Lord, I come to You now in the presence of every person whose eyes land on these words. I know that it is not by accident. Lord, we NEED you now more than ever. Our friends and family members are sick and dying, but YOU, God, have the ability to heal them and to obliterate this virus from the face of the earth. We know that nothing happens without Your knowledge and we know that You are ultimately in control. Help us to sit in that truth and remain good stewards of Your Word and Your Church. Help us to be kind to one another and to put other people—even those we don’t agree with—first. Help us to take care of one another the way that You intended. Help people see past the political party lines and remember we are all made in the image of You. Help people to not put personal freedom over compassion for their fellow man and help those worried about this virus to be met with understanding and compassionate responses rather than fighting and mocking. Help me God with my own fear as I lean on You and trust You while using the sound mind you gave me to make safe choices that are right for me and those closest to me. Touch our world and our country, Lord. Heal us from border to border, every family, every person. Eradicate COVID 19 and make it disappear as quickly as it came. Hear our pleas, Lord. It is in Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen and Ehmen.
Faith over fear.
How many times have I said that over the past few weeks?
Probably hundreds, if not more. I even have a cross in my yard that proclaims it to the whole neighborhood.
But full transparency, this morning as I continued to struggle with not feeling all that well physically, compounded by the emotional stress of the world we live in right now, I found myself worrying again.
Faith over fear? Yeah, right.
I’m a liar, I thought to myself.
I really, really suck, I told myself.
Here I am proclaiming faith over fear and, some days–maybe even most days—I let fear deliver me a knockout blow without even putting up a fight. Nothing.
Hell, somedays, I’m not even pushing back.
And, then, I heard God’s sweet, sweet whisper deep in my spirit.
Believing as I do that He often whispers just so we have to really lean in, I closed my eyes and opened my heart ready to receive.
This, my friends, is what I heard.
“In this world you WILL have trouble, but, take heart, for I have overcome the world!”
Child, you are human and are prone to trying to maintain control. When you can’t control what is going on around you, or even inside you, you become fearful. And, fear, is Satan’s most powerful weapon. With it, he knows he can lead you astray and the tailspin begins.
You MUST resist him.
Anytime you feel fearful or out of control, you must STOP and recognize it for what it is–the enemy crossing the battle lines into My territory, into your heart.
Now, understand, Child, that I have the last say and everything is within My power. However, I will not stop something you invite in; things which you allow. I gave you free will and I will not ever take that away.
You MUST take captive every fearful thought, every fearful dart that is launched at you. This means anytime you feel anxiety or fear or anytime you catch yourself trying to figure out your situation and take control, STOP and whisper My name out loud. And, keep whispering it. I promise you, if you do this, Satan will have no choice but to flee, dropping every weapon formed against you at My feet.
And, one more thing. You have not failed, because you have allowed fear to temporarily squelch your faith. You are human and all humans, even those who have accepted Me as their Lord and Savior, still have to be reminded to trust Me, especially when trouble comes.
I have you in the palm of My hand, child. Keep leaning in and remember to combat every fearful thought with the whisper of My name. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. I promise you that, just as I have overcome the world, your faith in Me will overcome your fears.
Every time, without fail.
Oh, my, thank you, Lord, for always coming to my rescue and gently correcting me where the enemy tries to condemn me. I love and praise You, Father, for who You are, not just to me, but to the entire world. Faith over fear. Because of You, I know we’ve got this. Jesus for the WIN!
Amen and Ehmen.
Writer’s Note: Today, amid all the pain and uncertainty of the coronavirus, I feel, more than ever, that we are living in the “day in between”, a day of seeming silence on the trouble that commands our attention; a day, which if allowed to remain grounded in fear, will continue to be crippling. Yes, we are battling an unseen enemy and, though we have dubbed this enemy COVID19, I believe in my heart of hearts that it is the same unseen enemy that we have battled all along, Satan. He’s sifting us, y’all. But, I truly believe, in the deepest reaches of my soul, that Sunday is coming and Jesus Christ, our resurrected Savior and Miracle Maker, has another HUGE Miracle in store for us all. Spend this Saturday sitting high atop a foundation of trust in what tomorrow brings…a day of true joy and hope for the world! And, remember, it all started with HIM, but it continues with us….spread The Word! Sunday is coming!
The Day In Between
It’s sometimes called Holy Saturday, the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday and Easter Eve. But what is today, really?
Well, I think today—the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday—is just that, the day in between.
The silent day that lay mournfully and mysteriously between the brutal crucifixion of our Lord and Savior and His joyous resurrection. The day between a promise and its fulfillment.
I can’t even begin to imagine how those who loved and followed Jesus must have felt on this day; just hours before having watched as God’s own promise hung tethered to a rugged cross; bloody; lifeless; hopeless.
I just can’t even imagine how they felt when the world’s only hope that God Himself had so lovingly poured into the flesh of a baby more than three decades prior was taken down from the cross, a crumpled and shattered shell; breathless; dead.
Oh the grief, the fear, and the sense of loss they must have felt. Their friend and Messiah was gone and laying in a tomb; his bruised and battered body as well as their hopes and dreams swaddled in burial clothes and sealed in darkness.
I just can’t even imagine.
But, wait, you might say. What about the miracle of Jesus’ birth and all the miracles and prophecies fulfilled throughout Jesus’ life on earth? What about all the wonders—the feeding of thousands from a single lunch; the healings; the raising of Lazarus from the dead? Can you even imagine how in the world the men and women who witnessed these miracles could even spend one day doubting, grieving, hiding, scattered, and scared?
You know, at first I couldn’t imagine it at all. That is, until I realized that we live in this same place every day.
