10 Ideas to Stay Engaged with Others in These Unprecendented Times

30 03 2020

A friend wrote to me recently and stated, “We are trying to keep our sanity while working at home, having our children home from school and feeling isolated.”  Well said, because the whole world seems to be on a pause.  It is not a season to fear, but we can embrace this season and believe for some good to come out of it.  So, here are 10 things you can do while feeling a bit like a captive.

 

10. Spend extraordinary time with God. Receive His peace.  Spend spiritual time with your family, praying and bringing them comfort, encouragement and security.  Keep reading and keep praying through Psalm 91 and other scriptures.  God’s word brings certain peace.

9. Go through your phone listing of names and locate those persons that you feel or sense may need a call or an encouraging text message. Let them know you are thinking of them.  Go alphabetically and work through your personal directory of names prayerfully.  Consider doing the same with your email addresses.

8. Ask your spouse how you can serve them. Work on taking shifts with the kids so you can get your personal work accomplished.  Keep some sense of school and learning going with your children.

7. Call your immediate neighbors and arrange a driveway or front porch shout out to one another. Say something like, “At noon on Saturday, let’s all go outside to our front porch or driveway and shout out a greeting to one another.”  Ask everyone how they are doing.  Let them know you care and ask if anyone needs any help.

6. Currently, there is no visitation in senior care homes and rightly so. Do you know someone living in this situation?  Call them or Facetime them so that you can be a voice and a face of encouragement. You can also call and ask if there is a senior who needs to talk to someone as you could volunteer to do so.  Do not forget the incarcerated or those in some form of rehab as well.

5. If you are headed to the store, who can you ask or check with to bring items back for them? We have a recent widow and a woman being cared for who is 100 years old that we keep checking in with.

4. Clean out your attic. It’s a great time to rid yourself of stuff.  Put free items out on your sidewalk or driveway for others who may need them.

3. Bake some cookies for your neighbors or perhaps someone needs a basket of encouragement filled with little gifts or necessary items.

2. There are missionaries still on the field serving and there are missionaries who have had to return home. You can contact them and ask how they are doing or if they need anything in the way of support during this time of transition.

1. Turn on worship music in your home.  While it plays in the background it will refresh, encourage and minister to the spirit of every family member.  Monitor the TV, espcially the news which can be scary to children.  Locate The Chosen and watch 8 amazing episodes with your family.  The Chosen has had almost 12 million views and already self-raised almost 2 million of 10 million dollars needed for season two.  View the trailor here.

Remember, God has made many rich deposits within you. It is time to give Him a return on His investment.  Ask Him what He would have you to do for others and trust Him for an amazing outcome.

 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2)





7 Healthy Responses to the Coronavirus

20 03 2020

I love Psalm 91; it is so full of good news.  With all of the change the whole world is facing today, God’s word and His promises do not change and it is good to remind ourselves of this fact.  If you haven’t read this Psalm recently, please do and consider reading it daily as recommended in point number one below.  Its truth is so encouraging in this hour.

Did you know that God in His word outlined a process of how to stop an infectious disease?  Once it was diagnosed by the high priest, that person was to go into isolation for seven days.  They were then to be examined a second time and possibly go into a second seven day isolation.  (See Leviticus 13)

Let’s also be reminded and take to heart the process outlined by our government to keep the spread of this virus to a minimum.  Romans 13 instructs us to submit to the governing authorities as they have been established by God.  To not submit is to be in rebellion against what God has established.  (See Romans 13:1,2)

John G. Lake (1870-1935) was an evangelist and also known as a “faith healer” who lived through the Bubanic Plague.  He stayed on the ground, ministering to the sick and actually helped to bury the dead.  When asked by the doctors what protection he was using he said, “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”  (See the article here.)

Here are 7 words of encouragement for you and for those whom you touch.

