For the last few months, every day has been unpredictable. As the number of COVID cases increase in areas and new information is shared about the virus, it is a reminder of how different the times are right now.
Jobs have shifted, stores are operating differently, businesses are closing their doors and for many, the church has been unable to physically gather.
Through every closure, they are an increasing amount of needs.
I’ve been thinking about how much people need to feel loved and valued in this season. Whether they live alone or juggling everything with small children in the home; people need to be reminded of how loved they are.
In this season where there is so much that’s unknown, let’s be the church. Not the walls confined to a building but the actions produced from love and empathy. The church is way more than a building; it is a heart posture —to love our neighbor.
How can you be the church in this season?
- Serve: many communities are still in need whether it is helping to provide food for those who have lost their job, making masks for people who may be without or writing letters to front line employees expressing gratitude. Find creative ways to serve the needs of your community in a safe way.
- Spread the Gospel: there are so many creative ways to make the Gospel known whether it is talking to a friend or loved one; sharing a church service on social media, encouraging people on social media, or sewing a Bible verse on the masks you are giving out. Ask God to reveal who in your world needs to know Him and pray that He softens their heart to be receptive of you to deliver the message.
- Love your neighbor: with all of the racial injustices heightened and people acknowledging the oppressed, now more than ever there is a great need to show your love by supporting those who look different than you. What a blessing it is to listen, lament and learn from other people.
- Pray pray pray: In Tony Evans Bible Commentary, he said that “prayer is an earthly request for heavenly intervention.” We need to collectively pray for all the decision-makers, health officials, and the people in our world. We need God to heal our land and stop this virus from spreading. We need God to expose and dispose of racism that has been embedded in our country. We need God to move. We need a spiritual awakening.
Oh what a time to be the church.
My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a challenging time within this world. As we seek to understand the severity of what is happening, we should all take cautionary measures as outlined by the CDC.
Over the last few weeks, I have been praying for this world and seeking to see God in all of this. I know He is up to something and I recognize how Believers have a role to play in the midst of so much uncertainty. I believe we are called to a place of hope. I believe our gaze should be on God while we will safely power through these times.
I wanted to share with you four main thoughts that have been on my heart and I hope it will encourage you through this turbulent time:
- Let’s monitor our media consumption: Let’s stay informed with updates as needed but let’s not allow an overload of information to cause fear to erupt. We need to know what is happening, yet we need to create a quiet space for God to speak to us. We can seek to educate ourselves but we can’t neglect how much we need God. So I have to ask, are you reading your Word as much as you are keeping up with the news? Again, I believe it is important to stay informed but let’s not miss what God is saying to us right now.
- Love your neighbors: What if we as Believers responded with a heart to serve and not discriminate against those who are ill or self-quarantined for precautionary measures. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) so as the people in our world are having to adjust to new temporary standards, I believe there is no better way to display God’s love than by serving and asking “what can I do for you?” Let’s use wisdom and get creative in how we serve them, but let’s serve those who need us. Let’s show up for others and spread His love. Let’s not shame people for what they are experiencing during this time instead we should be committed to love and extending grace.
- Keep faith on the front line: As others fear, let’s encourage through our faith. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us how God has not given us a spirit of fear. It doesn’t mean we will never experience fear but we don’t allow it to cripple us. This is a critical time for us to hold on to our faith knowing that He is with us and we will get through this with Him on our side.
- The power of the spread: This virus has taken the world by storm. Businesses are selling out of essentials, travels are being banned, schools are being closed and people are in a state of panic because of what they could be impacted by. As I observe the chaos around us, I wondered what it would be like if the Gospel Message could spread as quickly as the COVID-19? As Believers, we have been impacted by this Message; yet are we doing enough to spread it? The Gospel Message should be contagious and we should carry it with us wherever we go. It should cause a change in how we lead our businesses, help keep people in a place of peace and it should remind us how we have nothing to fear with God on our side.
Friends, I am praying and believing for this virus to cease and stop impacting the lives of those we love. I am praying for healing for those who currently have the virus and the medical professions who need the strength and wisdom to help treat them. And I am praying for a new level of faith to arise within each of us. There are people in need of our faith-filled words and gestures, can they count on you to respond?
Lastly, this verse has been on my heart and I think it is a sweet reminder during the days head:
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
Remember, God is with us. Let His Word comfort our hearts and silence our fears.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! −Matthew 7:11 (ESV)
I love holidays because it is a time to slow down and spend time with the ones you love however Father’s Day is always a little different. It seems like the middle child who often gets overlooked because Mother’s Day stole all of its shine. We don’t see as many social media posts honoring dads, restaurants aren’t as crowded and there’s just hardly any marketing around this holiday.