We live in the in-between day, suspended between the promise and the fulfillment and, just like the disciples and those who knew Jesus as a man, we doubt; we grieve; we hide; we scatter; and we certainly fear. We, too, search for hope in a dark world. We, too, sometimes lose our trust that God can make something holy and beautiful and good out of a world that often looks more like hell than the creation of a good God. We wonder how or even if He will bring beauty and order to a universe spiraling out of control. We, too, have moments of doubt. Or least I know I do.
But, thank God, for tomorrow; for Easter Sunday and the empty tomb which has become an everlasting symbol of a promise fulfilled; the rebirth of hope for all the generations to come; for the disciples; for the early churches, for all our descendants and for you and for me.
Thank God for His promise of everlasting life which eternally lives in the breath of His one and only son, Jesus Christ, and for the unyielding sacrifice Jesus made so that we can enjoy that promise just by believing in Him. I believe in Him and I hope that you do, too.
And, if you are still just checking the whole Jesus thing out, I pray that He will open your heart and eyes so that you, too, can take part in the miracle of Easter and the promise of everlasting life. God loves you. He always has and always will. You are His child and he really wants to have a relationship with you. But, you have to do something. You have to take the step and ask Him into your heart. He is not going to do it without an invitation from you. You yourself have to acknowledge that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and that he died on the cross so that you can have eternal life. You yourself have to accept Him and invite Him into your heart.
When you’re ready, you just have to say a prayer something like this. It doesn’t have to be word for word and you don’t even have to understand it all. And you certainly don’t have to be perfect, for no one on earth is perfect. Just say something like this:
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sins. I believe that your son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died to pay for my sins and I trust Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I ask Him to come into my life. Amen.”
It’s that simple. If you pray this prayer and truly accept the Lord Jesus as your personal savior, you can be assured of going to heaven. No matter what you have done on earth; no matter what you did in your past, you will be reborn and resurrected and headed for everlasting life alongside the Almighty Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Oh, my, what a way to celebrate this day in between! Congratulations and welcome to the family! Amen and Ehmen! And Happy, Happy Easter! 🙂
And The Word of God Says:
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)
Romans 1:4-5 And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. Romans 6:8-11 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)
Matthew 27:50-53 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (NIV)
Matthew 28:1-10 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NIV)
Mark 16:1-8 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “
The world is at war, but, for once, the enemy is not one another, but instead a common, albeit unseen, enemy. Out of nowhere, this ninja-like nemesis known as Coronavirus has taken the world by storm, causing panic and pandemonium around the globe.
I don’t know how it has felt for everyone else, but, for me, it’s felt a lot like a rollercoaster ride. And not just any roller coaster, but the kind that has multiple loop the loops for which your stomach leaves your body and isn’t reunited until several minutes after you have disembarked the ride.
One minute, it seemed the media was just blowing things out of proportion as they so often do. After all, headlines still sell newspapers. The next minute, I found myself getting a bit nervous as the media deluge continued and my own credible sources begin to chime in. Finally, I entered full loop the loop mode as the what-ifs of yesterday became the reality of today. Through it all, I have longed to be reunited with my stomach and, more importantly, my faith.
God reminds us time and time again that He is with us and will not forsake us. And I personally believe Him in the deepest reaches of my soul. Yet, here I am still having to fight for personal peace in this incredibly tumultuous time, as my flesh, my humanness is bombarded with second-by-second news reports about an enemy that stalks us unchecked and unscathed by any human defensive. At least for now, there is no cure. There is no medicine to make it better. It is totally out of our control.
All of which reminds me of one of the many news stories that landed in front of my eyes this week. It was an interview with a COVID-19 survivor. He talked about how horrific his fight had been, how close to death he came and how he felt when he was finally properly diagnosed and asked his doctors what should be done next. Their answer was way more alarming than it should be, at least for us Christians. Their answer was simply, “Pray.”
I propose that maybe just maybe that is the lesson to be learned here.
I propose that maybe just maybe that is THE CURE we all long for—the only thing that can properly fight this invisible enemy that knows no geographical borders and cares not one iota about socio-economic status.
God knows that, most of the time–even amongst His own followers—prayer is our last resort; the thing we finally turn to after all other efforts have been exhausted.
However, TODAY I propose that we make it our FIRST resort; our FIRST line of defense. To be sure, we should be safe and do what our leaders are telling us. We should social distance. We should wash our hands. And THEN we should clasp those hands in PRAYER. We have a mighty and loving God who IS in control and who IS indeed moved by prayer.
Heavenly Father, I love you. I cannot lie, this is a scary time and I have let anxiety and fear take hold of me more than once this week. But, today, Father, I finally realized that this could be a living, real-time example of what Your Word declares in Genesis 50:20 and today I speak that very Word against the Corona virus that is threatening our world:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” –Genesis 50:20
Abba Father, I pray that You help us to see how You use this ordeal to show Your unending love and faithfulness to all of us, even in our stubbornness. I pray that this becomes a globally-uniting experience in which You are glorified; where more and more people return to You or find their way to You for the first time.
And, Abba, help us all to TRUST you; to rest in You, the Omnipotent and Omnipresent One that we are invited to know intimately. Help us to continue holding onto the indisputable fact that You are indeed in control and that nothing, but nothing escapes Your knowing. Help us to remember to always make prayer our first resort and not our last. Help us, Lord, to use this time to draw even closer to You as individuals, as nations and as a world. We are all Your children and I, for one, am so grateful. Give us peace that surpasses all understanding and may You be glorified in all that we do as we fight today’s battle in Your strength and not our own.
Amen and Ehmen.