT mere distractions, are the daily protests against institutional racism. They persist (as they should) even as proof of injustices is played out daily.  Thanks to the world of smart phones and social media, what once was hidden can no longer remain so! The underbelly of America's historical sin patterns are front and center.  With every click of the remote control or computer keyboard there is evidence!  So here's my dilemma: 


HOW DO WE AS CHRISTIANS REMAIN HOPEFUL IN THIS BROKEN WORLD?

 Looking over the social landscape of the first half of Year 2020, I find no joy!  No joy for the Racists or the Oppressed!  No joy for the Wealthy or the Poor!  No joy for the Republican or the Democrat! No joy for the LGBTQ or the Straight!  And yet each group is committed to the fight to keep or dismantle the vestiges of the status quo.  

I've come to the realization that as a Black. American. Christian. Woman of Age. I must dig deep to find this joy!  With each of the above designations comes a bias.  I must deal with them constantly.  Deal with their impositions as well as their limitations.  Without hope,  I could easily become joyless and slip into what is described as The Metaphor of Double Consciousness. Noted historian and civil rights activist, W.E.B. Dubois writes:

“It dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.”
(W.E. B. Dubois from his book, Souls of Black Folks, 1903)

He was stating a national feeling among Blacks 117 years ago.   It still exist today but not just among Blacks but other marginalized groups.  This I believe is at the core of modern protests and what a lot of people still don't understand.  There's lies the complexities of being black or brown,  female, Christian, or seasoned in America...there is a great disconnect!

There are in America, people who just don't fit in!  Those who cannot find their place. They are the lumps that didn't get dissolved in the Melting Pot!  They work, pay taxes, raise children, and give their lives in defense of this country.  They comprise the best and the worst of all human kind but are somehow portrayed as an aberration and NOT worthy of equal respect or opportunities.

If you are familiar with the theological teaching of Imago Dei, (humans are created in the image of God from Genesis 1:27) then you know that this should not be so.  Every life has value and purpose.  If not, they wouldn't be here.  So why do we support and maintain systems and institutions that contradict this?

 ...WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?


Those in denial of these truths are quick to say we are not patriotic.  We are terrorists or anarchist.  We represent a threat to democracy and America's heritage.  And yet they expect the marginalized to not only be satisfied with their plight but take off their hats and sing!  Sing....The National Anthem, America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and God Bless America!  

Psalm 137:1-3 says: By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, sing to us one of the songs of Zion! 
In verse four, the writer of this psalm asked the question: How can I sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? 

The United States of America for People of Color, Christians, and others feels like a foreign land today.  Racism, xenophobia, disunity among believers over politics; abuse of Christian liberties and the passing of anti-biblical laws are incompatible with America's inalienable rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness).  They are indeed contrary to God's will, word and His heart!

While in Babylonian captivity the Israelites mourned the good ole days back in Jerusalem, where they led an imperfect but comfortable life.  Here in the midst of their suffering they are despondent. They feel that joy will never come again.  They hung up their harps in hopelessness!


DON'T HANG UP YOUR HARPS TOO SOON!

 There are those still among us who are longing for the days of yesteryear. In those days America was Great!?  They want creature comforts without consequencespeace without propitiation, and economic restoration without repentance. They gravitate toward a promise that will never be fulfilled and a joy that is temporary and empty!  

If we are to sing with truth:  God Bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above... we need a Harp and a Sword! We need the LORD guiding us through this present night of turmoil (Psalm 30:5).


The Harp is a symbol of  joy, worship and praise to the ONLY God in our lives! Jesus Christ  is our only HOPE! (I Peter 1:3-6).  The Sword is a symbol of divine chastisement, what I believe we are experiencing today (Deuteronomy 32:25; Psalm 78:62).  It also represents the Word of God (Hebrews 4:2; Ephesians 6:17, and Revelation 1:16).  This is NOT the time to give up!  Not on America and certainly not on yourself!