  1. Meditate on Psalm 91 each and every day. Read it to your children so they know of God’s protection over them.  Pray this Psalm over your household.
  2. Remember the Passover when the Israelites’ doorways had blood sprinkled on them. (See Exodus 12:23)  Those dwellings were not touched.  You have authority in the Name of Jesus to pray protection over your household.  Take that authority boldly against the evil one and protect your household in the Spirit.
  3. Do not operate in fear or anxiety. The love of Jesus is perfect and casts out all fear.  (See I John 4:7-21)  Anxiety takes the place of prayer and keeps us from trusting God.  (See Proverbs 12:25; Philippians 4:6,7)  Rather, operate in a spirit of faith.
  4. Keep rejoicing and keep giving thanks. A thankful heart is a heart absent of complaint.  A heart that rejoices is a heart full of life.  (See Philippians 4:4; I Thessalonians 5:18)
  5. Think and pray about how you can serve others. Do you have a neighbor that you need to check on?  Is there an elderly person who should not go to the store at this time and you can make the trip for them?  How can you and your family serve those who are at a higher risk?  Remember that difficulties in life can also provide opportunities. (See Matthew 20:28; I Peter 4:10)
  6. We can trust God in all things, including this precarious season. Place all your hope and trust in the Lord; He does not disappoint.  (See Psalms 25:1,2; 31:14; 62:8)
  7. Pray for government leaders in decision making.  Pray for your church family to stay strong and faith filled.  Pray for opportunities to serve others.  Prayer will help us to maintain a proper focus.  Pray without ceasing!  (I Thessalonians 5:17)

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

And Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”





21 Books You Don’t Have to Read

28 01 2020

The April 19, 2018, edition of GQ magazine had an article titled: 21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.  The author included books like: The Old Man and the Sea; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and even The Lord of the Rings.

 

Now before you start booing, the worst is yet to come.  Within the 21 books was also included a very special one, The Holy Bible.  Yes, he writes, it was “…rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.”  Obviously, a huge assumption.  He goes on to say, “…overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”  He states, “It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.”

 

Don’t you just love the author’s personal opinion of the Bible?  If it is just another book, then don’t take any of it seriously.  But, if you believe it to be divinely inspired and given to us by the hand of God, then do not forsake it.  Do not miss the clear historical facts found in it.  Do not miss the giving of the law which helped to bring about purity, cleanliness, integrity and connection with our Creator.  Do not miss Jesus, the Son of God, in every book of the Bible.  Do not miss the true-to-life parables and do not miss the prophecy fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled.

 

The word of God is so much more than a book; it is 66 books of congruent, life-giving, faith-building, history teaching, future telling, mind changing, truth-filled counsel giving and loved-filled affirmations.  Check out these very words from The Book.

 

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  (Proverbs 30:5)

 

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing souls and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12)

 

And from our Lord:

 Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.  (Luke 11:28)

 

Some fun facts* about the Bible:

 

  • Over 100 million copies are sold each year.
  • The word “bible” is from the Greek “ta biblia” and means “the scrolls”.
  • It is translated into 532 languages and partially translated into 2,883 languages.
  • It took over a thousand years to write the OT and 50-75 years to write the NT.
  • John Wycliffe produced the first translation of the entire Bible from the Latin into English.
  • China is the largest producer of Bibles today.
  • The Bible is the most commonly stolen book in the world, being available in hotel rooms.
  • The singer Bob Marley requested to be buried with a Bible.
  • The Bible is the best-selling book in history, with total sales exceeding 5 billion copies.

(*From factretriever.com)





The Death of a President

21 11 2019

I was seated at my desk in our third-grade classroom when our teacher was called out of the room.  It was a pretty normal and uneventful day up to that particular time.  She returned to the classroom crying.  I never saw her cry before.  Experiencing a teacher crying was totally new for me.  The date was November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.  We would be dismissed from school early on that day.

 

I watched our black and white TV that evening as men in suits held onto a man who they claimed killed our president, Lee Harvey Oswald.  They were pushing him through some dimly lit halls to…well, I didn’t know where.  In horror, another man in a black suit came up beside him and fired shots from his pistol.  I watched Oswald fall into the arms of those escorting him.

 

It was all a bit much for an eight-year-old kid.  The talk for weeks in our country was the loss of our president.  I didn’t really know what it meant, but listening to the adults in my life, I knew it was unprecedented and enormous to them.  Everyone mourned and felt a bit lost, dazed really.  

 

As I look back, what sticks out in my mind now was that I never remember hearing the words Democrat or Republican.  It’s like President Kennedy was neither, just president of the United States of America.

 

Surely people voted and followed their party of choice, but there was no antagonism, no backbiting, no name calling, no sarcasm and no wishing another harm.  At least not in the part of the world I lived in.

 

Unfortunately, the world we live in today is extremely different.  Even the major news outlets are different.  They simply have totally left objectivity and what is often reported is their personal slant or belief in an unbelievably, openly biased (which party we support) way.