I recognize that Father’s Day is difficult for many people − those who may have lost their father or even those who may not have a relationship with their earthly father. The Lord gifted me with a good father and grandfathers to be able to gain great wisdom from and to also see a great example of fatherhood yet I know that’s not everyone’s story. My prayer is that you will choose to see the joy in today. That regardless of how your story has been written that you will be able to see a new perspective.
I find so much comfort in hearing this verse in Matthew 7 spoken by Jesus because I think it is an invitation to all of us regardless of your situation with an earthly example of fatherhood. Jesus says how much more will your Heavenly Father do for you if you would just ask.
Those three words: how much more has been impressed on my heart.
I am thankful today (and everyday) for my father and all that he has done to sacrifice, lead and support our family and as I reflect on that today; my heart is brought to joy of how much more my Heavenly Father will do for me too!
Sisters those three words are powerful and I pray that you allow it to sink in your heart. How much more, will He do for you regardless of the season you’re in or the circumstances, He can do so much more for you
My prayer for you today: Heavenly Father, thank you! Thanks for the good examples that you have given us on fatherhood. I pray that all of the fathers would feel loved, honored and valued today. I ask Lord that you would send an extra dose of your love to my sisters who are discouraged today because of their earthly examples; remind them of how much more You are able and willing to do for them. I am praying and believing that you are going to blow the minds of those who are willingly and faithfully believing you for more!
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. -Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
As I was reading these verses, I noticed the words “equally important.” It made me think of the importance that our Savior put on loving others. We see it shown throughout scripture how He would go out of His way to meet the needs of others and to be in community with them.
So often I focus more so on the first commandment of loving the Lord and immersing myself in his Word yet I don’t put as much energy into the second commandment. I know I have been guilty of not loving others well; of putting myself ahead of others and at times just not being as willing to step out of my shell to meet the needs of someone else.
These verses are such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. A picture of loving God and equally loving all of His people unconditionally. Not just those who are easy to love but intentionally choosing to love everyone He places in our path.
Father, thank you for sending your Son to be a perfect example of how to love others. Please convict us in moments where we put ourselves before loving others. Constantly remind us of how much Jesus gave of Himself for other people. Show us how to love all of your people unconditionally.
For some odd reason, being single has some people feeling as if they have a disease. Everything around you says that you should be in a relationship, yet everything gives a false representation of how that relationship should be.
As much as there’s a desire for companionship, I believe there should be a deeper hunger for a relationship; not with a man but the Man.
Paul reminds us of how being single allows you to be solely devoted to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:34). It is also a season filled with purpose yet I like to call it a season of preparation.
As much as social media will show relationships on your news feed, it can also give you a false representation of love. People share what they want you to see. You begin to draft these fantasies about love and miss the love that’s available for you every day.
The Lord has given you the gift of singleness in this season and it is your choice in how to accept that gift. This is a precious time to tune in to Him for what you are to learn in this season. I believe that singleness is a time to get to know our Savior so much more. In getting to know Him, you will learn so much about yourself. God can grant you a desire for something more. He will change and mold you into the woman He created you to be.
It is my prayer for single women to understand how singleness isn’t a mistake, a disease or a punishment but it is a sacred season to know our Father in a way that will only come when our eyes are constantly fixed on Jesus.
He desires for you to know Him and understand His resurrecting power that can equip you for various seasons of life.
Will you commit to being faithful to Him in this season? Not distracted but totally focused on the One who is Love.
I recently read an article about marrying the bible this year and it made me ask myself what if we truly approached the Bible as we would a new courtship? When you first begin to court, you have these butterflies that fill your heart. You are constantly thinking about the conversations throughout the day. You are intentional.
The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8 NLT) so what would our lives look like if we approached God similar (and eventually better) than earthly relationships. If we set aside time to get to know Him: opening the Word daily and actively seeking to let it resonate in our hearts. That is when we will truly experience this love; God’s love.
My approach to the Word lately has been “Holy Spirit, teach me what it is that I am to learn about you today.”
I recognize how at times, reading the Bible can be difficult but as believers, we can tap into the Holy Spirit, which lives on the inside of us, for wisdom and understanding.
As we continue to break old habits and start new ones, I want to recommend that we approach our daily readings with the intent to develop and strengthen an intimate relationship with God.
Let it be our goal to know Him (Philippians 3:10 CSB) this year. Let it be our greatest desire above anything else.