Pick up your Sword then pick up your Harps!
Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those
 who have nothing prepared.
This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of
the Lord is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10)


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, June 15, 2020

WE'RE MORE ALIKE THAN YOU THINK!!

From one man He made every
nation of men...(Acts 17:26)
I am among many things a visual person.  Images move me emotionally and I guess that's why a photo making its round online really took me to a place hard to describe!  (Click on the link below and see if you don't agree!)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7642231/Cute-pic-black-white-classmates-goes-viral-school-dressed-twins.html

These innocent ones speak a truth that we seemed to have missed or chose to dismiss these past months....we're more alike than unalike! Considering all that is going on you'd think that would be obvious!

People of all ethnicities, in every corner of the world are burying their dead from COVID-19.  Apparently there's no racial disparity with this disease. They are feeling the pain of social unrest and the indignation of systematic injustices permeating our world.  Even the Aboriginals of Australia are protesting!

I recall seeing the spattering of whites marching with civil rights leaders in the 1960s but nothing like a recent scene in Oregon on the Burnside Bridge where there were thousands! This happened in a state with a black population of less than 6%.

Americans, no matter which hyphen you use to identify yourself, are suffering from the impact of a floundering economy.  I'm speaking in general.  Let's not get bogged down with degrees! Small and large businesses are shutting down. Unemployment is a new reality for many and the homeless community just welcomed an onslaught of new neighbors!  We're more alike than you think!


WE HAVE A COMMON PROGENITOR 


Science has finally caught up to the bible which always told us that all of mankind comes from Adam and Eve.  Eve's name means the Mother of All Living (Genesis 3:20) or in human genetics, the Mitochondrial Eve. The matrilineal most recent common ancestor of all living humans. Through each of our current mothers regardless of ethnicity or gender we have the same progenitor.  We're all brothers and sisters! 

 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. (Genesis 1:27-28 NIV)


WE HAVE A COMMON SIN PROBLEM

Hatred between brothers and sisters is an age old problem. The root emanates not solely from perceived superiority, power or the need to dominate but something we inherited at the Fall of Humankind, our Sin Nature (Genesis 3; Roman 3:11, 23; 6:23).  It is genetic!  It is generational! It is self perpetuating until it is completely eradicated! 

 A biblical example that has been repeated throughout history is the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16).  Two brothers, each uniquely gifted with unlimited potential. Brothers strong and growing in their confidence as men.  Yet one brother is distracted by innate pride and kills the other.  Black on Black Crime, White on White Crime, Black on White Crime, Police on Citizen Crime.  It goes on and on!  The pivotal question asked in verse 9 of this biblical text is: Am I my brother's keeper?  In the 21st century we're asking the same.  Only your heart will tell you!
  
WE HAVE A COMMON DESTINY - JUDGEMENT

The writer of Hebrews 9:27 says: And it is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgement.  It seems that especially now we should be considering exactly where we are going with all this mayhem? Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us:We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools! And perishing we are... in great numbers!  JUDGEMENT DAY IS COMING!  Sinner or Saint there WILL be a time of reckoning for these times (Romans 2:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15).  


THERE IS A COMMON REMEDY

No doubt when (and if) we get back to professional sports events like the NFL football games, we'll see people geared up in their favorite team colors with different signs and placards of another sort on display.  Among them will be a few touting JOHN 3:16.  We've all seen them right? It's a scripture from the bible!  Don't have a bible?  GOOGLE IT!  Don't have time to do that?--Read it below.  It gives the ONLY solution to the injustices of this world:  

For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten son, that whosoever
believeth on Him shall not perish but have
everlasting life! (John 3:16)

AMERICA LET'S FACE IT - IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE - A HEART CHANGE!

Take a closer look at those five year olds in the link at the beginning of this post. Is it becoming a bit clearer now? They really ARE twins!