 

It was this very president, John F. Kennedy, who said this, “If a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.  All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days.  Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.  But let us begin.”





Did Your Candidates Get Elected? Here Are 7 Ways to Follow-Up

11 11 2019

With this election behind us, both winners and losers now face a certain reality.  My wife, an elected poll official, said her polling place was busy all day and evening.  This is not the norm for interim elections, but certainly good to see an interest among constituents.

 

You’ve had to listen to all the political rhetoric before the election and we’re hoping it doesn’t follow the election so we can get on with our lives, so to speak. For those elected, to get to work representing those who elected them and those who did not.  But, what can we do now for those who are elected?  How can we serve them as godly persons?

 

We can pray!  I would like to share a few guidelines for prayer for the newly elected and the ones remaining in political office.  The scriptures admonish us to pray for these persons and we desire to obey that word so clearly spoken.  That means, even if the elected official is not one whom you voted for, you are still admonished to pray for them.

 

Specifically, what can we pray that also aligns with God’s word?

 

  1. Pray for a revelation of the love of God. Knowing God’s love and responding to that love affects every aspect of personal and public life. (Romans 5:5, 8; I John 4:9, 10)
  2. Pray for a revelation of God’s truth. It is the word of God and the Ten Commandments that initially created our foundation for law.  Pray that this same Word is seen as truth as it was with our forefathers. (Proverbs 30:5; Hebrews 4:12)
  3. Pray for a revelation that all humanity is of value and created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16, 17)
  4. Pray for a revelation of life – life in the womb and life at every stage of life. (Psalm 139: 13-16; Jeremiah 1:4, 5; Isaiah 44:2)
  5. Pray for a spirit of wisdom and humility with high moral character and integrity to lead this nation. (Psalm 25:9; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Isaiah 66:2)
  6. Pray for a revelation of the fear of God; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10)
  7. Pray for a heart that seeks after God and desires His will and not their own. (Matthew 6:10; Hebrews 10:9)




A Question for Pastor John F. MacArthur

4 11 2019

Dear Pastor MacArthur,

 

Your comments concerning Beth Moore and women like her seem shame-filled, judgmental and clearly challenged by the word of God and the life of His Son while on the earth.  Please consider these scriptures found in the book of Luke concerning those who supported Jesus’ ministry.

 

 

 

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from who seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.  These women were helping to support them out of thier own means.  (Luke 8:1-3)

 

These women were brave, courageous, supportive and bold.  They were unashamed to walk with Jesus and serve Him in His earthly ministry.  God’s word does not leave out their love and dedication to Him within public ministry and what an amazing example and inspiration to all women they become.

 

So, here’s my question for you Pastor MacArthur:  Should Jesus have told these women to “Go home?”





Election Day: A Few Political Core Values to Consider

28 10 2019

As we approach election day here in the USA on November 5, I thought I would pass along to you some really healthy and sound advice/political values from Kris Vallotton.  Kris is a well-known author and pastoral staff member at Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  I think what he writes is worth considering and sharing.  But first, let me share some of the best advice from God’s word found in I Timothy 2:1-10 from The Passion version.

 

1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

From Kris:

  • I can deeply love people in whom I strongly disagree with. I refuse to demonize any politician who is made in the image of God.
  • I have enemies and Jesus gave me power over them on the cross, but my battle is NOT against flesh and blood.
  • When you call someone by an evil name…you have decided that you know their heart. But, the Apostle Paul said, “Who are you to judge the servant of another?”
  • Associating with, or serving political people, should not be confused with embracing their ideologies. All political offices deserve to be honored according to Romans 13.
  • I am commanded and called to pray for my leaders. If you don’t pray for them, then you don’t have a right to critique their success or failure.
  • My first allegiance is not to a political party but to the kingdom of God.
  • I cannot separate my spiritual views from my political views because the government of this world is being affected and infected by the invisible realm.
  • Great government doesn’t take away the right of people to sin. That’s sharia law.  It does however, protect people from sinning against others and teaching people to do so.
  • It’s not the responsibility of government to Christianize the world. That’s the church’s job.  Jesus rules the nations with a rod of iron, but He leads the church with a shepherd’s staff.

Let’s prayerfully walk this election out like our first allegiance is to the kingdom of God and not to a political party.








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