Not everything that is faced can be changed,
but nothing can be changed until it's faced
         -James Baldwin


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

WHAT VIOLENCE WON'T DO! - A Remedy for Injustice

George Floyd, Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, The Emmanuel 9, Trayvon Martin....What emotions do these names evoke in you? 


Forgiveness probably isn't one of them!

America is angry! Angry because they are hurt, frustrated, and we're showing it in a myriad of ways! Some with peaceful demonstrations and others with burning, looting, and hate speech spewing throughout every social media outlet available.

This anger is very familiar to me.  I was a teen in the Sixties and remember vividly the deaths of Martin Luther King and Malcom X and the violence that ensued.  I recall with clarity the Watts and Detroit riots that turned urban areas into visions from hell and the aftermath like scenes from The Book of Eli!  My memory is acute and intact so... WHY DO I NEED RERUNS NOW!!!

HAS HISTORY TAUGHT US NOTHING?
I know you don't want to hear this because the ANGER is so fresh! But the only remedy for injustice is FORGIVENESS!  Yes, I said it!  There are OTHER ways to appease your anger!  And FORGIVENESS is one of them! (Ephesians 4:26)

Civil Resistance WILL work!  Redistribution of power (once identified) is a formidable force against majority ruled racist institutions! Forgiveness is STILL an effective strategy if seen in the right perspective. The BIBLICAL perspective. 

FORGIVENESS IS NOT:  Condoning or excusing injustice!  It is not ignoring or pretending an offense didn't happen!  It is not sitting around doing nothing and playing the victim! It is very vocal.  It is collaborating and unifying in thoughtful and skillful ways giving attention to problems that go beyond the 15 minutes of notoriety viewed on CNN or MSNBC.

What the Eyes Can't Deny!

FORGIVENESS IS:  Exposing evil where it can be seen in the brilliant light of truth.  Where it can no longer hide behind unjust laws or public policy! (John 1:5)  There is a reason that pictures of dogs and fire hydrants turned on peaceful protestors in the south shocked and shamed America into turning Jim Crow laws into the desegregation laws of the 1960s.   And why rioting neighborhoods in D.C., Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Watts left behind more squalor, violence, unemployment, and drugs than before. Some have never really recovered!

FORGIVENESS IS: Exchanging the POWER given to the Enemy keeping you in poverty, and ignorance for EMPOWERMENT!  Impulsive and emotionally charged behavior like looting exploits already fragile neighborhoods. Exercising the power of the DOLLAR and the VOTE builds and strengthens them.

HERE'S WHY FORGIVENESS IS A BIG DEAL IN BOTH THE POLITICAL AND PERSONAL REALMS OF YOUR LIFE!   
  • It's a Command NOT a Suggestion- (Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25): John 14:15) When Jesus told Peter in Matthew 18 to forgive not seven times but 70 times 7 He was saying that we can't put limitations on forgiving!  We just have to do it!
  • It's A Choice You Make Not a Feeling You Get!  Jesus does not tell His followers to do anything that He does not empower them to do! In fact forgiveness is impossible without this enablement.  (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), John 15:5)
  • It Begins in the Heart! You have to want to forgive your offender! Do you trust God to execute justice on your behalf? Is feeding your pride, vengeance, and bitterness more important than receiving forgiveness for your own sins.  The ones you have committed toward others? (Matthew 6:14-16; Matthew 18:33-35) 
  • It's Okay to Set Boundaries!  Boundaries are for your protection and may be readjusted as trust is restored.  But barriers/walls are built with no intent of going over or allowing the offender to breach.  The offense is rehearsed over and over, no grace enters the situation and the root of bitterness sets in.  YOU then become the very thing you detest--a hypocrite!  (Matthew 7:5)
  • Pardon Until You Can Forgive! Pardon assumes the offender is guilty.  It doesn't wipe it out but may help you move toward the state of forgiveness.   A pardon give YOU time to pray and humble yourself before the Lord.  But the goal is always FORGIVENESS! If allowed to linger too long it becomes a spiritual stronghold that must be torn down. You become a pawn of Satan until this is accomplished (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
HOW DO I KNOW I HAVE GENUINELY FORGIVEN?

1.  When you heart catches up with your mouth! You sincerely wish your offender well.  You have no desire for their harm or you're no longer jealous of their blessings.

2. You have compassion for their weaknesses!  You do not let past offenses keep you from being charitable toward them (giving them the same consideration you'd give to someone who hadn't offended you).

3. You don't react in the flesh when you see them. (Romans 8:8-9). Peace overrides your emotions when painful thoughts or memories are triggered (Hebrews 12:14-15).

4.  When you stop telling others about the offense and stop trying to make your offender look bad!


AT SOME POINT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CHOOSE TO FORGIVE  GEORGE FLOYD AND AHMAD AUBREY'S MURDERERS!  BUT REMEMBER IT WON'T BE TOO LONG BEFORE GOD WILL  HAVE TO CHOOSE TO FORGIVE YOU TOO!!!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Friday, May 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UNIVERSITY PT 2: Turning BAD NEWS to GOODI!

"Life and death are in
the power of the tongue"
(Proverbs 18:21)
I've always wanted to learn a new language. One semester of French in high school and two more in college and I still can't parlez vous.  I didn’t think I'd get another chance to learn one... until now!

Like you, over the past few weeks I've found myself catapulted into a brand new world with its own unique vocabulary.  I've listened carefully to the news, googled  strange jargon to grasp the meaning and learned to use it with comfort and ease.

Finally, I'd acquired fluency in a new dialect.  If I want to I can converse with anyone around the world and be understood. I call it... well I don't actually have a name for it,  but it's a patois of medical, media, and political buzzwords currently saturating the communication airways.   Unfortunately, nearly all of it is negative!  This concerns me and it should concern you too.

God's Word says that life and death is in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21).  Another passage James 3:1-11 takes a critical look at our speech and compares its potency to that of a horse's bit, a ship's rudder, and a fire flame. Each of these are very small but have the potential to be deadly. 

WORDS, the instrument of language can be deadly whether spoken, written or embodied as self-talk.  No wonder we are cautioned in scripture to handle them with extreme care. Unlike the coronavirus, we know quite a bit about their potential for good and a lot more about the devastating results. WORDS, after all can be very contagious! 


REDEFINE NEGATIVE PANDEMIC TERMINOLOGY


Why Not Change Your Perspective On the Coronavirus By Changing Your Words.

Although we cannot control the pandemic or the culture it has created, we can change how we communicate while experiencing it.  Perhaps even look at it as a life coach to help us become healthier and more productive.  Try these terms for starters and then clap back in the comments section with some of your own creations:

  • New Normal - Eliminating old destructive lifestyles or habits replacing them with healthy choices.  Was what you were doing before the pandemic really normal?  Any bad habits you need to eliminate but never had the time or discipline? This pandemic may give you the incentive you need to make a fresh start!
  • Flattening the Curve - Get moving: Stretch, Exercise, Jog or Walk to fight saddle bags, flabby thighs, and protruding tummies.  All the mental and health professionals are saying the same thing.  Now is not the time to gorge on high caloric foods and watch endless television. Our bodies need to be strong and fit to ward off impending diseases.  Flatten don't fatten those body curves?    
  • Social Distancing -  Adaptation NOT isolation. You don't have to be lonely during this crisis, even if you live alone.  SD is about controlling with whom and how you interact! Connect or reconnect with others using technology: telephone, zoom, FaceTime, Skype, social media and don't forget, post offices are still in business, drop a card!  Encourage the elderly, others with chronic illnesses, or singles with no family nearby.  The pandemic has forced us to distance ourselves for awhile, but many who are sick and infirmed have been living it for years!
  • Shelter In Place - A.K.A. Me-Time! How often have you wished you had a day all to yourself to do what you wanted to do? Read a book, soak in the tub, work on a project!  No excuses now! For some the pandemic has helped them to regain focus and really become creative. For others it's been an opportunity to learn new things via TED Talks, You Tube and the myriad of DIY videos available on line! 

BUT DON'T BE A COVIDIOT!



  • Covidiot - Be responsible for your own health as well as others! Comply with CDC recommendations: DON'T: Hoard food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant items.  DON'T: Price gouge if you have an abundance of an essential item.  Pack out parks, beaches, and streets with large  crowds. DON'T: Violate social distancing parameters when shopping.   DON'T: Become rude or violent when asked to wear a mask. Waste what others could use.   DO: Wear face masks and gloves (don't forget the children).  DO: Clean and disinfect common touch areas. Share what you have with others. DO: Stay at Home if you feel ill. DO: Pray for our front-line and essential workers. DO: Use common sense no matter what your state officials say about returning to church, shops, restaurants, etc. 
WE CAN TURN BAD NEWS TO GOOD NEWS
WITH ONLY THESE "TWO" LITTLE WORDS!


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

WELCOME TO CORONAVIRUS UNIVERSITY

"In those days Israel had no king,
everyone did as they saw fit." (Judges 17:6)
Today's News Headlines
    • U. S. Surpasses 1M cases for COVID-19
    • States Lift Restrictions Too Early
    • U. S. Lags Behind in Testing
    • Labs Race For A Vaccine 
At Coronavirus University we still have a  lot to learn about dealing with a pandemic.
Nope!  We aren't nearly ready for a victory celebration or achievement awards.   Hospitals are still overwhelmed.  Black Americans and the poor underserved and dying at a disproportionate rate. The media is still inciting panic and politicians are still fighting!

These are only a few known outcomes of this deadly pandemic in America.  There is so much more we don't know!  What is equally disturbing is the behavior exhibited by many the further we move along in the crisis.  Hoarding and price gouging continues. In spite of mandates for social distancing, mass gatherings and parties are still taking place.  Politics over people!  Profit over preservation of life!  It is unconscionable.


ARE WE READY FOR DELIVERANCE?

America for so long has been touted as the Promise Land of the world!  A Christian nation.  It was known as a place where anyone with skill and perseverance could live comfortably and safely.  A place of profit and opportunity.  So much so, that we attempted to close our borders (to some) in order to preserve our coveted resources.



In 2001, nineteen years ago we were furtively seeking out foreign terrorists who threatened our nation.  We found that some of the more dangerous ones were being born and bred right here. They didn't wear the traditional muslim garb, but hoods and swastikas, sported gansgsta bling, and even police uniforms!  Isn't it ironic that even with the media hype and protests that what's  getting our attention right now is a mutating bacteria, contagious, and lethal? A virus of which we have no cure or really know a lot about.

Some biblical pundits are quick to infer that Coronavirus is a sign we are entering the Tribulation Period (Seven years of worldwide devastation rife with disease, destruction and mayhem as recorded in Revelation chapters 6-18).  COVID-19, the pestilence described there.  That is not my eschatological view.  What we're seeing now I believe will be benign in comparison.

Four horsemen of the Apocalypse 
If I was to use a biblical analogy, it would be more like the cyclical events chronicled in the Book of Judges.  It is there that a nation favored by God chose to be governed by human reasoning rather than a theocracy.   That nation compromised the security of a Sovereign God and His edicts for a life of self indulgence and had to suffer the consequences.  Does this sound familiar? 

Unity in the Triune God 
In a Divine ruled government there is no bipartisanism, only perfect unity in Triunity!    No political agendas or powerful PACs pressuring for life-altering decisions.  With so much infighting between Democrats and Republicans, even at the state level, it's hard to have confidence in either party's decision-making.  Sadly, the pages of the Book of Judges is flashing before us!

 No Definitive Leadership
If you are unfamiliar with this Bible story, let me summarize its theme.  Every time Israel, God's chosen people faced a crisis, they humbled themselves,  cried out for help, and God delivered them!  Peace and prosperity was restored and the nation remained loyal to the Lord. UNTIL...they eventually returned to their old ways!!  God then allowed yet another crisis to bring them to their knees.  No leader arising to power was able to provide or sustain the consistency needed.

 Hardened Not Your Heart
The story was always the same: peace for a season; eventual back pedaling,  punishment, pleas for forgiveness and deliverance.  That was THEN but can be bank on that NOW? Do we dare test God's patience?  Is it time to get back to business as usual OR should we change the  business model altogether?  What is God saying and are we really ready to listen?!

The Coronavirus has unleashed an impressive change of attitude and goodwill among the majority during this time. Everyday I see acts of kindness and generosity that are applaudable but really should be the norm.  And as in the Book of Judges, we too have our fair share of Heroes and Sheroes stepping up to help get us through.  But there is so much more to be done. More compassion to extended and more hearts to be changed.   Will a stimulus check be enough to change our attitudes on spending? Will opening up restaurants, sporting events, and other forms of entertainment our priorities?  Hmmm!


WELCOME TO CORONAVIRUS UNIVERSITY


(But don't Expect to Graduate until All Courses are Completed!)



UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, April 13, 2020

WHAT HAPPENS THE MORNING AFTER?



I've had some interesting morning after experiences in my life. Most have not been my proudest moments!

Mornings after a blow-out with my husband or a relative.  Mornings when I ate too much of a favorite food and paid the price with digestive upsets.  And yes, mornings that kept me on my knees at the toilet bowl praying but with a throbbing head and blurry eyes!

(Come on people! We ain't always been saved or acted like it!)

What I'm saying is that most morning after experiences are filled with regrets, yet become times of reflection where we never felt so human!  Weak, vulnerable, and fearful we become keenly aware that WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF ANYTHING!!  Without a single seminary class we've acknowledged the transcendence of God in our lives.  He is distinctly different from His frail creation, and we humbly submit to Him for help!

I imagine that's the way the disciples felt the morning after Christ's resurrection! (Talk about a week-end!)  Roman guards were all over the place.  Friday's three hours of darkness midday and an earthquake causing dead men to walk out of graves put everyone on edge. (Matthew 27:51-53)  Not even Saturday was peaceful.  The disciples scattered and went into hiding for fear of their lives.  Could they be the next big event in Jerusalem? (Mark 14:48-50; 24:36-43)

The religious Pharisees, instigators of the crucifixion were busy doing damage control preserving their pious position among the Jews but concealing their devious actions. (Matthew 27:62-66).  The morning after Christ's resurrection they bribed soldiers to lie and say Christ's body was stolen. (Matthew 28:11-15)

The impact of Christ's death was far-reaching.  Other people were having morning after experiences too.  The women disciples He appeared to and anointed to be the first witnesses of His resurrection. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:10-18; Matthew 28:8-10)

The two travelers on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-19).  Jesus' unbelieving brother, James and the restored Peter (I Corinthians 15:5-7).  All those who watched Him ascend into heaven (Luke 24:44-49)

Today, like 2,000 years ago, we are living out a significant morning after!  Yesterday, most of us celebrated Resurrection Sunday like none we had ever seen! We were separated from church and family members, some fearing for their own lives in hospitals and cities with rising death numbers from COVID-19.
Common Easter traditions were pretty much defunct. 

So if you are among those still pining over the way it used to be, take a moment to read what the angels said to the women at the tomb: 

"Why seek you the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5)

I truly believe that we will one day be able to celebrate Resurrection Day similar to the way we used to! However, I hope it will become more than a Sunday on the calendar that comes in the Spring.  I pray you will see it as a day of new beginnings, new hope, a new life in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus is Alive and He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He has not changed!  It is because of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed! As bad as things are, it could be worse!  His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is His faithfulness. (Paraphrased from Lamentations 3:22-23) 

In your darkest hours.  When joy is smothered in grief and pain. When jobs are lost.  Pay checks stop coming and you don't qualify for a bail out or government subsidies! Will you be strong enough to make it through the night and brave enough to ask..


WHAT HAPPENS THE MORNING AFTER?

  TAKE COURAGE!  CLOSE YOUR EYES!  AND PRAY THIS SCRIPTURE: 

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I
entrust my life.

(Psalm 143:8)


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ON GOD'S AGENDA...Everything Is Right On Time!!!

Eccles. 3:1  For everything there
is a season....
Coming in from my daily walk, I noticed the beginnings of a robin's nest being built just under my porch light fixture!  Ah Yes! I thought to myself it is indeed springtime. These little birds are doing just what God ordained them to do in this season...prepare for new life!  

I wonder dear sisters if we are as attentive to God's agenda as these frail creatures.  Are we preparing for the new life that is coming after this COVID-19 pandemic?

I know in the present climate of death and uncertainty it's hard to think about, but it is EXACTLY what we Christians should be doing!

 As a woman of God, I know in my heart that new life is coming!  In fact, it has already begun. Pull yourself away from the television and its repetitive pessimism and look out your window.  You'll see it too!  The days are getting longer. The grass is growing.  Trees are budding. Birds are singing.   Everything is right on schedule!

Now consider how this pandemic is peaking right as Christians celebrate the 40 day Lenten period.  (A time we reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that gives eternal life to His believers!  John 3:16 )  It is not unlike a time more than 2,000 years ago when God executed a Divine act on His agenda to get man's attention. I Peter 1:19-20

Now like then there was confusion, upheavals in the political-economic system, and the seeking of a solution for a national problem.  Even the faithful in the religious community experienced  a crisis of faith! (Read about it in the Gospels!!)  Paramount to it all was DEATH...not the deaths of many as we see today but one significant death. The death of our Savior that would draw the world's eye to Almighty God! 

The parallel between the prohibitions we're forced to adhere to and the practices among Christians brothers and sisters is striking:
                                 
LENTEN: Deep praying for spiritual cleansing                     
and repentance throughout the day.                            
COVID-19 
Hand washing, disinfecting, purging
of toxins throughout the day.

LENTEN: Removal of recreational distractions
(TV, social media, entertainment) to spend more
personal time with God.COVID-19                  
 Movies, malls, sporting events cancelled
causing more families to spend personal
time together.

LENTEN: Fasting or elimination of certain foods
for a prescribed amount of time.                            
COVID-19  
Limitation or scarcity of certain foods for a
period of time.     

LENTEN:  Disassociating socially from people
for spiritual reflection and self evaluation.
COVID-19: 
Social distancing to control or prevent spread of viruses.

LENTEN: Some practice abstinence (giving up sex)
for a period of time as they fast and pray.
 COVID-19: 
 Like most crisis, no doubt there will be many 
"Corona" babies born this fall and winter season.
                         
Here's the point I'm making:  God is in complete control and His timing, even for something as frightening as the Corona Virus is impeccable!  The numbers of illnesses and deaths are disturbing, but IF YOU ARE A BIBLE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN you understand according to the scriptures below.  That NO ONE DIES BEFORE HIS/HER TIME. 


Every human being has an appointed time to die the moment they are born.
Hebrews 9:27

Our life is not our own God has a right to claim it whenever He chooses.
I Corinthians 6:19
Christians have angels guarding, protecting, and ministering to us as God wills.
 Psalms 91:11
When death comes by COVID-19 or other means it's a "Win-Win"situation!

2 Corinthians 5:8
All of nature, obeys the Lord in everything, so should we. PRAY now for the witness of these NEW things in your life and in others when we get to the other side of COVID-19:

🙏 New ConvertsAs has just been said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion. (Hebrews 3:15)

💧New Thirst for God's Word Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (I Peter 2:2)

💚 New Spiritual Growth and Character - But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

👥Renewed passion for ministryFor we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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